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"A disk read error occurred. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart."


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HollowNobody's Avatar
HollowNobody HollowNobody is offline
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17-Aug-2009, 03:12 PM #1
"A disk read error occurred. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart."
My computer has recently started giving me an error message that says "A disk read error occurred. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart." during startup.

The first time this came up I took it into the repair shop the morning after. They turned the computer on, it started normally, and after keeping it overnight they returned it to me saying that they could find nothing wrong with it.

It worked normally for about 2 days after that and then when I was using it the system suddenly became unresponsive. I was forced to turn it off via the button on the front of my tower, and when I turned it back on the disk read error message came back up.
The next morning when I turned it on it was fine.

This process of it becoming unresponsive, giving me the error, and being fine by the next morning continued for a couple of days until now when it only shows me the error.

Help?

System Specs
Model: Gateway E4300 6-Bay Desktop
OS: Windows XP Professional SP3
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3.00GHz (2CPUs)
Memory: 3GB RAM
Video: NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT
Drives: C:/,D:/(backup),E:/(external)
fairnooks's Avatar
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17-Aug-2009, 03:59 PM #2
Do you have backups? First thing I would suspect is the hard drive is dying, or at the very least, some important boot sector info is going bad. Try a utility boot disk of any variety like Parted Magic Live CD or make a UBCD4Win CD if you have access to a windows XP disc or image, or use a Linux LiveCD, to see if you can get access to the contents of the drive if need be. Or alternately, pull the drive and attach it as a secondary data drive to another system and see if its readable.

Based on the results of your attempts at access, further advice can be given as to what to do about the drive if that indeed turns out to be the problem.
HollowNobody's Avatar
HollowNobody HollowNobody is offline
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18-Aug-2009, 01:20 PM #3
I have an external drive that I put all of my media, games, etc. on and basically the only things on my C:/ Drive are the default programs my computer came with. So I've never really had a reason to have a backup for it.

I'm very limited in my knowledge of boot CDs. The only CD that came with my computer is a single Gateway Recovery CD. I've gathered from reading online that 2 of those are required to recover Windows.
Also, Sadly I do not own a Windows XP CD.
Is there any type of boot CD that you can download/create?
And how would you go about doing that?

Pulling the drive out sounds a little over my head...and since I have a bad history of messing up things when I mess with the inside of my tower I'd like to avoid that.
fairnooks's Avatar
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18-Aug-2009, 03:37 PM #4
Do you know if the drive shows up in the BIOS? If you haven't been in the BIOS, the system will say Press Del or F1 to enter setup or somesuch, so you can see if the drive is listed there.

If it is and your drive just has a bad sector that still might be read and corrected, your system would be a candidate for running SpinRite from www.grc.com. If that worked it would get you up and running again.

All system recovery processes are often a little different from one another so what you read may not pertain exactly. From what I read you should be able to boot to the Gateway Recovery CD and be presented with two options of recovery both of which will access the recovery parttion on the drive to install the system back to factory specs.

Those are two things that can be tried/attempted. They are predicated on a physically working hard drive with only minor errors that can be corrected or compensated for.

You probably don't need to download any other boot CD because the Recovery CD will either see the drive and be able to work with it or not.

If you should get it to work again and wanted to keep the license on that installation, I would make an image of the drive right away and store that for the rainy day whick might be very soon if the drive is in an incremental failure state.
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disk read error occurred, gateway e4300, startup

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