Disk read error has occurred...press ctrl al

Solved/Closed
Hugh - Nov 20, 2008 at 05:15 AM
 Alan - Jul 12, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Hello,

Is there any one out there could help me with "disk read error has occurred...press ctrl alt del to restart" after I tried to merge two partitions on Dell Inspiron 6000. Please tell me what do I need to do solve this problem when the computer boots up. I
Related:

11 replies

This is one of the most frustrating error messages you can ever deal with. Sometimes the fix is simple, sometimes it's a complete pain. Having recently dealt with this again, I thought I'd post my thoughts in the hopes that it helps someone else out there.

So you receive the dreaded "a disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart". Multiple restarts result in the same error message.

If you put your drive into another computer, or connecting it as a slave on your own computer, it will typically work fine, and no data is missing.

Because this error is not usually associated with data loss, DO NOT RE-PARTITION THE DRIVE. Your data is likely safe and sound.

Here's how we'll recover your data. Try each step below, in order, and see if your drive becomes accessible after each step. In my experience, you won't start seeing results until step 5 or so.
  • 1. Run
    CHKDSK /R /P
    from the recovery console (it will typically find no error)
  • 2. run
    FIXBOOT
    from recovery console (typically has no result)
  • 3. run
    FIXMBR
    from recovery console (typically has no result)
  • 4. Run the manufacturer's diagnostic utility, downloaded from their website (it will typically find no error)
  • 5. Changing the drives from cable select to Master/Slave may fix it.
  • 6. Replacing the data cable may fix it, but usually not.
  • 7. Setting the BIOS to use defaults may fix it, but usually not.
  • 8. Changing the BIOS drive settings from auto to user-specified, ensuring that LBA is selected may fix it.
  • 9. Pulling the CMOS battery to let the BIOS lose it settings may work.


At this point, you may be feeling some frustration. :-)

If all that fails, here's what will usually work:

Ghost your data to a new drive, and use the original one as a slave. It will work. And all of your data will still be accessible. Your computer should boot normally. If it doesn't, or it there are errors, run the Repair Installation option from your Windows boot CD.


But why does this happen? Nobody seems to know why. The problem typically evades all forms of detection.

Here's what I've learned: this error message likely has more to do with a hardware interaction between the drive and your system than any actual issues with the drive. To put it one way, your motherboard and drive are no longer on speaking terms.

I don't know why the original disk has no problems being a slave. Perhaps it got tired of running the show. Perhaps it's preparing for retirement.

I hope this helps!

Peter
102
Very thorough explanation, thanks! Everything you describe matches exactly what I went through and I do believe that it was the drive and the motherboard suddenly deciding to spat. As posted above, I did get it solved without needing to reformat/reinstall the OS by shrinking the size of the primary partition.
0
Thanks for your help Peter. The Defender virus is what caused my drive to become inaccessible (that thing is getting viscous). I've done all of the steps you've listed, except the ghosting (Can't get anything of value to read the drive).

I ended up pulling a drive from another computer, installing the same flavor of XP. The new install sees the original drive, but thinks it's empty (file system RAW). Recovery software can't recover most of the info (I believe the software is simply looking for deleted items).

When I scan the original drive with something like Malwarebytes, it steps through the hierarchy of each and every file and folder listing their path as it reads. So I'm fairly confident the data is still there. So my questions are:

How the heck do I get to the data?
Can a Linux OS read a windows drive? (i'm not opposed to trying it.)
Is there some way of kicking XP (x-tra problems) in the rear so it can read the drive correctly?

Thanks,
Michael
0
Yes indeed Linux can read windows drives! Even when windows fails to read it, there's a good chance that linux can read it. I'd recommend getting a live-cd of some flavor that's easy to use (like Ubuntu or Fedora) and booting that up. Then you can access the hard drive, copy the data over to a different one and wipe the old one. You don't even have to install it, so when you're done, you can get rid of it no trouble (aka restarting w/o the live-cd).
0
Hi there

i also need help my toshiba L30 says disk read error press cont alt delete to restart but thats all it says and does. I cannot get into anything to even see the screen. It just went like that and i ahve pressed the power button ans Zero and also power and F8 like the manual says but nothing. I would love it if you could help me.

Thanks annie
0
change ur sata cable to fix this problem
0
Here's the answer: these Dell laptops can only use about 120 GB hard drives. If you've installed a larger drive, once you reach the 120 GB threshold (even if it's just due to fragmentation) it won't boot. Don't ask me why. You can solve this problem, without reformatting, by taking your hard drive out, plugging it into another computer with a USB enclosure (very very cheap), deleting or moving some large files, then defragmenting. This drove me crazy for a long time until I found out the answer. The reason it takes 2-5 months is, that's how long it takes you to accumulate that amount of data.
17
ee.jmp
Posts
1
Registration date
Saturday March 30, 2013
Status
Member
Last seen
March 30, 2013

Mar 30, 2013 at 09:16 AM
Hi Bernie,

I've experienced the same problem and your solution worked fine for me. I replaced the original 80 GB Toshiba hard drive in a HP Compaq nc8230 for a 160 GB Samsung (HM160HC), formatted in one partition under Windows XP.
After more than one year of flawless work, the message "Disk read error has occur" appeared, preventing the computer to boot. I booted the computer from a CD and defragged its 49 GB of data, following your wise solution, which solved the problem!

Needless to say that I wasted hours trying to figure out what the problem was! So, thank you very much for sharing your solution.
0
Yesterday I bought a 500G 7200rpm Toshiba HD for my Lenovo T400. When I install XP, after all OS XP files were copied onto new HD, it went to restart from HD, then I got this kind of message:

A Disk Read Error, please press Ctrl+ALT+DEL restart....

I put HD into a USD enclosure, all file on C/windows can be accessed, because I could use achieve to compress all files into one files.

When I installed Xp onto new Hd, I had three partitions, and I used quick format all partition with NTFT format. I thought it was partition issue or format issue for the HD.

Then I only used whole HD as one partition(500G), then used normal format(not quick one), (it took about one hours), then all problems solved, after this successful Xp installation, I went back to make C partitions 120G, and only quick format this C partiton, and it was still successfully to install XP.

I am not sure which is the root cause of "A Disk Read Error, please press Ctrl+ALT+DEL restart....", in my case:
a) quick format not really mark the bad sector of HD?
b) at first the OS did not know which partition it should use to restart,

Anyway I hope these experiences would be helpful for the guys in the same situation, just as one guys said
" A Disk Read Error, please press Ctrl+ALT+DEL restart...." may have thousands reason....


Good luck to all guys in this forums,
13
I encountered this type of problem in one of my units in my internet cafe 15 minutes ago.

I was about to do the things listed here to try and fix the problem. But luckily, before I did, I decided to open up the CPU, pull out the power and SATA cable of the HDD, pull out the SATA cable for the SATA port as well. I then re-plugged both cables into the HDD and switched from the original SATA port it was plugged in to another that was available.

I was amazed that it worked. Now, computer's running as it used to again waiting for the next customer. ^_^
9

Didn't find the answer you are looking for?

Ask a question
Hello,

I'm having the same problem also. I bought an external HD and when i plugged into my Dell Laptop, the system froze. I turned off and when I restarted i got the Disc Error Occurred message - to press Ctrl+Alt+Del. And when the laptop restarts, it goes back to that message. What do I do? I don't want to lose all my files in the laptop, as this is why I bought an external HD, to store all these files. Please help... Thank you!

Email Id removed for security
6
Hi Dari,

I was having the same problem with my Dell Inspiron 6000. I purchased a new hard drive from NewEgg and a migration kit from Apricorn and moved every thing from my old drive to my new drive.

The key was being able to boot up from the old drive. To do that I kept rebooting and pressing the F8 key when the "blue bar" screen appeared. Eventually it did boot up Windows so I could install the software and move the contents of my old drive to my new drive. The new drive is working well. Oddly the old drive is too?

I put the old drive into the USB Apricorn case and it seems to work find. I suspect there was a problem with the boot sector of the old drive.

Jim
0
My HP Laptop is giving me a "disk read error"on start up, and will not finish booting up. I press C-A-D, but it never boots, what do I do?

-Ryan
0
Hello guys, from what ive learnt the disk read error, is created either not enough power getting to HDD, and low power could cause HDD to make 'mistakes' and corrupt its self. and te other more plausable culprit is partitioning/formatting. if you partition or edit a HDD , and files are all over the place, sometimes the boot sequence gets messed up. and if the computer cant find the boot files, it will just read the HDD as files and not a bootable option, bios ( boot) cannot read a windows OS unless it has instuctions to do so, thus creating a disk read error, for those of you who NEED thier files or some of them, download a windows 7/Vista recovery Disk , jus google it u will find one soon enough :) its about 150mb and it will load up like your installing it but the option to repair it will be there, when it says load drivers ( also displays your OS above) click load, and seard for your self. now it will open a box , and in there you can explore your entire hard drive.. cut, copy, delete, paste. plus in your external HDD or CD/DVD and copy the files onto it . now it wont have a copying dialogue box but it is doing it, i assure you. large files will takes a while ofcourse and u may be tempted to stop it . but u can test that it works on a small file.

After all files are backed up you will now have to erase all partitions / HD structures etc. anything that caused the fault in the first place. to do this you can use various prorams like KILLDISK DOS program, burn to CD and run it at boot. it will load up its own interface and give you plenty of custom options to erase data to its factory settings ( lots of 00000000) but you want the entire drive gone for it to work , or anything u reinstall will be prone to read errors because of the way its setup previously.. it will take 20 mins per 100gb, so if u got 500 gigs, it will takes 140mins

finally once HDD is back to its factory settings, insert your installation disk and , set ur partitions, drives up and install. now your good to go i hope this helps everyone in this forum!
5
I had same problem, I have now.. before seeing this forum..Done a factory Image Resore, and all is wee i think but one thing i do notice it is still extreamly slow (like it's confused) and my internet proticol 6 thingy sometimes is unchecked?? which i think may be causing most of my problems now, it wont let me go on internet through my ISP and i can't seem to be able to install it?
0
Hello everybody,
Same problem has also occurred for me.Please change the power plug cable and try.This worked for me and my system is running smoothly....Try this one and you don't need to format any thing...
3
So you just replaced your power cable and it booted up normally? How did this happen? Do you have anymore info about this? Cuz my HDD keeps doing the EXACT same thing every 2-5 months, exactly the same way....
0
The same damn thing occurred with me. But i switched it with a PATA drive
0
Thanks people,

Just change the power card it works without any pain...
0
Thank you

I have sama problem, Just unplug the Power and data cable....
0
it is a simple problem indeed.
i think it was happening because of 'error format drive data'. OS cannot read which drive should be primary active,so it cannot read where the OS installation is.
the simple waya to fixed it :
1. change ur HDD as a slave on another HDD
2. format ur 'primary active' drive on the slaved HDD (the trouble one) using advance software like Partition Magic or Acronis Expert, and make sure u format it as 'primary active' not just primary or even logical drive.
3. install ur OS.
i've try this one and no same problem is back,
of course u still can copy ur data on 'primary active' drive before format it :)
have a nice try :)
2
I had the same error with my hard disk 3 days ago. I had this error with my previous hard disk and was replaced with new one. New one is a segate. Previous one is a hithchi. I was confused and went to meet the seller with the hard. Then We found that there was a error with my C drive in which windows xp was installed and also it is not accessible. Other paritions were secured and allowed to access their data. After that I came home and foramt C drive and installed windows XP again. Then Hard was working properly. But Unfortunately I went away from the machine for some time and came back. Then I realized machine has a problem again. I pressed keys but machine did not respond. I restarted the machine. Same data disk error happened. I opened the case, checked the power cable, kept them tight with the hard disk and resart the computer. Marvelous It is working smoothly. I think this error comes with an error in power cable or sometime it may be with a virus.
1
Thank you for your reply! I already have tried switching the IDE and power cables to no avail. I'm thinking that something corrupted the BIOS because it used to recognize the entire disk space of 160 GB. Now it only recognizes 137.5 GB, the maximum without LBA support. Why this suddenly happened is a mystery when it used to recognize LBA. I took the drive out and connected it externally to another computer running XP Pro and all 160 GB are recognized, with the disk fully-readable for data. At this point I have several options but the age of the computer that I took the drive out of almost makes this not worth the time so I might just place the Hitachi drive as a slave in another computer and take an old drive with < 137 GB to put in the older computer to see if it will work OK and then I'll put the computer into use as a spare at our school for educational games.
0
Here's how we'll recover your data. Try each step below, in order, and see if your drive becomes accessible after each step. In my experience, you won't start seeing results until step 5 or so.

1. Run CHKDSK /R /P from the recovery console (it will typically find no error)
2. run FIXBOOT from recovery console (typically has no result)
3. run FIXMBR from recovery console (typically has no result)
4. Run the manufacturer's diagnostic utility, downloaded from their website (it will typically find no error)
5. Changing the drives from cable select to Master/Slave may fix it.
6. Replacing the data cable may fix it, but usually not.
7. Setting the BIOS to use defaults may fix it, but usually not.
8. Changing the BIOS drive settings from auto to user-specified, ensuring that LBA is selected may fix it.
9. Pulling the CMOS battery to let the BIOS lose it settings may work.

At this point, you may be feeling some frustration. :-)

If all that fails, here's what will usually work:

Ghost your data to a new drive, and use the original one as a slave. It will work. And all of your data will still be accessible. Your computer should boot normally. If it doesn't, or it there are errors, run the Repair Installation option from your Windows boot CD.


But why does this happen? Nobody seems to know why. The problem typically evades all forms of detection.

Here's what I've learned: this error message likely has more to do with a hardware interaction between the drive and your system than any actual issues with the drive. To put it one way, your motherboard and drive are no longer on speaking terms.

I don't know why the original disk has no problems being a slave. Perhaps it got tired of running the show. Perhaps it's preparing for retirement.

I hope this helps!
1
Andrea-Solved
Mar 11, 2010 at 02:45 AM
Hi I had this problem with a Compaq nx7010 in which I had replaced the previous hard drive, with a wd 160Gb drive about 2 years ago. I was reluctant to believe that I had to do a whole restore, as the diagnostics all ran well on the drive and I could see that all the data was intact. I tried fixing the mbx records, fixboot etc. I tried everything that I have read on this and other forums but no good until I remembered on obscure comment on a list somewhere. I put the disk into another machine. (I have a desktop pc with a cable adapter from 3.25 inch to 2.5 inch ide which I bought off the net for this purpose.) I then went to properties on the drive under windows, Tools and ran the defragger. Analyse said it did not need defragging and showed blue data with a small white space to the left. I defragged anyway and it did do a small amount of work and the white gap to the left was smaller when it finished. I shut down and moved the drive back to the laptop and bingo she boots. You bl...dy beauty. So it seems that when a drive gets itself into this state nothing will fix it except a defrag of some of the early blocks of the disk. Microsuck don't tell us about this anywhere as far as I can see. SOLVED!!
0