If you're struggling with decreased performance on a Windows based machine, it's a simple fix to check to make sure your IDE drives aren't operating in a slower, ineffective transfer mode. When fresh from the box—or your workbench— your computer should have had all its IDE drives set in Direct Memory Access mode. This is a far speedier method of disk access than Programmed Input/Output mode. The technical side of the two modes is dense but let it suffice: DMA is the fast and preferred method and PIO mode is the slower method Windows defaults to after having six redundancy checks fail. Things like power outages, doing a hard reset and other disk interruptions can cause these errors. Your Windows box may be operating in the slower transfer mode because it mistakenly thinks that your system is unstable or that there is something wrong with your disks. The fix for your computer downshifting into PIO mode is simple. Go to your Control Panel, click on the System icon, open up your Device Manager and pull up the properties for your Primary and Secondary IDE channels. Under the Advanced settings tab you'll be able to set the Transfer Mode to "DMA if available". Reboot and you should be in business. MakeUseOf has a full step by step guide with screenshots if you'd like a visual reference.