A problem surfaces while using Spinrite to scan the desktop computer, and changing the Spinrite OS seems to be a viable solution.

Too large drive when scanning

spinrite division overflow errorThis morning when waking up I find that Spinrite has stopped with an error when checking my drive.

It’s not the fault of my drive as such, or of spinrite as such. Instead it’s because the FreeDos OS that the spinrite boots from isn’t able to deal with drives larger than 640 GB in size. There’s a good page on how to fix the division overflow error when scanning drives, but the details aren’t gone in to as such there.

MSDOS disks

It’s not as easy as just running the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. I attempted to use a Windows 98 DOS boot disk, but when booting and using Spinrite from that there were complains about the code page language. So instead, actual MSDOS disks seem to be a viable solution, for which images can be acquired from anywhere but I prefer to use the ones from this Virtual MSDOS PC page. No matter which MSDOS disks you use though, the HP tool doesn’t seem to want to work using them, so other techniques can be used to get them over to the USB stick instead.

VirtualBox

It’s not as easy as using the HP USB This is where instructions on how to boot your USB drive in virtualbox become very useful, for we can use the following commands to create a virtual disk that refers directly to the live USB stick:

cd %ProgramFiles%\Oracle\VirtualBox

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk
-filename  "%UserProfile%\Virtual Machines\usb.vmdk"
-rawdisk "\\.\PhysicalDrive1"

But there’s a trap! Info from this bug report shows that you need to be running not only the cmd prompt in administrator mode, but also the VirtualBox in administrator mode too at the same time, as well as when you’re using the virtual profile to the live USB stick.

Success

With all of that in place, I’m able to create a virtual box for MSDOS that uses the live USB stick as the primary storage, and the MSDOS disks in the floopy drive from which to boot and install DOS on to the USB stick. Then I can copy Spinrite on to the USB stick too, and I now have a bootable MSDOS USB stick with Spinrite that will be able to check large drives with no problems.

I’m told that an update to the program is coming out at some stage that will address this problem, but until then this seems to be a good and reliable solution to the problem.

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