The incredible slowing hard drive

My secondary hard drive (device “F,” a 120 gig Western Digital) has mysteriously slowed down. I ran a “Stormtest” diagnostic program and found it crawling at barely 3 mb/second, both reading and writing. I don’t know what’s caused this but I only noticed it after recently installing a DVD burner in the place of my old CD Rom drive. The HD and the DVD burner are on the same IDE cable. I can’t believe I’m blanking now on which is the master and which is the slave, but I think the DVD burner is the slave… Anyway, I tried removing the DVD burner and the slow speed on the hard drive remained. I have checked the IDE cable connections, air-can-blasted them, etc., made sure they were firm. Hasn’t fixed the problem. I don’t know if there’s any correlation with the DVD burner installation or if it’s just coincidence. I don’t know to what extent the slave/master scenario affects the speed of a hard drive. (This is a DRASTIC reduction in speed; before this it was managing something like 20 megs/sec.) Haven’t defragged the F drive yet. I will, but I doubt it will fix such a drastic problem.

The reason this is important is that I use my F drive for video storage and playback, for non-linear editing etc. Right now the drive can’t sustain video throughput so I can’t edit video. So now I’m wondering if I angered the Ghost in the Machine by installing the DVD burner, or if there’s some weird IDE/IRQ thing going on (not sure how there could be, as the DVD burner takes up the same slot my old CD Rom drive was taking before). I don’t know if it’s the drive itself that’s the problem, or the connections. This really came out of the blue and blindsided me. :(

Anyway, if any of you tech-savvy types have any thoughts on what might have caused this slowdown, I’d be glad to hear them.

Thanks in advance.

Go into the bios and see if its set to run at the highest interface speed (ATA/100, whatever).

I had the same thing happen to me once, and it turned out that somehow the drive had slipped into PIO mode. What I had to do was delete the hard drive from the Device Manager and reboot. It then properly detected that it was a UDMA drive.

Hmm, interesting Matthew. I’ll try that.

Jason: I’ll check the BIOS, although it seems odd to me that this would suddenly change when it’s been fine for several months. Still, you never know…

You know oddly enough, once something like that happened to me once, my hard drive was slowing and I noticed I was losing disk space. I eventually did a scandisk on it and found that either the fat or boot sector was messed up and it was misreporting my hard disk space. Might want to scan disk it and defrag it

YOu can check what speed the drives are set from in windows. Use device manager to right click the IDE controller>properties>advanced settings. You probably can’t change it from there (use the BIOS for that) but at least you’ll know how fast it’s going. I think you need DMA 4 or 5 (ATA 100|133) for video.

I have had drives change speed when I install additional drives or even just change drives around. Sometimes it makes no sense whatsoever. I have a CD-RW and DVD. If I put them both on the same controller, I get DMA 2 on both. I put the CD-RW on a channel by itself and it went to PIO mode. WTF? I am sure that at one point I had it organized so that I had at least DMA 4 on both, but have not had time to figure out how to make that happen again.

Well, the hard drive is the slave for my Secondary IDE Device (DVD burner is the master). I guess installing the DVD burner must have somehow messed this up. I don’t know if switching (making the DVD burner the slave) would help. Actually is it possible they are both set to slave??? (on the jumpers I mean). I always get screwed up messing with jumpers…

Device Manager says that Device 1 on the Secondary IDE Channel is in PIO mode. Device 0 (DVD burner I presume?) is in UDMA Mode 2. As expected I can’t change it from within windows, but I am unsure what to do in BIOS to change this. I gather that I want to put Device 1 in UDMA mode, somehow? I guess I will take a look at my motherboard manual and see if it has any useful info.

I don’t know much about IDE vs. PIO. Can anyone give me a brief primer?

(BTW, I tried uninstalling the drive and letting Windows re-detect it. Didn’t work.)

Thanks again, all.

Device 0 is whatever’s set to master, device 1 is whatever’s set to slave.

In windows, go to device manager->ide controllers and change the properties of all of them to auto-detect/dma if available.

Then go to your bios and look at every page, subsection, and dohickey until you find something like dma channel type, drive interface type, blah blah blah.

I would just switch the burner to slave and disk to master and see what that gets you.

Here’s a tip. Set the jumpers to cable select. Then put the hard disk on the last connector on the cable and the dvd on the the middle one.