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HDD (IDE to SATA) is very slow in Windows 7, but fine in XP (Resolved)

teknow

Junior Member
Jun 14, 2015
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4
81
Having a bunch of working IDE drives, I got an IDE to SATA converter so that I can use them as a sort of scratch disk on my computer with no IDE ports. The problem is that in Windows 7 the HDD is very slow. Since I happen to have a working XP installation on this computer as well (dual boot), I checked the drive in there too and to my surprise found out it works just fine. The OS is the only difference as all the drives are on the same ports in both cases. So what's the problem in Win 7 and how can I fix it to get the drive working at a normal speed? TIA

screenshots of HDD benchmarks in Win 7 and XP:
https://imgur.com/a/MYecs
 

teknow

Junior Member
Jun 14, 2015
16
4
81
The ones that come with Windows presumably as I haven't installed them manually in either OS. I have seen in Win 7 the pop up in the systray telling me the device is ready to use, so it has installed the drivers it deemed appropriate. The same happened in XP as well I expect, but I don't specifically remember seeing a message about it.

Btw since the drive is indeed IDE, but connected to a SATA port through the converter I mentioned, I'd expect the OS to use SATA drivers for it, not IDE.

edit: screenshots of win7 device manager and its relevant sections:
https://imgur.com/a/pnZ1A
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,748
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Someone can jump in here and correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm not!

There's no such thing as a "SATA" driver. The computer can communicate to a SATA drive in the same way that it talks to an IDE drive.

The only thing that makes a difference is the communication method used to talk to storage devices. The traditional method is typically referred to as "IDE" mode (which is of course confusing because that suggests one can only talk to IDE drives with IDE mode), which is what WinXP natively accepts (you would have needed to install an AHCI capable driver for XP to even detect drives connected on a system set up to use AHCI). These days AHCI mode is preferred to talk to modern storage drives because it natively supports newer features such as NCQ.

Looking at your Device Manager screenshots, it's evident that your system is running in AHCI mode. Win7 handles this natively, so you're using the built-in driver there, but in XP I'm almost completely certain you would have had to feed it an AHCI driver to see those drives (unless your BIOS has some bizarre feature that automatically switches? I've never heard of that and can't even begin to conceive how that would work in a dual-boot system). So go take a look at Device Manager and see what it says under IDE/ATAPI controllers.

If I'm correct, then you're using the correct driver under XP and you ought to be using a better driver in Win7 (while Windows is ID'ing it as an Intel one, it's still using the default AHCI driver). Let me know the system specs and I can guide you in the right direction.

Having said that, I'm still a bit surprised that the default AHCI driver would be that slow. In my Haswell system, there's not a huge difference when switching between the Windows AHCI driver and the Intel one.
 

teknow

Junior Member
Jun 14, 2015
16
4
81
First off thanks for the help Mike, much appreciated.

There's no such thing as a "SATA" driver. The computer can communicate to a SATA drive in the same way that it talks to an IDE drive.
Interesting. What were we installing back in the day to enable installation of XP on a SATA drive? I do remember needing a "SATA floppy" or alternatively slipstreaming the SATA driver into the installation ISO.

So go take a look at Device Manager and see what it says under IDE/ATAPI controllers.
https://imgur.com/a/l0mHI

Let me know the system specs and I can guide you in the right direction.
Asus P8Z68-M PRO
i5 3470
20GB RAM

Having said that, I'm still a bit surprised that the default AHCI driver would be that slow. In my Haswell system, there's not a huge difference when switching between the Windows AHCI driver and the Intel one.
I'm surprised as well. Btw the Win7 screenshots I posted before have only the SSD and this offending drive connected. But I have another native SATA HDD usually connected on this computer, that I disconnected today because of the tests I was doing related to this issue. That one works just fine in Win7 so it's just this drive specifically that's problematic and I suspect that IDE to SATA converter is a relevant part of the problem. Somehow XP works with it just fine, while Win7 doesn't.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,661
6,732
126
Yeah, those IDE to SATA (or vice-versa) converters are somewhat hit or miss. I used one to upgrade an older IDE/PATA P4 Dell or HP box, with a more modern WD 640GB SATA HDD. Initially, it ran at full speed, but then, it started to max out at 33MB/sec, for some reason. I guess Windows' detected errors on the bus, and ratcheted down the speed, as it has been known to do. That might be your problem.
 

teknow

Junior Member
Jun 14, 2015
16
4
81
Indeed Larry, that's what I was suspecting. I could actually make use of several such converters (only reverse of what you used - ide drive to sata mobo) but I bought just the one at first to see if it's usable in practice as I presumed I might run into these kind of problems with it. However it working fine under XP on the exact same system is what bugs me now and it'd be nice if Win 7 managed the same as I don't really use XP anymore. I just keep it around for occasional tests - to eliminate the OS variable for example.
 

Mantrid-Drone

Member
Mar 15, 2014
191
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I have a dual boot system: Win7 Pro 64 bit and Win XP Pro 32 bit and ran into problems with getting XP to work just with SATA HDDs. The MB I bought was sold as being XP compatible but when I eventually built the PC and thoroughly read the manual (Gigabyte) I found it only supported Win 7/8. It was obvious from references in the manual that at some point a previous iteration of the board did support XP.

Win XP does not include a native SATA Controller driver and the MB driver disc's one indeed didn't work for XP. When I learned how to install an alternative SATA Controller driver for XP I first tried a generic one said to work in such circumstances . It didn't. The second was a driver from a previous Gigabyte MB board in the same series which does support XP and that installed OK and my XP Device Manager says it is enabled and working correctly.

Problem is it isn't. I still can't boot XP without going into the BIOS first and swapping from SATA to IDE mode for that HDD and rebooting. It was such a pain in the neck, as is the fact XP wipes Win 7 restore points, that I gave up trying to get it to work and haven't boot XP for months.

Instead I installed Win 7 Pro's 'free' XP Mode on a VM and that removed both problem's in one go.

teknow's problem may well be exacerbated by the fact he's using an IDE HDD with a SATA adapter but I'd guess that a SATA Controller driver related issue is at the centre of the matter.

It is interesting that both OS work but I'd suspect that unlike my one the MB being used is XP friendly and that the provided drivers are working but not as well as wanted for Win 7 using the HDD adapter.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,748
4,924
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First off thanks for the help Mike, much appreciated.

Interesting. What were we installing back in the day to enable installation of XP on a SATA drive? I do remember needing a "SATA floppy" or alternatively slipstreaming the SATA driver into the installation ISO.
I've installed tonnes of XP machines with SATA drives without needing a special driver; as I said, SATA drives can be communicated with in what is (in this case unhelpfully) referred to as "IDE mode".

https://imgur.com/a/l0mHI

Asus P8Z68-M PRO
i5 3470
20GB RAM
As I thought, you installed a SATA driver during XP setup in order to get there (or you installed the system in IDE mode, fed XP an AHCI driver, then switched the BIOS to AHCI mode, which is something I've never done on XP so I don't know how well it works).

I'm fairly sure you have the chipset software already installed, so you just need the AHCI driver from here (under "SATA" :) ):
https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68M_PRO/HelpDesk_Download/

I'm surprised as well. Btw the Win7 screenshots I posted before have only the SSD and this offending drive connected. But I have another native SATA HDD usually connected on this computer, that I disconnected today because of the tests I was doing related to this issue. That one works just fine in Win7 so it's just this drive specifically that's problematic and I suspect that IDE to SATA converter is a relevant part of the problem. Somehow XP works with it just fine, while Win7 doesn't.
If the drive was problematic, it wouldn't stop being problematic under XP, IMO.
 

teknow

Junior Member
Jun 14, 2015
16
4
81
I have a dual boot system: Win7 Pro 64 bit and Win XP Pro 32 bit and ran into problems with getting XP to work just with SATA HDDs.
Apologies for not having specified earlier since I didn't see it as relevant to the problem I'm having, but I dual boot with two separate drives. I have XP installed on the other native SATA drive I mentioned above and Win 7 on an SSD. I select the boot drive at system power up/reset to decide which OS to run. Win 7 is the primary OS on the machine and I keep the XP installation on the other drive just for occasions such as this one. That is for when I encounter some issue in my Win 7 installation and I want to check where the problem lies. Having a totally separate installation can come in quite handy for nailing down the issue.

As I thought, you installed a SATA driver during XP setup in order to get there (or you installed the system in IDE mode, fed XP an AHCI driver, then switched the BIOS to AHCI mode, which is something I've never done on XP so I don't know how well it works).
I actually don't remember how I installed XP on this machine, that's how old the installation is ;) Since this machine never had a floppy drive, I most likely slipstreamed the drivers needed for a successful installation into the XP ISO and with that created a bootable usb key to install from. Or perhaps XP SP3 finally sorted this out "natively" and I didn't have to do anything myself. I remember some floppy/driver juggling on older machines, but nothing for this one, which makes me think there wasn't much to do. I'm pretty sure I wasn't switching BIOS modes pre/post installation though. Never did that on any machine.


I'm fairly sure you have the chipset software already installed, so you just need the AHCI driver from here (under "SATA" :) ):
https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68M_PRO/HelpDesk_Download/
Thanks, I'll try that.

If the drive was problematic, it wouldn't stop being problematic under XP, IMO.
Agreed. I was just saying problematic to differentiate the drive from the other one that works fine in both OS. The drive is fine IMO too, the issue lies in the communication between it and the OS (and between those two sits the converter which is what's presumably throwing Win 7 off, while XP doesn't seem to mind).
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,748
4,924
136
Initially I was wondering if a more advanced driver (e.g. Intel's most suited driver to your chipset) was doing something cleverer with a device it assumed was SATA (such as trying to utilise NCQ and failing - I don't have sufficient knowledge to say whether this would cause problems like the OP is experiencing) was causing the Win7 install performance problems, but since the XP install has the more suitable driver, that idea went out the window IMO.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

Member
Mar 15, 2014
191
10
81
teknow

Your description of your system sounds to be exactly like I set mine up. I too have Win 7 installed on a SSD and XP installed on a SATA HDD. Each OS was installed completely isolated from each other with just the same intention as you ie. to be able to use the BIOS/UEFI F12 option to choose the boot device.

The mistake I made with XP was not realising it didn't come with a native SATA Controller and with the MB not supporting XP it seems there is no SATA Controller that works on my system.

Consequently there's no way to boot XP except in IDE mode. Without the appropriate driver for AHCI XP it boots to a BSOD. But even if you installed XP to use IDE mode you get the same problem in a dual boot system unless both were installed to use IDE mode. With Win7 on a SSD I'm not sure if that is even
possible but it certainly is not recommended.

Otherwise, in both cases, when using a SATA HDD, you still need to go into the BIOS/UEFI to change the particular SATA port to IDE mode each time you swap between the the two OSs.

Apparently some MBs have two SATA Controller drivers for different SATA ports ie. SATA II and SATA III which can be set up separately but I'd suspect that that isn't a common facility. But that might be worth checking out just in case it is here.

What I did not understand here in this thread is that the problem isn't with the Win7 primary (SSD) drive but another HDD (F), presumably, a second installed IDE HDD using a SATA/IDE adapter. Is that correct?
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,748
4,924
136
Interesting. What were we installing back in the day to enable installation of XP on a SATA drive? I do remember needing a "SATA floppy" or alternatively slipstreaming the SATA driver into the installation ISO.
I didn't answer this question so:

Two quesses - AHCI mode or RAID mode. While there were some early SATA driver implementations that included NCQ support, the system was still installed in IDE mode then the "SATA" driver was replaced through nvidia/whatever chipset installation after Windows was installed and working.
 

teknow

Junior Member
Jun 14, 2015
16
4
81
Excuse the long delay but I had to finish a project and didn't have a moment to spare for tinkering with this drive/ide to sata converter. Finally got round to it today and that driver you suggested Mike did the trick, so thanks again :)
 

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