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Disk Drive DMA/PIO Mode

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Anonymous
May 4, 2005 7:46:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

My laptop computer has been really sluggish lately. I've done all the
recommended stuff like clear out the Starup list, get rid of
unnecessary services, checked for spyware a viruses, defragmented, and
nothing helps.

I suspected that the disk drive was the problem since every disk
operation seemed to take a gawdawful amount of time - booting up,
starting programs, opening documents etc. I ran a benchmark (Passmark
Performance Test) and that showed that everything was healty, but that
the disk drive was pretty low on the scale. Sequential 2.6 MB/sec,
sequential write 1.8 MB/sec. CHDKSK showed no bad sectors, and Dell's
disk diagnostic (which includes a surface scan) said the device is OK.


I poked around in the Windows Device Manager and saw that the drive
was operating in the PIO transfer mode although "DMA Mode if
available" was selected as the mode. I tried toggling the mode
selection to PIO and back (as suggested in a note on the Western
Digital web site) even rebooting in between, and that didn't change
the mode. However, running in PIO mode could definitely slow things
down.

Dell's lovely tech support is useless (I exchanged several e-mails
before I decided to try to talk to a live person). Does this sound
like a hardware failure with the drive? Is not running in DMA mode
when everything else appears to be OK a known failure mode of disk
drives? If I were to get a new drive and go through the agony
(=expense of buying software and hardware that I don't own) of cloning
the original drive to it, would this solve my problem?

I still don't wanna re-install Windows.




--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 2:58:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <znr1115232669k@trad>, mrivers@d-and-d.com wrote:

> I poked around in the Windows Device Manager and saw that the drive
> was operating in the PIO transfer mode although "DMA Mode if
> available" was selected as the mode. I tried toggling the mode
> selection to PIO and back (as suggested in a note on the Western
> Digital web site) even rebooting in between, and that didn't change
> the mode. However, running in PIO mode could definitely slow things

Try booting into the bios at startup. There's usually a motherboard
setting for the hard drive mode.
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 3:15:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1115232669k@trad...
>
> I poked around in the Windows Device Manager and saw that the drive
> was operating in the PIO transfer mode although "DMA Mode if
> available" was selected as the mode. I tried toggling the mode
> selection to PIO and back (as suggested in a note on the Western
> Digital web site) even rebooting in between, and that didn't change
> the mode. However, running in PIO mode could definitely slow things
> down.
>

Try this...
http://sniptools.com/vault/getting-back-to-dma-mode-in-...

/Preben Friis
Related resources
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 9:19:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers wrote:

> starting programs, opening documents etc. I ran a benchmark (Passmark
> Performance Test) and that showed that everything was healty, but that
> the disk drive was pretty low on the scale. Sequential 2.6 MB/sec,
> sequential write 1.8 MB/sec. CHDKSK showed no bad sectors, and Dell's
> disk diagnostic (which includes a surface scan) said the device is OK.
>
> selection to PIO and back (as suggested in a note on the Western
> Digital web site) even rebooting in between, and that didn't change

I see from later comments you seem to have solved your problem but I
thought I'd pass along a bit of info.....if the hard drive is indeed a
Western Digital, you can download a small program from the Western
Digital web site that will low-level test Western Digital drives;
definitely worth the time download and make the image floppy for future
testing purposes in those "Arrrgghhhh......I think my hard drives
crashing!!!" situations. :-)
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 3:33:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <jackfish-B4F3F2.22584804052005@news.mts.net> jackfish@north.org writes:

> Try booting into the bios at startup. There's usually a motherboard
> setting for the hard drive mode.

You've obviously never booted the BIOS setup on a Dell laptop. Just
one page. The only thing you can do with the hard drive from there is
select whether it's the first boot device to look for.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 3:33:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <o1iee.1224307$6l.823253@pd7tw2no> llucier@shaw.ca writes:

> I see from later comments you seem to have solved your problem but I
> thought I'd pass along a bit of info.....if the hard drive is indeed a
> Western Digital, you can download a small program from the Western
> Digital web site that will low-level test Western Digital drives;

It's actually a Hitachi/IBM drive. I don't know why the Dell tech
referred me to the Dell web page other than that was one where he ran
across a procedure to "unstick" the PIO mode. I'll give him credit for
looking, but no credit for understanding the actual problem.

Once I knew what to look for on the Web, it discovered that it's a
pretty common problem. Strangely, the simplest solution (the one I
tried) which should always work unless the drive is really hosed,
wasn't the most common one proposed. I guess computer people just like
to be geeks. But let me tell you - I needed a good stiff drink of
bourbon before uninstalling the IDE driver. I couldn't help but think
that without a driver the disk wouldn't be able work well enough to
find what it needs on itself. But for some reason, it worked just like
they said it would.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
May 6, 2005 3:59:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 5 May 2005 11:33:29 -0400, mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote:

> But let me tell you - I needed a good stiff drink of
>bourbon before uninstalling the IDE driver. I couldn't help but think
>that without a driver the disk wouldn't be able work well enough to
>find what it needs on itself. But for some reason, it worked just like
>they said it would.

Well, the hard drive has to work on boot-up, so hardware
contains enough stuff to run the thing, and software drivers
just add more stuff. Kinda like VGA video and video drivers.

But riddle me this, Batman: why can't I set the XP computer
at the day job to VGA? Other than the obvious answer (dummy).

Chris Hornbeck
"Clean, edgy, gutless, and lifeless." -Dan Kennedy
Anonymous
May 6, 2005 1:39:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Wed, 4 May 2005 23:15:46 +0200, "Preben Friis"
<noone@technologist.com> wrote:

>
>"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
>news:znr1115232669k@trad...
>>
>> I poked around in the Windows Device Manager and saw that the drive
>> was operating in the PIO transfer mode although "DMA Mode if
>> available" was selected as the mode. I tried toggling the mode
>> selection to PIO and back (as suggested in a note on the Western
>> Digital web site) even rebooting in between, and that didn't change
>> the mode. However, running in PIO mode could definitely slow things
>> down.
>>
>
>Try this...
>http://sniptools.com/vault/getting-back-to-dma-mode-in-...
>
>/Preben Friis
>
I think this was a problem my friend had recently. Windows XP switched
to PIO mode and wouldn't allow switching back to DMA mode.

It seems when the data flow on the bus is distorted (mainly due to
some poorly read CD or DVD), XP switches to PIO irreversively.

After deleting ie. uninstalling all the hard drives and optical drives
in the Device Manager and allowing the XP to reinstal theml,
everything should be fine again.

Edi Zubovic, Crikvenica, Croatia
Anonymous
May 24, 2005 6:55:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <znr1115232669k@trad>, Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:
>
>My laptop computer has been really sluggish lately. I've done all the
>recommended stuff like clear out the Starup list, get rid of
>unnecessary services, checked for spyware a viruses, defragmented, and
>nothing helps.
>
>I suspected that the disk drive was the problem since every disk
>operation seemed to take a gawdawful amount of time - booting up,
>starting programs, opening documents etc. I ran a benchmark (Passmark
>Performance Test) and that showed that everything was healty, but that
>the disk drive was pretty low on the scale. Sequential 2.6 MB/sec,
>sequential write 1.8 MB/sec. CHDKSK showed no bad sectors, and Dell's
>disk diagnostic (which includes a surface scan) said the device is OK.
>

>I poked around in the Windows Device Manager and saw that the drive
>was operating in the PIO transfer mode although "DMA Mode if
>available" was selected as the mode. I tried toggling the mode
>selection to PIO and back (as suggested in a note on the Western
>Digital web site) even rebooting in between, and that didn't change
>the mode. However, running in PIO mode could definitely slow things
>down.

Sort of like walking through molasses on a cold day. I've had that
problem before.

>Dell's lovely tech support is useless (I exchanged several e-mails
>before I decided to try to talk to a live person). Does this sound
>like a hardware failure with the drive? Is not running in DMA mode
>when everything else appears to be OK a known failure mode of disk
>drives? If I were to get a new drive and go through the agony
>(=expense of buying software and hardware that I don't own) of cloning
>the original drive to it, would this solve my problem?

>I still don't wanna re-install Windows.

You don't need a new drive and you don't need to re-install
windows.

Go to the System Properties, Device Manager, and find the IDE
adaptor you are using. You'll notice that there is an 'uninstall'
tab.

Click it, it will ask if you want to uninstall, and go ahead.

Reboot, the system will find the hardware on boot saying it found
new hardware, and you will be back in DMA mode.

This is the only way I know of, as when it gets set to PIO it will
stay there.

How it gets there can be a temporary read problem, so the system
retries and goes to DMA.

I've seen and fixed this in Windows systems. In Unix systems you
have to reboot, but the drivers probe the HW at that point so you
don't have to do a thing there.

Removing the IDE controller is completely non-intuitive.

Bill
--
Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com
January 13, 2010 5:22:19 PM

I hate to bring a thread this old back from the dead but...

I had the exact same problem, and I fixed it using the simple solution noted above (reinstalling from the device manager).

Only my problem keeps coming back. It happens two to three times per week on my work computer, which is a video editing workstation. As you can imaging PIO mode is no good for video. Anyway, here's my setup:

Windows XP SP3
Dell Optiplex 745

I have two hard disks, both 250GB Western Digital. The problem is only with the first drive, which at the moment only has the OS installed (all docs, and even the paging file are on the second drive).

Since the problem began I have:
Ran chkdsk a bajillion times.
Reformatted and installed windows twice.
Uninstalled/Installed the Primary IDE Channel two bajillion times.

Will replacing the hard drive fix the problem? I want to be darn sure before I ask my boss to order me a new one.
!