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A Disk Read Error Occurred: Press CTRL ALT DEL to restart

January 9, 2011 1 comment

Well this is a step back in time. I was upgrading the hard drive in a friend’s aging laptop to something with more capacity. We were doing a fresh installation so this should be easy.

1. Install hard drive.
2. Power on PC
3. Boot from Windows XP Installation Disc.
4. Ran through the partitioning and file copy process, reboot.
5. ERROR: A Disk Read Error Occurred: Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart

Huh? Search for this error on Google and you’ll a variety of different solutions. Western Digital even has a page dedicated to the error. Unfortunately, none of those solutions worked for me.

The Fix
Honestly, I’m not sure which of these two solutions actually was responsible for the fix. Maybe it was one of the other or maybe the combination of both.

First, I downloaded and burned Hiren’s Boot CD. If you don’t already have this in your repair arsenal, this is a must have. I booted the disc and used the MBR tools to wipe the MBR from the hard drive.

I then booted back to the XP CD and choose to format the 320GB hard drive into two partitions…a 100GB and 220GB partition.

After doing that, the installation went nice and smooth! I’ve learned to just accept that sometimes things just work and I don’t need to know why.

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