Disabling the Write Cache feature in Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7

Explains the advantages of enabling the write cache for Windows on an external drive.

Windows 2000 Professional / Server, Windows XP Home / Professional, Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a nifty little feature called write caching buried within the depths of property tabs. Normally, this type of feature is used with SCSI drives in server applications to provide greater data integrity.

When drives employ write-back cache, any interruption of power to the drive or system may cause lost or corrupted data because the drive does not have time to write the cached data to the disk before the power is lost. However, when write cache is turned off, drive performance slows down.


  1. In Windows Vista / 7, click on the Start button, then right-click on Computer and select Manage.  In Windows XP or 2000, right-click on My Computer and select Manage.
  2. On the left-hand side of the Computer Management window, click on Device Manager
  3. On the right-hand side, expand Disk Drives
  4. Right-click on the hard drive model and select Properties
  5. In Windows 7, Vista, or XP, click on the Policies tab.  In Windows 2000, click on the Disk Properties tab. 
  6. In Windows 7, Vista, or XP, click on the check box next to Enable write caching on the disk to clear it.  In Windows 2000, click on the check box next to Write Cache Enable to clear it. 
  7. Click on the OK button to accept your settings. 

Additionally for external hard drives, choose "Optimize for Quick Removal" in the Policies tab in Windows Vista and XP, or un-check the "Write Cache Enable" box in the Disk Properties tab in Windows 2000, which amounts to the same thing and can help prevent corrupt partitions or data loss due to an unexpected external hard drive disconnection.

The default for this feature is checked or enabled. If you need to slow your hard drive down to resolve issues such as timing problems, have ongoing unexpected system shutdowns or disconnections due to power outages or other, it is recommended that you disable the write-caching feature.