Slowwww performance from SATA drive

I hope this is the correct Forum for this thread. :nervous:

I built a new PC for my wife back in September, 2005, and the time it takes to boot up is driving me nuts. It takes it over 2 and a half minutes to complete booting XP after pressing the power switch.

The system specs are:
ASUS P5LD2 (AMI BIOS - BIOS is old - one thing I need to update)
Pentium 4 820 (dual-core 2.8 GHz)
1 Gb memory (2 sticks of Kingston KVR667D2N5K2/1G)
Seagate 300 SATA HDD (7200 RPM, 8Mb Cache)
Sony DRU-800A DVD-R/W (master on Primary IDE channel)
Emprex DVD-ROM (Slave on Primary IDE channel)
ATI Radeon X50XT (256Mb)
IBM 60Gb IDE drive (Master on Secondary IDE channel)
Mobil Rack (contains an IDE HDD, when needed, for backing up the Seagate drive)

The IBM drive is only in the system to be the master drive on the cable and contains no data. It is formatted as a single drive with NTFS. I use the Mobil Rack drive in several PC's and don't want to change the jumper from slve to master everytime I use it in this machine and change it back when I remove it from this machine.

This problem is killing me because I built her brother a system early in 2005 and it boots up in about 60 seconds. His system has an Asus mainboard (don't remember the model), a non-dual-core 2.8 GHz Pentium 4, 2Gb memory, 200Mb Maxtor HDD (7200 RPM, 8Mb cache).

When I built the system, I didn't touch the BIOS settings for the SATA drives on either system. The one having problems is set up as:
Configure SATA as [Standard IDE]
Onboard IDE Operate mode [Enhanced Mode]
Enhanced mode support on [S-ATA]

With most of the other settings set to [Auto].

The system was taking over 3 minutes to boot until I disabled SMART on the SATA drive. I enabled 32-bit transfers but this didn't change the boot time.

I've asked Seagate for help and they think that I need to update XP's SATA drivers. I found the Intel Matrix (something or other) executable on the Intel site but it's Readme says that it doesn't do anything unless the system is set up in SATA or AHCI mode. I'm also a little afraid to mess with the RAID settings as some other sites' forums state that doing so can wipe out the data on the HDD (it is still a pain to recover from a backup).

I have also removed the IDE drive from the system and booted several times. It's removal did not change the time it takes to boot.

Where do I go from here? Can I change the SATA from Enhanced IDE to AHCI (without damaging my data)? Do I need to install a driver first?



Political User
Disabling SMART is generally not a good idea, get a SMART monitoring tool to check out what the drive is saying about itself, and wether it is passing it's own tests.

You might also want to try a defrag of the system, and or checking what the boot process contains and removing anything that is not really required for booting.

Good luck!


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Folding Team
Political User
Where is the slowness?

Does it hang on the Windows XP Splash Screen for a long time?

Walk us through where the longest points of the boot process are.


The One and Only
this is kinda just my mind flappin in the breeze..... but anyone else thinkin of it as a possibility? maybe the board's BIOS is still set to have SATA drives be RAID drives, and maybe as windows is booting, it's constantly trying to find the next bit of data that it needs to boot on each different hard drive (that doesn't exist), until it get's back to the drive? i dunno.... that's kinda the idea i have. when i got my first SATA drive, it even puzzled me for a while cause i couldn't even get XP to install cause the motherboard's BIOS had the SATA ports to be RAID no matter what.

if that sounds completely absurd.... don't mind me..... it's 10PM.... and i don't usually think about all too much around this time....


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Folding Team
Political User
Not absurd at all, still waiting to find out what the longest section of the boot is. That is definitely a possibility.
The worst problem I've had with slow boot was after installing Windows XP SP2. The SP2 install badly fragments the system. If you installed an earlier version of Windows and then did an SP2 update you need to run a good defrag tool after the SP2 install.

There is a fast and slow memeory check setting in bios for boot up. Make sure the fast option is checked.

The next biggest problem is too much crap loading at startup. Everything you install will load a bunch of unnecessary features at start up. Download and run regcleaner.exe, click the startup tab, and post everything that is loading. Stuff like video and audio players, ATI tools, dvd tools, etc will load if you don't disable them. You can get 2-3 of each type tool loading at startup.

There is a free program called bootvis.exe which will show you a timeline of what is loading at startup. Download and run that too.

Finally download and run cpuz.exe it is a utility that will examine your system and tell you what speed memory, CPU, etc are really running at. Just in case something is set up wrong like memory not running in dual mode or cpu fsb running at half speed.

You should be booting in about 90 seconds depending on how much you stuff have loaded. 60 seconds would be the minimum for a stripped down system.
Thanks for all of the tips!

I ran HD Tach 3 using both the Quick bench and Long bench tests. I, hopefully, have attached the files for each. Note that I forgot to select SATA for the Long bench. I ran both tests without a reboot in between.

In case you can't process the attached files, I wrote down the numbers. In order to attach the files I appended .txt to the end of the filenames.

Quick bench:
124.2 MB/s Burst speed (from the bar graph in lower left of window)
Random access: 15.4 ms
CPU Utilization: 4% (+/- 2%)
Average read: 52.5MB/s

Long bench:
124.3 MB/s Burst speed (from the bar graph in lower left of window)
Random access: 15.4 ms
CPU Utilization: 3% (+/- 2%)
Average read: 52.8MB/s

Boot up timings (numbers are in seconds from when the power was turned on):
POST screen: 9
IDE Detect screen: 16
Windows XP Logo: 30
Blue screen (Windows Starting?): 54
Desktop appears: 85
All apps up: 157

I will post later today, hopefully, with the info that LeeJend asked for.

I did mention in my original post that the BIOS was out of date. I found that it is WAY out of date. It is at level 0301 and Asus has a current one at 1003 or so. I also noticed that the IDE drive that is installed is flagged in Device Manager as being a SCSI drive (it isn't). I'll update the BIOS tomorrow (after I take a backup) and will post the timings for that.

I appreciate your help, thanks!

Harley (aka SysProg)



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Folding Team
Political User
Well going by your 54-85-157 timings, I would go with clearing out your startup items.

Click Start - Run - Type "msconfig" (no quotes) and hit ENTER.

The further most right tab is labeled startup, disable all items listed here. The tab to the left is called Services - check the box to hide all Microsoft Services, and then disable whatever is left. Reboot, and do a comparison for your boot times in regards to the Blue Screen/Desktop Appears/All Apps Up


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Folding Team
Political User
It may, but that's not going to affect the real bottleneck, which is Windows loading - at least I wouldn't think so.


Spammer representing.
Folding Team
Political User
Also try downloading, UPDATING, and running.

Ad-Aware by Lavasoft.
Spybot Search & Destroy.
Update your current Anti-Virus, or if you are out of subscription service. Download AVG Free Anti-Virus. After un-installing your current Anti-Virus.
Crap Cleaner. Be sure to open it and clean your registry too.
After all that is done, go to My Computer-->Right click "C" drive-->Properties-->Tools-->Error Checking-->Check "Automaticly Fix File System Errors" then click scan, it should ask if you want to schedule it for the next reboot, press OK.
Go to the same place and instead Click "Defragment Now" in the Tools tab.
Reboot, and see if there is any difference in time to boot.

Also go to Start-->Control Panel-->Performance & Maint--> Adminstrative tools-->Services

Right click-->properties and set to "manual startup" under "Startup Type:" the following services. Be sure to click Apply after then OK.

Windows Image Acquision (WIA)
Wireless Zero Configuration
Fast user Switching
Help and Support
Remote Registry


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Folding Team
Political User
The bottom four of those services, Wireless Zero Configuration, Fast User Switching, Help and Support and Remote Registry can all also be set to Disabled. This won't effect anything, and if you launch Windows Help the service will still start anyways.

Same as setting it to manual, just my .02
This post is in reponse to the post by LeeJend yesterday evening.

I installed SP2 when I built the system and we defrag using the Windows defrag utility when Norton SystemWorks says the drive is at 95% fragmentation level. SystemWorks has SpeedDisk but this appears to invoke the Windows defrag under the covers (Symantec even states that SpeedDisk uses the Microsoft defrag engine).

Fast memory checking is selected is the BIOS.

We probably do have too much loading at startup. I've attached the output from RegCleaner.

I downloaded and ran Bootvis from Microsoft. The file is over 206,000Kb, so I won't be able to upload it. Let me know what info you'd like me to report on.

I also downloaded and ran the CPU-Z utility. I've attached the output from CPU-Z and from the Latency program (a jpg of the DOS window).


I probably should just have listed the ones to keep. It's a much shorter list. Most of these are not necessary to install at boot. It just makes them load faster when (or if) you go to run the application.

As I suspected you have 3-4 music players and multiple video players loading at start up. You can only use one at a time and it will load when you launch it.

I did not see an antivirus on the list (unless it is in norton system doctor). If your AV is in Norton system doctor then don't disable that.

Here is the list of what I would disable at stratup with regcleaner. If something doesn't work right after you disable it turn it back on. I am using just about the same hardware and software you are but I have none of the following loading at startup (except for quicktime which refuses to be disabled). I boot in 90 seconds.

Adobe Reader Speed Launch, N/A, Start Menu (Common User)

Alcmtr, Alcmtr.exe, HKEY_LM\Run

Series On Hlinke" /O25 "\\HLINKE\EPSON Stylus C84" /M "Stylus C84", HKEY_LM\Run

CcApp, "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccApp.exe", HKEY_LM\Run

Ctfmon.exe, C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe, HKEY_CU\Run

EPSON Background Monitor, N/A, Start Menu (Common User)

GcasServ, "C:\Program Files\Microsoft AntiSpyware\gcasServ.exe", HKEY_LM\Run

IntelliPoint, "C:\Program Files\Microsoft IntelliPoint\point32.exe", HKEY_LM\Run

IntelliType, "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Hardware\Keyboard\type32.exe", HKEY_LM\Run

ITunesHelper, "C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe", HKEY_LM\Run

Launch PC Probe II, "C:\Program Files\ASUS\PC Probe II\Probe2.exe" 1, HKEY_LM\Run

MimBoot, C:\Program Files\Musicmatch\Musicmatch Jukebox\mimboot.exe, HKEY_LM\Run

Msmsgs, "C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe" /background, HKEY_CU\Run

NaturalColorLoad, N/A, Start Menu

NaturalColorLoad, N/A, Start Menu (Common User)

NeroFilterCheck, C:\WINDOWS\system32\NeroCheck.exe, HKEY_LM\Run

NkvMon.exe, N/A, Start Menu (Common User)

Norton System Doctor, N/A, Start Menu (Common User)

NWEReboot, , HKEY_LM\Run

PhotoShow Deluxe Media Manager, C:\PROGRA~1\Comcast\COMCAS~1\data\Xtras\mssysmgr.exe, HKEY_CU\Run

QD FastAndSafe, , HKEY_LM\Run

QuickTime Task, "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe" -atboottime, HKEY_LM\Run

RemoteControl, "C:\Program Files\CyberLink\PowerDVD\PDVDServ.exe", HKEY_LM\Run

Rthdcpl, Rthdcpl.exe, HKEY_LM\Run
SsAAD.exe, C:\PROGRA~1\Sony\SONICS~1\SsAAD.exe, HKEY_LM\Run

SunJavaUpdateSched, C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_06\bin\jusched.exe, HKEY_LM\Run

TkBellExe, "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe" -osboot, HKEY_LM\Run

Yahoo! Pager, C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\ypager.exe -quiet, HKEY_CU\Run

Your hardware speeds are correct. 667 on the RAM and 2.8 gig on the PCU.