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I have a failing 3.5" drive, which I want to try to investiage with SpinRite. SpinRite wants to be installed on bootable media, but I don't have a memory stick to hand. I've noticed via Windows Computer Management however, that my SSD has a spare unallocated 450MB. I can obviously create a new parition here, and put SpinRite in it.... but is it possible to tell my PC to boot from that partition?

I know in a BIOS there's options to pick which drive to boot from, but I feel I've never seen any option to tell it which partition to boot from?

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Some modern UEFI BIOSes might have the option to boot from specific partitions apart from drives, look for it on the "boot" section, there is usually a section called "boot override" that allows you to select where to boot from. Check if there are more than one partition per drive showing (apart from two entries, one for UEFI and another for MBR style), If so, you can very likely partition the unasigned space and force the PC to boot from that partition using the BIOS menu.

In general, you can't do that. Once you use a drive for boot, your computer starts on that disk's MBR, and boots whatever partition is selected. To be able to select from multiple partitions, a program to do that must be installed in that section of the drive. That program is called a bootloader. GRUB is probably the most common one (and very likely the one that the BIOS uses if its able to boot from concrete partitions), and it is widely used for dual booting systems. HOWEVER, although you can tecnically do that (partition available space, install grub on the MBR, so you are able to select between windows and SpinRite) I would say it is not advisable, It will be time consuming, risky for the data in your SSD in the likely case a minor detail goes wrong, and definitely overkill. Just buy the cheapest 8GB USB drive you can find on a local store, you will save yourself lots of headaches.

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    Not to mention that installing the tool on the HDD may make it unavailable to SpinRite, since the HDD is busy. Not to mention that it sounds like a terrible idea... – Ismael Miguel Dec 17 '18 at 12:22
  • Thanks, I've managed to locate a USB drive. Your concern wouldn't have been an issue @IsmaelMiguel, as it's a different physical drive to the one I want to fix. – Codemonkey Dec 17 '18 at 13:32
  • @Codemonkey Actually, it would. Most answers in this Q&A website are meant to be for a general public. As such, it may not be a concern for you, but could be for someone else. To add to that, you didn't specify that you have 2 different drives. Even then, if you had specified you have 2 drives, I still believe it is a bad idea. – Ismael Miguel Dec 17 '18 at 17:37
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    One note about GRUB: it's REALLY easy to make a mistake and cause data loss. Back in 2010, I had a college assignment which involved setting up a local email server on a personal device using Ubuntu. I made the mistake of installing my Linux inside Windows and then in the middle of my exams period updating GRUB. This ended up breaking both my Windows and my Linux installations to the point of having to reinstall both of them and essentially having to start over on the mailserver task less than 2 weeks before it was due. – Nzall Dec 17 '18 at 18:32
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    @Codemonkey I'm really sorry, but my brian didn't register that you were talking about 2 different drives. That's entirely my fault and my fault only. – Ismael Miguel Dec 17 '18 at 18:35

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