How to Solve: "Delayed Write Error"

How to Solve: "Delayed Write Error"

[Republished from old blog]

With many large hard-drives on Windows XP, attached via SATA, people have started to encounter issues where the disk drive starts to display problems displayed in the windows information bubble listing that drive X:(your drive name) has encountered a "Delayed Write Error", usually followed by some file name your probably not even accessing.
Now as disconcerting as this may seem never fear; this is most apparent in Windows XP and occasionally seen in Windows 2000 and in nine out of ten cases is resolved by following one of the following routes.

  • Check that your motherboard supports the SATA level that is marked on the hard drive.
    Although SATA II is backwards compatible, to use it on a SATA I only motherboard, you must select the correct jumper on the back to reduce it to 150mbps mode. This information is usually on the top of the hard drive on the label, or if not on the manufacturers' website.
  • Another common issue that can cause this problem is the use of hard drive cadies such as "icy docks", this is a simple one to check as most have a sticker on the front telling you which SATA standard they support. As they are backwards compatible its always best to buy higher (i.e. buy a SATA II dock instead of a SATA I dock) therefore future proofing your purchase.
  • Almost at the end now; check your BIOS settings and turn off any settings that are configured to force faster UDMA modes.
  • Last and probably the most important. Follow these instructions.
    Right-click 'MY COMPUTER' and select 'Properties', The system properties window will then appear.
  • From this select the 'HARDWARE' tab, and click 'DEVICE MANAGER'.
  • The 'Device Manager' window will then appear; from this expand the 'Disk Drives' section of the hardware tree and select the hard drive that is causing the problems (note the drive name when Windows displays the delayed write error notice).
  • Right-click the problematic drive and select properties.
  • Select the 'Policies' tab, and set to 'Optimize for Quick Removal'.

What this does is disables write caching on that drive, a feature mostly used for "hot plugging" SATA drives, most often in backup drives, and server drive scenarios.

But more importantly, no write caching means no delayed write errors, but at the cost of 2-3% optimization.

A few useful links in this regard:

Microsoft Support: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;330174
'Hotplugging' Wiki Definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotplugging

Chris McKee

Chris McKee

https://chrismckee.co.uk

Software Engineer, Web Front/Backend/Architecture; all-round tech obsessed geek. I hate unnecessary optimism