Saturday, 3 January 2015

iaStor timeout errors after SSD upgrade on ICH7R based Intel SATA controllers

"When a system is stable, telling the worker about mistakes is only tampering."

The quite outdated ASUS EEE-PC got an SSD upgrade, replacing the HDD that shipped with it.
I installed Windows 8 and very soon the system crashed seemingly randomly with the mouse and keyboard and screen frozen and the only remedy being a four second button held shutdown.


Before you apply the solution 

  • Check that your SSD is otherwise fine (CrystalDiskInfo)
  • Make sure you have an Intel ICH7R chip-set or similarly affected chip-set
  • You should have similar event log entries as shown here

The system log shows errors indicating the AHCI driver iaStor cannot find the SSD caused by a timeout. 

Event Source: iaStor  
Event-ID 9 
Event General: The device, \Device\Ide\iaStor0, did not respond within the timeout period.
How to fix this
I disabled Link Power Management.(LPM) in the Intel AHCI driver settings in the registry. Where certain keys were not there, I created them manually. LPM can be enabled or disabled on a per port basis. I did this for the first SATA port, exported the key, made minimal changes and applied it again until I had all SATA ports covered. Lastly, a reboot is due. I haven't seen this issue again

ahci.reg This is the .reg files for the sixth port. This chip-set comes with six SATA ports (labeled 0-5) at the most, perhaps less ports and in the case of the EEE-PC even less ports with an actual pin-out.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


 Supplemental I
  • The per port settings
    I have not experimented with the setting. It may be that setting
    "LPM" to 0 deactivates and renders the other settings useless.
  •  Which port to deactivate for LPM?
    Again, going from 0-5 may be over the top. Getting the right port, the port to which the SSD is connected, may be enough. Other devices may work fine with LPM. The right port can be found by trial and error or other means.
  • Don't I need LPM?
    Most likely you won't miss it. On mobile devices it may lead to slightly reduced battery times, on the other hand users report of increased performance after deactivating LPM
  • Who is to blame?
    Unknown. Reportedly version ten of Intel's AHCI driver was the first to automatically activate LPM. Later drivers (11 and higher) do not work with the ICH7. The error must be located somewhere in the triangle SSD (with possibly faulty LPM implementation), ICH7R SATA controller and lastly the Intel AHCI SATA driver. Anyone of these, or a combination could be the cause of the timeouts.

Supplemental II
Make sure the SSD is not actually broken. I use CrystalDiskInfo.
Device details:
(BIOS Revision 0901, 03/04/10)
Intel Chipset with ICH7R AHCI SATA Controller
Latest driver version: AHCI driver (date Oct 17 2011)


    OS : Windows 8.1 Pro [6.3 Build 9600] (x64)
  Date : 2015/01/04 5:10:38

-- Controller Map ----------------------------------------------------------
 + Intel(R) ICH7R/DH SATA AHCI Controller [ATA]
   - SanDisk SDSSDP128G
 - Microsoft Storage Spaces Controller [SCSI]

-- Disk List ---------------------------------------------------------------
 (1) SanDisk SDSSDP128G : 126,0 GB [0/0/0, pd1] - sd

 (1) SanDisk SDSSDP128G

           Model : SanDisk SDSSDP128G
        Firmware : 3.2.0
   Serial Number : ************
       Disk Size : 126,0 GB (8,4/126,0/126,0/126,0)
     Buffer Size : Unknown
     Queue Depth : 32
    # of Sectors : 246162672
   Rotation Rate : ---- (SSD)
       Interface : Serial ATA
   Major Version : ACS-2
   Minor Version : ACS-2 Revision 3
   Transfer Mode : SATA/300 | SATA/600
  Power On Hours : 67 hours
  Power On Count : 154 count
      Host Reads : 212 GB
     Host Writes : 170 GB
     Temperature : 32 C (89 F)
   Health Status : Good (100 %)
        Features : S.M.A.R.T., APM, 48bit LBA, NCQ, TRIM, DevSleep
       APM Level : 0000h [OFF]
       AAM Level : ----


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