As usual, technically challenged git that I am, I misread the setting for the current transfer mode in the device manager for the secondary IDE channel controller. It had abruptly changed from DMA to PIO. PIO is bad Apparently a cd or dvd port can fall back to PIO mode if the disc is scratched or unreadable. This can also happen to the hard disc port. Heaven forbid!
This link was brilliant! Go for the quick solution link (top) first, then read on for the details. With virtually one click, a restart, manually changing the setting back to DMA and another restart, the DMA setting was restored and my read speed immediately jumped back to over 8x where it’s been for the last 7 years. You gotta love that!
Wouldn’t it be great if I really started to understand all this stuff? One of these days…