10 Effective Solutions to “A disk read error occurred” Error in Windows

If you receive the “A disk read error occurred” error message when your PC boots up, you can use the following 10 solutions to cope with it.

“A disk read error occurred” error message is a very common issue on Windows. It occurs as soon as you start your Windows-based computer. This error message means that some issues occurred in the process of reading disk with operating system. In this case, restarting computer won’t make any effects.

10 Effective Solutions to "A disk read error occurred Error" in Windows

Facing with this error, you won’t be able to enter Windows. Of course you cannot access your data as well. It will be better if you have backed up your files in that you can recover data from backups to other media, like to recover Outlook data from PST backups. But if you have no data backups and would like to restore your computer back to its normal status, you have to try various ways to resolve it. Here we’ll teach you 10 effective solutions. You can try them step by step.

1. Unplug the external drive

If there are any movable drives that are connected to the computer, such as USB flash drive or DVD or others, it is very likely that they are the culprits. You should unplug them right now. Then reboot your Windows to check if the error message persists.

2. Check hard drive Integrated Dive Electronics (IDE) cable

IDE cable is the wiring which connects your PC hard drive to the motherboard. Thus, if the IDE cable is loose or faulty, the “A disk read error has occurred” error will occur. Although it is rare in some degrees, it is worthy of checking it. So, you can open up the computer hood and check it.

3. Correct BIOS boot order

Actually, when you meeting the case that Windows cannot boot up as usual, you should consider BIOS order in the first place. If the BIOS boot order is incorrect, namely your Windows is not set to boot from the correct disk, “A disk read error occurred” error will surely occur. So, move on to check the BIOS boot order.

4. Reset BIOS

If the BIOS boot order looks correct but error still exists, you can straightly reset your BIOS. After you entering BIOS screen when computer boots, you can find the “Load Setup Defaults” option.

5. Check RAM memory

Apart from hard drive or BIOS, the “A disk read error occurred” can result from faulty RAM stick or slot. Therefore, in face of this error message, you should go to do an informative test on RAM of your PC. There are some related tools available in the market. You can select a reliable one.

6. Try the hard drive on another PC

There are also chances that the PC is the criminal instead of the hard drive. Thus, you can try this hard drive on another PC. Remove the drive from the affected PC, and then connect it to a working computer and try to boot it up. If the PC boots up into Windows successfully and no error shows up, the issue lies in the original PC. If error persists, the hard drive is surely to blame.


You can use Windows inbuilt repair tool, CHKDSK, to fix various disk problems.

  1. You should insert the Windows DVD and boot your PC from it.
  2. Then in the screen of installing Windows, select “Repair your computer”.
  3. Next access “System Recovery Options” and select “Command Prompt”.
  4. Finally type “chkdsk driveletter: /r”, like “CHKDSK C: /r” and hit “Enter”.

8. Run bootrec

If CHKDSK cannot help you get rid of the “A disk read error occurred” error, you can run bootrec to have a try.

  1. Firstly, repeat the step 1 to 3 in the above solution.
  2. Then type “bootrec /rebuildbcd” and press “Enter”
  3. Next type “bootrec /fixmbr” and hit “Enter”
  4. Later type “bootrec /fixboot” and press “Enter”
  5. Lastly restart your PC.

9. Repair the disk via third party tool

Nowadays, there are many available third party tools which are developed for the “A disk read error occurred” issue. Therefore, you can recur to such a tool. When selecting the tool, you should keep alert. Never readily trust in the software from unknown sources.

10. Repartition, reformat and reinstall operating system

Provided that all the above solutions cannot help you get rid of the error, the last resort to get your PC back to functioning status is to wipe all the drive partitions, repartition, format the drive and then re-install the Windows operating system.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including SQL Server corruption and outlook repair software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com

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