The Windows IDE Hard Drive Cache Package provides a workaround to a recently identified issue with computers that have the combination of Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) hard disk drives with large caches and newer/faster processors. Computers with this combination may risk losing data if the hard disk shuts down before it can preserve the data in its cache. Modern IDE hard drives typically store disk writes in a hardware cache (temporary memory) and write the data to the hard disk later. Ã????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??Write cachingÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢?? is a performance enhancement designed to increase overall write speeds. During shutdown, data from the cache is written to the hard disk for storage until the computer is turned on again. During a typical shutdown process, any data written just before shutdown may still reside on the hard disk's hardware cache. Older processors typically execute the shutdown code slowly enough that the hard disk's cache flushed the written data to the physical media before the machine lost power. As processors have increased in speed, the shutdown time has decreased to the point that data may still be in the hardware cache when a computer is turned off, and that data may be lost. This increased processor time, coupled with the fact that hard drive caches have increased in size further increase the chance of data loss. This is not a problem that is specific to Windows, or any given operating system, for that matter. Nor is it specific to any one brand of processor or hardware -- it is an industry-wide issue that affects a variety of vendors. The good news for Windows 98, Second Edition (SE) and Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) customers is that Microsoft offers this update until the industry can address the issue. At this point, Windows 2000 is not affected by this issue, and does not require the update. This update introduces a slight delay in the shutdown process. The delay of two seconds allows the hard drive's onboard cache to write any data to the hard drive. Note: Because the Windows IDE Hard Drive Cache Package updates your system files and requires you to restart your computer after installation, please save and close all open documents and close all programs before installing the update. For more information on this issue, please read the Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) Article Q273017.
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