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Attempt to change SATA drive settings fails

by pebkac179 / December 26, 2007 8:13 PM PST

I have read suggestions for improving the speed of SATA drives. For example: "Open up the Device Manager (Start Button/Control Panel/System and Maintenance/Device Manager). Open up 'Disk drives' in the tree, right click on you hard drive, select the "Policies" tab, check the 'Enable advanced performance' check box, and then click 'OK'."

I am attempting to make this change on a computer that has 5 drives: 2 internal Seagate SATA units and 3 external Seagate USB drives. I cannot change the settings on any of them. My user has admin privileges and I also tried making the changes when logged in as Administrator.

Internal SATA drives: The dialog says "This device does not allow its write cache setting to be modified." In typical Microsoft fashion, it then allows me to change the setting, but discards it.

The external drives allow me to change the setting for both write caching (with the warning about possible data loss) and advanced performance. However, the settings do not stick. It doesn't matter whether I reboot the system or just return to the dialog after closing it; the selections are both deselected when I return.

Machine specs: Vista Ultimate on an Intel Core2 CPU @ 2.66GHz and 2GB of RAM.

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This issue should be directed at...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 26, 2007 9:52 PM PST

The maker of that machine. Not all machines have this capability.


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You might try the drive mfgs utility .. you can usually
by VAPCMD / December 26, 2007 11:41 PM PST

find options to change drive features.

Let us know.


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Queries posted to Seagate and Intel
by pebkac179 / December 27, 2007 2:14 AM PST

Thanks. I searched the Seagate site and found links to diagnostic software (the drives pass), but not much else. There was a discussion of this situation there and Seagate pointed its corporate finger at the maker of the motherboard (Intel) so I've posed questions with Seagate support and Intel support.

Here are additional details from The Ultimate Troubleshooter. Note that this seems to identify the internal drives as "IDE" but they are clearly SATA; I have observed the cables.

Motherboard Intel Corporation DG965WH Version AAD41692-309
BIOS Intel Corp. Version MQ96510J.86A.1687.2007.0510.0258
CPU Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6700 @ 2.66GHz
CPU Socket LGA 775
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT Video RAM 256 MB
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
Total Memory (RAM) installed in this PC 2,030 MB
Memory Used 65 %
Total Page File Memory 4,274 MB
Available Page File Memory 2,431 MB
Total Virtual Memory 2,048 MB
Available Virtual Memory 1,837 MB
Hard Disks Info (IDE and Serial-ATA)
IDE 0 Manufacturer Model Number ST3500630AS
IDE 0 Manufacturer Revision Number 3.AAK
IDE 0 Manufacturer HDD Serial Number 6QG0Q1DD
IDE 0 Buffer Size -1.677722E+07 bytes
IDE 0 Cylinders 16,383
IDE 0 Heads 16
IDE 0 Sectors Per Track 63
IDE 0 Capactiy 465.76 GB
IDE 1 Manufacturer Model Number ST3250410AS
IDE 1 Manufacturer Revision Number 3.AAA
IDE 1 Manufacturer HDD Serial Number 5RY04KHW
IDE 1 Buffer Size -1.677722E+07 bytes
IDE 1 Cylinders 16,383
IDE 1 Heads 16
IDE 1 Sectors Per Track 63
IDE 1 Capactiy 232.88 GB
Drives (as showing in Windows)
Fixed Drive: C Total Capacity: 232.88 GB Used: 55.22 GB Free: 177.66 GB
Fixed Drive: D Total Capacity: 465.76 GB Used: 209.52 GB Free: 256.24 GB
DVD Reader: E ---
DVD Writer: F ---
Fixed Drive: M Total Capacity: 186.3 GB Used: 25.93 GB Free: 160.38 GB
Fixed Drive: N Total Capacity: 149.05 GB Used: 106.45 GB Free: 42.6 GB
Fixed Drive: Z Total Capacity: 465.76 GB Used: 130.04 GB Free: 335.72 GB

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Let me guess.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 27, 2007 2:45 AM PST

Here I all ever do is hunt down the BIOS to allow, set, force SATA to the 3.0 speed. As to the Intel chipset then it's off to for the latest .INF for that chipset.

Is that done?


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There's been only a single BIOS upgrade for this board ...
by pebkac179 / December 27, 2007 5:08 AM PST
In reply to: Let me guess.

... and it appears to have nothing to do with the problem at hand. However, I downloaded the BIOS setup document and noted this entry:

Configure SATA as ...
IDE is default
RAID: enables RAID which may require you to install the RAID Driver during OS installation
AHCI: allows you to take advantage of Advanced Host Controller Interface features such as Native command Queuing, Hot plug, etc., without the option to use RAID. Requires a hard drive that supports AHCI.

In the BIOS, RAID is enabled. There is a warning on AHCI that says only Vista will support it, but that's what I have. In an unusual step, I have opted for caution and would appreciate some guidance from those who know more about these settings than I do. I really don't want to convert the computer into a highly efficient door stop.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 27, 2007 5:16 AM PST
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So changing "Configure SATA as ..."
by pebkac179 / December 27, 2007 5:22 AM PST
In reply to: Aha!

... won't have any effect?

IDE is default, according to Intel's documentation, but it's set to RAID. AHCI is available and eliminates RAID.

Thanks! Clearly I haven't been keeping up with the hardware.

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Exactly which utility did you use ?
by VAPCMD / December 27, 2007 4:51 AM PST

The one that creates the floppy disk (I've only used this one) or the one that runs under Windows ?


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I used the one that runs under Windows ...
by pebkac179 / December 27, 2007 5:14 AM PST

SeaTools. It's a basic diagnostic tool. I looked at Disk Wizard, but it seems to be just a special version of Acronis software. I already have the full version of Acronis True Image installed, so I think there's nothing to be gained from installing Disk Wizard.

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I looked at the Seagate WEB and it looked to me like
by VAPCMD / December 27, 2007 7:36 AM PST

SeaTools, the Windows version, had an Advanced Tab with 'Settings' menu item.

Not sure what 'Settings' they're referring to but I'm thinking they might be 'acoustic management', delayed writes, etc., Although not the main purpose, it's possible Disk Wizard has drive setting features...just don't have time to research it further.

The rest I'll leave to you.


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