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[Issue Solved] How to Fix “a Disk Read Error Occurred”


When the “A disk read error occurred” error screen appears on startup on a black screen without an identifiable error code. The "A disk read error occurred" error screen appears on the black screen with no identifiable error code when booting. If this error occurs on your computer, you should be very careful and handle it as soon as possible. What should you do?

It appears with message "A disk read error occurred Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart" as picture below. When you restart your computer by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL, the same error still occurs and you cannot start your computer.
Since the cause of this error is varied, there is no fixed solution to this problem. We provide a couple of different solutions so that you can try out to fix this problem on your own.
a disk read error occurred

Two steps to fix "A disk read error occurred" issue

Step 1. Backup or recover your data

It would be an easy task to fix "A disk read error occurred" issue. But the problem is that most users have important personal stuff on the hard drive. Therefore, we recommend that you back up or restore your data first.

To backup or recover your data from "A disk read error occurred" error:
  1. You can just take the drive out and temporarily attach it to a working PC to retrieve the data.
  2. Download and install Bitwar Data Recovery on the working PC, then launch it.

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        3. Select the partition where warned "A disk read error occurred" and then click "Next".

retrieve lost data from a disk

        4. Select a scan mode and file types, then click "Next" to start scan.

recover data from hard disk

recover data from a storage device
        5. Preview scanned files and recover files by clicking "Recover" button.
Preview scanned files and recover files

recover files on windows

Step 2. Try the following guides to fix "A disk read error occurred" issue

Now it is time to look for the solutions to fix this error. 

Method 1. Check RAM memory

If "A disk read error occurred" error appears after you adding a new RAM memory to your computer. Try the steps below to fix the issue:
  1. Remove the new RAM modules you've recently added
  2. Leave only 1 single RAM module
  3. Restart the computer

Method 2. Reset or upgrade BIOS

Restoring BIOS to default setting or upgrading can fix this issue in some circumstances.
Reset BIOS
  • Step 1. Restart computer and press the key which enters BIOS setup. The key might be F2, F10, Del, etc. varying from computer to computer. Just look carefully at the screen while computer starts.
  • Step 2. Use arrow keys to switch menu options and locate the option to reset BIOS. The name to revert BOIS to default settings is not the same on different computers, which can be Loaded Fail-Safe Defaults, Apply Default, Load BIOS Defaults, Load Default Settings, Load Setup Default, Factory settings, etc.
a disk read error occurred
  • Step 3. Save changes, exit BIOS and restart computer.
Upgrade BIOS
Go to the computer manufacturer's website and find the download center where you can download the latest BIOS version. Please note that you should select BIOS version based on your operating system, version, system board model, etc. Usually, the BIOS download comes in a compressed file such as .zip file. When extract data from it, you can see a README file which will guide you through the upgrading.

Method 3. Check / Replace Cables

Although I haven’t seen SATA cables fail (but obviously they can), faulty IDE cables can sometimes cause issues such as read or write errors on hard drives as well as optical burners. If you have spare cables, you can replace them, or unplug the current cables, inspect for damage, and then reconnect them if OK. Also try different SATA or IDE ports if you can as there is a possibility of a damaged port.
If you get the disk read error after installing a new drive, make sure the hard drive is on the master connector (end of the cable) and if you can, set the hard drive jumper to master instead of cable select. Also try without a secondary (slave) device attached to the same cable if there is one.

Method 4: Repair Master Boot Record and Boot Sector

If your Master Boot Record or boot sector is corrupted or damaged, the “a disk read error occurred” would also appear. So in order to fix disk read error, you need to take measures to repair MBR or boot sector and solve "A disk read error occurred" issue with USB boot.
1. Open command prompt using Windows installation disk.
a disk read error occurred
2. Now type the following commands one by one and hit enter after each one:
  • bootrec.exe /FixMbr
  • bootrec.exe /FixBoot
  • bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd
a disk read error occurred
3. If the above command fails then enter the following commands in cmd:
      bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
      cd boot
      attrib bcd -s -h -r
      ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
      bootrec /RebuildBcd
a disk read error occurred
4. Finally, exit the cmd and restart your Windows.


Hard disk read error should be treated with caution. For it not only prevents system from booting, but also sometimes gives rise to data loss. When it appears, the first thing you need to check is whether you have a backup on your computer or other storage media. Regularly creating a backup is very important and useful. Please keep in mind the habit of forming backups.

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