Laptop Problem, and then a Solution

I still haven’t replaced my home workstation since it crashed and burned back in April. I’ve been using this work laptop 100% for my computing and browsing needs since.

It used to work great until a couple of months ago when everything (in the Windows partition, mind you… Ubuntu still works fine) suddenly seemed to be work slow. The problem was very apparent when video and audio were running. Not all the time, but enough times to really annoy the shart out of me.

Also, another annoying symptom is that it takes 10 minutes for the laptop to finish its startup cycle.

But now… no longer.

I did some googling (which I should have done months ago) and came upon some help in various websites. So apparently, the primary IDE hard disk switched transfer modes from DMA to PIO. I thought I’d post how to fix this problem if any other readers are having the same problems as I did. Here’s how you you do it.

[[image:device-manager.gif:Device Manager:center:0]]

Open up the Device Manager. The best way to do it is to right click on your My Computer icon on your Desktop and hit Properties –> Hardware –> Device Manger.

Then, look up the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, expand it so you see both Primary and Secondary IDE Channels, right-click on the Primary Channel and hit Properties in the context menu.

When the Properties window appears, select the Advanced Settings tab and make sure that the Transfer Mode is DMA and not PIO. If it’s PIO and there’s no way for you to revert back to DMA then you’re having the same problems I had.

[[image:primary-ide.gif:Primary IDE:center:0]]

The solution to the problem is for you to uninstall the Primary IDE Channel driver, reboot the computer, and when it detects the “new hardware” it’ll reinstall the driver. When the driver is fully installed, reboot the computer again… voila! The computer is now as fast as a fast guy running fast. Or something.

Caveat: This worked perfectly for my laptop, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’d work for any other laptop just because the symptoms are the same. The problem might be entirely different. Read these references, which I used to repair mine:

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Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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