Monday, 2 May 2011

Disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl Alt Canc to continue

I have a rather old, but beefed up HP nx6110  Windows XP notebook I use especially when I'm travelling by train, since it still has a good battery life and it doesn't weigh much. Last year I changed the original 40gb hard drive with a bigger 140 gb unit.

The other day, rebooting, I received this message "A disk error occurred. Press Ctrl Alt Canc to continue". I backup the unit daily, so it wasn't particularly worrying, except for the fact that reinstalling everything on that notebook takes at least a day. The data on the disk was intact (I check taking the drive out and using it in an enclosure on another pc). I tried an XP boot CD with FIXBOOT, FIXMBR. I tried the freeware utility MbrFix. I tried repairing the Windows Installation. As a matter of fact this post on Tom's Hardware describes best my situation. Reimaing the disc would surely work, but what actually - in my case at least - allowed the disk to boot again bypassing the error was simply a defragmenting of the main partition, using the standard disk defragmenter on another pc. The disk was badly fragmented, but it should result only in slower reads. Tight timeouts? In the bios? NTLDR? Amazing windows...

Anyway, now I've reimaged the notebook's disc with Clonezilla, and virtualized the whole machine with VMWare Converter, just in case.

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