We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

disk read error - press ctrl alt Del to restart

i'm repairing a pc which got this moring at restart the black screen with the message : disk read error press ctrl alt delete to restart.
OS = XP SP3
however, the disk tests fine with a disk diag (long test); i can log on to it with ERD Commander, and do a system restore. - same problem !
So it looks to me the MBR is bad.
i even did a fixmbr from the XP CD, and a bootcfg /rebuild - same problem !

any help on this?   can this be a rootkit?

right now - i'm doing a scan from the Kaspersky rescue cd

Comment
Watch Question

dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.
Commented:
Don't believe to be a rootkit.

Still could be disk failure but the long diag should have found that.  Try new cable.  Try swapping cable across to different controller.

See here http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/19004/ for various comments on the same problem.  Try the chkdsk /r option suggested there.  Corrupt NTFS possible?
It could be the harddisk problem, check your harddisk.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
new cable tried. other disk boots from same controller ok to XP
@suriya - read the question properly before answering - it IS tested !!
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Hi Nobus,
Try resetting the cmos/bios battery (remove battery for few mins)
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
optoma :  any reason that would help ?? it sees the disk, and tries to boot from it, so how can a bios change help?
Backup the data and install the fresh OS
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
No harm in trying it.
Everything else works together except that hard drive in that board as of this morning.
SteveArchitect/Designer

Commented:
at what point in the boot process do you get the disk error please?
can you see and access the disk from ERD?
SteveArchitect/Designer

Commented:
Actually, lets get the obvious stuff out of the way just in case.

Do you have any CDs in the drive, any floppies in the drive (if there is one) Could be trying to boot.
Do you have any USB flash drives or external USB HDDs connected? may be booting from wrong drive.
Double check the boot order in the bios just tobe sure the correct drive is being booted from.
Is the HDD set using the right jumper settings (EG master drive)

Please double check those just to be sure. No offence but we've got to ask this stuff.....
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
@ suriya : i know that - but it is no solution to my question
well optoma, even if i did not see the point, it would not harm; so i did it by removing the battery --> no change

@ totallytonto : if i can do a system restore - it means i can access the disk.  and everything is jumpered as it should be. there are no othe rdevices present.

To All : in the meantime, i found out the following :
- this disk boots fine on another pc
- another disk boots fine on the problem PC
so it looks like the problem is something on the disk, keeping me from booting (but i can't explain why it boots on other pc fine)
i am now running a disk check on it - on the other pc
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Is a weird one.
If still no luck, what about cloning that drive and see will the cloned drive boot in that system.
If that cloned drive wont boot, it would then be 100% positive that something on drive is the issue.

>That drive, what cpu is in its system? Has the drive been connected to a different system with a different cpu brand?
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
the first pc is an msi board with a intel P4 1.7 Ghz
the other is an Asus with an intel P4  2.1 Ghz
i was thinking about the cloning- in fact i made already an image of the drive !
when the chkdsk is done, i'll try that
bad disk = 160 Gb
good disk = 30 Gb - both XP SP3
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Try the step by step booting to see whether it is trying to load a driver that it should not right before the failure.

The error could be that a needed file fragmented and a fragment is missing appearing to the OS as though there is an issue with the drive.
Can you get into the system in safe mode and run sfc /scannow and/or defrag?
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
@arnold : why does it boot ok if a fragment is missing  - on the other pc?
please read carefully - i am running a dskcheck ...
what step by step booting?  it boots ok -  or it does not at all, not sure what you mean...
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
F8, step-by-step.

Is this boot issue intermittent or does it always give this error on this PC?

Commented:
Kindly check your hard disk jumper setting. Check master and slave as it is required.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
@alover :  please read everything before posting things that have been said !
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Hey Nobus, is the system partition set active?
Also you have some of Paragon programs I believe, can you let's say create boot CD of Drive Backup 10 Pro or Server and boot from it. Then at first screen where you do select Normal Mode - Safe Mode etc use Find Windows Oses on HDD. IF found try to boot from it.
IT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
If the problem is in partition boot record or MBR then it will try to boot from it. Next step will be checking both MBR and system partition boot record.
BTW, you said that another HDD boots fine on this PC, is the drive smaller than this one?
Also is this a single partition on this drive?
If yes is the partition bigger than 137GB? A weird idea that your mobo could not support drives bigger than 137GB (well known 48bit LBA support). Good check would be creating smaller partition (lets say 10GB) and trying to boot from it.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
@noxcho - yes it is active, i even read the mbr with Bootit-ng.
i was working  with disk manager server, and made a disk clone to an 80 GB drive (on the other PC)
the 80 Gb drive did boot without a problem.
and yes the booting drive was a 30 Gb  - and now an 80 GB also

i think your last remark about the 137 Gb is correct ; i KNOW the mobo does not support bigger disks - however it DID work for about 2 years now, and all of a sudden it does not work now.

so i checked the bios settigns and found the reason :
 the bios settings  :  Cyl    Head  Sect     CHS          LBA         MST   SMART   PIO   UDMA
-on th ASus board    1024   255   63     8422Mb   160041MB Max      En        4        5    --->  160Gb disk in BIOS
-on the MSI board    4128   255   255        -               -                -       -          -         -    --->  137GB  disk in bios

as you see it sees a different geometry - which is (probably) the cause.

i do have a worka round, but i would like to get to the bottom of it, why it did work before, and not now.
Do you think flashing the bios helps?  i tried failsafe and optimum defaults already - no change , of course !
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
another thought  -  can it be the gmer rootkit ? : http://www2.gmer.net/mbr/
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
an update : the MSI website claims it supports the 160 Gb disk from Bios version v13 :  http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=downloaddetail&type=bios&maincat_no=1&prod_no=299

i have version v1.41
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.
Commented:
But you used fixmbr didn't you?  That should have replaced any rootkit sitting in the MBR.

So the MSI board only sees it as 137 Gb?

Check the BIOS options for setting the type of Disk translation - might be named somethine else in your BIOS.  You may have options for LBA Large Normal and the setting should be set for LBA.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
dbrunton - all i see in the bios is posted above
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

Commented:
In the BIOS can you change the Access mode to LBA?
MSI.jpg
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
I would consider that BIOS got corrupt somehow. How? I have now idea. Try flashing it.
Would be funny if the drive worked for two years only because of BIOS glitch and then when it started working properly it failed.
Try to download latest BIOS and flash it.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

Commented:
And try another battery in case the BIOS isn't holding settings.  Usually the date is the indicator that battery is weak but not always ...
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
dbrunton, as i posted - there is no setting for lba in that bios as i posted. i'll give you a picture of it
noxcho, i'm trying to flash the biso right now - but the bast***is struglling against : then a file not found, then an invalid drive specification...
most of it because i have to flash it form a bootable droppy .. lol
i'm making a couple right now..
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
here the bios
DSC-0059-800.jpg
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
one more
DSC-0060-800.jpg
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
update : it looks like bios glitch guys
im=made several bootable floppies, that booted correct ; however, when i tell it to change drives to C: it says : invalid drive specification
now i'm in a catch, since i have to flash the bios from disk. there is no USB boot supported on this rig (MS-6534)
i can try from floppy
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

Commented:
Interesting.  That is an AMI Bios.

The graphic I submitted is an Award BIOS and that is from the MSI manual for a MS-6534 Micro ATX (Version 1, G52-MA00417) motherboard which I got from your link.
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
"when i tell it to change drives to C: it says : invalid drive specification" - did you try connecting smaller drive?
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
it was an 80 GB i was working with.
right now, i think i will make an old ide drive 250 Mb - dos bootable, and try to flash from there - to avoid problems.

@dbrunton - it was always this bios, and i have flashed it before, without problems with the v1.4 version - but now i'm tempted to try with the v1.3 version -  any opinion on that ?
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
I never did downgrade the BIOS firmware so will look what the results you do get =)
Good luck
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.

Commented:
>> but now i'm tempted to try with the v1.3 version

Can't comment on that but, yes, go the small hard disk way.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
i'll post results in a couple of hours.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
When in the bios, change the drive mode to AuTO versus user and see whether that corrects the issue.
If your system can not read beyond the 137GB on a 160GB drive and you used the drive in a system that can see the entire drive, you may have a file entry that points to a drive location the MSI system can not access. i.e. filea has a fragment in the 140GB location which the MSI can not access and is seen as unable to read.

When you cloned the drive/copied the data to the 80, the file framents were rereferenced on the new drive.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
@arnold - as i posted above, the bios update does take care of that

to all :   SUCCESS  ! !
here's the story :
i tried to flash the bios with v1.3 -  that was a very strange  one, and did not work at all, i got general protection errors and interrupt problems>  i simply could not flash, because the program (amifl827.exe) did not work>
then i tried with version 1.4 (the same it was on previously)
and directly i could boot from the 160 Gb disk !!!
i believe nobody gave the correct answer, but i'm glad for everybody's help- so thank you all !
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
i would like to point out that noxcho's comments on using Paragon disk manager and the 137 GB issue set me in the correct direction.

Again, many thanks to all for the support i got !
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
i was so happy when it booted from the problem disk, that i accepted the answer, but i ran into other problems guys : now i cannot enter the bios -  i'll download and flash it again...
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Hmm, the fact that you could not enter the BIOS indicates mobo issues. I would suggest replacing it.
Thanx for feedback nobus
Nox
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
agreed - or a bad bios.
Strangest of all things i've ever seen :  for the rest, it works like new !!
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
i mean it shows the screen : press Del to Enter, F11 for boot menu.
F11 does open the boot menu, but del says it's going into it, then reboots !
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Which MSi board do you have?  Does it have a failsafe bios?

Has the system auto-rebooted before?

Seen this happen when the 3.3 Voltage regulator in the Power supply was flaky i.e. a drop in the 3.3v usually affected the RAM chip voltages which trigger reboots i.e. kernel panic and I think the same is true even if the system is just in the bios.
The difficulty to see whether it is or is not an issue, you have to successfully get into the bios to monitor those settings/information.
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Hmm, very strange with that bios!!
Distinguished Expert 2019

Author

Commented:
that's the least to say !