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KB #240044: IO errors when using SIS (Silicon Integrated Systems) based motherboards with Encryptionizer

Type: Fix
Summary:
This references systems built with chips manufactured by Silicon Integrated Systems (www.sis.com). The special SISIDE mini-driver provided for these systems installs a stealth “performance cache” that is incompatible with SQL Server as well as Encryptionizer.

 

Additional Information:
This applies to SIS-based systems that use the special SISIDE drivers. It does not apply to SIS-based systems using the built-in Windows IDE drivers. The special SISIDE drivers must be downloaded from the system vendor’s website: they are not normally pre-installed on the system.The problem is not with the SISIDE drivers themselves. However, the installation utility also installs a stealth “performance cache” that is incompatible with Microsoft SQL Server. See Microsoft KB articles 46091 and 234656 for more information.

With the stealth performance cache installed, you may experience a “suspect database”, or “torn page” errors. In general, the problems appear to be only during read access, and do not appear to cause any corruption. However, if your system crashes while SQL Server is running, you may end up with a permanently corrupted database (with or without Encryptionizer).

We recommend that you do not install the SISIDE drivers, but instead use the “native” IDE drivers that come with Windows. In fact, on most normal systems, the stealth performance cache will not increase performance at all.

However, if you have already installed the SISIDE drivers, we have created a special utility, sisfix which will disable the stealth performance cache. (You can try uninstalling the SISIDE drivers, but this does not always work.)

The utility, sisfix, will simply disable the stealth performance cache. Afterwards you will need to reboot, so do not run the utility until you are able to immediately reboot after the utility completes. So far, we have not had any reports of a BSOD (also called “blue screen”) related to this utility. However, if you get a BSOD after rebooting, you should press F8 and boot into the “last known good configuration”.

If you have not yet installed the SISIDE drivers, you can disable the performance cache by modifying the setup.ini that comes with the SISIDE driver install utility:

  1. Check to see if setup.ini is marked Readonly. If it is, remove the Readonly attribute so you can modify the file.
  2. Edit setup.ini and look for the lines:
       ;Increase disk performance for winxp/win2000
    Performance=1
    
  3. Change the second line to:
       Performance=0
  4. Save the modified file.
  5. Run the setup utility

This will cause the SISIDE drivers to be installed without the stealth cache.

 

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