Windows 7 / Server 2008 Installation Disk Issues with USB 3.0

I came across this annoyance when attempting to install Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 from a USB 3.0 stick. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s the fact that the OS doesn’t natively support the controller or whether it’s just the fact that the USB stick I am using is 3.0 but the issue seems to occur whether I use a 2.0 or 3.0 port. It could also be due to this particular BIOS and the way in which it enables USB boot and the device order.

After selecting the USB to boot, you get to this stage of the PE installation to select an installation disk:


The error: Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the Setup log files for more information.

No matter what you do at this point (create new partitions, delete partitions), you can’t proceed.

This is a workaround.

  1. Unplug the installation USB stick
  2. Click RefreshThe following error will appear: Windows cannot be installed to this disk (Show details)


  3. Plug the installation USB stick back in
  4. Click Refresh again. Both error messages should be gone and it will be possible to continue as normal and select Next to install to the selected disk.


The problem also occurs when using Autounattend.xml and the <DiskConfiguration> elements but since it is not possible to perform these steps in an unattended configuration, the installation produces the first error and does not continue. If I find a workaround to use this unattended mode I’ll update this (or if anyone knows of one, please let me know!)

For now, the unattended image install has had the DiskConfiguration and ImageInstall elements removed altogether to force this part of the process to be done manually.

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