RADIFIED
Guide to ASPI Drivers

Posted: 13june2001

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The term 'ASPI' is an acronym that stands for: Advanced SCSI Programming Interface. All the following terms are synonymous: ASPI layer, ASPI drivers, ASPI interface. The term 'SCSI' [scuzzy] is an acronym that stands for Small Computer Systems Interface.

An ASPI layer consists of four files [see gray boxes below] that 'lie between' various programs [software] and certain devices, such as CD/DVD-ROM drives and CD/DVD burners/writers [hardware].

Software programs such as CD digital audio extractors [commonly known as 'Rippers'] and CD-writing utilities such as CDRWin use/require ASPI drivers to 'communicate with' SCSI devices.

Many people don't realize however, that the files contained in an ASPI layer are also used in systems that *don't* contain a SCSI adapter, or SCSI devices .. for things such as ripping CD audio and burning CD/DVDs.

This is why you'll find ASPI-related files and info posted at sites such as CDRWin, Nero, Feurio, Doom9, FireBurner, Plextor & the Coaster Factory.

It's not vital you know this, but ASPI drivers consist of the following four files (with directory locations):

Windows 98 / ME:
windows\system\iosubsys\apix.vxd
windows\system\aspienum.vxd
windows\system\winaspi.dll
windows\system\wnaspi32.dll
Windows 2000:
winnt\system32\drivers\aspi32.sys
winnt\system\wowpost.exe
winnt\system\winaspi.dll
winnt\system32\wnaspi32.dll
Windows XP:
windows\system32\drivers\aspi32.sys
windows\system\wowpost.exe
windows\system\winaspi.dll
windows\system32\wnaspi32.dll

The latest Adaptec ASPI layer [for Windows XP] looks like this:

Results of Adaptec ASPI checker utility for Windows XP

Updated: 16july2008

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Version info for Windows 2000 should show the middle two files listed as v4.60 [like this], or at least that's what the aspiinst.pdf file says that comes with the latest ASPI layer drivers [v4.71.2].

If your ASPI-installation info doesn't look like this, it doesn't mean there is anything necessarily wrong with your system configuration. But if you're having trouble ripping or burning, I might be able to help.

Note: In order to get wowpost.exe and winaspi.dll updated to the latest version, I had to rename the two files in the 'adaptec' folder: wowpost.ex_ becomes wowpost.exe, and winaspi.dl_ becomes winaspi.dll.

Then I manually copied these two files to my \system folder. But first I renamed the current ones to wowpost_old.exe and winaspi_old.dll, so I could go back if I had any problems. I got this tip from Hendrick. Steve Ryan writes to say:

Adaptec compressed wowpost.exe & winaspi.dll in their download - calling them wowpost.ex_ and winaspi.dl_. Although ASPI_check notes them as v4.71.2 when compressed, they are really v4.60 when uncompressed using the expand utility. I confirmed this using the Nero InfoTool program.

If you experience problems with this ASPI configuration, you have several options to consider. First: If you can't see your CD-ROM or burner [in Windows XP], you might want to try double clicking on the reg_xp.exe file that comes with the latest drivers from Adaptec.

This will tell your system that you have a burner and CD-ROM and where they are located [logically]. I would expect these types of problems to be more common with brand-new systems [no previous ASPI layer installed].

You might also want to try manually deleting wowpost.exe and winaspi.dll in WinXP, as some people claim that WinXP doesn't need these two files. But try beginning with all 4 files first. Read the posts by Hendrik here for more info along these lines. Or you can try reverting back to the old, stable v4.60 using ForceASPI [see below].

Update 29oct2002 - Adaptec released v4.71.2 of its ASPI drivers (thx Tarrant). See here. Anyone having problems with these new drivers?

You can download two different copies of Adaptec's ASPI checker from my Downloads page. This utility will scan your computer and report what version of ASPI drivers are currently installed in your system.

If you are having trouble ripping and/or burning with WinXP, v4.71 [or later], you might want to check out this file. It contains a registry fix that might help. It didn't help me. I found it while searching the CDex FAQs.

Update 02apr2003 - I have gone back to v4.60 in WinXP because neither of my two favorite CD audio rippers [EAC & CDex] work with v4.71.2. They both lock up (not responding). I'm not sure why. Soon as I installed v4.60 however [via ForceASPI], they both worked flawlessly again.

First I backed-up my current ASPI layer [via DUMPASPI]. Then I removed my old ASPI layer [via KILLASPI, because Windows will not let you replace system files with older versions]. Finally I re-installed v4.60 [via INSTASPI] and then rebooted. Voila! Both rippers work again. It's magic.

Force ASPI

ForceASPI is a popular utility that will install version 4.60 (1021) of Adaptec's ASPI drivers, *without* an Adaptec card or software in your system [hence: force]. Force ASPI v1.7 is the latest version. Many folks, such as those at Sony and Adobe find these drivers work best. If the latest version is giving you headaches, definitely give these a try.

Force ASPI will also *back-up* your current ASPI configuration. So, if you encounter problems, you can easily restore your original ASPI drivers. The command *dumpASPI* creates a backup of your existing ASPI layer.

You can also back-up your current ASPI configuration by copying files [individually] listed above to a back-up directory of your choosing [such as aspi_old].

[While we're on the subject of back-ups, I want to mention <shameless plug> my User's Guide for Norton Ghost. Ghost is perhaps the ultimate back-up utility for the home user. </plug> Back to Force ASPI...]

The command *instASPI* will install version 4.60 (1021) of Adaptec's ASPI drivers to your system. ForceASPI works with Windows 98, WindowsME, Windows NT, and Windows 2000 .. regardless of your particular system configuration. It also works fine with Windows XP, as reported by many happy WinXP users.

Your existing ASPI layer will be *overwritten* and you'll need to reboot before changes take effect. The file named index.html that comes with ForceASPI contains all the instructions you'll need. It looks like this.

You can download Force ASPI here, or from doom9 (listed under Support Utils, near the bottom), or a million other places. Wimpy was the original author of ForceASPI, but his site is no longer operating. [I want to give credit where credit is due.]

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