Disk Read Error after Partition Magic combined drives

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Thread Starter
Sep 17, 2004
Hi, i just would like to see if anyone can help me out in this situation i have. Recently i had used partition magic to condense some unallocated space before my C drive with my C drive. Everything went fine until the reboot. On loading Windows XP i get the "disk read error - please C-A-D to restart".

I also have gentoo linux installed and have mounted my C: drive in gentoo, and can see all of my files and they all seem to be intact. Now my computer did not come with a recovery disc or XP disc, and i did not create any. Is there anything i can do within linux? Or about the problem at all? Thanks for your help
Aug 27, 2004
I think that most likely that FAT (in FAT32 partitions) or the MFT (Master File Table in NTFS partitions) has got damaged, or they're intact but you've got bad sectors...

This (FAT32, MFT damage) could happen if you're using an older version of PartitionMagic, I've heard about bugs in it, also heard that these bugs were solved in the newest version (I think 8.x)....

Since you don't have Windows XP CD or a Recovery Disk, you'll have to download the Emergency Boot Disks that will allow you to boot to the Recovery Console.......

IMPORTANT: You must download the correct boot disk files specific to your version of Windows XP, XP Home boot disks won't work with XP Pro boot disks, Service Packs also apply, so can you tell what version of XP do you have, also any service packs....??

- Bootdisk index page:

Download your correct boot disk set from the above link, run the downloaded file to create the disk set, then boot with Disk #1 in your floppy drive....(you may need to reconfigure BIOS to allow it to boot from floppy first..)

You'll see a blue Windows XP Setup Screen that asks you to swap floppy disks, do that till you finally reach the "Welcome to Setup" screen, at this point press "R" to boot to the recovery console....

Logon to your installation of Windows (it will list all of your XP installations)....
1. Type in the number of your installation....
2. It will ask you for the Administrator password (created during XP setup) - If it is nothing just press ENTER...
3. You should reach a DOS-like command prompt...
4. Type in the following and press ENTER after each line...
=> fixboot
=> fixmbr
=> chkdsk /p /r

Note: The final step will initiate a full partition surface scan, searching for bad sectors and blocking them off to prevent Windows or any other program won't write to the drive...This WILL take a while, especially on large hard drives....

- Repeat final step for each of your partitions....
(Do this by typing the drive letter of each partition followed by a semicolon and pressing ENTER, then repeat "Chkdsk /P /R" step......

- This will solve the hard drive sector problem, but you'll have to do a recovery install from your Windows XP CD..... Now This step requires the Windows XP CD..........

= You'll have to find a Windows XP in order to do a recovery install. This I can't help you with (especially if you're Windows XP is not legal), if you have a legal copy of Windows XP and have lost the CD for good, then you can request another XP CD from Microsoft if you can prove its legal........

- You HAVE to do a recovery install since the files that were damaged due to the disk read error are lost (we've patched up the sectors in the previous steps, so that error shouldn't occur once again, but you have to restore the damaged files from the XP CD by a recovery install using the CD, these damaged files are what causing the Disk Read Error on startup...)


Retired Moderator
Oct 19, 2002
This is why a proper backup is mandatory before doing things like shuffling all your data around in an operation like this!
Nov 2, 2002
Sounds like it is a good thing you know your data is still in there. The main problem is that you can't boot to XP.

If you have FAT32 on the XP partition, you might check to see if the source files are there. If they are just start the install and choose the 2nd repair option. If you have NTFS it is a bit more difficult since you will need to boot to an XP CD which you don't have. As n7Epsilon suggested, you can borrows someone else's XP CD. I thought that was ok to do as long as you use your product ID. Then do the repair from there.
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