How to Fix Hard Drive Error Code 0146?

Summary: The error code 0146 happens during boot and is associated with Dell laptops or desktops. It indicates that something is wrong with the hard drive. This error may lead to the freezing of your Dell laptop or computer and stall the system applications for a long time. In this post, we discuss the causes that may lead to such an error and the ways to fix hard drive error code 0146.

Hard drive error code 2000-0146 in Dell laptops/computers indicates severe logical problems that could lead to hard drive failure. It is a warning that pops up after the self-test performed by the device during boot.

This error 0146 may occur because of:

  1. Corruption of the program files
  2. Malware infection
  3. Bad sectors
  4. Failing drive

As a result, the system frequently freezes and the system applications stop responding for a long period of time. It takes ages to save a spreadsheet or open a browser tab.

Error 0146 could lead to a system crash (the PC switching off without any reason) and causes numerous Windows-related problems.

It is quite impossible to carry on with the problem since it:

  1. Hampers smooth booting
  2. Does not let the applications work
  3. Slows down the device till it is useless

You will get the following error message while trying to boot:



इस पोस्ट को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें।

Methods to Fix Hard Drive Error Code 0146

  • Error Code 0146.
  • Msg: Error Code 2000-0146
  • Msg: Self Test log contains previous error(s).

Table of Content

What is Hard Drive Error Code 0146?

How to repair error code 0146 in Dell laptop and desktop? Read on to know the steps to fix error code 0146.

We’ve mentioned below some possible fixes that can help you fix hard drive error code 0146.

1. Run onboard diagnostics

  • Start the PC
  • Press F12 repeatedly at Dell logo
  • The Boot Menu will appearrun-onboard-diagnostics
  • The diagnostic will run automatically
  • At the end it will display error code, validation code and service tag
  • Check error code from Pre-Boot System Performance.

2. Use an Antivirus or Anti-malware Software

A virus or malware can corrupt the hard drive, causing the error 0146. You can install a trusted antivirus or update the existing one, and then run a full system scan to remove possible virus infection. This will fix hard drive error code 0146.

The best scan is done at boot (before Windows drivers are loaded). Microsoft Security Essentials can’t perform boot time scan. We suggest you use a 30-day free trial of Kaspersky or a top-notch free antivirus such as Avast and AVG.

Boot scans are faster than when the PC is functional but it may take a long time to run. Do not switch off the device.

If this doesn’t resolve the error, try the next method to fix hard drive error code 0146.

3. Run the Laptop/Computer in Safe Mode and Clean Boot

Booting the system in safe mode and cleaning the boot files can also help fix hard drive error code 0146. To do so, first remove all the attached devices from the system such as a printer, Wi-Fi adapter, modem, etc., and then follow these steps:

  • Shut down your system.
  • Restart your system and keep tapping the F8 key until you see the ‘Advanced Boot Options’ screen.
  • Select Safe mode with Networking by using the arrow keys. Then, click Enter.
  • Press ‘Windows Key + R’. In the window that opens, type MSConfig and click OK.
  • In the System Configuration Utility window, click the General tab and then click Selective Startup.
  • Unselect the Load Startup items
  • Click on the Services Check Hide all Microsoft services. Click the Disable all
  • Restart the system and check if it has been able to fix hard drive error code 0146.

Usually a well-performed “clean boot” repairs error code 0146 in Dell laptops and desktops.

4. Run System File Checker (SFC) scan

At times, drive corruption or an incompatible file system leads to error 0146. You can run the System File Checker scan to repair corrupt or missing system files and registry files. SFC is a tool from Windows that checks the integrity of system files.

Important – from Windows 8, Windows uses Deployment Image Servicing and Management or DISM. If you are using Windows 7, then skip this step and go on to SFC /Scannow.

Before you type SFC /Scannow type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth. It allows Windows to obtain the files needed for restoration.

Windows Update has to be functioning and not turned off for DISM to work.

To run SFC scan, follow these steps:

  • Go to Start and type cmd. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.
  • Type SFC /Scannow to run the SFC scan.
  • After scanning, restart your system.

If SFC scan can’t replace system files, it asks for Windows installation DVD or media to repair corrupt or damaged system files.

5. Change the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) Settings

Incorrect BIOS settings can severely affect the performance of your system. Check that the BIOS settings are correct. Correcting the BIOS settings can help fix hard drive error code 0146 . Follow these steps:

  1. Restart the system and press ‘F2’ to enter BIOS settings
  2. Select Drives > SATA Operation
  3. Change Raid On to Raid Autodetect / ATA


  1. Save changes and exit
  2. Reboot the device and it should work smoothly.

Additional Reading: How to Fix ATA/SATA hard drive not detected in BIOS?

6. Run Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup, a Windows utility program, reduces the number of unnecessary files on the hard disk and frees up disk space. It removes temporary files, empties the Recycle Bin, and removes unwanted system files. It might fix hard drive error code 0146.

Here are the steps to run Disk Cleanup:

  1. Go to Start, type Disk Cleanup. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.
  2. Select the drive you want to clean and click
  3. Wait until Disk Cleanup scans your Drive(s).
  4. After scanning, select the Temporary files box and click
  5. Click the Delete Files

7. Change CMOS Battery

BIOS works off a small battery known as CMOS battery. The battery approximately lasts for a year or two. When the battery is about to die it often shows up through error messages about the device.



In this case check the type of CMOS battery your laptop/PC needs and change it. It costs ~$5 and is done in a minute. You can change it yourself or ask a service person.

8. Replace your Hard Drive

If you have not been able to fix error code 0146, replace the hard disk drive of your Dell system with a new one.

Back up the drive on cloud, USB or external drive before you go for a change.

It is advisable to seek help from an authorised data recovery service provider to recover data from your hard disk drive in case of a crash.

The error 0146 in Dell laptops/computers can severely affect the functioning of your system. It’s comforting to know that the problem can usually be fixed but changing the hard drive cannot be ruled out.

You can follow the methods mentioned in this post to fix the issue. However, if the issue isn’t fixed and the last resort is to replace the hard disk drive, then take the help of a professional data recovery services provider such as Stellar Data Recovery.

Stellar Data Recovery, an ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 certified organisation, is one of the most trusted data recovery service providers in India. With more than 25 years of data recovery experience, Stellar has carved a niche in the field of data recovery services and software. We can help you recover data from a corrupt, formatted, or damaged hard drive. Additionally, Stellar Data Recovery follows the ‘No Recovery No Charge* Policy’. If you are in need of data recovery do not hesitate to call us.

Additional Reading: How to Fix Dell Hard Drive Error 2000-0142?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Booting into safe mode? 

Safe mode is a basic state of Windows. The OS operates without most of the drivers and uses none of the software. Only core Windows services continue to work. If error 0146 does not happen in safe mode it means the basic files are not causing the problem.

2. How does one fix the BIOS?

Fixing the BIOS is known as BIOS flashing. It is rather delicate since if done wrongly your motherboard would never work again. This means you may need a new processor, RAM (depending on how old the motherboard model was). Fixing the BIOS is easy but best done by a service person.

3. How to test the hard disk? 

The easiest way is to open the hard disk and fit it inside another fully working PC. if it works alright for a day or two in another machine it is okay. Some would prefer to do a SMART test on it on a test machine.

Also Read: How Efficient is the S.M.A.R.T Tool to Predict Hard Disk Failure

4. What is a data recovery tool?

If you have a crashed hard drive, you need a data recovery tool. It can recover data you have erased accidentally such as deletion, formatting and partitioning.

Stellar Data Recovery software is a wonderful tool that is easy to use and retrieves all data in a few hours.

5. How do I know if Stellar Data recovery works?  

That is why Stellar has an unbeatable offer. You can use the entire software for free (till 1 GB). Even after the free limit, you can use the software to preview deleted files but you’ll need a license key to recover them.

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