7 Fixes to A Disk Read Error Occurred in Windows 10/7/8/XP

If your disk read error occurred in Windows 10/7/8/XP, with 7 effective fixes, you can easily solve it. Also, a way to recover data from a disk with read error is included.


By Lori / Updated on April 3, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

Disk Read Error

You may receive the following message: "A disk read error occurred, Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart" when the operating system tries to read the disk. It indicates that Windows detected a problem with the hard drive or an error occurred while reading the hard drive. The issue has infected a large number of users in Windows 10/7/8/XP.

On this page, we have collected 7 ways when a disk read error occurred. Moreover, we also provide you with methods to recover data from disk.

Why Does My Computer Says a Disk Read Error Occurred?

There are many causes of this error, the most common causes of disk read errors are summarized below.

  • Hard drive error: A disk read error usually indicates a failing hard drive. When the boot sector of the hard disk is damaged or the system partition has a bad sector, the system boot will get stuck and an error will occur.
  • Incorrect boot order: Disk read errors can also occur if the computer misreads the bootable hard drive. If there is no bootable hard disk or the boot disk order and configuration are incorrect, the system will not start usually.
  • Hard cable failure: Incorrect or loose IDE or SATA cables can cause drive read or write errors.
  • MBR corruption: Another common cause is incorrect or invalid Master Boot Record settings due to virus attacks, power failure, bad sectors, misconfigured partition tables, etc.
  • Power failure: This error usually occurs when the system is shut down improperly, there is a sudden power outage, or the system is forced to shut down.
  • Operating system problem: Incomplete or incorrect installation of Windows can also cause this problem, such as missing DLL files in the system or some system registry corruption.

How Do I Fix Disk Read Error?

When a disk read error occurred, you can follow 7 fixes below to solve it.

Fix 1. Check the Boot Order

If a disk read error occurred, you should first check whether the boot sequence in the BIOS is correct. 1. Restart the computer and repeatedly press the prompted key (F2, F8, F10, F12, Esc or Del) to enter the BIOS.

2. Use the arrow keys to select the Boot tab. You will then see system devices in order of priority.


3. If the system disk is not first in the boot order, move it to the top of the hard drive list.

Fix 2. Reset or Upgrade BIOS

Sometimes, to fix a disk read error that occurs in Windows 10/8/7/XP, you need to reset BIOS to default or upgrade to the latest version.

1. Restart the computer and press the key to enter into BIOS. (Look carefully at the key on the screen when the computer restarts)

2. Locate the Load BIOS Defaults option and choose Yes to reset BIOS to default.

Setup Confirmation

  • According to different computer manufacturers and BIOS versions. The option name can also be “Load Default Settings”, “Load Fail-Safe Defaults”, “Load Setup Default” or “Get Default Values”, etc.

3. Save this change, exit BIOS, and restart your computer.

Alternatively, you can also try updating your BIOS to fix disk read errors and keep your BIOS up to date.

Fix 3. Run Bootrec Command

You can use the Bootrec command to fix MBR and solve the issue of a disk read error.

1. Connect the Windows installation media (DVD or bootable USB drive) to your PC to enter Windows RE (Recovery Environment). Click Next.

2. On the install Windows screen, Choose  Repair your computer.

Repair Your computer

3. Click Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.

Advanced Options

4. In the Command Prompt window, input bootrec /fixmbr > bootrec /fixboot > bootrec /rebuildbcd > restart.


5. Restart the system and let Bootrec fix MBR.

Fix 4. Fix MBR

A disk read error occurred when the system boot sector or the MBR (Master Boot Record) was corrupted or damaged. You need a Windows installation or repair disk. Here it is highly recommended that users get a mighty helping hand from a third-party tool AOMEI Partition Assistant to rebuild MBR.

Step 1. Remove your drive and install it on another working computer. Then, install the AOMRI Partition Assistant Pro version, and click Make bootable media Next.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download


Step 2. Select “USB Boot Device” and click “Proceed” to begin the pending operation. Then, click the “Yes” button to begin the process.


Step 3. After taking out the bootable disk and putting it back into the original computer. Restart your computer to BIOS and set it as the first boot option. Then, press a prompted key to boot from it. It will load this partition assistant.

Step 4. Right-click on the unbootable system disk > click Rebuild MBR.


Step 5. Set the type of MBR for the correct OS, then click OK.


Step 6. You can preview the operation you did, then click Proceed > Apply to confirm.


After fixing MBR, please remember to change the boot order before restarting your computer.

Fix 5. Scan Virus

Remove you’re computer and connect it to another computer. Check to see if the disk is visible and scan viruses using Windows Defender:

1. Open File Explorer, and choose Scan with Microsoft Defender.

Scan Windows Defender

2. For a comprehensive scan, select "Microsoft Defender Antivirus (offline scan)" and click on "Scan now." It can detect and prevent malware that may try to manipulate the master boot record.

Scan Now

Fix 6. Test RAM Memory

Sometimes it is necessary to perform a full test of your computer's RAM memory in case read disk errors are related to a bad RAM stick or RAM slot.

Option 1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart. If you have added new RAM memory to your computer in the last few days, you can try removing it and leaving only one stick of RAM. Then restart your computer and see if the problem is resolved.

Option 2. Or try plugging your current RAM stick into a different RAM slot to see if the problem is with the RAM stick or the RAM slot. You can then take appropriate steps to fix it

Option 3. You can also use the third-party tool Memtest86+ and check it by referring to How to Test PC Ram with MemTest86.

Fix 7. Check Hard Drive Cables

To rule out hard disk cable damage, and loose or faulty disk read errors. Please open the computer cover, check whether each IDE or SATA cable is tightened at both ends, the surface is damaged, or connect the cable to another computer. If there is a problem, simply replace the faulty cable.

How to Rescue Data While Disk Reads Error?

After going through the above fixes, you might have solved the issue of a disk read error occurred. Regardless of your situation, you may find that you lost some data and want to recover files from your disk. Thankfully, you still can use data recovery software MyRecover to get your disk data back.

  • Have a high success rate and fast speed.
  • Recover 200+ formats: Recover deleted Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, PPTX, ODP, CSV, WPS files, and more.
  • Filter and recover disk data quickly without losing quality. You can also preview them before processing.
  • Support all brands of hard drives (HDD/SSD): Western Digital, Kingston, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, Sony, etc.
  • Excellent compatibility: Support Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Sever PC.
  • Before performing data recovery on a drive with read errors, you need to connect it to another working PC using a SATA cable. If your computer only has one slot, connect it via an adapter or enclosure as an external hard drive.

Steps to recover disk data

Step 1. Connect your disk to your computer, download MyRecover and run it, hover the mouse over the disk, and click Scan.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Scan D Disk

Step 2. MyRecover will scan your drive automatically and thoroughly to locate all the found data on the inaccessible drive.

Searvh ALBM Files

🌟Tip: Preview or filter date depending on Files Type, Size, Date, etc.
  • Type: Select the file type (Documents, Images, Videos, Audios, Mails, Webpages, Compressed files, etc.)
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, 512MB above, etc.)

Step 3. You will see a list of data that MyRecover found on the disk. Select your desired files to recover and press Recover x files.

Recover ABLM Files

Step 4. Select a new location to save the recovered files and click Select Folder to confirm it. Your files will be recovered in a few minutes or longer, depending on the amount of data you want to recover.

Select New Location

Congratulations. Your data from the disk has been recovered!

  • You can recover data from a disk with read error, up to 30MB. Once exceeded, please upgrade to the advanced editions.
  • If you are unable to recover your disk data with software, it's advisable to seek help from data recovery services such as Geek Squad. They have trained experts and advanced equipment to handle even the most difficult data recovery cases.


“A disk read error occurred” issue can appear in Windows 10/7/8/XP. Using the above 7 fixes, you can easily solve it. You may find disk data loss after repair, just use the data recovery software MyRecover to easily recover data.

Make a backup in advance to eliminate risks that may occur. You'll be able to quickly restore files from backups and get them back in no time.


1. How do I fix a disk read error?

When a disk read error occurred, you have 7 fixes to solve it.

  • Fix 1. Check the Boot Order
  • Fix 2. Reset or Upgrade BIOS
  • Fix 3. Fix MBR
  • Fix 4. Run Bootrec
  • Fix 5. Check Hard Drive Cables
  • Fix 6. Test RAM Memory
  • Fix 7. Scan Virus

2. Why does my computer say a disk read error occurred?

A disk error could be caused by common reasons such as hard drive error, incorrect boot order, hard cable failure, BIOS problem, MBR corruption, power failure, operating system problem, etc.

3. Can data be recovered from a disk read error?

Yes. You just need to use the data recovery software MyRecover to recover and get your disk data back. It recovers data with an extremely high success rate and very fast speed.

Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.