How to troubleshoot ide problems

May 11, 2009 at 06:05:28
Specs: windows 2000 sp4, 512MB
Hi, after many years of poor performance with optical drives(both dvd and cd burners) I have concluded it's my computer that is screwed, not the drives i'm using(i've tried new drives as well). And I have installed fresh many times, and even boot into a live OS and the same thing happens. I don't think it's a software problem.

So here is the problem. I can burn a dvd, with somewhat decent success. Same for cd, but it burns them a little better. But when I play a dvd, whether it be on a combo drive that only reads dvds or on a dvd burner, it either fails from the start(tries to play the dvd but starts failing quickly and hangs) or fails after like 10 min. of smooth play. When it hangs, if I don't eject the dvd, the whole computer is just frozen. I can see the drive making noise and the light is blinking but it never recovers and plays the dvd. I have to eject it.

This has happened with dvd drives that burn and play flawlessly connected to other computers.

My motherboard is a PT800CE-A My bios is the AwardBIOS v6.00PG

The only three things I can think of are:

1. the ide cable i'm using(i use 80 pin but i don't know if that's right)

2. something in the bios is set incorrectly and that's hurting my optical drive performance

3. i'm using ultra dma mode when i should be using pio mode(but i've tried it both ways and no luck).

Just in case u need to look at my bios, I made a youtube video. Here ------>

and a screenshot of aida32 summary here ------>

and a screenshot of the motherboard stuff ------>

can anyone narrow this problem down and tell me what all situations can cause optical drive problems? i just wanna know where to start


See More: How to troubleshoot ide problems

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May 11, 2009 at 06:25:53
OK, first off, all IDE cables are 40 pins. The newer cables have 80 wires, half of which are ground wires. That allows faster transfer speeds. You can usually identify the 80 wire cables by the colors of the connectors. 80 wire cable normally have a blue connector for the motherboard end. The center connector is Grey and the end connector is Black. You need to use such a cable for higher than 33MBPS transfer speeds.

Your main problem may be that your IDE controllers are not running in a DMA mode. You need to install dedicated motherboard chip set drivers to allow the controllers to run in DMA modes. You also need to have that set in the BIOS. The BIOS settings should be by default though.

Have you ben installing chip set drivers?

Go to Device Manager> IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. Expand that listing and right click Primary IDE channel. Choose properties> Advanced settings. See if you are currently running in a DMA mode. Repeat for the Secondary channel.

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May 11, 2009 at 06:44:17
If you haven't already done so, install the VIA Hyperion Pro Driver Package:

How many IDE devices do you have & how are they configured (primary/2ndary, master/slave)?

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May 11, 2009 at 07:31:29
I just checked in device manager. Here is the current setup.

Primary IDE-
Device 0 running in "Ultra DMA mode"
Device 1 empty

note: the primary ide channel has the dvd burner and nothing else. i'm using the 80 wire cable on that channel

Secondary IDE-
Device 0 running in "DMA mode"
Device 1 running in "Ultra DMA mode"

note: the secondary IDE channel has a 40 wire cable because i don't have another 80 wire to put on it. the one running in plain DMA mode is my windows 2000 OS drive, it's an old hard drive. the one running in ultra dma is for data storage and it's newer i think it can do ultra dma mode 5.

just re-checked all the jumpers and they are set right.

far as the chip set drivers, i used the motherboard installation disk to install them when i first installed win2000sp4. for instance in device manager under "primary ide" and "secondary ide" it says "VIA Bus Master IDE Controller"

the driver is "viaide.sys" the version is 5.0.2195.120 and the driver date is 10/18/2001

my bios is old, i do think i could flash it without incident if u think it would help something.

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Related Solutions

May 11, 2009 at 07:40:37
oh, jam's post got posted during my reply.

no "via arena" don't sound familiar i'm pretty sure i've never installed that. i'll try that right now.

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May 11, 2009 at 09:46:39
Your IDE config is a mess. The 80-wire cable should be used for the HDD. Optical drives don't require an 80-wire cable, but it's recommended.

I'm not able to access any of your links (I'm at worked & the sites are blocked) but if you have 3 IDE devices, here is the best config:

primary master = HDD w/OS
primary slave = optical reader
2ndary master = optical writer
2ndary slave = none

Or as an alternate:

primary master = HDD w/OS
primary slave = none
2ndary master = optical writer
2ndary slave = optical reader

Anything else will result in less than optimal data transfers.

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May 11, 2009 at 10:12:37
I have to disagree with jam on part of the above. Newer IDE ATA/ATAPI burners run at 66MBPS. You need the 80 wire cable for that. Burning DVDR/RW on a 40 wire cable can slow things down.

That said, jam is correct about the configuration of your drives. I prefer the first configuration. That method results in the best throughput when burning a file from disk to disk.

I have an IDE DVDRW optical drive on my primary IDE channel alone. That channel is running in DMA mode 4. My older CDRW writer is on the second channel alone with a DVD rom drive. That channel is running in DMA mode 2. Mode 2 is 33MBPS, Mode 4 is 66MBPS.

"80-Conductor Cable: For Ultra DMA modes over 2, an 80-conductor cable must be used. If an 80-conductor cable is not detected by the system, 66 MB/s or 100 MB/s operation will be disabled".

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May 11, 2009 at 10:38:38
ok, working good so far with the new driver package installed. seems more stable. and this windows installation is far from ideal....i can't wait to see how stable it is on a fresh install.

thanks guys!

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May 11, 2009 at 11:26:27
If you still encounter problems. Try a different power cable to the optical drives.

You might also try moving one of the optical drives to the Primary adapter.

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May 11, 2009 at 12:12:33
"Newer IDE ATA/ATAPI burners run at 66MBPS"

I was under the impression that the max data transfer rate for a PATA/ATAPI optical drive was 33MB/s. I'm not sure what the rates are for SATA optical drives. Do you have a link?

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May 11, 2009 at 13:34:04
jam, as I stated, my Lite On DVD burner is on an IDE controller by itself and it is running in mode 4. My older optical drives (2) are on the Secondary controller and are running mode 2 (33MBPS).

I will search for backup material but I have heard this before. I don't know why my controller would be running at 66MBPS otherwise.

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May 11, 2009 at 13:58:35
Jam, here is what I found. The excerpt below is from my Lite On burner - Model # LH-20A1P.

"Supported transfer mode: PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2 and Ultra DMA mode 4"

The link below is to the specs for that burner.

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May 11, 2009 at 13:59:09
I simply swapped the cables on the motherboard end of the ide cables and now I check device manager and see

Primary IDE-
Device 0 running in "Ultra DMA mode" (old hard drive w/ OS)
Device 1 running in "Ultra DMA mode" (new hard drive for data storage)

Secondary IDE-
Device 0 running in "DMA mode" (tss corp dual layer burner)
Device 1 is empty

So basically whereas the burner was by itself before running in ultra dma mode, now it is down to dma mode.

But the old hard drive is now running in ultra dma, whereas before it was just dma.

Weird. Maybe my ide controller just can't let whatever is master on the secondary channel be in ultra dma mode? Oh yeah the 80 wire cable is still attached to the burner. I'm watching dvd's right now and it's not really acting up at the moment.... But I haven't tried to burn a dual layer with it yet either.

At least it's reading them better now so I can't complain.

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May 11, 2009 at 14:12:37
Oh yeah I forgot to ask, is there a program I could use to test optical drives with?

Say, I have 5 or 6 dvd burners/readers/cd-writers/combo drives laying around, and some may be "bad". Is there something I could use to test with, so I don't accidentally throw away a good drive?

i mean i know i could just stick a dvd in and hit play, but even a bad drive could work some of the time and still play correctly. thus appearing good when in fact it is bad. and for the reverse of that, i've seen in windows event viewer it saying a drive had a "bad block" and it was a brand new drive.

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May 11, 2009 at 14:21:56
If you change the cable to an 80 wire cable it will then run in Ultra DMA mode 4.

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May 11, 2009 at 14:33:14
Oh I just checked and to my surprise both my ide cables are 80 wire. I thought I only had one. That kicks butt! woooooooo

Someone said something about the power going to the drives, I have a 200 w power supply if that matters.

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May 11, 2009 at 15:05:31
If you have an 80 wire cable and your burner is running in DMA mode 2 it may be an older drive.

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May 12, 2009 at 06:59:28
Yeah I totally forgot about that. It may not be *able* to run in ultra dma modes. That's why I get second opinions on stuff like this.... because I always overlook the obvious.

OK I'm glad to report this has been a blazing success.

Now the exact same drive will read dvd's, even badly burned ones, and is no longer locking up the computer. Not only that, but I just burned two dvd's, one single and one double layer, and they both play fine.

All the problems are gone. Thanks to othehill, jam, and aegis1 for helping.

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