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​error while installing Windows 7 - “Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition”

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error while installing Windows 7 - “Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition”

If you try to install any version of Windows from USB flash drive you may get this error: “Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition”

This is usually an issue with smaller form factor laptops that do not have a physical DVD drive and the only way to install an operating system is to use a USB stick.

You just need to copy all installation files from USB flash drive to your new or existing HDD (or SSD) drive and make it bootable, and then continue installation from HDD to HDD or to SSD.

Step by step instructions:

Try setting up windows, you must format drive, you will then get the error, leave that part of the setup screen, go back to the beginning of the windows installation from USB drive setup screen.

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Press Shift + F10, you should then be in "Console"

In console

type: "diskpart.exe" and press enter.

In this program do the following:

type: "select disk=0"

Disk 0 is your destination drive, so be careful, all information on this drive will be removed.

Since you already formatted drive, no need to do the following step but in case you did not attempt to create and format the drive(then got the error) , then you will need to create

This step can be skipped if you already formatted the drive

type: "create partition primary size=xxxxx", where xxx – is the size of new partition, difficult, best if you formatted before error code

Then, proceed to the following steps:

type: "select partition=1"

type: "active"

type: "format fs=ntfs quick" (this can be skipped if you already formatted drive)

type: "assign"

type: "exit"

now you have bootable drive C

Navigate to USB flash drive, in my case:

type: "cd d:"  

  • HINT: not sure which is your USB drive, type "dir" and it will list all files in the the drive
  • If the drive you think it is on is not valid, keep going to "cd e:", type "dir" and see if that is the USB drive, keep trying

Copy all files from USB drive to C: drive:

type: "xcopy d: c: /e /h /k"

Go to boot folder:

type: "cd boot"

Make your C: drive bootable with following command:

type: "bootsect /nt60 c:"

Pull USB drive/device from computer/laptop and restart it.

Install Windows when prompted, the regular process.

You will now have a dual boot option when you 1st start the computer

To remove the unnecessary additional menu item from bootscreen:

Run cmd.exe as Administrator. In windows search bar, type cmd, right click on cmd.exe and choose run as administrator.

While in dos mode, to see boot menu list:

type: "bcdedit"

Find/look for "Windows Setup" and copy identifier listed above it

in cmd window, type: bcdedit /delete {identifier}" 

This removes the dual boot option listed when windows 1st starts leaving only the real boot option

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For this particular error, this process works. If not the 1st time you try, try it again, I had to try 2X, the format process was my issue, format the drive during the windows install, then you can skip the CMD format process, the text is tricky, you can skip if you format during the GUI (graphic user interface) process, otherwise, you have to type in the commands and it is tricky..

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