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NoQuarter

A Disk Read Error Occurred Press Cntl+alt+del

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My brother recently (6 mos ago) replaced the the original HDD of his old Dell Inspiron 8600 personal laptop with an off the shelf WD unit with no problems...although during setup he only created one partition (NTFS).

During the course of an install on shut-off of a Windows Update (03-08 ed of the MSRT) there was apparently a lockup that occurred (he found the computer still powered up but frozen the next morning). Anytime he tries to boot up the prompt "A disk read error occurred Press CNTL+ALT+DEL to continue" appears -and that's all she wrote.

The drive is recognised but is not accessible, the OEM (Dell) Recovery disk is no longer applicable due to missing OEM partition(s), and switching boot priority to ODD or USB device via BIOS to load a boot disk so far has yielded no result.

He was able to install the HDD of his work computer into the Dell and it fired right up NP and alternately his WD drive was not recognised in the other laptop...so at least it's narrowed down to a HDD failure or MBR corruption.

He has not backed up a thing since replacing the hard-drive and has had no luck trying to troubleshoot it over the Web in forums and/or with various free/shareware utilities, and anything I suggested -such as deleting/auto-replacing the boot.ini- he has already tried or is unable to perform.

So for any of you IT- types out there; you have any quick and dirty ideas that I can pass on... short of punting and wiping the drive and other than making sure to back up your files in the first place ('cuz I already got that one in :D )?

EDIT: OS Win XP Home (x86)

Edited by NoQuarter

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Has he tried fixmbr?

Can he boot from a CD?

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Yes, he's able to boot from a CD and access the Microsoft Recovery Console (from OS disc) where it is able to recognise the C:/WINDOWS dir...both fixmbr and fixboot have been (repeatedly) tried and according to the followup prompts -successful- yet on reboot he gets the same old "A Disk Read Error..." song and dance.

I did read up on the Linux route to rebuild the MBR that way but rethought it...due to his single partition I would be worried that it would loaded onto the original used (but inaccessible) sectors and in effect, destroying them.

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I was looking thru the net on this and see others with the same problem.

This one guy was able to hook up the bad HD to his PC using a USB to IDE adapter and at least read and copy the disk contents. Unfortunately he was still not able to get it working in the laptop.

I have a PC and a USB/IDE adaptor, so I can look at the laptop drive

on the PC. Here's what I've tried:

I first examined the drive on the PC and I could see all of the files.

I did a chkdsk, scandisk, and Norton Disk Doctor and everything was

fine. At this time, I backed up the entire drive to my PC.

Newegg Link to Adapters

Edited by Fletch

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If you just want to get his data off, you could try a Linux Live CD like Ubuntu. It should be able to boot up and mount the drive (unless there are some really serious errors...) Then at least you can copy the files off to something else.

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if he can boot from a CD...he could probably also try the Windows XP repair function...(if he can get the CD from someone).

Like what Firefly said...I would use Ubuntu and do that...the interface to set partitions and such is super easy and I've never had it mess up my Windows partition.

Since he can access the drive at the command prompt...I would think he should be able to recover the hdd...it just may take some time and effort.

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