ForceASPI is a collection of batch files that allow the installation of Adaptec's ASPI layer on systems that have no Adaptec hardware.

An ASPI layer is made up of 4 files that form an interface between SCSI hardware (principally CD/CDRW/DVD drives) and applications, akin to what DirectX does for graphics and sound cards. (For a more complete description of ASPI go here)

So why would you need a hacked ASPI layer? Well, the ASPI layers included with Windows 95 and Windows ME are considered to be pretty poor (a lot of CD and DVD ripping software will refuse to run if they are detected) and Windows 2000 simply does not have one. Some commerical software such as Adapatec Easy-CD Creator do not require a native ASPI layer as they use different means of interfacing with drives, which would be fine if the commerical software was any good... or for that matter free. However, if you want to use the wonderful CDEx or EAC, you're going to need an up-to-date ASPI layer. Adaptec produce the best available one, and I believe it used to ship with Windows. However, having tired of this public-spirited endeavor, they now refuse to allow anyone except users of their SCSI cards to install the latest drivers, leaving us with a buggy five-year old ASPI layer. Wahey.

ForceASPI gets round this problem by installing the DLL files by brute force. Scripts are also included for backing up/restoring your old ASPI layer in the event of disaster, and wiping the layer altogether. It works very nicely, and you can verify your ASPI layer is working properly using a handy utility from Adaptec called aspichk.

Adaptec eventually got wind of ForceASPI and got a little tetchy about it, asking the author to remove it from his website. The author understandably complied, as the scripts are of questionable legality. However, ForceASPI 1.7 is still floating around the net, and can be found fairly easily hint.

Hopefully sooner or later Adaptec will repent, but until then ForceASPI should keep your nefarious MP3-ripping activities going strong.