Disk corruption, LPM, and the iaStor.sys factor

Recently, I took delivery of a sick laptop where the customer had complained of instability and general slowness of operation, as well as system errors of various types. He was relatively tech-savvy and had attempted some repairs on his own.

Anyhow, after some serious chkdsking and system file repairs, I was left with a system that misbehaved rather curiously on a regular basis. Any time significant disk access was required, the system would hang for what seemed to be an indefinite period of time, prompting me to perform a hard reboot. It was very frustrating indeed.

Event Log errors pointed to a possible problem with iaStor.sys, the Intel disk driver.

This customer did not have Intel Matrix Storage Manager of any version installed, and Windows Update declared the drivers up to date. Intel’s automated driver update utility also cleared the system without any recommendations.

Intel Rapid Storage Technology

However, having noted the driver date of 2006, I decided in desperation to update the disk driver. The newest version of the driver is bundled with the new version of Matrix Storage Manager, which has been renamed to Intel Rapid Storage Technology [download here]. I first downloaded and installed this.

Next, I noted problems reported by users of the Intel drivers with older SATA drives, apparently related to Link Power Management. Although the new drivers reportedly correct this by disabling LPM on these drives, I don’t entirely trust Intel’s resolution, as the registry entries still indicate that it is enabled. There’s an easy fix for this also:

  1. Open Regedit.
  2. Navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStor\Parameters\PortX
    (where X is any number representing the port of each installed drive)
  3. Change the Value of LPMDSTATE from 1 to 0 for each key.
  4. Reboot the PC.

Upon the completion of these steps, the problems were resolved, and disk access on the machine was much faster (not to mention reliable). A number of other repairs were still necessary following this thanks to the aftermath of the disk corruption (such as additional system file repairs, software install problems including .NET Framework issues, and deep-seated MS Office issues), but after all of the repairs were complete, the PC was working like new again.

If you’re looking for computer help in the Louisville area, look no further.  Call me today and get it done right!

Donate to say "Thanks" if this post has helped save you time and money! 🙂

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