By April 16, 2013

How I Fixed a Disk Read Error in Windows 7

I’m writing this post mostly for when it happens again (when you’re dealing with these kinds of weird Windows errors, they’re bound to happen again). However, if it helps someone out, more the better.

About three days ago I purchased a Seagate 1TB SSD / platter hybrid hard drive. I bought it to speed up the overall performance of my computer. I had previously used an SSD as a cache drive, but I wanted to use it for games instead.

At first everything was fine. I installed Windows 7 on the hybrid drive after giving up on various programs for cloning my old drive to the new one. I applied two rounds of Windows Update patches and then rebooted to install the latest round.

I was greeted with a black screen and this unhelpful, ominous error:

A DISK READ ERROR OCCURRED.
PRESS CTRL + ALT + DEL TO RESTART

I suspected it was a bad Windows Update. I’ve had those happen before (remember what I said about Windows Weirdness?). I booted into recovery and tried to roll back to the prior version of Windows. Windows automatically makes restore points before it installs any updates, and I was hoping I’d find a good one.

I restored from the previous backup and rebooted.

Same thing.

A DISK READ ERROR OCCURRED.
PRESS CTRL + ALT + DEL TO RESTART

Here’s what I did to fix it.

  1. Boot into Windows recovery.
  2. Click on Command Prompt at the bottom of this screen:
    windows recovery
  3. Type in this command:

    Bootrec /RebuildBcd

    Press enter.

  4. Hopefully you’ll see your Windows installation. Type “yes.”
  5. This is what I had to do:
    1. Bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup (hit enter)
    2. ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old (hit enter)
    3. Bootrec /rebuildbcd (hit enter)
  6. Then type bootrec.exe /FixBoot (hit enter)
  7. Remove your Windows Recovery disc / USB drive.
  8. Reboot.

That did it for me. I don’t know what exactly corrupted my drive in the first place, but now I can come back here and look at what I did to fix it if it happens again.

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