A disk read error occurred, Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart

If upon booting your Windows system, you frequently get the error – Disk Read error occurred, Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart here are a few things you could try to resolve the issue.

The first thing you need to do is, press Ctrl+Alt+Del and see. However, when you press Ctrl+Alt+Del, if on reboot, the system brings you back to the same error screen, and this goes in a loop, you may need to troubleshoot further. If this error is accompanied by a strange noise which signifies a hardware issue.

A disk read error occurred

A disk read error occurred

The causes of the error could be many, but we can narrow  them down to three basic ones:

  1. Incorrect MBR configuration: The most common of reasons for incorrect MBR configuration are disk write errors and virus attacks. To quite an extent, it is resolvable through software level troubleshooting without changing the hard disk.
  2. Wrongly configured partition table: If the partition table is not configured right, this issue could yet be resolved at the software level.
  3. The problem could be with the physical hard disk itself.

1] Run Check Disk from the command prompt

Since the computer won’t boot, we need to troubleshoot the issue using Advanced options.

A Disk Read Error Has Occurred. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del To Restart

After booting to the Advanced Options menu, click on Command Prompt.

Once the Command Prompt screen is open, execute the following command:

chkdsk C: /f /x /r

In this path, C is your root drive. It could be changed if different.

If it finds and fixes the issues, you would get a report of the errors. If not, it would display the message Windows has scanned the file system and found no problems. In that case, move on to the next step.

2] Repair Master Boot Record

Since the previous case has been isolated, the problem might be with the Master Boot Records (MBR). At times, the Master Boot Records can get corrupted. Though a serious problem, it can be rectified. You will have to repair the Master Boot Record.

3] Update the BIOS of the system

Now, this is tricky, and you are not familiar with it, do not try it. Updating the BIOS can cause issues if done incorrectly – but at the same time has been known to resolve such problems. So update the BIOS of your Window system. You might need to download the BIOS from the manufacturer’s website and create a media CD/DVD for the process. If the issue persists despite updating the BIOS, we could safely assume the problem is with the hardware.

4] Checking the Hardware

This might need temporary removal of the hard drive and needs to be done by someone sound with computer hardware.

  1. Remove the hard drive and connect it to some other system. Check if you can access the files and folders. In case the system reads the hard drive, please scan it using recovery tools and run a virus check.
  2. Should you have reasons to believe that the hard drive is working well when connected to another system, you might consider replacing the hard disk cables or maybe even the connection ports.
  3. Replace the RAM. Or if you have 2 RAM modules in the system, try interchanging their slots. Also, wipe off the dust from those chips just in case it is interfering.
  4. In the event of overheating of fuming from the hardware, please take the machine to a hardware technician immediately.

If the solutions mentioned above don’t work, we might need to send the system to a hardware technician for repair.

All the best!

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Karan Khanna is a passionate Windows 10 user who loves troubleshooting Windows problems in specific and writing about Microsoft technologies in general.