How to Check/Enable DMA transfers in Windows XP

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How to Check/Enable DMA transfers in Windows XP

Post by Portmac »

This guide is for Windows XP. For Windows Vista please click here.

If your computer is running really slow or burning a CD/DVD takes forever then you may have one or more of your devices running in PIO Mode, to check and or correct it read on.

Opening “Device Manager”
The first thing you need to do is get into the Windows Device Manager, if you are using Windows Classic view just Right Click “My Computer” icon on your desktop and select “Manage” (see image below). The “Computer Management” window will open and then you just need to click on “Device Manager” in the left pane and it will list the devices in the right pane.
If you are not using the classic view the simplest way to open “Device Manager” is to click “Start” then “Run” and paste the following in and then click OK.


That will open the Windows Device Manager, you can use devmgmt.msc no matter if you are using the standard or classic view in Windows.

Finding the IDE Channels:

Now that you are in the Windows Device Manager you need to click the + beside “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers” to expand it, this will list the IDE controllers. See image below.
The Primary and Secondary IDE controllers are the ones that are important here.

IDE Channel Properties:

Double click on “Primary IDE Channel” and the properties window will open, in this window you need to click the “Advanced Settings” tab at the top.
You should now have a window that looks similar to the image below.

The first one “Device 0” is normally your hard drive and should always be running in Ultra DMA Mode 5 or 6, but some old hard drives may run in mode 4.

The second one “Device 1” will be either a second hard drive or a CD/DVD reader/writer, or if there is no device on that channel it will have “Not Applicable” in the “Current Transfer Mode” box.

Now if you close the Primary IDE Channel properties window and double click on “Secondary IDE Channel” in Device Manager you will see that the properties for both look extremely similar.

What to look for and how to fix it:
In the IDE Channel Properties window (Advanced Settings tab) there are two important parts:
1. “Transfer Mode:”
2. “Current Transfer Mode:”
The “Transfer Mode:” should always be set to “DMA if Available” and the “Current Transfer Mode” will obviously show the current transfer mode.
Look at the images listed below, find the one that is the closest match to your IDE Channel Properties, the text underneath that image explains what action is needed if any.

Normal: No action necessary.
The image shows how it should look except that your Current Transfer Mode may show Ultra DMA Mode 2/3/4/5 or 6.

To fix it click the arrow on the right side of the words “PIO Only” and change it to “DMA if Available” and reboot your computer.
After the reboot go back into the same IDE Channel Properties window and check the “Current Transfer Mode”, if all went well the “Current Transfer Mode” will now show “Ultra DMA Mode 2/3/4/5 or 6” If it didn’t fix it see below.

To fix it click the arrow on the right side of the words “DMA if Available” and change it to “PIO Only” then reboot your computer. After the reboot go back into the same IDE Channel Properties window and this time change it to “DMA if Available” and reboot your computer again and recheck. If all went well the “Current Transfer Mode” will now show “Ultra DMA Mode 2/3/4/5 or 6” If it didn’t fix it see below.

Still stuck in PIO mode:
If you find that you cannot get your drives out of PIO Mode the first thing to try is uninstalling the IDE Channel in device manager, close the IDE Channel Properties box and in Device manager click on the IDE Channel to highlight it then click the uninstall icon at the top (computer icon with red X). Once it is removed reboot your computer, Windows will then reinstall the IDE Channel and once it’s done you will need to reboot again. Then go back into the IDE Channel Properties and check to see if it is now in Ultra DMA Mode.
It is also possible that you need to change your BIOS settings, in some computer BIOS there is a setting to enable/disable DMA transfers.
You would need to consult with your computer/motherboard manufacturer on how to check/change the BIOS settings.
And if you own a Dell check this page.
And see this too.

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Dell Utility: Utility to set Secondary IDE PIO to DMA

Post by Cougar_II »

Dell Utility: ... leid=63977

Release Title: Utility to set Secondary IDE controller CD devices to DMA mode.
Release Date: 12/20/2002
Criticality: Optional
Description: This utility can be used to set secondary IDE CD-ROM devices back to a UDMA mode after the Operating System (WindowsXP) has set the device to PIO mode.

Direct Link:

Optional Dell recommends the customer review specifics about the update to determine if it applies to your system. The update contains changes that impact only certain configurations, or provides new features that may/may not apply to your environment.

Additional Information

The actions of running this utility can be verified by opening the
system "Device Manager", expanding the "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" tree,
and Dbl-clicking the device "Secondary IDE Channel". After the properties
window for this device has opened, click the "Advanced" tab. Examine
the "Current Transfer Mode" settings. They should indicate one of the DMA
modes available for any connected CD devices

Important Information

No information available.

Fixes and Enhancements

Resets Secondary IDE CD devices to UDMA mode.

Installation Instructions

Default Instructions for PIOtoDMA.exe:

1. Download this file to your Windows Desktop.
2. Dbl-click the file; when the WinZip Self-extractor window opens, click
UNZIP to extract the file to the Dell folder on your hard drive.
3. After the file extracts, click OK, then click close.
4. Navigate to the folder C:\DELL\dell and dbl-click the file PUSHDMA2.EXE
5. Restart your system for changes to take effect.

Running this utility provides no obvious indication that anything has
happened. Run time is very short, typically less than 1 second.
See "Additional Information" for verification procedure.

I have never used this tool, not responsible on what it does.

Just providing you information I have found on the net !

Thanks to our friend/member mb for providing us this great information.

Just realised it was already mentioned in the above post, but I added all the details for it, sorry Portmac for not seing it :P
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