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If A Disk Read Error Occurred in Windows 10/7/8, Try These Solutions


What Is Disk Read Error

As you know, Windows has a built-in test tool which often warns you there is an error on your hard drive or partition. Among many kinds of warnings, the disk read error is a very common issue which is thought to be extremely dreadful. Usually, this error occurs as soon as your computer boots up, which doesn't allow the computer to enter into its operating systems. This error appears in such a message "A disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart", just like the following picture shows:

a disk read error occured

This error message refers to the problem on your hard drive or issues during the process of the reading disk with the operating system. When meeting such an issue, no matter how many times you restart your computer by pressing “Ctrl+Alt+Del” keys, this error still exists. In fact, read disk error is not such a problem that can be solved by a simple restart. In this case, you are very upset and don’t know what should do. Don’t worry, this post will tell you its reasons and some useful solutions below.

Why Disk Error Occurred

When such an issue happens, it is urgent for you to look for the ways to fix it. Here before giving the solutions to you, you had better learn about the particular factors, and then you can know how to fix this error to ensure your computer boot up successfully. Generally speaking, there are seven reasons causing "A disk read error occurred" issue, so just look at the following content.

  • Incorrect boot order: Maybe there is a floppy disk in your floppy drive, and your operating system isn’t set to boot from a hard drive, so Windows fails to boot system.
  • BIOS issue: If you modify the BIOS setting, disk read error may occur.
  • IDE cables failure: If there is an error with the IDE cables connecting the hard drive to the computer’s motherboard, the disk is unable to be recognized, so disk read error issue appears while booting system.
  • Incorrect MBR configuration: The Master Boot Record (MBR) on the target hard drive is corrupted or damaged. Therefore, when booting your computer, “disk error occurred” message appears on the screen.
  • Faulty hard drive: Perhaps there are some bad blocks on your hard drive, so Windows fails to boot up.

In addition, virus attack, operating system issue and bad RAM are also the possible causes which may lead to "disk read error occurred" message. After learning about the factors, now it is time to look for the solutions to fix this error.

How to Fix Disk Read Error

When it comes to such an issue, usually you choose to find the solutions online. While searching this topic in Google, there will be many results listed. Thereinto, there are some forums about it.

“When I start my computer , Sony Vaio VGA-F140E, a black screen appears with an error MSG
"A disk read error occurred Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart"
if I press CTRL alt DEL, the same MSG appears again
Note: I did read all other review links that talks about the same problem, but It did not work again
when I start the computer I do not get windows logo too
PLZ Can someone help me with this problem”

--From social.technet.microsoft

In this forum, some answers are useful to solve this error, here I summarize seven solutions below, just try them one by one now to fix "A disk read error occurred" error.

solution 1 Solution 1: Boot OS from Hard Drive

If you meet disk read error when your computer starts up, the first thing you should consider is that whether the boot order is correct or not in BIOS. So please go into the BIOS to check it. The way to get into BIOS is different in different brand computers and different operating systems. When turning on the computer, the first boot screen will show you what key to press to go into the BIOS. If you don’t know, you can refer to this guidance How to Enter The BIOS On Your Computer. Once you are in BIOS, it is necessary to find the section on the boot order. Then you should make sure the hard drive is placed as the first boot priority before any others in the listing.

Here take the following screenshot as an example:
Under "Boot" tab, disk 0 will be set the first boot order. Please press "F10" to save and exit this configuration.

bios order

After changing this setting, maybe your computer can boot up normally. If it is also unbootable, try the next solution.

solution 2 Solution 2: Reset or Upgrade BIOS

In some circumstances, disk read issue can be fixed if you reset your BIOS to its default or upgrade to the latest version which must be available for your computer. The step-by-step guidance is useful for you below:

1.Press a specific key which can be F2, F8, F12, Esc or Del key to enter into BIOS.
2.Then find an option to reset to default.

attention Attention:
The option name is different depending on different computer manufactures and BIOS versions, which can be "Load BIOS Defaults", "Load Default Settings", "Load Fail-Safe Defaults", "Load Setup Default" or "Get Default Values". So please choose one according to the real case, then save this change.

bios default

If you also meet the error message, please turn to the next way.

solution 3 Solution 3: Repair Master Boot Record and Boot Sector

If your Master Boot Record or boot sector is corrupted or damaged, disk error will appear. So in order to fix disk read error, you need to take measures to repair MBR or boot sector and solve "A disk read error occurred" issue with USB boot.

How to do this work? Actually, you can repair MBR with a professional and reliable partition and disk management tool – MiniTool Partition Wizard. As a dedicated partition manager, it has six editions, including Free Edition, Professional, Pro Ultimate, Server, Enterprise and Technician. With it, you can do many operations, such as resize/move/extend/copy/wipe partition, rebuild MBR, migrate OS to SSD/HD, copy disk, recover lost partition and so on.

Here MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional Edition is strongly recommended to you to repair MBR in Windows 7/8/10. This tool has a feature called "Bootable Media" based on Win-PE. It is designed to manage disks and partitions when operating system fails to boot or while there is no operating system.

bootable media

Note: MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition doesn’t support Win-PE Bootable Media. In order to repair MBR quickly and effectively, you need to purchase a license.

Then do following these two articles:

Step 1: After boot your computer from MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable Disc, you will enter MiniTool PE Loader interface. Click "Partition Wizard" to continue.

pe loder

Step 2: In the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard, select the target hard drive with the operating system and click "Rebuild MBR" from "Check Disk" menu.

rebuild mbr

Step 3: Then click "Apply" to execute this change.

After repairing MBR, please remember to change the boot order, then restart your computer, it can be bootable.

solution 4 Solution 4: Test Your Hard Drive

In fact, when the disk error occurs during the process of computer startup, there is another reason you should take into account, that is bad sector of your hard drive. If there are some blocks, this issue may appear frequently. So you can check the disk surface to make sure whether bad sectors are here or not. In order to do this work, MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD is still a good assistant. Before you do, you also need to burn the .iso file to a USB flash drive or CD/DVD and then restart the computer from this device.

Step 1: Select the target hard drive, then click "Surface Test" function for a try. This feature is designed to help scan and test each sector of the hard disk.

surfac test

Step 2: Then click "Start Now" button to start to scan all sectors of your disk. From the following screenshot, you know MiniTool Partition Wizard will help you to mark "disk block without read error" in green, and mark "read error in this block" in red. After a few minutes, all sectors of your disk will be tested completely.

check bad sector

run Shield Bad Blocks

After finishing disk test, if there are some bad sectors, you should take a measure to shield them, but MiniTool Partition Wizard doesn't have such a feature. Just do this by searching ways online, here are some ways to guide you.

When there are disk bad sectors, it is possible Windows tells you it detected a hard disk problem, click this post for more information.

run Backup Important Files

When bad sectors exist on your hard drive, in order to ensure data security, you had better backup your important files after shielding them, otherwise, data loss will happen. How to make a backup while the system is unbootable. Don't worry, you also can ask MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD for help. You also need to burn .iso file and boot your computer from a specific device.

Step 1: In the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard, select "Copy Disk" from "Convert Disk" menu.

copy disk

Step 2: Then it is time to select a destination disk to copy all data on the source disk to.

select target disk

  • During the process, the content of the target hard drive will be deleted. So it is suggested to prepare an empty disk. If the target disk owns data, please ensure the important data is been backed up.
  • The target disk size must be larger than the used disk space on the source disk.
  • Disk copy takes sector-by-sector mode.

Step 3: Then you can choose copy options, including "Fit partitions to entire disk" and "Copy partition without resize".

1. You can check "Align partitions to 1MB" option which is useful to improve the performance for advanced format disk & SSD.
2. "Use GUID Partition Table for the target disk" can change the target disk to GPT.

copy options

Step 4: Then MiniTool Partition Wizard will advise you to modify BIOS boot order. In this post, it is unnecessary for a backup.

boot from destination

Step 5: Finally click "Apply" to finish all changes.


With the help of MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable Edition, you can easily fix disk read error. Just purchase its Professional Edition and use “Bootable Media” feature to create a bootable disc to boot your computer now.

solution 5 Solution 5: Check Your Hard Disk IDE Cables

In the second part of this post, I mentioned the error can be caused by bad or incorrect IDE cables. If the cables are loose or defective, disk error will occur. So in order to rule out this possibility, you can open the computer’s hood and check whether each IDE cable is fastened on both ends. If there is something wrong, please replace the faulty cables to fix "A disk read error occurred".

solution 6 Solution 6: Test RAM

Sometimes, read disk error is related to a faulty RAM stick or RAM slot, as I mentioned above. In this case, it is necessary to make a completely non-destructive and exclusively informative test on your computer's RAM. You can use Memtest86+ to do this work, just download an appropriate version to check RAM memory, the guidance: How to Test PC Ram with MemTest86 is useful. If this tool finds some errors, try to insert your current RAM sticks into different RAM slots to ensure that the problem exists in RAM stick or a RAM slot. Then you can take corresponding measures to fix it.

test RAM

If no errors on RAM sticks and slots, continue trying the next solution.

solution 7 Solution 7: Rescue Data

If you have tried all the above solutions but still receive disk read error, you can consider recovering data from your hard drive. It is possible that your partition gets missing, try MiniTool Partition Wizard "Partition Recovery" feature in the toolbar to get back lost partition as well as data. If your partition isn’t lost but fails to boot your computer with the error message, perhaps your disk is damaged. In this case, please try another professional data recovery software – MiniTool Power Data Recovery Professional Bootable CD. With its "Damaged Partition Recovery" module, you are allowed to retrieve data from formatted, damaged or RAW partitions. Click this post Data Recovery From Corrupted Internal Hard Disk to learn more.

After recovering data, then reinstalling operating system is a good choice. Please prepare a Windows installation disc and then insert it into your computer. Next start to install a new OS according to the wizards.


Bottom Line

In this post, I introduce what "A disk read error occurred" issue is, the reasons for this issue and eight solutions to the error. When you meet such a problem, you can try those 8 ways one by one to fix it. If you have any suggestion or advice, welcome to email us via [email protected] or leave a comment below.