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Windows can’t be installed on drive
Posted by on 08 July 2015 03:34 AM

By Robert Keith

When installing Windows Operating System onto a new host and the OS drive was previously used for another purpose or operating environment, the Windows Installer often fails with the message “Windows can’t be installed on drive x…”

Applies to:
Iron Networks Products: IronPOD Family of Products, Microsoft CPS
Software: Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 2012 R2
Hardware Components: Compute and Storage Nodes

 

Symptom

When running the Windows Installer on a computer host, and at the point where the installer attempts to partition the drive, the installer produces an error and cannot continue.

Some operating systems such as versions of Linux and SunOS create a partition which Windows cannot remove the existing partition. Even when using the Windows Installer and deleting the partition, the disk drive is left in a state which is unusable by the Windows Installer. The installer will produce the following message:

“We couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one. For more information, see the Setup log files.”

Solution

To resolve this condition and put the OS drive into a clean state, the system will have to be booted into a Windows PE Environment. There is a Windows PE environment included with the Window Installation system.

Boot into Windows PE from Windows Installer

  1. Boot the computer system from the Windows Installer media, and select “Repair your Computer”. 
  2. Next, select the Troubleshoot option
  3. Then, select the Command Prompt

You are now booted into a tiny version of Windows. From this environment, we can then clean and process the drive.

Clean and partition the drive

From the command prompt, type the following commands

  1. Type: DISKPART
    • This will start the disk management command line utility.
    • This is the command line equivalent to Windows Disk Management
  2. LIST DISK
    • This will show a list of disks available.   If you have a USB drive plugged in, it will likely include this in the list
    • Select the disk to install Windows
  3. SELECT DISK x
    • If you type LIST DISK again, an asterisk will show the selected drive.  The next disk commands will be performed on this selected disk
    • Be careful to select the correct disk
  4. CLEAN
    • This will erase the disk completely including partitions and the boot sector including MBR records
  5. CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
    • Technically we do not have to do the next commands, but we should test the functionality of the OS disk and the Windows drivers
  6. SELECT PARTITION 1
  7. ACTIVE
  8. FORMAT  QUICK  FS=NTFS
  9. ASSIGN
  10. EXIT
  11. EXIT

If this procedure competes correctly, the Windows Installer should complete correctly.

 

Blow by Blow with Screen Shots

Exit the Windows installer environment by clicking on the exit X button (top right)

Return to the beginning of the Windows Installation process. Click on the “Repair your computer” link.

Select the Troubleshoot option.

Select the “Command Prompt” option

The command prompt screen will appear.

Type DISKPART to begin the Disk Management utility.

Select the correct disk to clean.

In this example, the 29GB disk is the Windows Installation USB drive.
The LIST DISK command now shows Disk 16 being managed.

Type:

  1. CLEAN
  2. CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
  3. SELECT PARTITION 1
  4. ACTIVE
  5. FORMAT QUICK FS=NTFS
  6. ASSIGN
  7. EXIT
  8. EXIT

Select Turn off your PC and then restart the installation process.

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Iron Networks is an OEM provider of software-defined converged network, compute & storage virtualization infrastructure platforms for cloud-optimized modern data centers. The IronPOD solutions are OpenStack, VMWare and Microsoft Fast-Track validated turnkey cloud and storage building blocks, built on industry standard commodity hardware, quick to deploy at large-scale and easy to distribute as a single low-cost rack level SKU. IronPOD enterprise level support services and systems are available via qualified partners globally to help enterprises efficiently build private cloud environments, and service providers build public cloud offerings.

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