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  Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart" error. 
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Richie May 26, 2004, 12:37pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
If that doesn't help,( i take it you already replaced the cables), test the drive, chances are that it is shot.

Richard J Hansen
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David North May 28, 2004, 12:42pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
To add more info...

Same prob this morning on two totally different systems--a Gateway Celeron and a Compaq Duron. Neither is a Maxtor drive (One is Seagate the other is Western Digital).

My son booted the Celeron with the Microsoft Works Install Disk on in the try a and go the "non-system disk error". Removed CD, rebooted and got the "disk read error" which no restart/reboot has cured.

So switching to the Compaq Duron, I plopped in the floppy disk my son needed a picture from and booted up--forgetting the disk was in the drive. "Non System Disk Error". Ok, reboot, "disk read error".

Two machines in two minutes. One just repaired and diagnosed at the shop and the other with a totally clean install and running perfect.

Both have all windows updates through SP1 to present and full virus protection (AVG on one Norton on other).

Maybe I am really unlucky with a dual bios and/or drive glitch simultaneously on two machines by two different manufacturers but this smells supsicious.

I have reattached th ribbon cables and checked power plugs--I'll replace them next and post here if that fixes it--though I just put cables on one this morning and put the others in before.

Both pc's worked fine before this.

Daniel Franks May 28, 2004, 01:28pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Again as in my previous posts and in other's posts from the information I have, although it can be a hardware problem and that should always be checked, the problem that plagues most of the people on this forum would seem to be an unknown issue with Windows XP itself particularly ones that are running SP1. As to date I haven't seen a similar problem that was not a hardware issue on a machine not running WinXP SP1 and to corroborate others that have posted, my friend running a dual boot (WinXP and Linux) using a 3rd party boot loader could still boot to the exact same drive on Linux but an immediate disk read error occurs with WinXP. So in summary maybe this is just another one of those undocumented features :) that M$ has to give users an incentive to buy Longhorn when it is released.

edit:--> The drive(s) in question all can be read from another hdd without a problem, so if all else fails just turn it into a backup drive or run a backup on that drive and zero it.(I would zero it to rule out a lemon drive although be sure to use your drive manufacturer's utility to do so)

Mike Sheaffer Jun 08, 2004, 10:38pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
I had this problem with an HP Pavilion ze4400 notebook. It was working fine, then my browser kept locking up so I rebooted, and then I ran into the disk read error problem.

I booted from the HP Operating System CD (XP SP1), ran chkdsk /r. Once that completed (it found 'one or more problems'), as Daniel suggested earlier, I did a fixmbr and a fixboot. I exited, rebooted, and it booted back up again, no problems.

Thanks for the help...hope this helps someone else.


Ryan K Jun 09, 2004, 03:13am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Hello there,

I have the above problem with my Sony Viao laptop. Just the other day I was installing a new program which went fine, even after I declined to have my computer to reboot in order to activate the new software since i was also working on other things that were on laptop. After I was done with my work, I logged off and then turned off my laptop. Upon rebooting it the next day, that error in the subject field came up..I have not been able to access my hard drive since..I do have the cds provided to me by Sony to reformat the drive C, but I not yet wish to do that since there are some important information that has been stored on my computer that I do wish to retrieve before doing something that there a program that can be saved on a cd or floppy that will at the very least allow me back into my harddrive to perhaps save some of those documents before doing something that drastic? I did have a desktop a few months back that had something of a similair problem..and it came with a cd that allowed me to reinstall windows without messing with the programs already installed on the C there a similiar remedy here? Any help would be appreciated..thanks in advance...

Daniel Franks Jun 09, 2004, 08:31am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Well, the first thing that I would do would be to call Sony. I have known a lot of folks to have lemon drives in Viao laptops so I would definately call them especially since you don't have a real XP CD. If you can get a hold of an XP CD (not the manufacturer CD because it isn't always the full install its "customized" for the company) try the chkdsk /r, fixboot, and fixmbr (I would do it in that order). If that doesn't work you can go to and attain an NT4.0 boot disk which will allow you to boot up and see the files in NTFS. If you are formatted in FAT32, a Win98 boot disk would work excellent as well. All this will allow you to do is to access your system from a DOS enviroment. You can copy your files that you need off of that drive theoretically assuming the hardware itself is still fine. If you are going to format I would look into low leveling the drive as a preventative measure.

arun joshi Jun 12, 2004, 09:56am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
i have the exact same prob.just happened all worked well till yesterday until i left my pc on when i went out.after coming when i switched on the monitor.BOOM the pc behaved very badly since then and used to reboot whenever i did anything with the monitor or at anytime it felt.then once it took half an hour for booting and since then i get this damn message.and no thats not all ,when i run windows setup it says UNABLE TO ACCESS doesnt show any partition but the bios detects it.i dontknow what to do bcoz where to i install if the setup recognises the drive but not the partitions.and i cant even format it.
AND by the way what is LOW-LEVEL format is it any different than the normal format we do?
and the drive is onli 15 DAYS old.
i have another prob i have a maxtor 80gb drive.i used to run winxp on it.then i started the mandrake install and when i rebooted i could only start linux bcause whenever i started winxp it said "Error loading operating system".i reformatted my entire 80gb(deleted all partitions)and ran setup again.again i got the same message.
the funny part is that i can install only 95/98/ME on it but not win 2k or xp.thats bcoz whenever the setup completes the first phase of installation in 2k or xp and it reboots i get the message"error loading operating system".but not when i install win 98 or how do you solve that?i am writing this post in winme on my maxtor drive.i dont wanna lose 2 80gb drives in one new one is a samsung 80gb.
waiting for your help

billy Last Name Here Jun 16, 2004, 01:46am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Hi all, I myself have just been hit with this error (Yup, XP SP1) and was wondering: Could I use a XP Home disk when my laptop uses XP Pro to use the XP Recovery program? Apparently MS never gave me my own copy of XP Pro...

David Siggelkov Jun 16, 2004, 02:10am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart;en-us;152517 here is the answer... It looks like it is a problem with the way you install XP... There is a final conversion from Fat32 to NTFS on the final reboot. THis sometimes gets messed up. YOU MUST backup crutial DATA then reinstall Win XP this time deleting the primary partition where XP is installed and recreate formatting with NTFS for a true fix...

GL HF and I always have more than one partition for instances like this.


Daniel Franks Jun 16, 2004, 01:59pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
David, the problem lies in true NTFS partitions. I myself have not used FAT32 since windows 2k came out.

Vulcan Jun 17, 2004, 12:00am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
reformat and install windows, make sure ur using the max blast disk if it ccame with ur drive, check all jumpers and cables, make sure they are compatible w/ ur drive (as in they can go up to a Ultra ATA 133 if u have it)
if all esle fails call maxtor

All Products Excluding NAS

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM MST
Languages Supported: English
Telephone: 1-800-2-MAXTOR

Abit IC7-MAX3
2.6C P4
1GB Geil PC3200 dual channel
Antec 430W True power
Maxtor 80GB
SB Live! 5.1
Skyhawk USA Matrix Case
3D Mark 2003= 10325 (cpu and video oc)
2005 = 5000 (cpu and video oc)
Torg Ofr Jul 29, 2004, 01:04pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
I got this message after using the FIXMBR command.
I use Win2k pro and yes the BIOS detects the HD.

I don't have a second I guess I'm out of luck?

Lost a lot of important stuff on the hd...I'm out of words.... :(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

Torg Ofr Jul 29, 2004, 01:08pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Just got this message too..
I use win2k and only have one HD.

I was bad before...but I didn't get this message until i used the FIXMBR command.
The bios still detects the drive.

I lost a lot of valuable info on that drive...I'm just out of words.. :(((((((
What is this? a new virus or something..I don't use a Maxtor hd either..

David North Jul 29, 2004, 02:32pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Just some feedback (I had posted earlier).

I have had the opportunity due to a lightning strike to work with five different pcs (a Dell, Gateway and Compaq and two Soyo Barebones kits) and six hard drives--maxtor, seagate, quantum and western digital.

To some degree this ethereal problem has affected four of them to differing degrees.

What I have discovered--the newer machines were able to work with the messed up hard drives with a little tweaking.

The older machines were more severely affected and harder to fix.

Here's the upshot. The two machines that failed simultaneoulsy after total formats and clean installs had the following affect:

1) The first machine could no longer boot from disk or cd in addition to the drive/os errors.

2) The second machine could no longer boot from CD though it would from the floppy in addition to the drive/os errors.

Both these problems happened after the mysterious crashes and drive error messages.

NOT a virus/trojan or hardware (cables, drives, configuration, etc) failure.

The boot.ini file had the documented problem with HAL that is XP related but the consequent errors with the PCs removable media seems related.

I think an issue with XPs HAL is causing either the OS to "mis-communicate" with the hardware or possibly affecting the actual hardware instructions in the pc (Is that even possible).

It's the only way to explain why perectly good machines would simultaneously stop working and suffer similar probnlems even when new drives were installed.

What do you think?

Lauren Herda Aug 07, 2004, 01:18am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
I too have a similar problem.

I recently have purchased a new motherboard, processor, and memory and installed them. They all appear to work fine, but whenever I try to boot the computer, I receive a "Disk Read Error Occured, Press CRTL ALT DEL to restart."

What confuses me most is that I have tried at least 3 different <i>working</i> hard drives... each from a different manufacturer, and I have used two or three different IDE cables to connect them to the motherboard. I am at a total loss. :-(


Syntax K7SV266AD mainboard
Various HDs with XP already installed on NTFS.

David North Aug 07, 2004, 02:57am EDT Report Abuse
>> Hardware Abstraction Layer
Microsoft as of XP and on uses a process called HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) to communicate with the motherboard in a pc. Apparently HAL can write to the mtoherboard in a limited fashion (I am not a programmer so someone knowledgable could follow this up).

Having just worked on multiple p[cs ranging in age from seven years to brand spankin' new with an assortment of hardrives from several differnt vendors I have noticed that it appears (to me) that in some way, HAL is changing settings to the motherboard that affect it even after the HD is removed and a new one is installed.

There are documented problems with the HD's themselves having boot sector problems (especially with multiple OS installations) because of HAL but apparently the computer itself can be affected as well.

The symptoms I have seen are cd and/or floppy drives that will no longer boot the machine even if instructed to do so in the CMOS settings. Older machines seem to be more severly affected and harder to recover. Newer machines seem much less or not at all affected.

My "pet" theory" is that MS may be using HAL for more than practical purposes for the OS but as a precursor to anti-piracy protocols they hope to implement.

Is it possible that MS has done a "trial study" by using HAl to make subtle changes in the board/chip bios that allow that machine to be identified much as a guid is generated for Windows products?

Have they played wirth taking it a step further and tried to make the guid board resident rather than memory resident?

It may be that utilizing the scant storage space on older machines is causing a lot of these problems--many of mine were certainly HAl related and required a variety of random fix attempts.

Machines I have that were affected were 3 AMD's and a VIA from Gateway, Dell and Compaq.

A note on Compaq users--their older machines use BOMID numbers to ID hard drives and swapping a drive can totally confuse the machine. I wonder if this is what Windows is doing to the actual motherbooards of PC?

I smell CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT! ..... or am I nuts?

Bob Theman Aug 08, 2004, 09:45am EDT Report Abuse
>> A Disk Read Error Occurred.
Exact same problem.

Windows XP Home w/ SP1
Fresh NTFS partition(s) (Yes, each time... I'm getting really tired of re-formatting)
Western Digital 160gb drive(s)

I replaced the cable, didn't help.

This is the second drive of the same model (RMA'd), and exact same problem.

It seems that everything is fine until you leave the computer off for a while. It gets cold, and stops booting right, having trouble reading the drive. While looking for help, I left it on that screen for quite a while, rebooted without changing anything, and like magic, it suddenly works.

I did nothing! It's as if it just needed to warm up... Could temperature possibly have anything to do with it?

It's not the first time that I did nothing and had it stop or start working... but if it was actually temperature related, why would it boot linux without trouble? I don't have linux installed like others, but have a minimal version on a boot CD. When this is happening, Linux is usually able to mount and read the contents of each partition just fine. Only once it said there was a read error, and still produced the drive's contents.

This most recent time, when I did nothing, it didn't work right away; it did chkdsk automatically after asking to boot safe mode / normal (and found an error, in explorer.exe). Sometimes it looks like it's going to work, but then bluescreens and reboots instantly. Waiting longer (to let it get warmed up?) seems to help.

I haven't tried fat32, yet. I haven't done fixboot or fixmbr, and only did chkdsk because it did it automatically. Yet for now, it's working...

This whole thing boggles the mind, and appears to defy logic. I hope I've given some kind of helpful hint or clue to what's going on...

The hardest part is that it sometimes is like it's just working and not working randomly. When it's not working, almost nothing will help. When it is working - how do you fix something that isn't broken?

Lauren Herda Aug 08, 2004, 03:34pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
I have tried several harddrives (1 120GB Seagate, 1 60GB Western Digital, 1 20GB Western Digital) and still nothing works. The 60 and 20 gig drives are from other computers in the house and already have copies of Windows XP running and working on them... so I had hoped they would simply boot to Windows using my new hardware, but no luck... the 120 gig drive is completely blank... I set it as a slave on another computer and formatted it so that there were no partitions at all. I then put it in the computer with the new hardware and begin a fresh Windows XP install. Setup loads the drivers and such, but I never am able to make it to the "Welcome to Setup" screen where I could access Chkdsk... instead, after telling me "Setup is starting Windows..." the screen turns blue and I get the following stop message:

*** STOP: 0x000000ED (0x823CF030, 0C0000010, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)

I have read that the "0x000000ED" means that it is an error with reading the drive and that it might be due to the IDE cable being a 40-wire rather than an 80-wire UDMA cable. I replaced the cable with an 80-wire, but I am still getting the same stop message.

The computer seems like it should work perfectly... and yet it doesn't. Very frustrating! If all else fails, I'm going to attempt to get a replacement for my motherboard in the hopes that it's related to the board's IDE controller, but at this point I'm doubtful anything will work.

Daniel Franks Aug 11, 2004, 08:53am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart

Bob Theman Aug 15, 2004, 04:14am EDT Report Abuse
>> Hmm
Well, I posted not so long ago... I now have the original drive as slave, and the system drive not only on a different 80gb drive, but on a FAT32 partition on it. It hasn't been very long, but I haven't had any troubles with it yet. I wonder if the new SP2 will address this?

I haven't used the NTFS now-slave drive much yet, but hopefully the worst is over. If it has problems now, it would surely be a bad drive, no? Even though it's a new one from after an RMA... Two in a row is possible, even if unlikely, right? Hmm

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