Speed up SATA Drives in Windows

speed-up-sata-drives

Enable Advanced Caching

We showed you in a previous tip how to increase performance with USB drives in Vista by enabling write caching.  By default this option isn’t turned on because of the “removable” nature of these devices, so you could lose data if you pull out too quickly (the drive that is… ).

Internal SATA hard drives are alot more “permanent” than USB drives, but Windows Vista does not enable advanced write caching by default.  You can increase performance of your hard drives by implementing a little-known feature. You could potentially lose data in a power outage, so either use a UPS or enable advanced write caching at your own risk.

Regardless of the minor risk involved, you can enjoy better hard drive performance from Windows Vista by enabling Advanced Write Caching on your SATA devices

This procedure is actually very simple.  Open up Device Manager: there are several ways to do this…

  • Right-click on Computer and selecting Manage.  Device Manager will be in the Computer Management list on the left
  • type “device” in the search dialog of the Start Menu
  • type “devmgmt.msc” in a Run dialog (Win + R)

Once in Device Manager, open up the Disk drives branch.  You will see all of the hard drives currently connected to your PC.


Right-click on the hard drive you want to modify, and select Properties.

Click the Policies tab, and you should see two options: Enable write caching on the disk, and Enable advanced performance (which is probably unchecked).  Click the box next to “Enable advanced performance“, and click OK.

You should repeat the procedure for any other drives you have attached to your system.  Again, note that there is some risk involved of data loss, but in reality this isn’t a big deal: if the power goes out, then you would have lost that Word document no matter what your drive cache setting.  The most likely candidate for unwritten data at any given time is probably virtual memory or other OS-specific information.  If you’re really concerned about data loss, then you’re probably using a UPS anyway.

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.