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Thread: disk read error

  1. #1

    disk read error

    I have put together a modest pc using a athlon xp 1600. the initial timing shown on the startup screen was 1075, and after increasing the cpu speed in the BIOS i get a message "a disk read error has occured" press alt/cont/delete to restart. I have tried loading "fail safe" defaults and clearing CMOS but the fault remains. I have also substituted the hard drive, memory, etc. The system will not boot past this fault with a floppy, CD Rom or HDD as first boot device. Any suggestions please?

  2. #2
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    See www.pcguide.com/ts/x/sys/booterr.htm

    At "Fixed Disk Read Failure...".

    1. Are the drive cables all properly connecting?
    2. Are the IDE controllers enables?
    3. Are all drives set to "Auto"?
    4. What is the drive boot sequence? A,C?
    5. If A is 1st, is the FDD ok?
    Last edited by Sylvander; 10-10-2005 at 03:45 AM.

  3. #3

    disk read error

    Thanks for your comments.

    I have read the notes and they seem to suggest various remidies which uses the floppy disk. Unfortunately I cannot access either the floppy or the cd rom on my system. I have tried to BOOT to Windows Boot Disk.I have changed the 1st boot device A,C etc.in the BIOS and the problem remains the same. The connections would appear to be OK as the system initially booted. The problem has only manifested itself since changing CPU speeds.

  4. #4
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    Is your startup sequence like the following, and does it complete all of these steps?

    A typical and successful startup sequence
    1. Start of Boot Troubleshooting Walkthrough
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/index.htm
    2. Yes: The system power supply is functioning
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/power1.htm
    3. Yes: Something is being written to the screen during boot up [This may be only a flashing cursor]
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/video1.htm
    4. The video BIOS message is displayed on the screen for a few seconds and then clears from the screen, or more messages display under it
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/vbios1.htm
    5. Yes: The system BIOS startup screen is appearing
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/bios1.htm
    6. The memory test completes successfully
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/ram1.htm
    7. The BIOS accesses the floppy drives and the boot continues
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/seek1.htm
    8. The system is able to autodetect IDE devices successfully
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/auto1.htm
    9. The system is not Plug and Play compatible, has no Plug and Play devices, or has PnP devices but identifies them properly
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/pnp1.htm
    10. Boot sequence is A: before C: (floppy disk first)
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/seqAC.htm
    11. The floppy disk makes a noise and the light comes on
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/fd1.htm
    12. The floppy disk light goes off and the hard disk light comes on as it starts booting
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/fd1hdd.htm
    13. The hard disk boot process will continue here, if you want to follow it.
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/hd1.htm
    14. The system continues booting from the hard disk and the message "Starting MS-DOS" or "Starting Windows 95" is displayed
    http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/boot/walk/hd1os.htm
    15. Operating System Loaded From Hard Disk. The system has found a boot sector on the hard disk and is now starting the load of the operating system. The hard disk is working. You have successfully completed the hardware part of the boot process. Any problems encountered after this point should be diagnosed by looking for a more specific problem with a component, or under the section that contains run-time error messages.

    Can you undo the changes to the BIOS's configuration settings in the BIOS Setup?

  5. #5
    I have followed the flow chart about booting as suggested. The sequence is OK to step 11 with a floppy in drive A and this drive set as first boot. After an initial noise from the floppy drive the error message "a disk read fault has occured" is output. The suggestions about possible floppy faults are not the problem as substituting a known good floppy produces the same fault. Also if I set the BIOS to show no floppy in A or B drive the fault is output when the system tries to boot using the second choice boot (CD ROM)

    I am able to change the BIOS settings. I have returned the cpu speed back to its original default value. The fault remains after this has been done
    Last edited by biggtn; 10-10-2005 at 05:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    This is the first time I've ever come across this particular problem, and in the PC Guide forums alone I've seen a lot of problems.

    I don't believe that all your drives have suddenly gone faulty.

    I'm assuming it's a motherboard problem.
    See this http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/ggen01.htm

    You didn't say whether the drives are auto-detecting ok, or whether the drive parameters are all correct in the BIOS Setup.
    Is the A drive correctly specified?

  7. #7
    Primary & secondary drives are set to auto-detecting. The floppy is set correctly I believe at 1.44, 3.5 in.

    On chip IDE channels 10 & 11 are both enabled.

  8. #8
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    IDE Channels 10 & 11 seem odd; shouldn't those be 0 & 1, or 1 & 2?

  9. #9
    Apologies, cant read properly. They are indeed Channel 0 & 1.

    I have played about with both channels, having Channel 0 & 1 enabled and disabled. With both disabled the BIOS screen showed "BOOT FAILURE INSERT SYSTEM DISK". I opted for a WINDOWS startup disk and the sytem suddenly booted to the a:/. Being able to access the system though DOS I have found the original drive is faulty. It is recognised in BIOS but is not able to be accessed. Running FDISK outputs " unable to access drive 1". I am somewhat cosfused as I definately changed the hard drive early on in faulting. Using another hard drive I have now loaded XP without any problems.

    I thank you for your time and advise. I have learned a lot more about my system.

    Many thanks

  10. #10
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    "unable to access drive 1"
    Try to zero-fill that drive, and if that works, then repartition and reformat it.

    "With both disabled the BIOS screen showed "BOOT FAILURE INSERT SYSTEM DISK". I opted for a WINDOWS startup disk and the sytem suddenly booted to the a:\> prompt"
    Very strange that this should work with the drive controllers DISABLED!
    Or are these IDE "Channels" something different to the IDE controllers?

  11. #11
    How do you zero-fill a drive? This is a new term to me.

    I didn't find the IDE Controllers, are part of the BIOS?

  12. #12
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    The HDD manufacturers' website will often supply a downloadable file that puts their HDD utility on a bootable floppy [or CD].
    This program [that runs when you boot the floppy] is normally capable of "Zero-Fill" = writing zeros to the whole of the drive.
    It will also partition and format the drive [and if necessary install a "Dynamic Drive Overlay" if the BIOS is incapable of addressing all of the drive capacity].

    There are other simple programs that specialise in writing zeros to a HDD.
    I use "Wipe.com" got here http://www.digitalissues.co.uk/html/...-wipe-zap.html I think.
    Also have "Zap.com" on the same floppy, but never used it yet.
    You just enter a:\>wipe 0 and it writes zeros to the Primary Master HDD.
    Simple and quick.
    Zero-filling wipes the drive clean of all information added to the clusters; partitioning & formatting included. You're left with only the TRUE "Low Level Formatting", which is, I think, the positioning of the clusters, sectors, cylinders that holds and locates the written data. Only manufacturers TRUE "Low Level Format" their drives. Often that term is used incorrectly for zero-filling.

    Your IDE controllers [perhaps only the Secondary IDE] should be able to be switched off/on in the BIOS Setup.
    My older PC only allows the switch off/on of the "PCI IDE 2nd Channel".
    The Primary IDE channel/controller is always on.
    My newer PC allows both to be switched off/on.

  13. #13
    I have downloaded the ZAP & WIPE programs and have used them on a spare HDD. The results were as expected in that the drive was cleared. I followed this with the usual FDISK & FORMAT and the drive is now in good shape awaiting an operating system.

    I have now tried the same on my faulty HDD. The hdd is recognised in BIOS as 60G with 28*** cylinders but when wipe is run only 1023 cylinders are being "wiped". The HDD LED on the case is on as the program proceeds but I'm not sure if the diskis being accessed.

    The 1023 cylinders now being "wiped" is shown as MAXIMUM CYLINDERS. Is this all WIPE can manage our should this number be 28***?
    Last edited by biggtn; 10-13-2005 at 05:52 PM.

  14. #14
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    "The 1023 cylinders now being "wiped" is shown as MAXIMUM CYLINDERS. Is this all WIPE can manage"
    That's something I noticed too, which makes me wonder and I don't have an answer.
    I found that the end result was always as needed/desired, so hey-ho, who cares, but I'd still like to know what gives.

  15. #15
    This is a magic program indeed. The HDD that was nearly taking a trip to the "SKIP" is now holding a clean copy of XP.

    I have now sorted all my problems.

    WIPE,ZAP,FDISK,FORMAT what a wining formula!!!

    In conclusion I had two faults with my new system as follows:-

    1. The First IDE CHANNEL on my MBD is faulty (It will be going back)

    2. I had corrupted the data on my HDD (Possibly by overclocking)

    I can't thank you enough for your help in this matter. The lessons learned when faced with problems like these stay for a long time.
    Last edited by biggtn; 10-13-2005 at 06:59 PM.

  16. #16
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    "WIPE,ZAP,FDISK,FORMAT what a wining formula!"
    Hey, that's exactly what I found too.
    Those are exactly what I ended up using after giving up on "Maxblast 4".

    I just LOVE a good result !

  17. #17
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    The aximun cylinders limitation of Wipe is the old 8 Gb limit.
    be wary of strong drink - it may make you shoot at tax collectors, and miss!

  18. #18
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    I've just made the "Kill Disk" free bootable floppy from www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm

    It looks more sophisticated and appears to do just the job I want.
    See here http://www.killdisk.com/features.htm
    Particularly:
    Supports larger than 128GB hard disks via using LBA(LBA48) mode to access drive's data.
    Includes USB and CD-ROM support [whatever that means].
    I presume it will erase a USB connected HDD, but don't understand what it will do with a CD-ROM.

    Think I'll go try it.

  19. #19
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    This is much more sophisticated.

    It has a user interface, displayed my floppy disk and the [manufacturer was named] HDD with all the separate partitions.
    The active Primary Partition, the Extended Partition with its 4 Logical Partitions, and showed details such as the exact sizes of all these and clearly identified them.
    Lots of useful information there.
    It even showed something I was unaware of.
    That I have a not-so-small region of unallocated space [even "Partition Magic" doesn't show the existence of that].
    That I must investigate.

    The separate parts can be erased singly/independently, or the whole drive done in one go.

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