Microsoft® Windows 2000 Knowledge Center

ATA and ATAPI Issues in Windows 2000


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This page updated April 26, 2001

As technology advances, such as ATA66 and ATA100, right behind it issues will arise involving the operating system and the drivers it needs to support these advances. Unfortunately though, sometimes the actual cause of these problems is incorrectly identified, or the parties involved, such as the hardware manufacturers and operating system developer, decide they are going to pass-the-buck as to who is responsible for resolution. All too often you're left trying to resolve the problem on your own. We have been monitoring four such issues in an effort to help those of you who have contacted us resolve some of these problems.

Here are the issues as catalogued by Microsoft in their Knowledge Base, including a brief summary of each issue and our Comments:


Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #Q247951: How To: Enabling UDMA66 Mode on Intel Chipsets

The UDMA66 mode is disabled by default on a Windows 2000 computer with a Intel chipset that supports UDMA66. This is by design. The procedure in the "More Information" section explains how to enable it.

To enable the UDMA66 mode:

NOTE: For information about the IDE cable contact the hardware manufacturer.

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For more information, and the actual registry edit, refer to the complete Microsoft Knowledge Base Article, last reviewed April 24, 2001.

Comment:
In our opinion, this recommended registry change (hack) is a quick fix designed more to quiet the clamor for UDMA/ATA66 support than the application of sound practices to enable ATA66 support.

Before hacking your Windows 2000 registry, we recommend that you first do the following:


Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #Q168483: ATAPI Reports Event ID: 26 Out-of-Date Firmware Error Message

*(According to Microsoft, this article applies to NT Workstation 4.0, NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000, Professional, Server and Advanced Server.)

After you install Windows NT version 4.0 on an EIDE based system the following error message is posted to the system event log:

ERRORMESSAGE
Event ID: 26
Source: Atapi
Type: Warning
Description: The driver has detected that device \device\scsiport0 has old or out-of-date firmware. Reduced performance may result.

This is only an informational warning message and is not considered fatal, although it will affect performance.

While ATAPI enumerates devices attached to the EIDE controller, it checks to see if devices attached to the controller support advanced AT attachment interface commands.

The ATAPI device driver logs this error when a drive fails some ATA advanced features. (e.g. multi block I/O)

This may also be caused by a faulty device.

To isolate which device is causing this message, you can remove one device at a time from the controller reporting the error or swap devices between controllers to see when the error message follows a particular device. In some cases, the OEM manufacturer may have newer firmware available to resolve the problem. For more information, refer to the actual Microsoft Knowledge Base Article.

Comment:
Although Microsoft indicates that this issue relates to both Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, in our opinion the original parameters and suggested resolution have changed little since this issue originally surfaced in Windows NT 4.0, which was prior to the release of Windows 2000. Further, the suggested method of investigating the cause of the error, as well as the possible resolution (contacting the drive manufacturer), are better suited to Windows NT 4.0. The only exception to this that we can identify may be a Windows 2000 system that has been built around legacy based hardware.

Since our focus here is Windows 2000, our approach to this issue is different than Microsoft's. Understand though that if your system relies on legacy hardware, you may need to upgrade some of that hardware to resolve this issue on your system. Our experience has shown that this error does not occur on all Windows 2000 based systems, but rather only on certain types of configurations. Although we haven't tested every possible system configuration, we have seen this problem occur in systems using the following component configurations:

When we first began digging into this error issue, we followed Microsoft's advice and began to trace the source of the error as outlined in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #Q168483. In short, Microsoft's position is that the error is caused by a firmware problem with the drive, and the Knowledge Base Article walks you through the process of identifying the alleged problem drive. After considerable checking and testing without resolution, we contacted Microsoft in an effort to bring this issue to a close.

We explained that our test-bed machines that we use for problem resolution each contained two Maxtor hard drives, both on the first IDE bus, and a DVD drive (DVD-ROM drive) on the second IDE bus. We also advised Microsoft that each machine has two additional drives, an ATAPI CD-ROM and a CD-RW drive, connected to an Adaptec 29160 SCSI controller card. We advised them that the only difference between the machines was the motherboard and memory configurations. We went through the identification procedure again with the Microsoft personnel, as they felt that the DVD drive might be the cause of the problem, however the procedure itself defined the problem as being related to the two Maxtor drives. We concluded our conversation with Microsoft advising us that the problem wasn't with Windows 2000 and that we should contact Maxtor. Obviously, our testing ruled out the possibility that the error was emanating from the DVD-ROM drive, and since the ATAPI CD-ROM and the CD-RW were on a SCSI controller, that ruled those out as a potential problem.

We contacted Maxtor to see if the potential existed for a firmware issue with their latest hard drives. After a lengthy conversation, they managed to convince us that their drives weren't the cause of the error. In short, if they were, why wouldn't the error show up on every Windows 2000 machine that utilized their drives? This made sense, although their Web site offered little insight as to a possible resolution of the problem. Maxtor's Knowledge Base just pointed us back to the original Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q168483, and so the circle began.

Since it was obvious that neither Microsoft or Maxtor knew the answer to the problem, we began digging deeper, beginning with the motherboard, processor, memory and drive combinations. We contacted Abit, Asus, Epox, FIC, Gigabyte and Intel in an attempt to determine if any of them had any experience with this issue. Abit and Intel were the first to respond, with both indicating that the issue was a combination of a BIOS problem and ATA driver set problem. As of the date noted above, we have only received a minimal response from the other three motherboard manufacturers. Thus far, all five manufacturers feel that the issue is BIOS related.

Intel OR840 Motherboard
Approximately 10 days ago, Intel provided us with a BIOS update, BIOS version 255 with a release date of April 5, 2001, a new Chipset Software Installation Utility version 2.80.010a and a new Intel Ultra ATA Storage Driver set intelata610_enu.exe version 6.10.

By applying the BIOS update, the Chipset Software Update and the new Ultra ATA Storage driver, we were able to eliminate the Event ID: 26 Out-of-Date Firmware Error Message, however a new error has emerged. It seems that by applying these updates, a new Event Error occurs.

Source: IntelATA
Category: None
Type: Error
Event ID: 16
Description: The request is incorrectly formatted for \Device\Ide\IntelAta0

Although this Event Error does not effect the overall performance of the system, including the UDMA/ATA drives, it is an annoying problem, as it fills the Event Viewer with error messages every 15 minutes. Unsatisfied with this chain of events, and Intel's willingness to help, we concentrated on the Intel OR840 based machine and redoubled our efforts to get to the root cause of the problem.

By backtracking through the problem, it appeared that while we were resolving the original Out-of-Date Firmware issue, Microsoft's ATAPI Device Interface was still giving us an error message. We decided to revert to an older BIOS and then reinstall Windows 2000 and start over in order to see which files were being changed. We reloaded Windows 2000 and duplicated the Out-of-Date Firmware error, taking us back to the beginning. From here, we took a snapshot of the system and every file that had been installed, including its date and version. We then updated the BIOS again, applied the Intel Chipset Software Utility and then took another snapshot, and then recorded any newly added files as well as those that had changed by version and date. In the final step, we added Intel's Ultra ATA Storage driver and repeated the snapshot process.

While we were right back where we were before, with the new Event Error, we did learn something from this. Four system files, all of which have an influence on the ATAPI/ATA Device Interface employed by Windows 2000, were not being updated:

Atapi.sys
Intelide.sys
Pciide.sys
Pciidex.sys

Since we had been working on all four of these Knowledge Base Articles as a combined issue, we reviewed our notes about the files included with Microsoft's Hot-fix associated with support for ATA100 (Mode 5) in Windows 2000 (see below). Although Microsoft had provided us with a pre-release version of this Hot-fix in December 2000, we decided to check the final release version to see whether it might provide us with a clue as to the current problem. Believe it or not, the Hot-fix includes the four files that need to be updated. By applying the Hot-fix to the updated machine, the Event Viewer errors have disappeared.

The following describes how to resolve both of these issues on a Windows 2000 system that utilizes an Intel OR840 motherboard. Make sure to follow the procedure in the order given.

  1. Apply the Intel BIOS update noted above, version 255.
  2. Next, apply the Intel Chipset Software Utility. Reboot three times to enable Windows to correctly identify the motherboard components/
  3. Next, apply the Intel Ultra ATA driver set. Reboot three times to enable Windows first load the IDE bus drivers, then each individual bus.
  4. Last, add the Hot-fix noted below, Microsoft Knowledge Base Article Q260233.

    Note: This procedure works on the following Intel motherboards: 810, 815, 820, 840 and 850.

If you need any further information regarding the Intel BIOS updates, Chipset Software Utility or the Ultra ATA Driver set, please visit our Intel Issues and Updates page. We are still working on similar issues with the Abit, Asus, Gigabyte and FIC motherboards, and will post any new information here.


Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #Q269555: Device Manager Lists ATA-100 Device Incorrectly as Using PIO Instead of UDMA

Device Manager may list an ATA-100 device incorrectly as using PIO mode instead of UDMA mode. This is a result of adding support for ATA-100 devices as described in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: Q260233. The user interface was not modified to reflect the correct mode. You can safely ignore the incorrect display. For more information, refer to the actual Microsoft Knowledge Base Article.

Comment:
Although the Knowledge Base Article provides very little information, it does note that this issue is cosmetic only. At this point, Microsoft has only created a hot-fix to enable ATA100 support and hasn't bothered with the cosmetic issue. We presume that this might be handled in the release of Service Pack Two. Our testing has confirmed that ATA100 is present and functions as it should, therefore no other action is necessary on your part.


Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #Q260233: Support for ATA100 (Mode 5) in Windows 2000

Windows 2000 does not support ATA 100 (Mode 5) for IDE hard disks. All ATA 100 IDE hard disks that are used with Windows 2000 default to ATA 66 (Mode 4). A supported fix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only intended to correct the problem described in this article and should be applied only to systems experiencing this specific problem. This fix may receive additional testing at a later time, to further ensure product quality. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, Microsoft recommends that you wait for the next Windows 2000 service pack that contains this fix.

The English version of this fix should have the following file attributes or later:

   Date        Time    Version         Size    File name
   --------------------------------------------------------
   04/27/2000  04:05p  5.00.2195.2073  85,232  Atapi.sys
   04/27/2000  04:05p  5.00.2195.2073   4,432  Intelide.sys
   04/27/2000  04:05p  5.00.2195.2073   3,088  Pciide.sys
   04/27/2000  04:05p  5.00.2195.2073  21,936  Pciidex.sys
Download the Hot-fix for ATA100 (Mode 5) Release date March 13, 2001

For more information, refer to the actual Microsoft Knowledge Base Article.

Comment:
Microsoft began the development of ATA100 support for Windows 2000 nearly a year ago, and in November of 2000 made a Hot-fix available only to those who had a system severely impacted by this specific problem. As you can see by the excerpt we have provided above, Microsoft indicates that Windows 2000 defaults to ATA66. As we already know, this is not the case, as UDMA/ATA66 must be enabled, it is not enabled during a default installation of the Windows 2000 operating system.

On March 13, 2001, Microsoft released what appears to be the final version of this Hot-fix which will appear in the future release of Service Pack Two. Although Microsoft suggests that this Hot-fix should only be applied to systems experiencing a problem, such as the need for ATA100 support, we disagree, and suggest that it be applied to all systems that are intended to support either ATA66 or ATA100, including those that are experiencing the Event errors described above.

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