Benchmarking your hard drive

ATTO - “The industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage connectivity products” has great products and an excellent benchmarking utility that measures your hard drive’s I/O read/write ability.

Here’s a quick look at a laptop with Windows 7 vs. Server 2008 R2

Dell’s latest 5520 inspiron laptop
6 Gb Memory
500 Gb (Seagate)




Server 2008 R2 Custom
8 Gb RAM
2 TB Seagate Hard drive




Also see our #1 post on Hard Drive Benchmarking (other utilites)

Measure your hard drive speed using Winsat

When tweaking your computer, you can use typical utilities found in one of our most active posts or you can use Winsat.   Winsat will not give you fancy graphs but it will give a Windows rating and a time to complete specific tests.  This can be a way of measuring your drives between tweaks.

At a command prompt run the following tweak as an administrator:

winsat disk -drive c                 (you can substitute c with the drive letter of your choice)

Measure Your Hard Drive or Network Transfer Speed

DiskBench was designed to measure your hard drive speed but can be used to measure your network transfer speed realistically.  With DiskBench, you can use this freeware utility to measure your hard drive speed in my opinion more in accurately because of the way it is designed.


Copy File
Copy Directory
Create File
Read File
Create File Bench

Enter a UNC path to a shared folder and measure your network transfer speed.

Improve your laptop hard drive speed

This tip has been around for a while but your risk data loss in a power failure if your computer isn’t on a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) is increased.   Because laptops have a battery, this can be an ideal setting.

  1. Right Click on Computer and select Manage
  2. Click on Device Manager
  3. Expand Disk Drives
  4. Right click on the hard drive and select Properties for that hard drive (you can also double click the drive
  5. On the Policies tab:
    Check Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device
  6. Hit OK and close the Device Manager



Improve Hard Drive Performance in Windows 7

You may be able to improve your hard drive’s performance in Windows 7 by using this registry tweak.   Like any registry tweak, you should have all of your files backed up and make a restore point before trying this out.

Computer hard drives are connected to the controller on the motherboard of the computer.  A lot of computers today may have the hard drive configured to use the older IDE interface protocol to communicate with the SATA drive.

If your new hard drive supports NCQ (Native Command Queuing)you may see a performance increase with the drive by following the tweaks below.

An easy solution to switch between IDE and AHCI is to change the following registry key.

Before doing this see if your BIOS has AHCI capabilities

  1. Open Registry Editor and move down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci.
  2. Right click on the Start DWORD and click on Modify.
  3. Set the value to 0 and click OK.
  4. Reboot your computer and enable the AHCI setting the BIOS.

If you are using a RAID adapter on your computer you may try the following:

  1. Open up Registry Editor and naviage to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStorV or the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor.
  2. Repeat all of the steps above.

Testing your hard drive speed (blog)

Slow Network – Windows Vista or Windows 7

Estimated time to transfer files 6hrs …. yep 6hrs and I think it might just take that long…

OK, this can’t be right.  I installed Vista at home on a 2GHZ 768mb RAM computer and it is great!  Now at work, I have a dual core 4GHZ 2Gb RAM PC and copying files and networking is horribly slow.

Here’s a couple of solutions…to help you.  Try one thing at a time and reboot after netsh

Vista’s and 7’s  issues with slow browsing and network operations can be the new TCP Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level – You must run the cmd command as the administrator.

To turn off AutoTuning –  Go to a command prompt (run cmd)
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=off or use
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

Remote Differential Compression (RDC) allows applications to synchronize data between two computers.   Turn it off….Start >> Control Panel >> Programs and Features
Click on ” Turn windows features on or off” on the left side of the panel
Takes a sec to load all the features
Uncheck “Remote Differential Compression”

Make sure you’ve got the latest drivers for ALL your hardware components.


Adjust your network card under the Device Manager-

Right click on your network card and go to properties
Select the Advanced tab
Select the Link Speed/Duplex Mode property.
Try Auto Negotiation.
Try 100Mbps/Full Duplex or 100Mbps/Half duplex
It is safe to try these alternative settings to see which setting works best for your PC’s Network card.


On last thing for performance
Go into Device Manager, open the properties windows for your HDD, select policies, check the box that says “enable advanced performance”.

Cross your fingers…