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View Full Version : "Transfer Mode Downgraded" - My experience with my HDD(!)



Thorandor
02.04.2006, 16:26
Hello everyone,

I just came across a little big issue about my hard drive, namely the hard drive that is teamed up with my DVD writer on the secondary IDE cable.

First off, let me go back a few hours.
I was just browsing though the daemon tools forums, mainly this following post:
http://www.daemon-tools.cc/dtcc/t10844-can-starforce-kill-a-dvdburner.html
The problem mentioned is that StarForce could possibly reduce your DVDdrive's performance by setting it into PIO mode, thus slowing your drives down and reducing the performance of your drive over a few months before ultimately killing the drive due to this PIO mode.

I read up on that (since I am an avid gamer who also owns some SF3-titles) and checked my drives in the Windows Device Manager. Now the drives seemed fine, so I went to have a look at the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, namely the ATA controller (since I don't have SATA drives). The primary channel seemed fine, but on the second channel (which included the DVD writer and the 300GB backup drive) I found what you see on the screenshot attached:
http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/156/hardware3fa.th.jpg (http://img82.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hardware3fa.jpg)
it seemed that my hard drive was being forced into a smaller DMA mode due to read or write errors.

Now, this 300GB harddrive is to 209GB full. It contains my artwork backups I am using (or used) for clients of mine, it contains my image-library and most of all private data like family photos, video clips from holidays etc etc.

Of course I panicked. I tried to reboot, go into the BIOS, rebooted, still the same problem. I tried to force the drive into UDMA133 mode, still no joy.

Then I read up again on hard drives, this time in the M$-knowledge base. The KB suggested to replace the IDE cable. Okay, I had these cables for a couple of years now, maybe that was the problem. So I went and replaced the cable. Same problem.

Then it occurred to me: I am using a caddy to hold the drive in place! The caddy - the lovely disk-holder that would make it possible for me to easily swap drives without opening my case - was I sure that the caddy did not mess things up? So I went and removed the drive from the caddy and tried again. Again, an error, however this time because the tick box "Let BIOS decide transfer mode" was (mysteriously) unticked. After ticking the box and a reboot everything was fine! I was happy!

So I went and removed the caddy from the case. I switched the machine on.....



...and the drive had the same error again.


Man, I thought I just fixed it? Again the tickbox was unticked, so I went and re-ticked the box, rebooted and the dirve was okay again.
I rebooted again, just to make sure that the box "Let Bios decide transfer mode" was ticked. It was. So I was happy.

All in all, I am just glad that this issue is solved (apart from the fact that I spent good money on a caddy :( ), and maybe I could help one or two in here with a similar problem.

mikkokh
02.04.2006, 17:02
Same error when you swap HDD to Master and DVD to Slave?

Thorandor
02.04.2006, 17:35
Exact same error :(

I am sure that it was the caddy, however I haven't had any problems at all in the 2 months I had the new drive/caddy ever, all transfers to and from the drive were fine.

mikkokh
02.04.2006, 20:38
Exact same error :(

I am sure that it was the caddy, however I haven't had any problems at all in the 2 months I had the new drive/caddy ever, all transfers to and from the drive were fine.

Maby http://www.bay-wolf.com/harddrive.htm#15 or Firmware driver (http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp) update/reinstall would help for you about this... hope so.

Thorandor
03.04.2006, 10:16
I just checked those sites and did as suggested. This is what happened:

- New Nvidia drivers (cause I got nforce3 mobo): had the latest drivers already on there, so reinstalled current ones. The drive worked on UDMA133 without caddy. Drive put into caddy: drive was set to UDMA100 with the same "transfer mode downgraded" message.

- Harddrive check: I then put the drive into my other machine and transferred all data onto a fresh hard drive to make a complete hard drive check (I found a handy tool on the maxtor website). After a thorough scan the tool told me that the hard drive was in perfect working order. So I moved the data back on it and put the drive back into my main machine - without the caddy.

Now I am 100% certain that it was indeed a caddy-problem, and that the chip on the caddy must be faulty. For verification purposes, this is the caddy I have (not from the same seller): http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/IDE-HARD-DRIVE-HDD-CADDY-MOBILE-RACK-WITH-DUAL-FAN_W0QQitemZ8788070184QQcategoryZ96894QQrdZ1QQcmd ZViewItem

In the description it said that the caddy was UDMA66/100/133 compatible, so I have just contacted the seller to see what he has to say about that. I am not sure how to "fix" a caddy, I dont even know if there is anything like firmware for such a thing or if I just got a faulty one :(

mikkokh
03.04.2006, 10:36
...
Now I am 100% certain that it was indeed a caddy-problem, and that the chip on the caddy must be faulty. For verification purposes, this is the caddy I have (not from the same seller): http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/IDE-HARD-DRIVE-HDD-CADDY-MOBILE-RACK-WITH-DUAL-FAN_W0QQitemZ8788070184QQcategoryZ96894QQrdZ1QQcmd ZViewItem

In the description it said that the caddy was UDMA66/100/133 compatible, so I have just contacted the seller to see what he has to say about that. I am not sure how to "fix" a caddy, I dont even know if there is anything like firmware for such a thing or if I just got a faulty one :(

I think also that you are right about this... So i think you should ask about it from seller. And seems that also my english skils need update... :)

Srki
18.04.2006, 16:44
But you have to understand that there is no diffrence between UDMA66/100/133 data transfer....because max you can get from youre hdd is 60mb/s....UDMA100/133/SATA I/II are only a marketing trick ....

Thorandor
18.04.2006, 22:16
Just curious, can you back that statement up somehow at all?