by W.A. Steer PhD
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Are you finding DVD playback jerky (dropping frames) on your computer, despite owning a fast machine? I had this problem and eventually discovered that it is very common (often caused by a "bug" in Windows) and tracked down the solution.
This problem has been known about for over 2 years!
There is a hard-to-find Microsoft Knowledgebase article on it.
Open up Device Manager from the Windows Control Panel: (WinXP) - Start|Control Panel|Performance and Maintenance|See basic information about your computer, then select the Hardware tab, then press the Device Manager button. Expand the "IDE ATA/ATAPI" entry. At this point it helps to know whether your DVD drive is on the Primary or Secondary IDE channel (typically you might find that your hard disk(s) are on the Primary channel while your DVD and CD-ROM drives are on the Secondary). You can check by following the cables from the motherboard. Assuming for now that the DVD is on the Secondary channel... double-click that entry (or right-click and go to Properties). In the resulting dialog box, click the Advanced Settings tab:
[ On my computer, Device0 (top) is the DVD and Device1 (bottom) is the CD-RW ]
If instead any of those boxes say "PIO mode" and you have a reasonably-modern PC then you've probably got problems!
Unfortunately owing to this Windows "bug", just setting the transfer mode to "DMA if available" won't work, and won't "stick" on reboot.
But don't just take my word for it (I want to be helpful, but I won't be responsible - nor can I answer a deluge of queries). Now you know what's going on, choose your own solution from the WWW.
©2004 William Andrew Steer