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Windows 7: Struggling with USB Install for Windows 7 Starter

18 Oct 2012   #1

windows 7 starter
Struggling with USB Install for Windows 7 Starter

I am trying to do a dual install of Windows Starter 7 and Linux Mint on my HP Mini 210. It has no CD/DVD drive so I'm using ISOs on USBs. This is a *little* above my skill and knowledge level, but I'm learning a ton as I go. At the moment I have totally wiped the hard drive and have no operating systems. I want to reinstall Windows first, and it launches fine from the USB but I keep getting this same message which is the title of this thread, that it can't find the partition. I've deleted all the partitions, I've done the "clean" thing, I've tried making an active partition through the command line, no go.

I do believe the problem could be having the USB drive in at the time of partitioning, with the BIOS pointing to the USB as the 1st boot option. But I can't figure out how/when to take it out. I tried both solutions below. The first might work but I'm not sure at what point in the process to do it. I did the second as well, but when I restart it does not boot from the active partition, just says "missing operating system".

I've been at this for a week, reading all kind of forums and watching tutorials, but I'm stuck on this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whtnxt View Post
Well to start with I have faced the same problem that you have on my new laptop.
"Setup unable to create the system partition"
I was booting from my 4GB pendrive and tried to do a clean install of Windows 7 but faced that issue.
I does a little research and here are my findings might helps you.
You have to remove all USB drives while the setup is in progress specially during Partition selection

Windows 7 setup has some bug
when you select a new partition to install win 7, setup tries to create a 100 MB system partition on the first BIOS Device which in your case is USB as you are booting from it. Windows 7 setup sees your HDD on your machine as second BIOS device. No matter you create a Primary partition on your machine HDD and Mark it as active, the setup will not proceed further because it cannot create a 100MB partition for Boot Files on your USB drive

You can try changing the boot order of USB and HDD on motherboard setup and boot to USB by pressing 'F11' during restart or something that brings up Boot Menu. This might help you but chances are very less.


1. Use Gparted and make two primary partition on your HDD make one as active.
2. Boot from USB during setup goto command Prompt and make your active partition bootable using following command

bootsect /nt60 d:
"D: -your active partition whatever it is just replace the drive letter"

3. Copy all files from USB to Active partition using DOS commands you might know them xcopy or something
4. Remove USB and restarts your machine it should boot from Active partition
5. Run setup as usual and make a clean reinstall

That should solve your problem. Gud Luck

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2012   #2

Windows 10 Pro X64

When you boot the mini, does it tell you you can press a Fn key to get to the boot menu? If so then DO NOT make the USB the first boot device, leave it as the hard drive. Instead, press the Fn key during boot and select the USB flash drive to start the install. When it then reboots after copying files to the hard drive, it will boot from the hard drive as it should and continue to install from the USB.

At least that's how it has worked for me on other computers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP


Use the HP F9 key to boot stick, set HD first to boot as suggested.

If stick doesn't show up under USB, REmovable or HD's to choose, or it doesn't load when chosen, you may need to write stick again or confirm your ISO from Steps 1/2 of Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7.

Everything you need is in the tutorial to get a perfect reinstall, and then use this to Dual Boot Ubuntu - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Oct 2012   #4

windows 7 starter

Thank you both for your suggestions. Here is exactly what I did:

1. Deleted all files from the USB. From the Clean Reinstall link above, I downloaded the Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 ISO at Digital River and installed it on the now empty USB with the Download Tool
2. Restarted computer and hit ESC to enter the BIOS Startup Options. In Boot Options I set HD as the first choice. Save and Exit.
3. Restart again with the new Windows USB plugged in
3. Hit F9 which takes me to the Boot Manager where I have 2 options: Notebook Hard Drive and Lexar USB Flash Drive. Notebook Hard Drive is first, then USB second. I select USB and hit enter.
4. From this point the installation process starts normally, but at the partition stage I come to the same error as always. "Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the Setup Log files for more information."

As further background info, I have a 300 GB HD which currently has 2 30GB partitions, one is marked System (this has been made active in the process suggested by whtnxt and others), the other is marked Primary, and the rest is currently unallocated. Both partitions are formatted NTFS. Windows does not like either of them.

Ideas? Next steps? Thanks again, in advance!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP


Unplug all other HD's and peripherals, Boot into BIOS setup to see if there is an EFI Boot Disk in BIOS Boot order. If so remove it, set DVD drive first to boot. If EFI BIOS also set to Legacy BIOS.

Then boot into installer, at first screen Press Shift + F10 to open a Command Box, type:

SEL DIS 0 (after confirming Windows 7 target HD #)

Now click Install Now to Clean Install Windows 7 to partition you created. If it fails then report back at which step and the verbatim error message.

In addition read over these steps to understand the tools and methods which work best to get and maintain a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7. The steps are the same for retail. Un
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #6

windows 7 starter

Ok, so I did all the command line steps without issue and clicked Install.

1) I got a window saying that a CD/DVD or other device was needed and if I had one I should insert it. The windows USB was already in there so I clicked Next.

2)Another window opens saying, No device drivers were found. Make sure the installation media contains the correct drivers and then click Ok. So I clicked OK

3) Left with the screen that offers me the option to rescan or browse for drivers. Neither of these were effective.

What did I miss? Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

I have seen that message before when booting from a USB inserted into a USB3 port. Ensure the USB is inserted into a USB2 port.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #8
Microsoft MVP


Are you using a USB 3.0 port for the stick? If so change it to a USB 2.0 port or insert the USB driver from the chipset download on HP Support Downloads webpage for your model.

USB 3 is so new it's drivers are not all in the Win7 with SP1 installer.

You can also use an external DVD drive with ISO burned to DVD to avoid this error, or use a USB 3 supported USB flash stick.

This can also still be a bad installer error.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #9

windows 7 starter

According to the specs, I have 3 USB 2.0, the ones that came in the laptop. So that should be ok. Unfortunately I don't understand what is meant by chipset or SATA controller driver, and if it IS a bad installer error, I'm not sure what my next move would be. I don't want to waste anybody's time so I will research these terms and get back to you all. Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #10
Microsoft MVP


If you don't have USB 3.0 then it's likely still a bad installer since the SATA drivers are all in the Win7 installer except in the rarest cases. So I would try writing the ISO to flash stick again. This time use Universal USB Installer with Win7 in dropdown menu. Or use a DVD drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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