Common hard disk drive (HDD) problems

I ran benchmark tests on my IDE hard disk drive, which say that the drive isn’t running at full speed


Hard disk drive problem

I ran the hard-drive benchmark tests on my IDE drive using HDtach and I discovered that it isn’t running as fast as it should be running. My PC runs Windows XP Home Edition fully updated to Service Pack 3 (SP3).


HDtach tends to overestimate the average speeds of each type of disk drive. However, if the hard drive is more than a third slower than the average speeds it lists, take the following steps:

If the IDE hard drive is installed on the same cable as a CD/DVD drive, then install it on a cable on its own, or with another hard drive. Installing it on the same cable as an optical CD/DVD drive can force it to run slower than it should. Right-click on My Computer, then left-click on Properties in the menu that comes up, followed by the Hardware tab in the window that comes up. Open the Device Manager, open the category called Disk drives by clicking on the + beside it.

If the hard drive’s software device drivers are installed properly the drive’s make and model should be listed. (If not then Windows installs its standard IDE drivers and you should install the manufacturer’s drivers, downloaded from your computer’s make/model of hard drive from its website.) Double-click on the Primary IDE Channel under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. If a setting for DMA if available (Direct Memory Access) is available in the Transfer Mode menu, enable it if it isn’t already enabled.

Note that the DMA if available setting is not available for SATA hard disk drives. DMA is enabled from the BIOS for SATA hard drives.

Read I can’t find out if DMA is enabled for my hard drive in Windows XP/Vista on this website to find out how to enable or disable DMA in Windows XP and Windows Vista. The Vista information can be used in Windows 7.

About Eric Legge 269 Articles
I am an experienced PC technician who has been the owner and sole writer of the PC Buyer Beware! website since 2004. I am learning all the time in this very dynamic, ever-changing field.