How to Troubleshoot a Disk Read Error on a PC

Written by ruri ranbe
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How to Troubleshoot a Disk Read Error on a PC
Hard drives require a working boot sector to load the operating system. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The error message "A disk read error occured" indicates a problem with the hard drive's boot sector. The error can appear if the hard drive is not connected properly, if bad sectors exist on the drive or if the hard drive is failing. To troubleshoot a disk read error, first confirm the hard drive is correctly installed to the computer. After checking the disk's connections, run the Checkdisk utility from the Windows 7 DVD to search for and repair any bad sectors.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Turn off the computer. Remove the power cable and any peripheral devices from the back of the computer case.

  2. 2

    Remove the screws that secure the case to the computer with a screwdriver. Slide the cover off of the case.

  3. 3

    Touch the computer case to ground yourself. Check the connections leading to the hard drive. Make sure the data cable is securely connected to the IDE1 or SATA0 port on the motherboard and to the data slot on the back of the hard drive.

  4. 4

    Confirm the SATA or IDE power cable coming from the power supply is connected securely to the power port on the back of the hard drive.

  5. 5

    Reassemble the PC and turn the computer on. Insert the Windows 7 DVD into the disc drive.

  6. 6

    Hold down "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Del" to restart the computer if the PC doesn't boot to the DVD drive at start-up.

  7. 7

    Choose your language and regional options from the drop-down menus on the Windows 7 DVD screen. Click "Next."

  8. 8

    Choose "Repair Your Computer" from the main menu. Choose your installation of Windows 7 from the list of operating systems. Click "Next."

  9. 9

    Choose "Command Prompt" from the "System Recovery Options" screen. Type "chkdsk C: /r" into the command-line prompt. Press "Enter" to run Checkdisk. Checkdisk will look for, and attempt to repair, any errors on the disk.

  10. 10

    Type "exit" into the command-line prompt. Press "Enter." Click "Restart." If the error still occurs, the disk may need to be replaced.

Tips and warnings

  • SATA power cables have a black, 15-pin connector at the end. IDE power cables, or molex cables, have a white, 4-pin connector at the end.
  • SATA data cables use a 7-pin connector. IDE data cables use a 40-pin connector.

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