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 Post subject: "A disk read error occured" problem
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:21 pm 
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Hi guys. I had this problem today where my computer refuses to start and just arks at startup "A disk error occured, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart".
Of course i restarted but the same thing happened again.
Any ideas of how i could acces my files to back them up and how to solve the problem?
I would really appreciate not having to format the disk. Plus I can't really afford to loose the files.

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 Post subject: Re: "A disk read error occured" problem
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:06 pm 
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Some opinions a quick internet search gleaned for me (keep in mind, this is purely other people's words):

1 - Have you tried a different IDE cable?
If not give it a go and do a repair if needed again!

2 - You may have a corrupt MBR (master boot record)!! You will need to reformat and do Fdisk /mbr to delete the master boot record!! Save all data first as this will not allow you to access any of your data as all file location addresses are located in the MBR!!

3 - Your harddrive may have a bad sector get a zerofill tool(low level formatting tool)!! This will rewrite you HD's sectors putting them back to factory spec's!! Maxtors is called Maxblast you can get it from thier site!!

4 - or it could be a defective drive, but most read errors are due ot corrupt MBR or a bad sector!!

I found a temporary fix to the problem that does allow you to get into windows, but does not remove the problem:

Boot using the WinXP cd and use the recovery console (hitting R when it asks). IF and only IF you get the dos based screen AND you get something like:

1. C:\WINDOWS

Please choose which windows you want to use: 1
.... Or something like that. If you do, then type 1 and hit enter, it will ask for your administrator password which I hope you know . Then at the command prompt enter: chkdsk /r
The /r switch tells chkdsk to scan the entire drive and recover any bad sectors. Depending on the size of your drive this could take a REALLY long time. Once that is all said and done. Reboot the computer and you should not get the error. It's up for grabs how long this fix will last, so far it seems random to me.

For a real fix, you're going to have to revert back to Fat32. There are 2 ways to go about this. Assuming that you can get back into windows doing the above, you can either use a progam like Partition Magic and hopefully convert your system from NTFS back to Fat32. Or you can backup everything on your harddrive, boot using the Windows XP disk and reinstall the OS and make sure to choose to repartition the harddrive using Fat32.

This has all been from my experience from my own problem. If per chance you are using Fat32 and receiving this error, then I would have to say do what Drizzit says. But, I'm guessing you are using NTFS since it is known XP has some issues with NTFS. To answer your above questions directly. Yes, you can repair the bad sectors without reformating using the /r switch when using chkdsk. The information that is in the sector may or may not be recoverable however. As I said above about it not being the MBR that is causing this error, then the fixmbr command will not help you unfortunitely.

*None of the above is actually my words. I am not qualified to offer tech support. I take no credit for any brilliance, stupidity, or english errors in the above.*

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 Post subject: Re: "A disk read error occured" problem
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:45 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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If you can get to the repair stage, you may also need to try fixmbr and fixboot. Those shouldn't delete your data, but attempt to fix the records to allow it to boot correctly

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 Post subject: Re: "A disk read error occured" problem
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:20 am 
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Okay how do I acces the Repair stage?

EDIT: Forget my last comment. It says that if I attempt any of thos fixes i may loose my partition. Anyideas of what to do? Can I boot into safe mode from the Windows disk?

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 Post subject: Re: "A disk read error occured" problem
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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You'll need your Windows setup disk. I believe what it is called is "recovery mode" - need to get into the command line to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: "A disk read error occured" problem
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 9:39 am 
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Okay so in the end I got the IT expert at the Geneva Uni to back up my files.
Then I had to do a clean install of Windows. Now all is back to usual.
Thanks to all those who tried to help.

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