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  1. #1
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    SSD stuck in slow IDE-emulation mode


    SSD stuck in slow IDE-emulation mode

    By Fred Langa

    How to troubleshoot a solid-state drive that's operating at speeds far slower than expected. Plus: Windows Defender vs. Microsoft Security Essentials, questions about the current quality of Firefox, and how to activate God Mode in all current versions of Windows.

    The full text of this column is posted at (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Firefox quality

    In the part "Has the Firefox browser’s quality declined?" Fred writes about reader "Jim McIntosh is unhappy..".

    Being "unhappy" is a very soft and not precise wording.

    Personally I use Firefox (and it's predecessors) since times when it still was the Netscape browser. ALL my many customers use it and most of them are (in their own words) truly computer illiterate. That is why I have the courage to say the following to Jim McIntosh:

    If your Firefox browser is unstable it is MUCH more likely due to one of the following reasons in decreasing likely hood:

    1. Some malware in your OS (stuff like Mindspark, Conduit. APN toolbar or similar)
    2. Firefox not up to date (at this writing version 40.0.3)
    3. Dodgy extension(s)
    4. Dodgy plugin(s) or
    5. Cache has to be cleaned

    IMHO way too many computer-environmental issues are being blamed on poor old Firefox.

    Only from my experiences and, as usual, YMMV.

    My main gripe though: Fred, you are at least partially wrong. behind Firefox is a company, since 2005 in fact. From their own About page:

    The Mozilla Corporation was established in August 2005 as a wholly owned taxable subsidiary that serves the non-profit, public benefit goals of its parent, the Mozilla Foundation, and the vast Mozilla community.

    Your text makes it sound like Firefox still being a solely volunteer supported piece of public domain freebie. That it is not anymore, at least since 2005.

    Just had to vent this for fairness' sake.
    Last edited by eikelein; 2015-09-17 at 07:15. Reason: Added info
    Eike J Heinze
    What I am about
    SE Wisconsin

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  4. #3
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Add to the above, one other rather uncommon condition.

    Somehow, the Firefox Browser during an upgrade, corrupts the user's Profile.

    It's easy enough to delete Firefox User Profile data or to create a new User Profile:

    Or to do additional Firefox troubleshooting to fix a corrupted Firefox installation:

    To allay fears of losing important user settings, MozBackup can create a backup of a Firefox User Profile and restore it in one single action:

    (MozBackup also backs up Thunderbird profiles.)

    Or, if you reinstall Firefox and want to test each Profile component one or a few at a time to see where things went wrong, I use the Firefox FEBE Extension (Software By Chuck):

    (also available directly through the Firefox Add-Ons center from the browser) ("Get More Add-Ons")

    FEBE allows a more precise process of finding the offending Profile items, and possibly correcting many of them.

    But to be honest, sometimes we just have to wait out a buggy firefox upgrade, and hope the next effort (not usually more than a few weeks away) will fi our preent issue(s).

    (Full disclosure -- I use Firefox and Google Chrome (not Chromium, since a very buggy update earlier this year) in Ubuntu Linux. In Windows 8.1 and before that in Windows 7, I used Chrome but not Firefox. I did use Firefox under Windows XP for awhile. )
    -- Bob Primak --

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  6. #4
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    Easy switch to AHCI mode

    I had the same situation. Windows has separate drivers for IDE and AHCI modes and doesn't normally load a type if it's not in use. So when the system was configured with the SSD in IDE mode, the AHCI drivers weren't loaded. If you then change the access method in the BIOS to AHCI, the system won't boot.

    Although I found many articles on correcting the problem with registry edits, this is simpler and worked for me: Configure the system to boot in safe mode the next time (see the 9/17 newsletter to see how) and do a shutdown. Power on and get into the BIOS and change the mode to AHCI then resume the restart. The system will boot in safe mode which loads both types of drivers so the AHCI mode will now work. Once the system is up, change to not boot in safe mode again and do a normal restart. The system should then work fine from then on.

    I'll also mention a secondary problem that then appeared: the SSD showed up as a removable device with the 'safely remove ...' icon in the system tray. Again there were several online mentions of how to solve this but, as Fred mentions, the driver names changed from msahci to storahci and some of the registry details changed. This registry change forces the driver to treat the SATA ports as internal ports and worked for me in two systems with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - obey the usual cautions about mucking in the registry. Note that only the port used by the SSD needs to be tagged but it was easier to specify all of them as I had only one drive in use but didn't know which port it was connected to. (Google 'TreatAsInternalPort' for more discussion.)

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    ; Set storahci ports as internal
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\storahci\Parameters\Device]
    "TreatAsInternalPort"=hex(7):30,00,20,00,31,00,20, 00,32,00,20,00,33,00,20,00,\

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  8. #5
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    I agree with eikelein here. I've been using Firefox as my primary browser for quite some time. It is well tweaked to suit my work and workflow.

    a) you need to do a little maintenance once in awhile
    b) occasionally an extension can be trouble

    I've rarely found FF to be the issue. And I agree with Bob - FEBE is great. I also use Chrome occasionally.
    And I use Thunderbird.

  9. #6
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    Fred -- I've been following your sage advice for years -- and would like to offer my comments on the SSD advice in your column.

    Having installed many SSD upgrades in W7 systems, I have (on occasion) forgot to change the BIOS settings to AHCI. The fix has been to restore the AHCI drivers deleted by MS when the OS is initially installed on a system with an IDE drive. Just restore the BIOS IDE setting, install the KB922976 hotfix, restart, and redo the BIOS change to AHCI. The proper driver is now present at Windows boot.

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