Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

If your older PC has lost some zip -- An easy thing to check & fix.

After a while, usually several years, your hard disks wear. As this happens the disks will have errors. Windows keeps track of these errors and if they grow too numerous Widows will take actions designed to reduce the possibility of a catastrophic event. One thing it will do is change the method it uses to access the hard disk. It will change from DMA mode to PIO mode and slow you way down. This tip will restore DMA mode so you can get a little more use out of your aging system. You won't need any disks or special software, but you will have to reboot twice.

In Windows get to Device Manager.

One way to get there is click Start, right click My Computer, select Properties, click Hardware tab, click Device Manager button.

In Device Manager, press the + next to IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.

It should look something like this:



Double click Primary IDE Channel. Click the Advanced Settings tab. If there is no Advanced Settings tab then this tip will not help you, but check the other possibilities (Secondary IDE Channel, other controllers) the same way.



Check to see if the Current Transfer Mode says PIO. PIO stands for Programmed Input Output. It is the slowest mode of disk access. If the Current Transfer Mode is something with DMA (Direct Memory Access), then this tip will not help you as this is the preferred mode.

Check to see if the DMA if available is selected in the Transfer Mode box. If not, select it.

At this point you have determined that you are using PIO mode for one or some of the IDE Controllers and that you have selected DMA in the Transfer Mode. The next thing is to make Windows load the correct DMA driver.

Click the Driver tab.



Click the Uninstall button. Click the OK button. Do this for all IDE Controllers that show PIO mode.

Windows will ask if you want to reboot. Let it happen. Windows will reboot, load the DMA drivers, and tell you it has to reboot again. Let it happen.

Now the DMA drivers should have been installed and some of the snap should return to your PC.

Eventually, Windows will revert back to PIO mode. Your disk is wearing out. Get a new one!

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