HELP! A disk read error occurred. Press CTRL+ALT+Delete to restart

Argh, a couple of days gone my computer was having issues. First, if I recollect right I entered a CD-R which I ‘burnt’ but could not read, this shouldn’t happen! After that, my PC started replying awfully really slow.

I shut it down and stopped using it for a day. I tried booting it up a day later, and my system was throwing an error message “A disk read mistake took place. Press ctrl+alt+delete to restart”. What was funny was, though I was encountering a disk read error, CMOS was detecting the drive!

I searched round the net and forums, and no-one had the precise fix for this problem. Hardware research has the most important consultation on this problem with 171 responses. Some fixed it by the following techniques and some not able to mend it.

1. Changing IDE wires
2. Change the jumper settings and not using Wire Select
3. Use recovery console and type fixboot
4. Use recovery console and type fixmbr

I first tried fixing it by playing around with the hardware but was not able to mend it. Then Idid not have any choice but to use software that may risk loosing my data. I tried running chkdsk but not able to. I also attempted fixboot and no result. Still the system was throwing the same error message. Ultimately I tried fixmbr and it asserts successfully fixed my master boot record. I finally could start the Boot process but still was unable to boot up to Windows.

I could boot up to recovery console, and this time I was able to see the C: drive. When I listed the directory, all the unknown / unreadable characters were listed out. That’s when it struck that my hard drive is corrupted! I had no choice buy but to latch up my system with another PC, run a disk recovery/ back-up program to recover and back-up all my data and reinstall Windows.

The problem did not end there, after reinstalling Windows, I had new issues.

I ran chkdsk and found BAD SECTORS! The nightmare of hard disk. I formatted my hard disk with low level format with PowerMax from Maxtor FOR Maxtor. After doing that, I scanned my hard disk and voila, everything was okay. The problem appears to be due to sharing your Hard disk with CD ROM on the same IDE wire. Reason by Davy Dane. When connecting HD and CDROM / CDRW / DVD for example. To your PC you need to follow these standards.

Lessons I learnt here was – Don’t connect a HD and CDROM / CDRW / DVD to the same IDE port. Connect the HD to IDE one and Connect the CDROM / CDRW / DVD to IDE two unless you’ve got an SATA HD then you can connect the CDROM / CDRW / DVD to IDE one but still never connect a HD and CDROM / CDRW / DVD on the same IDE port. I believe there are now new DVD drives that run at one hundred speed ( DMA five ).

If you have an one hundred / 133 Speed HD and an one hundred speed DVD drive then it’s ok to attach to the same IDE port. When setting jumpers on HD and CDROM / CDRW / DVD drive always set the master to beat ONLY and the slave to SLAVE. NEVER Select MASTER W / SLAVE ( even if you’ve got a slave ) or Wire SELECT or 32 GB LIMIT. Ensure you have the proper speed wire on your HD. You want a 133 speed wire on your HD. It is the thinner wire with the coloured end. The thicker wire for your CDROM / CDRW / DVD only runs at 66 ( DMA four ).

One way of checking the rate of your HD is by going to the device chief / IDE Controllers right clicking on the channel and select sophisticated settings. Your HD should be set to DMA 5 or DMA six ( first IDE ). If it’s DMA four then you’ve got the inaccurate speed wire connected to your HD. Plug the Black end connector of your wire in your MASTER and the gray middle connector in your SLAVE. Never plug the middle gray in the MASTER. That makes sense does not it? That is not the end of my PC issues.

I attempted reinstalling Windows again after low level format, and it kept on giving blue screen during installation. I took off the unneeded hardware such as Network Card, Sound Card, etc one at a time and attempted installing the Windows. Ultimately , i had three RAMs, 512 on slot one, 256 on slot two and another 256 on slot three. I took off slot 2 and three and attempted installing Windows and this time around I had no problem. I used a tool Memtest86+ and ran test on my RAM, and yes indeed there are issues with my second and third ram.

And, for desktop Computer , I might use FAT32 instead of NTFS on drives that contains Windows Operating System. I do not wish to go through all that again. Davy Dane did recounted that most of us think this must be a HD problem but that is not true. I had this problem when I had a bad VIDEO CARD, RAM, and MODEM before. I suspect he is most likely right too. The bad memory might have given incorrect info on bad sectors. DUH!