Friday, February 6, 2009

Acer Aspire One - Running Slow No More

So, I had thought I managed to nearly kill my wonderful Acer Aspire One, without doing anything at all! Originally, after I first bought it, I could open files to edit, listen to music, and browse Facebook all at the same time with ease. Then, without much warning or little reason, it started going SLOOOOOOWWWW. It took tons of research and clever Google keyword mashing to find out the solution in my case. My hard drive was running in PIO Mode. This a) eats up CPU speed because PIO mode needs CPU overhead, and b) makes accessing any read/writes slower too. You can check if this is your problem by going to Start -> Run -> devmgmt.msc -> IDE ATA/ATAPI -> Primary IDE Channel -> Advanced Settings. If it says Current Transfer Mode: PIO (or anything less than Ultra DMA Mode 5) then you might be experiencing the same problem.

This happens automatically by windows when it thinks your hard drive has errors - often caused by multiple or frequent hibernating/standbys/restarts. Fixing it requires making the computer take less of these errors before it enters this mode.

Fixing it in my case was easy once I found the right registry keys. Warning: I am not responsible if this damages your PC, don't try this at home. I found "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEMS\CurrentControlSet\Control/Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0001" in regedit. Then I changed MasterDeviceTimingModeAllowed to 0xFFFFFFFF by typing f eight times in the box after clicking it.

Then I opened the properties (advanced settings like above) for that channel, changed 'device 0 transfer mode' to PIO Only, then clicked okay. Then I went back there and changed it back to "DMA if available". This is sort of like a 'soft reset'. After clicking okay, and checking again, I was running in full Ultra DMA Mode 5 speed.