Windows 8 will be released to the masses in October of this year. As a developer, I’m lucky enough to get Windows 8 RTM a bit earlier.

Despite what everyone is saying, the new Start Screen really isn’t that bad. In fact, it will be very nice once all your apps are updated to take full advantage of it. And contrary to popular belief, the desktop is still around, and everything works pretty much like it did in Windows 7.

Still, I have a few gripes: There are no more gadgets. Instead, there are live tiles on the Start Screen. That’s lame.

Worse yet, I have experienced the infamous hanging/freezing issue that was supposedly fixed during the testing phases of Windows 8.

In short, every 30 minutes or so, my puter would lock up for about 30 seconds, the hard drive would be pegged to 100%, and then everything would go back to normal.

Like I said, Microsoft supposedly fixed this in the test versions of Windows 8 – but it seems they didn’t, really.

There are many solutions to be found on Google, but there is only 1 that worked for me…

If you look in the event viewer, you will see that every time Windows 8 locks up for 30 seconds, you get 2 entries:

  • WARNING  —  storahci  —  Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort0, was issued.
  • WARNING  —  disk  —  The IO operation at logical block address 5b9408 for Disk 1 was retried.

If you search Google, you’ll find various explanations of how to fix this problem. The most popular are:

The command-line solution from My Digital Life Forms:

I had the same problem. Then I found a topic here, where a guy had intel motherboard and win8 freeze during boot. Somebody told him that it is win8’s fault, and there is something what we have to type into CMD and solves the problem. It solved for me.

type this into CMD: bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes it solves the freezing problem. And don’t forget to restart.

The Hyper-V Install fix from Paul Thurrott’s site:

But one thing did work. And while it’s working perfectly for me—three days and no hangs at all, fingers crossed—it may not work for you. I’ve tried this on three PCs, to great results. But there’s no guarantee.

And that workaround is…

Install Hyper-V.

I explain how to do this, and what the requirements are, in Windows 8 Feature Focus: Client Hyper-V.

Miscellaneous other fixes:

  • Install the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers
  • Reinstall/Reset Windows 8
  • Defrag your hard drive
  • Mess around with TRIM if you have an SSD
  • Stand on your head while patting your tummy and sipping a cup of espresso (don’t get any up your nose)

Well, I tried the command-line fix. I tried installing the Intel RST drivers. I installed Hyper-V. I even stood on my head…

But nothing worked.

Just a note here: I have to say that the Microsoft community forums were seriously Useless since they were the ones who recommended a Reset or Reinstall of Windows 8. Seriously? I mean, I just installed the damn OS, it’s brand new, and they think the solution is to reinstall/reset?!  Methinks not. Thanks for nothing.

Anyway, many people also noted that this hang problem only occurs if you have Windows 8 installed on an SSD. Not so, my friends. The freezes I experienced were for my normal HDD. My SSD worked fine.

They also say that this is a particular issue with Sandy Bridge machines. Guilty, your honor! I do have a Sandy Bridge puter.

I then tried various combinations of the above solutions, to no avail.

This was getting to be a seriously annoying problem. But then I found a post on the Windows 8 Forums by user “borate”:

+++++++++ UPDATE ++++++++++

After a full week of stability it appears that the problem is resolved and may have been caused by a combination of missing or incorrect drivers/settings…

Since the SATA drives (running AHCI mode) were set to enable “hot swap” in the BIOS and LPM was disabled in PCI power management there have been no further instances. Earlier, the latest AHCI SATA drivers were installed, and those may have contributed to the fix.

Why these changes were necessary and not made by the O/S upon install is problematic. Hopefully, the RTM will do better.

AHA! Now that makes sense! Since the hard drive seems to be pegged for 30 seconds, and since it seemed that Windows 8 couldn’t access the hard drive and was issuing a reset, it made sense that changing the BIOS hotswap setting just might work.

So, I went into the UEFI (new type of BIOS) screen at boot, and I set my SSD and HDD to Hot Swap = Enabled.

For 2 days now, I haven’t had a single disk error in the Event Logs. WOOHOO!!

Note that the Link Power Management change borate speaks of above was not necessary in my case. Also, I’m using the standard Microsoft storahci driver, not Intel’s RST driver.

I really hope that Microsoft gets their act together and fixes this before the general availability of Windows 8. This is a bug that should never have made it into the RTM version of Windows 8.  Since newer machines with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors generally use UEFI instead of the old-school BIOS, and all the systems I’ve worked with have the setting for hot swappable drives, this is a major problem. Lots of people are reporting it, from what I can see.

Seems to me this could become a rather show-stopping bug that could knock the wind out of Windows 8’s momentum – especially considering people’s fear/hatred of the revised interface.

Well, we’ll see. In the meantime, try enabling hotswap for your drives, and see if that doesn’t fix the freeze/hang issue for you, too!

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