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Old 08-04-2006, 02:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart.

So my cousin called me up today asking for help with his computer...He said its working slow and hes getting lots of pop ups and he wanted to use his XP disk to reinstall windows. I told him to just get spybot, AVG, and to use firefox from now on and his computer will be fine.

So we are talking on the phone and I'm giving him directions on how to use Spybot. Eventually his computer is starting to crap out and is running slowly. This is after he completed a spyware check and fixed the problems. I told him to go to run and type "msconfig" than I had him turn off stuff like aim, ICQ and all those other programs that he doesnt use, but are opened once he starts up his computer. I knew all of the programs that he turned off except for one that had the word spyware in it and something called "VTTimer."

Than I had him restart and as soon as he did he got this error message "A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart." He tried restarting numourous times, but got the same message. I than told him to use his Windows XP CD and boot from the disk. He did that and I had him hit "R" for repair. The screen came up with

1. C:\WINDOWS
Please choose which windows you want to use:

....Or something similiar so I told him to press 1 and enter and than to run "chkdsk /r"

It started running check disk, but it was still at 0% after a few minutes. I just told him to go to sleep and see where it was in the morning. I'm hoping that it won't be at 0% in the morning. I have a couple of questions.

1. What could've caused this? He almost never reboots his comp. Was it me that caused it or something else?

2. How do I fix it?

3. Since my cousin was ready to reinstall his OS from his XP CD this isn't a big problem as long as he can access the pictures he had stored on his hard drive. If he reinstalls Windows will he still have access to them?

Any help is appreciated
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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just reformat, your cousin just probably clicked a windows program at the msconfig and that probably causes the error message, REFORMAT WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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He just called me back. He said at 11% it stopped and gave him an error message, but now when he restarts instead of going to the disk error message right away he gets a screen saying that his hard drive is going to fail or something like that and that he should back it up. It also says to click F1 to run setup or F2 to continue. When he clicks F2 it goes to the disk error message. I had him go to setup and change his boot record from

1.CD ROM
2.CD ROM
3.HARD DRIVE

to

1.HARD DRIVE
2.CD ROM
3.CD ROM

but it didn't help. If he installs the OS system from the XP CD again will it work fine? And can his pictures be recovered?
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by RepuLse
just reformat, your cousin just probably clicked a windows program at the msconfig and that probably causes the error message, REFORMAT WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
But if he reformats he will loose the pictures that he wants to save right?
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Old 08-04-2006, 10:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by KingFisher9
But if he reformats he will loose the pictures that he wants to save right?
All his data will be erased when he formats and re-installs the OS...unless you do a Windows XP Repair from the setup disc instead of a full install. Plus despite whether you're going to do a repair or a reformat, you should always backup any important data first. Believe me, you might find yourseld screaming in agony if you don't.

Also the error: 'A Disk Read Error Occured. Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart.' appears during POST of the system. The error occurs because the system cannot read data from the hard drive, and because you said:

Quote:
Originally posted by KingFisher9
He just called me back. He said at 11% it stopped and gave him an error message, but now when he restarts instead of going to the disk error message right away he gets a screen saying that his hard drive is going to fail or something like that and that he should back it up.
...Then the problem is less likely to be software related (the operating system itself), but actually the physical health of the hard drive.

Your cousin should backup any important data as soon as possible, because there's a strong chance of the drive failing altogether soon - as the system has informed your cousin. Hard drives have technology called SMART which works with the BIOS, to detect and warn the user when a hard drive is about to fail, and to tell the user to take action. This is critically important.

Your cousin should buy a new hard drive, especially if he keeps seeing this SMART error message upon powering up the system.
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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how can he back up the hard drive if he cant even turn on his computer?
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hello,

If the hard drive is still operational, then the hard drive can be slaved in another PC, and then important files can then be copied from his drive to someone else's hard drive.

However, because he has already received a SMART warning, and because he keeps getting a disk read error, his drive may already be inoperable, and it may be too late to salvage any important data from the drive.

Here's another thing your cousin should check. Get him to open up the case for his PC, and get him to verify that both the Molex power cable and the IDE cables are correctly in place.

He could also try resetting the BIOS by removing the lithium battery from the motherboard for a minute, and then placing it back.

If after doing all this, and that he is sure that the hard drive has been set as the primary boot device in the BIOS, then as SMART has already said, it's most likely damaged.
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