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  Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart" error. 
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mike nasr Dec 05, 2009, 01:06pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
hello, i have read all your conversations, and i see they are helpfull and convenient, since they are based on home made problems.

and since we are all here to share stuff and knowledge, i will like to tell you, take care about the fixmbr tool in the recovery console, its not a toy, its really easy to do it, but it can hurts you very bad, it did that to me, i would recomend, trying all the possible ways and leave FIXMBR to the last chance, and thats the reasone y its not published ;)

..and about these maxtors your having problem with, if they are ATA, then consider a firmware or a bios update(since u sed they were not beaing recognised in bios), and if they are serial ATA, diagnostics and small programes can fix them, and make sure they are not making any sound......

gd luck

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mike nasr Dec 05, 2009, 01:10pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
since u already tried fixmbr, then you made every thing worse, any way try this:

creat a linux partition, install mandrak + grub on the mbr, when done , ur done :)

kid udontno Dec 20, 2009, 04:22pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
Hey. i got this error @ 1st it said

desk read error
click ctrl alt delet to restart

and then i reformated my pc and now its saying NTLDR is missing click ctrl alt delete to restart

U S Dec 20, 2009, 10:59pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.

Todd Young Jan 21, 2010, 11:08am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
So I read the "partitioning solution" posted here with great skepticism, but I'm happy to admit I was totally wrong and they were right! I used this solution on a laptop with the dreaded "Disk Read Error" message that appeared out of the blue. This was on a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop, which is about ~5-6 years old. The disk was a replacement Seagate 160gb, installed about 4 years ago. It already had the most current BIOS version (A17), so my options were somewhat limited - wipe the drive and reinstall everything, or try this solution. Luckily I tried this and it worked!

Here are the steps I went through
- Pull drive from laptop and put in external case with USB interface, connected to another PC
- Install Macrium Reflect Free Edition (find it at and make an image of the drive "just in case"
- Install Easeus Partion Master Personal edition (free, at and reduce the partion size to ~90gb. There was only about 17gb of data on the drive, so the resizing was very fast (less than 15 mins) and I didn't lose any data. Note that if your drive is full you won't be able to reduce partition size without losing data.
- On the laptop, disconnect the clock battery temporarily to reset BIOS
- Put the drive back into laptop and reboot. After going into BIOS to reset clock, etc. . . .Windows Startup Screen!!!
- Once booted use Disk Manager to create and format the new partition from leftover space

Can't tell you the number of hours this saved!

BTW, I actually had to repeat some of the steps above a few times. Originally I resized the partition to ~135gb, but when I put it back in the laptop the BIOS was still reporting the drive as "137 GB". So instead of messing around trying to get as close to 137 as I could, I just dropped the size down to 90 (don't need the space extra on this partition anyway).

THANK YOU for a great solution - hopefully others will find this thread before wiping out their drives!

Ricardo Baptista Jan 26, 2010, 09:58am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.

Rooin Feb 12, 2010, 10:54am EST Report Abuse
>> A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart
Yeah old thread, but didn't want to start a new one for my problem.

Doing a HD replacement for a old couple, that I couldn't convince to just get a new PC. Its a HP Pavilion 760n, so its a bit of a older tower, but came with XP. They insisted they don't need anything more and wanted this one fixed. It started getting a backup your data warning last week I guess.

Anyway, going from the original 120GB WD to a 160GB WD hard drive.

Sometimes the bios detects the drive, sometimes it doesn't. Every time I load the winXP installer it does detect the drive fine, even if its not listed in the bios. It will go through the initial windows setup, reboot the first time to continue installing an then either give me a "Master Hard Drive failure: Press F1 to continue, or F2 for setup" or, it skips that an gives the Disk Read error press C-A-D to reboot. I'm using the same pin/jumper configuration as the original drive, they have the same 10 pin jumper set, But Ive tried: Master single, slave and Cable select, which is what the old drive was set to. All of them get seen in Bios about every other boot, but is always seen by the windows installer. Here is what I've tried so far:

- First hooked the drive up to a different PC. my Laptop via IDE->USB adapter the drive works fine, I can work with the files an everything, no problems.
- 3 Different IDE cables, original and two I had brand new in bags in a parts box. An of varying style, one had a pin blocked, the other didn't. The original has a blocked pin in the cable, so I stayed with the new cable that has a blocked pin as well.
- Bios has latest 3.02 revision, no update possible according to HP website.
- 2 partitions -Main: 100GB, 2nd: Remaining ~50GB (old Mobos don't like 137GB+)
- Different power molex in PC, however drive always seems to spin up fine.
- Created a WD Drive test CD from the WD website, that detected the drive no problem, ran both the quick and standard test, both passed without a single error.
- WinXP "Repair" function, FIXMBR wouldn't do a thing, Fixboot, wrote a new boot sector, but didn't do a dang thing. I didn't think the the repair would work anyway since the install has yet to even complete. It fails to read the drive to finish the install every time.

I'm looking for additional ideas. I have never had a PC give me trouble like this on a Hard drive. I've had to find a new IDE cable before, but that didn't change a thing in this case. An I've installed bigger drives in older machines. I've got a PII 450 with a 250gb HD in it that runs without a hitch, (one partition even) an that is much older than this PC. I would really hate to think the drive is bad if Windows installer detects it and has no errors, and the WD test disk doesn't report a single error on the drive. So I'm really at a loss on this one.

"Even Satan wouldn't use customer service as a form of punishment." - Lucas
katharina grubmuller Mar 03, 2010, 12:23pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.

aditya chopra Mar 13, 2010, 03:53pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
To get rid off this error you need to re-install your computer or if u have the recovery cd then run that cd and ur computer will be ok as before, ok cya bye.

dan canta Apr 18, 2010, 05:47am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
I am Very Happy. :P
i sed fixmbr, fixboot , chkdisk without sucess.

And i updated my BIOS firmware that solved the problem.

Good luck

mike nasr Apr 18, 2010, 01:05pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
hello every body, i once posted a solution here, and i really thought that the "disk read error" or "ntldr is missing " are solved, butt ppl keep on asking again and i wanted to add somthing mabe it will help!
its more of an explanation of the i get around my problems and limitations....
i have used alot of recovery problems out there, and even UNIX based....some of them worked some of them did not. butt after a bit more time, problems (boot problems), keep comming back again and again, and then i understood, that im fixing the secondary problem, not the primary one, and the primary one is to understand the BOOT PROCESS....!

once u do that, u will have ur own small tricks and ways to fix any boot problem, and manage any device-hardware the way u like :)
thats pretty much google 4 it [boot process], and understand all about boot-loaders,boot codes and boot sectors, and the bios me it will help alot!!!

u can even find it alot more fun for experiments.....ull understand what i mean.....
i cant tell u were to start frome, just time booting or boot process in google, and read, and if u need more explanation in the way i understand the process and my work arounds u can hit me up on my email ;)

katharina grubmuller Apr 27, 2010, 05:55pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
ok, i re-installed my computer and recovered my computer thanks to the bootable active@file recovery. When my computer coludn't boot, i booted from the cd and saved my unaccessable data to an external harddrive, then re-installed the whole computer. Worked like a charm :)

mike nasr Apr 30, 2010, 12:11pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
have u all ever heard about windows PE mini-cd ... download it and burn it on a cd, it will help u alott :)

Mr. Gil May 07, 2010, 11:16am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
After reading 14 pages of this thread, I found a solution here that made sense, and it worked perfectly.

A Dell Dimension 4400 was giving this "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error out of the blue. Someone had installed a replacement 160GB Seagate drive, while the BIOS has a 137GB limitation. The drive worked fine for a while, but then stopped. I would have liked to update the BIOS to a newer one without the limitation, but the floppy drive wasn't cooperating. Instead, I booted from a Linux live CD and used gparted to resize the boot partition on the hard drive to 130GB, below the 137GB limit. At that point the computer booted normally from the hard disk again. It's a pretty simple and logical explanation for what was causing the problem, but it took a long time to find the right answer.

Jack Horner May 07, 2010, 11:54am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
Longer than most responses, but DID RECOVER from the error. - New!

Thank you to all those who posted before me about this issue.

Like most reading this post, I too had the error start occurring on a 2 year old Hitachi 160 GB drive in a Dell Precision M60. I read all the posts here and tried all of the possible windows solutions listed.

It is true that YOU CANNOT boot from a Windows XP Full Version SP3 CD once your computer has this error on it.

It IS TRUE that if the hard drive is installed into an external USB carrier and a working windows hard drive is used to access it, files can be recovered. So stop crying.

Now back to the question of "What causes the error?" Let's start on what it is not caused by.
I went out and bought a new WD 160 GB after I thought the Hitachi 160 GB had some how partially stopped working. It was lucky I had again backed up my entire computer right before this error happened. It was easy to recover back to exactly the way the computer was at the time of the back up.

I. New drive replaced the old drive in the computer.
II. Boot with Acronis Home 2009 Recovery CD. Make sure the external USB hard drive with your Backup is plugged into the computer before the computer is booted. In some cases you have to determine which key on your computer allows your system to boot from the CD drive before it tries to access the new or non bootable hard drive.
III. Choose the last back up on the external hard drive.
IV. Select restore. The process for approx. 60 GB took about 30 minutes.
V. Exit the Acronis program when the recovery is completed.
VI. Remove the CD before turning off the computer.
VII. Turn off the computer.
VIII. Unplug the external hard drive
IX. Turn on the computer and it should boot as normal IF THE PROBLEM WAS REALLY the hard drive. If it was not the hard drive then the error is either in the software that was backed up or the computer's mother board.

In this case the error seemed gone but occurred again after only powering the computer on and off about 4 times. There is very little chance a NEW hard drive will fail after only 4 starts. The motherboard has not ruled out as a failure option yet.

My computer is backed up once a week. I repeated the earlier process of restoring my computer from a time backed up 2 months earlier. Remember, all of my personal information is already in a place where it can be recovered so there is not a risk of losing data when performing this.

The restore process completed and the computer has been on and off over 20 times testing various programs along the way. If the motherboard was the problem then it really would not matter what hard drive was restored to or what backup was used to recover the computer with. If the motherboard was the cause it would have been impossible for any of the methods tested to work.

This process of elimination leads me to believe the problem is software related. Had I tried this on the Hitachi; I probably could have recovered from the issue without the expense of a new hard drive.

The Acronis program will allow the user to look into the old backups and determine the programs installed at the time of the backup. The process takes longer and could provide what programs were most likely to have been involved during the time the Operating System error occurred.

The point - The error is not the motherboard, the chances of the error being caused by the hard drive have been ruled as very slim after extensive testing. Unless you want to take on the responsibility of a incorrect bios setting, stay out of the computers bios.

History - I have lived through some of the worst disk losses. So will you.
If you want to keep from having your heart come through your chest when a crash like this happens BACK UP REGULARLY. The question from many of you is, "With what?" I tried a few recovery and backup programs but the one that works to get through this error and other catastrophic errors encountered was the Acronis product line. After 6 years I decided to rebuild my hard drive from scratch in Jan. 2010. At least I knew the programs that I would use and the ones I will not by this time.

Items needed for recovery
1. Working External USB hard drive (not a memory stick or flash drive.)
2. Back up software that works as well or better than Acronis Home 2009. This is a Linux based product that works in and out of Windows XP. (The software will allow you to burn a recovery CD - in valuable)
3. Patience (a must have)

Preventive Steps
A. From a Windows XP Pro SP3 CD install the software to a new hard drive using the format option.

B. Allow the computer to access the internet and it will install all the updates needed for your computer. This will take more than one time of the computer being turned on and off. In fact it will take several times.

C. Put all the software on the computer that is desired that does not require the internet to install it first. Verify each program functions prior to installing the next program. Some programs will require activation online. Only turn on the connection to the internet when this is required and the internet connection off again when the activation is completed.

D. ESET is the preferred Anti-virus and Firewall protection. Include Acronis Home 2009 or current version as one of the installed programs. A must for recovery issues.

E. Once confirmed all components are working correctly. Back up the computer and save this on the external USB hard drive. Do not delete this because later it will be able to get you back up and running again in a short time.

F. If you're an old dog like me here are couple of new tricks. To keep you from a heart attack when your hard drive dies. Learn to store your personal files on a USB thumb drive. One I prefer, because of the warranty, is Corsair. There are others but that 10 year warranty is a big plus and yes they honor it (experience talking here). Warning, don't bend the connector to the point of breaking the wires internally. You may not get your data out if you break off the connector without incurring some real costs. They come in sizes from 32, 64, 128, and 256 GB. That is a lot of data, pictures, and movies that can be stored. Let your computer be the brains. Keep your data off of a hard drive with moving parts unless you need it there for accessing speed reasons. When you finish the project copy it back to the the thumb drive for safe keeping.

G. Hard drives with moving platters have a MTBF (mean time between failure) of 3 to 5 years. In most cases, 30 days after you realize the warranty expired. By comparison Flash Drives double that. Solid state Drives I have read have a MTBF of 100+ years. They are offing a lifetime warranty.

H. The sad part about giving this information is that usually by the time you looked for it you were not prepared for what happened and you have gone through a lot of heart ache. I hope this helps. God bless the USA.

Stb Hrndnz Jun 22, 2010, 01:56pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
OK, hello folks, I'm new to this site and as I found this topic being the only one discussing this matter thoroughly, I wanted to ask a few question related to it.

Yesterday after I woke up leaving my pc downloading, I noticed the HD was making a tiny sound like clapping, doing that sound like dying, and the pc froze on me, I tried to re boot and the problem appeared, but after it gave me option to re boot in safe mode which I attempted to, it did the tiny sound again which made me afraid of loosing the disk withsu data, stuff of my life, way too much important, then I tried attempting to boot with the window 7 ultimate edition 64 bit disc, recognizing it while giving me option to fix the window, which I chose now and decided to shut it down.

So here asking, I'm thinking in buying another HD so I can install the same window with the same configurations, so I'll try to enter and backup my data to the new HD.

So yeah the question, what is the probability of succeeding in this case, leaving my decaying HD as slave and the new as master?, I,ve accessibility to another equip with window xp installed, but since this one has window 7, I don't know if there is a chance of succeeding, have read some issues between these operating system, sry for the spelling, I'm so nervous, am almost crying like a baby just of thinking in loosing all that data, it would be too much of a loose.

Can anyone give me some support here!!!!

hanan almohammad Jul 09, 2010, 05:19am EDT Report Abuse
>> I need help!! Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
i have hp laptop pavilion dv4 i received this msj A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error and that was since yesterday because my laptop fallen !! actually i don't know how to deal with this problem !! so i need help from any body can solve this problem and i'll be thankful !! :(

Oliver Buckley Jul 21, 2010, 08:25pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
I suspect this is going to be happening again. It happened to me. I had a middle-aged XP machine spare and decided to try out Windows 7 on it. I was told Win7 was an efficient OS in contrast to the bloatware that was Vista, however was a bit shocked to be told my 256MB RAM was not enough and 512 was the minimum. Ah well, bought some more RAM. Installed Win7, then after a lot of searching realised that neither my video card nor my sound card were going to work with 7 so followed the (Microsoft) instructions to remove Win7 and revert to Windows.old This includes setting the MBR from the Win7 DVD and copying a saved version boot.ini.saved to boot.ini All fine. XP booted up correctly... just the once.
Next day "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart"
There are no doubt many reasons why this happens, and I am not disresepcting the other suggestions for other circumstances, but I suspect a few people are going to run into this if they try rolling back a Win7 installation to a previous XP.
So in the circumstances I was fairly sure this was either a FixMBR or a FixBoot issue and turns out I was right. However, as with many posters on this and a couple of other major sites incl Microsoft Technet, I could not get into Recovery Console or Repair options from my Win XP CD. Could not install XP fresh either it gets as far as "Setup is inspecting your system" and there the system just hangs. Now that really can be a problem.
Still, as they were not hard to do I tried a few of the familiar routines from this forum first.
Flashed the latest BIOS - no change
Set all BIOS options to Defaults - no change
Replaced the IDE cable - no change
Set the Boot sequence in BIOS to C, CDROM, A instead of CDROM first - no change
Switched the drive jumper (single 500GB drive only at this point) from Cable Select to Master - no change
Now the tricky part.
Put in an old spare 10GB drive, disconnected the 500GB and loaded XP fresh. Reconnected the 500GB drive and successfully brought it up as a D: drive. Windows sees it in full, all files, gets the size right etc.
From XP disk tools did a thorough error checking of the 500GB drive - no change
From the same place de-fragmented the 500GB drive - no change
Then logged off, changed the boot order back to CDROM first and booted into the XP installation CD; clicked through to Repair and was aked which system I wanted to repair:
C:/Windows or D:/Windows. Chose D.
Ran the command FixMBR (ran fine on D)
Ran the command FixBoot. This time I got a warning saying it was intending to fix the boot on Drive C: (figure that one out). So you actually have to specify FixBoot D: and it does it.
Then disconnected the 10GB C: drive, installed the 500GB as Master via Cable Select, crossed my fingers and restarted the system. Worked fine.
Bit of a long way round; the bitch being inability to get the XP installation CD to run without using a second disk for the working OS.
I think the stuff on here about formatting the drive first as FAT32 and then perhaps upgrading to NTFS is a red-herring. This was always an NTFS disk and always ran XP perfectly (and now still does again). There is something inadequate about the Microsoft roll-back procedure which caused this problem and it's to do with the MBR and the Boot.ini file.

Shachar A Aug 29, 2010, 06:23am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
I have a similar issue but with a major difference.
The message "A disk read ..." appears almost at every start of the PC. However when i press CTRL+ALT+DEL the PC reboots fine and everything works properly.
If i restart the PC (as opposed to shutting it down fully and then powering it back up) the message never appears!
I have tried all the solutions suggested in this thread, but with no success. I realized there must be some electrical issue between the motherboard and hard disk which causing it to fail when starting from power off.
I have several systems with the same configuration (Intel DX58SO, i7975, Kingston 3G Ram 1600, Quadro FX580 and Quadro FX380, Zalman 750W PS, WD1500 HLFS Vraptor HD). Some of these system display this issue and some don't.
after trying all the suggested solutions without success i tried to swap the graphic cards around (changed the init sequence of the graphic cards?) and the message disappeared.
When i changed the cards back to their original position the message returned.
Can anyone explain this? What could be causing this strange behavior? Anyone experience this type of behavior?


gaurav kakkar Sep 10, 2010, 02:57am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Getting rid of "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart" error.
Randy Young said:
Resetting the motherboard bios to default solved my problem!

I have now seen 3 of these units come into my shop.

3 3 differant Hard drives

the first didn't work even after writing 000 to the drive (replaced motherboard to solve problem) (Gateway unit)

The 2nd a low lev format did the trick (reloaded XP) (saved clients data first as the drive worked great as a slave)

this one was the Resetting the motherboard bios to default one.

not to throw a monkey wrench into the mix but 2 of them were xp Home and not pro. I think it's time we started to pound the microsoft techs with this one.


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