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Article ID: 330174 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 7.0

This article was previously published under Q330174

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Symptoms

When you save or move large documents, or otherwise try to manage your files in Windows XP, you intermittently receive the following error message:
Delayed Write Failed
This article is intended for intermediate to advanced users.

Cause

This error typically occurs when the "Enable write caching on the disk" feature for your hard disk is turned on.

However, if the "Enable write caching on the disk" feature is turned off, this error can occur because the Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) hard disk controller may be configured in either of the following ways:
  • You are using a 40-wire connector cable to connect the UDMA drive to the controller instead of the required 80-wire, 40-pin cable.
  • The BIOS settings are configured to force faster UDMA modes.
For more information about the delayed write failure, go to the "Delayed Write Failure information" section.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, first check whether the "Enable write caching on the disk" feature is turned on. If it is turned on, turn it off. To do this, follow these steps.

Note If you turn off the "Enable write caching on the disk" feature, your hard disk may perform more slowly and may affect the overall system performance of your computer. Because of this, you may want to monitor system performance after you follow the steps in this section.

To turn off Enable write caching on the disk, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  2. Right-click the hard disk, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Hardware tab.
  4. Click to select the hard disk, and then click Properties.
  5. Click the Policies tab.
  6. Click to clear the Enable write caching on the disk check box, and then click OK.
  7. Click OK to close the Local Disk (C:) Properties dialog box.
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each hard disk that is installed in your computer.
If these steps resolve the error message, you are finished.

If these steps do not resolve the error message, or if the feature is already turned off, go to the "Advanced Troubleshooting" section. This section is intended for advanced computer users. If you are not comfortable with advanced troubleshooting, contact Support. For information about how to do this, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/ (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/)

ADVANCED TROUBLESHOOTING

Make sure that the hard disk controller is configured correctly

To make sure that the hard disk controller is configured correctly, check the cable connection and the BIOS settings. First, try method 1.

Method 1: Check that you are using an 80-wire, 40-pin cable

Make sure that your UDMA hard disk controller is using an 80-wire, 40-pin cable. For information about how to do this, see the documentation that is included with your computer, or contact your UDMA hard disk controller manufacturer.

If you are using an 80-wire, 40-pin cable, go to method 2.
If you are not using this cable, obtain and use an 80-wire, 40-pin cable, and then test to determine whether this resolves the error message.

If this resolves the error message, you are finished.

If this does not resolve the error message, go to method 2.

Method 2: Check the BIOS settings

Warning Do not change the BIOS settings unless you are very familiar with all the effects of changing BIOS settings.

Make sure that the BIOS settings are not configured to force faster UDMA modes. For information about how to do this, see the documentation that is included with your computer, or contact your computer manufacturer.

If the BIOS settings are not configured to force master UDMA modes, go to the "Delayed Write Failure information" section for information about additional measures that you can take to prevent the "Delayed Write Error" message from recurring.
If the BIOS settings are configured to force master UDMA modes, change the settings, and then test to determine whether this resolves the error message.

If this resolves the error message, you are finished.

If this does not resolve the error message, go to the "Delayed Write Failure information" section.

Delayed Write Failure information

After you check the cable connection and BIOS settings, you may want to take additional measures to prevent the "Delayed Write Error" message from recurring.

A delayed write failure may occur if data is corrupted. Data corruption may occur if the Large System Cache feature is enabled for memory usage in Windows XP. If this feature is enabled, the number of page table entries that Windows XP must maintain may be increased, and in extreme cases, may be exhausted. Although this problem does not occur on all systems, the following key factors may cause data corruption:
  • System memory that is more than 512 megabytes (1 gigabyte of RAM is common)
  • Large NTFS disk volumes and multiple large volumes (60-100 gigabyte hard drives, possibly in RAID arrays)
  • AGP graphics with large AGP resource requirements (more than the default AGP aperture)
  • Large file transfers. This problem occurs when the computer runs out of system page table entries. When the computer is started, Windows determines the default number of page table entries to assign, based on how much system memory is available.
To avoid data corruption, make sure that the system cache is not selected for memory usage by disabling the System Cache feature. To do this, go to the "Make sure that System Cache is not selected for memory usage" section.

Make sure that System Cache is not selected for memory usage

If you are transferring large files, the system may run out of system page table entries, which may cause the "Delayed Write Failure" error message. To prevent an increase in the number of page table entries that Windows XP must maintain and to prevent these from being exhausted, make sure that the System Cache option is not selected for memory usage. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties to open the System Properties dialog box.
  2. Click the Advanced tab, and then under Performance, click Settings to open the Performance Options dialog box.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. Under Memory Usage, click to select Programs, and then click OK.
  5. Click OK to close the System Properties dialog box.
If these steps worked, you are finished.

If these steps did not work for you, try the workaround.

Workaround: Increase the number of page table entries

If you still receive "Delayed Write Failure" error messages after you try the troubleshooting methods in this article, you may be able to work around this problem by increasing the number of page table entries available to the system. To do this, follow these steps.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. Locate the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
  3. In the details pane, right-click the SystemPages value, and then click Modify
    Note Default value is 0 (hex)
    .
  4. In the Value data box, type 7FFF, and then click OK.
    Note You could try using the following alternate values:
    • 7FFF = 32,000
    • PTEs BFFF = 50,000
    • PTEs 24FFF = 150,000 PTEs

    Note The FFFFFFFF value should not be used. If you set it too high, you might run out of paged pool memory.
  5. Exit Registry Editor.
  6. Restart
  7. Monitor the Memory \ Free System Page Table Entries in Perfmon.
If this workaround did not resolve the error message, you might want to review the solutions in the "Similar Problems and Solutions" section, or contact Support. For information about how to contact Support, go to the "Next Steps" section.

SIMILAR PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

If this article does not address your issue, you may find that you have a similar issue, or that your issue can be resolved by another article. If you receive a "File Lock" or "Access Denied" error message, go to the "File Lock or Access Denied information" section. For more similar problems, go to the "More information" section.

File Lock or Access Denied information

If you try to open a file that is stored on the network, and then try to save changes to the file, or if you open a file such as a Microsoft Excel workbook by using a universal naming convention (UNC) path, you may receive a file lock or access denied error message. For more information about file lock or access denied error messages when you save files to a UNC path, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
812937  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/812937/ ) File lock or access denied error message when you save files over the network

More information

For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
818788  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/818788/ ) "{Delayed Write Failed}" error message when you unplug a USB 2.0 storage device
321733  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321733/ ) Error message when you write a file to a server from a Windows XP-based or a Windows 2000-based computer: "Delayed Write Failed"
831594  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/831594/ ) "Delayed Write Failed" error message when you try to save a file or to exit OneNote 2007 or OneNote 2003
870894  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/870894/ ) You receive a "Delayed Write Failed" error message in Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005
842520  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/842520/ ) "Delayed Write Failed" error may occur after you save a file in Windows XP
If these articles do not resolve the error message, go to the "Next Steps" section.

NEXT STEPS

If these methods did not work for you, you can use the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web site to find other solutions to your problem. Some services that the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web sites provide include the following:
  • Searchable Knowledge Base (http://support.microsoft.com/search/?adv=1) : Search technical support information and self-help tools for Microsoft products.
  • Solution Centers (http://support.microsoft.com/select/?target=hub) : View product-specific frequently asked questions and support highlights.
  • Other Support Options (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?pr=csshome) : Use the Web to ask a question, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services, or provide feedback.
If you continue to have problems, you might want to contact Support:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus)

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbresolve kberrmsg kbprb KB330174
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