Disk error when trying to install Windows 7 Pro as dual boot


Honorable Member

I've been trying to install Windows 7 Pro upgrade as dual boot with XP Home, and keep getting the message (something like) "Disk read error - press ctr-alt-del to restart" at the first boot during the installation process.

Have checked the hard drive for errors, and there are none. Have replaced the hard drive with a brand new one, and get the same result.

[I also tried installing Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade, and get the same result.]

I have :
Pentium (R) Dual-core CPU E5400 2.70 GHz
Two SATA hard disks -- 500 GB & 1 TB (have been trying to install Win7 Pro on the first hard disk)
DVD Multi drive
Windows XP Home

Help is much appreciated. Thanks.


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
Aread error on install suggests a problem with either the install disk or the optical drive.


Honorable Member
Aread error on install suggests a problem with either the install disk or the optical drive.
Thanks for your response.

I've tried with 2 other install disks, and have also tried installation from a virtual DVD drive. Same results !!

Must be something else...............


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
How old is the DVD drive? Some drives might need a firmware update to read the install media.

Can you read the files on the media by just looking at it in XP? If so, you may want to go the bootable flash drive direction.


Honorable Member
Thanks for your responses.

Finally figured it out -- meaning the penny finally dropped. :rofl:

Upgrade versions don't permit dual booting. The EULA says so, which I had missed. And M$ in its wisdom kept on giving me the "disk read error........" message instead of of an "illegal operation...." kind of message.

I was trying to do a dual boot install on a Win XP Home upgrade with a Win 7 Pro upgrade version.

Earlier I had successfully used Win 7 Home Premium upgrade to dual-boot on XP Home OEM versions on other computers. Which, it seems, is permitted. And I had assumed the same would be possible on XP upgrade versions. Not so.

Am slightly wiser now. :)

This website is not affiliated, owned, or endorsed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program.