Some Windows users are reporting that they always end up seeing a warning (Ultra DMA CRC Error Count) when analyzing their HDD using the HD Tune utility. While some affected users are seeing this with used hard drivers, others are reporting this issue with brand new HDDs.
What is Ultra DMA CRC Error Count?
This is a S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) parameter that indicates the total quantity of CRC errors during UltraDMA mode. The raw value of this attribute indicates the number of errors found during data transfer in UltraDMA mode by ICRC (Interface CRC).
But keep in mind that this parameter is considered informational by most hardware vendors. Although the degradation of this parameter can be regarded as an indicator of an aging drive with potential electromechanical problems, it does NOT directly indicate imminent driver failure.
To get the complete picture of the health of your HDD, you need to pay attention to other parameters and the overall drive health.
After investigating this issue thoroughly, it turns out that there are several different underlying causes that might end up produce this particular error code:
- Generic False Positive – Keep in mind that a warning thrown around by the HD Tune utility does not necessarily mean that your HDD is failing. This utility uses generic aggregated from every manufacturer, so concerning data from one manufacturer might not be concerning for another. To get a more accurate result, you will need to run the brand-specific diagnostic tool and see if the same kind of warning occurs.
- Incompatibility between Samsung SSD and SATA Controller – If you’re encountering this issue with an SSD, chances are it’s due to a conflict between your solid-state drive and the Microsoft or AMD SATA controller driver. To fix this incompatibility, you’ll need to use Registry Editor to disable NCQ (Native Command Queue).
- Faulty SATA Cable or SATA port – As it turns out, you can also expect to encounter this type of issue if you’re dealing with a faulty SATA port or a non-congruent SATA cable. In this case, you can identify the culprit by testing the HDD on a different machine and replacing the current SATA cable.
- Failing HDD or SSD – Under certain circumstances, you can expect to see this error warning in the early stages of a failing drive. In this case, the only thing you can do is back up your data before the drive breaks up for good and start looking for a replacement.
Now that you know the very potential scenario that might cause this error code, here’s a list of methods that will help you identify and resolve the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count error:
Method 1: Running the brand-specific diagnostic tool
Keep in mind that the HD Tune Utility is a 3rd party tool that will ‘judge’ the heath of an HDD solely by comparing them against a set of generic values.
Because of this, it’s highly recommended to avoid making a decision based on HD Tune Utility alone and instead run the brand-specific diagnostic tool – The official testing tools are specifically designed for their brand products.
Depending on your HDD manufacturer, install and scan your hard drive with the proprietary diagnostic utility. To make matters easier for you, we’ve made a list of the most popular brand-specific diagnostic tools:
- SeaTools (Seagate)
- Samsung Magician (Samsung)
- Data Lifeguard Diagnostic (WD)
- PC Diagnostic Tool (Toshiba)
- G-Technology Assistant (G-Tech)
Note: If your HDD manufacturer is not included in the list above, search online for specific steps on your brand-specific diagnostic tool, then install and run it to see if the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count is still off.
If the manufacturer-specific diagnostic tool doesn’t raise any concerns in relation to the value of Ultra DMA CRC Error Count, then you can safely ignore the warning thrown by HD Tune.
However, if the warning is also displayed in the manufacturer-specific analysis tool, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 2: Fix the Incompatibility between Samsung SSD and SATA Controller (if applicable)
As it turns out, the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count error is not restricted to an HDD and can also occur if you’re using an SSD.
But if you’re seeing this error with a Samsung SSD, there’s a high chance that the issue has nothing to do with a bad cable or solid-state health – It’s most likely due to an incompatibility between your Samsung SSD and your chipset Sata controller.
If you find yourself in this particular scenario, you can fix the issue and prevent this warning from appearing by disabling NCQ (Native Command Queue) in your SATA driver.
Note: This will not affect the functionality of your SATA drive.
If this scenario is applicable, the instructions below to fix the incompatibility between your Samsung SSD and the Sata Controller:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, inside the text box, type ‘regedit’, then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up the Registry Editor with admin access. When you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant administrative access.
- Once you’re inside the Registry Editor, use the left-hand menu to navigate to the following locations, depending on if you’re using a Microsoft SATA Controller driver or a AMD SATA Controller driver:
Microsoft SATA Controller location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\storahci\Parameters\Device AMD SATA Controller driver location: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\amd_sata\Parameters\Device
Note: You can either navigate here manually or you can paste the location directly into the navigation bar
- Once you’re inside the correct location, right-click on Device, then choose New > Dword (32-bit) Value from the context menu that just appeared.
- Next, name the newly created DWORD NcqDisabled if you’re using the Microsoft SATA Controller driver, or name it AmdSataNCQDisabled if you’re using the AMD SATA Controller driver.
- Finally, double-click on the DWORD that you’ve just created then set the Base to Hexadecimal and the value to 1 to disable NCQ and prevent the same incompatibility from creating the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count error.
If the same issue is still occurring even after following the instructions above or this scenario was not applicable, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 3: Replace the power and SATA cable
As several affected users have confirmed, this particular issue can also be associated with a faulty SATA cable or a faulty SATA port. Because of this, the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count error can also be a symptom of a non-congruent cable.
To test this theory, you can connect your HDD to a different computer (or at least use a different SATA port + cable) if you don’t have a second machine to do some testing on.
After you replaced the SATA port, repeat the scan inside HD Tune utility and see if the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count error is still occurring – If the issue has stopped occurring, consider taking your motherboard to an IT technician to investigate for loose pins.
On the other hand, if the issue doesn’t occur while you use a different SATA cable, you’ve just managed to identify your culprit.
In case you’ve eliminated both the SATA cable and the SATA port from the list of culprits, move down to the next potential fix below as the issue is definitely occurring due to a failing drive.
Method 4: Backup your HDD data
If you’ve previously made sure that you were right to concern yourself with the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count error, the first thing you should do is backup your data to ensure that you’re not losing anything in case the drive goes bad.
If you’re looking to back up your HDD data while you figure out which replacement to get, keep in mind that you have two ways forward – You can either backup your HDD using the built-in feature or you can use a 3rd party utility.
A. Backing up the files on your HDD via Command Prompt
If you’re comfortable with using an elevated CMD terminal, you can create a backup and save it on external storage without the need to install a 3rd party software.
But keep in mind that depending on your preferred approach, you might need to insert or plugin-compatible installation media.
If you’re comfortable with this approach, here are the instructions for backup your files from an Elevated Command prompt.
B. Backing up the files on your HDD via an Imaging 3rd party software
On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with trusting a 3rd party utility with your HDD backup, you’ll have a lot of extra features that are simply not available when creating a regular backup via Command Prompt.
You can use a 3rd party backup software to either clone or create an image of your HDD and save it externally or on the cloud. Here’s a list of the best cloning & imaging software that you should consider using.
Method 5: Send your HDD for replacement or order a replacement
If you’ve made sure that the Ultra DMA CRC Error Count warning you’re seeing is genuine and you have successfully backed up your HDD data in advance, the only thing you can do right now is to look for a replacement.
Of course, if your HDD is still protected by the warranty, you should send it in for repair right away.
But if the warranty has expired or you have the option to return it still, our recommendation is to stay away from the legacy HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and go for SSD (Solid State Drive) instead.
Although SSD is still more expensive than traditional HDD, there are much less prone to break and the speed is incomparable in favor of SSD (10x more writing and reading speeds).
If you’re in the market for an SSD, here’s our advanced guide to buying the best solid-state drive for your needs.