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  Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart" error. 
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TOm Wallin Dec 08, 2005, 12:15pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Similar problem here. I have 2 hard drives the original 20gb and a second 200gb WD that was my master. My computer froze up and when I restarted I got the disk read error. I made my original HD the master and the system boots find and I am able to access the 200 gb HD. So my assumptions are as follows:
1. The IDE cable works
2. its not a corrupt HD.
Solutions...Here is where i need the help how do I reset the MBR (I dont know how to change my bios to boot with a CD) and will this fix the problem?
Thanks for all of your help.

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Cristian Cocos Dec 19, 2005, 11:49pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Yep, happened to me as well couple of days ago. Of course the HDD in question is a brand new Maxtor, so I have really good reasons to suspect a HDD failure of some sort (boy, I knew I should've bought a Seagate!). Anyway, I have no problem accessing the data on the hard drive; trouble is I have no room to store 90 Gs elsewhere. Booted with Hiren's latest edn, and also with UBCD4Win 2.5, accessed the data and all. No problem here. Some diags (including, of course, Maxtor's own PowerMax) turned up just fine, others reported problems. Maxtor's Tech Support has been informed, though I really don't expect much from them. Here's hoping I can get my money back, though it looks unlikely that's gonna happen.

[Edit: tried low-level formatting the drive with PowerMax, and it finally reported an error code: d46ba869. It's Maxtor's fault, alright.]

jamie macintyre Jan 05, 2006, 01:15am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
This problem is definitely associated with the file system. Something that every user should have is Ultimate Recovery CD. It contains all software programs necessary to fix just about anything without data loss. I just added a slave drive and moved a bunch of data onto master drive and the disk read error came up. Put in Ultimate Recovery CD, launched Partition Table Doctor and boom-fixed. Literally 2 minutes. Ultimate Recovery CD runs on Microsoft windows miniPE-XT platform. I have saved over a dozen reformats with this . I would highly recommend it

David Drasin Jan 13, 2006, 04:42am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
I appreciate the discussion here. Very helpful in solving this problem. First, I had the Error Loading Operating System Error. I set by BIOS from Auto to Large, which brought me to the Disk Read Error.

After having read these messages and trying a few things, I ended up using my partition magic boot disk and converted my partition to FAT32 from NTFS. That seems to have done the trick. Once WinXP is done installing, I'll try convering back. If I have any notable results, I'll post back.

Nathan Friedman Jan 16, 2006, 04:03am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
i got this problem too just recently. my problem came up when installing a new hard drive. 250gb western digital. unfortunately the bios does not support this (only 137gb). the weird thing is i installed windows and everything fine and for the first two days or so everything was fine and the entire hard drive was detected in windows. then one morning i get the disk read error. i'm wondering if it's possible that the once info is written on the HDD past the 137gb mark it can no longer bbot up. the drive still works as a slave. i even tried to do another clean install of windows but i still got the same problem; after a few days of wroking fine i got a disk read error. so for now i'm using it as a slave and trying to use such tools as partition table doctor, but so far i've had no luck.
-thanks in advance, Nate

Vinod B Jan 16, 2006, 06:06am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Hello all. My daugher has just started experiencing this on her 3 year old Sony Vaio laptop running XP Home, 256MB RAM, 20GB HDD, DVD-ROM. DId not do anything to make it happen - working fine before driving her back to Univ, but when she arrived and plugged in, got the above message. Reading the posts, looks like a very worrying problem.

My request - how do you change the BIOS settings? Want to try the "disable IDE bus master" approach, but this doesn't come up on the Set-up screen. Fortunately most work is backed-up, but her unversity coursework done over Christmas is only on the HDD. As I said to her, you only need to experience a wipe-out once to learn to back it all up.


Vinod B Jan 16, 2006, 01:55pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
7pm GMT. Hello again. The problem has now become "Cannot Find Operating System". Haven't done anything except tried CTRL-ATT-DEL every now and again. Seems like progress. We're trying to repair the OS from the original disks tomorrow.

Lee Beck Jan 19, 2006, 08:48am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
This is a really old thread, but continues to be updated, so maybe I'm in the right place. There does appear to be a lot of expertise here.

I got the cited message just after having Nero shut down my machine automatically, though I don't know if that makes a difference. I hadn't used that option on this computer before. I used the XP repair utility that comes on the OS install CD. As warned on this forum, it took hours. It returned a message that it found some problems and repaired them. However, I continue to get the message.

I removed the HDD and put it in another computer. The 2nd computer runs W2K pro. The problematic drive is formatted NTFS but on XP. The W2K computer recognizes the drive, but returns a message "D:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"

Another clue - I had Norton GoBack installed on both machines. II tried GoBack immediately after the "Disk read error" message, and it returned a message that there are no safe points to return to. GoBack saved me many times when running win 95/98 and I fell in love with it. However, GoBack now seems to create more problems than it solves with the newer OS. I had to disable it to get my XP repair utility to run, and had to uninstall it to get my W2k system to recognize the problematic drive (160 GB Seagate).

I've spent a couple of hours browsing various forums. One forum put me onto a $79 piece of software called GetDataBack that claims to recover data from damaged drives. I'm starting to think that I'll need to reformat my HDD. Has anyone had experience with GetDataBack? I hate to spend the money, but I've gone through the data loss and replace thing before and I see it as preferable to reconstructing my data. However, I'm assuming that I'll still need to reinstall all my programs. Is there a software that will clone a HDD that responds with the "not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" message. Maybe it's only the MBR or other critical system file that's corrupted but the other stuff is okay and hiding on the drve.

I've presented a lot of information here, so I'll stop rather than to make this post so long that it won't pass the yawn test. Any help will be appreciated.

leastcmplicated Jan 19, 2006, 09:27am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
have you tried the repair console on the xp install disk?

"Log off, that cookies**t makes me nervous" - Tony Soprano
"I don't know what to believe, I just show up and breathe anymore"

Lee Beck Jan 19, 2006, 10:19am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Yes, That's what I meant when I reported{quote]I used the XP repair utility that comes on the OS install CD.[/quote]

John dwyer Jan 20, 2006, 11:32am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart

I get the same message on my emachines recently and am unable to access the drive. I installed a new drive as the primary and put the error one on as slave. When i boot I see the bios sees the drive but in XP device manager the drive only shows up when you do a hardware sacne however in My Computer the drive does not show up so I cannot run ant recovery programmes or chksdsk as the computer does not see the drive. Does anyone no how I can see the the drive in my computer and try an fix the error. tI do not want to reformat the disk as i need some data off it.

Any ideas

Lee Beck Jan 20, 2006, 08:26pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Yu might want to try the free download from and run GetDataBack. I'm about one step behind you. I'm probably going to get a new HDD and try to get data from my failed boot drive, where I believe that I have a damaged MBR or somethng. Device Manager says the drive is okay but I'm getting the message that is the subject of this thread.

GetDataBack free download will allow you to see the data if it's recoverable but won't allow you to save it until you buy the $50 software download.

At least you'll be able to see if your data is recoverable.

John dwyer Jan 21, 2006, 12:39pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Thanks I will try it, I just hope the software sees the drive


T L Jan 26, 2006, 09:30pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
samething like this just happened to me today, i tried to reboot from WINDOS XP disk but my computer just froze and nothing happens. Can someone help me?

Bill Paquette Jan 27, 2006, 08:22am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
T L did you read through this BLOG? There are many different suggestions, all which seem to work for someone. Seems to me that there is no difinitive reason for this to happen, you kind of have to try the different ideas and fixes here to see which is the cause. First thing I would do would be to check to make sure your harddirve is set to master. Many companies set it to CS and that seems to work for a while, then XP gets a wild hair and says it wants to know where the master is. This may not work though, it has worked for a lot of folks, if that's the case, continue reading this blog (all 10 pages), I'm sure you can find an answer to fix it.

Good luck.

steve T Jan 27, 2006, 10:05am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
UPDATE to my post from "steve T Apr 20, 2005, 11:37 PM "

I know this update is long overdue.

So my 160GB harddrive had crashed and the event horizon approached quickly, but in a pinch, VOGON was there to save the day.

But seriously...

VOGON International, which is based out of Oklahoma, has a smaller company, Authentec, whose sole purpose is to recover date from the personal HDs of poor schmoes like me. VOGON handles big business, and as such, charges big money. Authentec's fee for me: When it was all said and done, I paid them almost $950 dollars (not including the Seagate 300GB HD that I purchased and mailed to them for the data backup).

What did Authentec do?
A dedicate engineer, who usually works on VOGON projects, spent his free time performing a low level scan on my HD, attempting to read the Master File Table, and trying to recreate the original file structure of my HD. This process took weeks.

What did I get?
Folders. Aproximately 20,000 folders with a total file count of around, oh, may 500,000 files. It was 90GB of data broken up into sequentially numbered folders which corresponded to whatever folders in which any of the data orginally resided. What does this mean? It means that if I was working on a website that was 5 directories deep with data in each of 5 folders, I would end up with about 25 sequentially numbered folders as the recovered product. Ofcourse, what this means is that I would have to rename each folder and drop them back into their *original* respective directories with the *original* names in order to get something useful out of the recovery. Keep in mind that, at this point, it would be impossible to know what WAS *original*. This scenario spanning over 90GB of data should give you a clearer picture of what I am talking about.

Why did this happen?
Apparently, I suffered a "head" touchdown, whereby the HD read/write head touches down on the delicate surface of the HD platter and scrapes off some of the metal foil that is the recording layer. This, by itself, is not catastrophic. The MFT (master file table) keeps a record of directory/file names and associations. It maintains the organized structure of your HD. Anything else on your HD can get damaged, and you will only loose that particular damaged data. Destroy the MFT, and you're screwed... well, not completely.

See, my original goal was to get all the data recovered from my HD so that it could just be copied straight over to another one I would be good to go with maybe just a simple OS reinstallation and some program reinstallation (yeah, over a hundred different programs...). But as it turned out, such was not my luck. Apparently, the head crashed into the MFT, which as apparently not too uncommon. The MFT get's accessed A LOT. Remember? It maintains your directory structure. Everytime you write, erase, or move files, it gets updated. Statistically speaking, the head is most likely to touch down there than anywhere else. The engineer spent a lot of time doing low-level scans to retrieve the full MFT, but alas, was not able to. As he explained it, it is no good unless you have the entire MFT.

Let us segue for a moment into what may have cause all this rucous. My engineer explained that most HD crashes are caused by mechanical shock (like dropping your laptop while it's ON). In this case, he suspected overheating of the HD case which may have lead to bending of the read head and a subsequent touchdown. Touchdown. If it had been a head crash, I would be much poorer right now, because he would have had to disassemble Johnny-5, I mean my hard drive, and reassemble the platter in a working, similar, drive, in a clean-room (airbourne-particulate-free sterilized room). A touchdown meant that the read head still worked, even though it had scraped a spot of the recording layer off the hard disk. So how could the overheating have been caused? His thought is that, since my HD was a Maxtor SATA, the additional circuitry required to control these new HD may have increased the core temperature of the HD along with whatever poor cooling scheme Dell had integrated into my Dimension 8400. He stated that he had seen a rash of SATA HDs coming in with this problem - many of them made by Maxtor. His suggestion? By Seagate. So I did. Oh yeah, and KEEP YOUR HARD DRIVES COOL.

So he couldn't retreive the entire MFT. Now what. He explained that the next process involved scanning the HD from beginning to end in order to retrieve all the data off of it, sequentially. This is where defragmenting a HD plays a big role. Your HD is just a disk on which data gets recorded. It might not look like tape, but similar properties apply. Data still gets recorded, on cluster after another and in sequence in one direction, where possible (remember, defrag). Since my HD was fairly new, he was able to pull off almost ALL the data I had written to it since day one. What I received in the mail, almost a month later, was a disk with sequentially numbered folders (20,000+) that represented all the data that was written to my HD since day 1.

Now, combing through 90GB of data is not as easy as it sounds. By the time I received the HD with the backed up data, I had already put a new SATA HD in my computer and gotten it back up and running again. So I installed the backup SATA HD (the Seagate drive I had purchased and mailed to them) into my computer. I quickly discovered how much windows search sucks when trying to search quickly. So I installed Google Desktop Search and let it archive the data. Yes, it took a long time. I let it run for the day. With this method, finding what I needed was infinitely faster. From here on out, there really is not much more I can say that will benefit anyone else. I you have a memory like I do, recovering your lost data with this method will work... because you have to actually remember EVERYTHING that was on your HD in the first place. While Google Desktop Search was a godsend, I still need windows search, as it let me find folders by extension, like *.jpg, and drag and drop them were I wanted them recovered.

The major part of data retrieva on my end took about a month, but overall, it still isn't done. I'll fish around that backup occasionally and find a .txt here, or a .doc there or a .jpg, .psd, .xls, .il, .vis, .wav, .mp3, .avi, .mpg, .veg, and on and on...

Needless to say, I'm better about backing stuff up now. As multimedia grows larger and our computers increasingly become the main repositories for the minutiae of our daily lives, archival and recovery will ever increase in the conciousness of computer-user's minds.

I was able to get back everything I really needed, so don't give up on that HD just yet.

T L Jan 28, 2006, 03:42pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
I've read the possible solutions and tried them out but i was unable to format my harddrive. Whenever i attempt to boot from CD the computer just freezes and i have to force manualy shut down the computer. I am still not quite sure if the problem is caused by "video card damage" or HD. Hope i can get some help please.

Kiel Wallace Jan 29, 2006, 10:51am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
I have this error. I got it after installing Lniux and think grub messed with my settings. I was able to read off an external USB enclosure no problem and am going to try the fail safe BIOS settings now.

Pre-Story: Had a 250gb drive split 30/220. Decided to give linux a run again (its been awhile) and split the 30gb 8/2/20gb (20gb had windows on it working). Got tired of linux deleted the 8/2/20 and made it 30 again and got the error after formatting.

I would wipe this disk lowlevel style (its an WD IDE) but it has all my music/graphics/webdesign. I am about 30 seconds from spending some cash on a 300gb sata but I have no cash and dont need more creditcard debt. I dont have a floppy drive so PM off a floppy isnt gonna do it for me :(.

I am going nuts.

Kiel Wallace Jan 29, 2006, 11:40am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Apologies for the double post but I think Im onto something.

I went into the Ubuntu Partition Manager and set my 30gb to bootable and fat32 and left the ntfs partition alone. (This is all one disk) I was able to format to FAT32 (again) from Windows and only got a corrupt system file. I was about to go back to NTFS but then opted to Try AGAIN formatting to FAT32. The second time the format took alot longer and I am in the process of copying over the instal files. Ill post back if I have success.


Well hooray :|. I now have NTLDR is missing but I am goign to try formatting to NTFS now. See if I can get stuff to work.

Paul York Jan 31, 2006, 01:18pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
This is a very general and vauge message that the system gives you based on a number of things. My issue was after I reinstalled a fresh copy of Windows 2000 Server it would give me this message after the first reboot of the install process. So after some reading on here I tried formatting the system FAT32 and install server on a FAT32 partition and Bingo that worked a running system. Then I converted the drive to NTFS and BOOM there was that read error thingy again. NOTE: Windows supposedly has the drivers for my raid card well they do but they apparently do not work on NTFS only FAT32. So the second time around I did the same FAT32 install then undated the RAID driver with the manufacturers driver restarted then converted to NTFS and bingo problem solved so in my case it was a driver issue. I just assumed that since windows did not need the driver to find and install the OS on the raid card I used the one that windows supplied. I know what you are thinking why not supply the OS upon install with the manufacturers driver by hitting F6 well I did but windows ignored it and used the one it had, once again you go microsoft telling us how the world should be. Anyway good luck to all maybe this reply will help someone.

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