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I am stuck with a weird problem here. I am trying to install Windows 10 on an "old" Windows 7 desktop machine for a friend. I purchased an SSD for him, but when I try to install Windows through USB it says:

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

I have tried:

  • Converting the drive to MBR and GPT
  • Diskpart -> clean -> create new primary partition -> mark as active
  • Remove all CD, SD, etc. drives from the motherboard (they don't appear in BIOS)
  • New SATA cable
  • Plug SSD into USB adapter and partition the drive on my desktop and mark it as active

However, none of these worked out for me. Very weird. Therefore I want to install Windows on the SSD through USB through my PC. I have a couple of SATA to USB adapters (with power and everything), so the drive basically appears as an USB drive in Windows. How would I go on about installing my Windows ISO on this drive through USB, without screwing up my partitions on my desktop PC?

What I have:

  • Windows ISO
  • USB adapter to hook up the SSD to my desktop

Let me know what the best approach would be, to solve this issue would be. Thanks!

  • What’s the rationale behind this whole undertaking? Is the laptop not capable of booting from USB, so you could create a thumb drive containing Windows Setup? – Daniel B Apr 30 '16 at 12:40
  • Why don't you just clone the existing install to the SSD, swap drives, deal with re-authenticating at MS, then do a regular upgrade. – Tetsujin Apr 30 '16 at 12:41
  • @DanielB Read the post again. I get the error "We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one. For more information, see the Setup log files" and I have tried basically everything to make the new SSD and old HDD work. – MortenMoulder Apr 30 '16 at 12:41
  • @Tetsujin Because the old HDD has been erased. I need to start from scratch. – MortenMoulder Apr 30 '16 at 12:42
  • Then the description 'old Win7 machine' is incorrect - right now it's just 'a machine' ;) If you can force an OS onto a USB drive [difficult as you need an Enterprise license to be able to install WinToGo] then it would very likely fail to boot when you put it back in the first machine, unless you have something like Acronis Universal Restore, which can 'de-specify' a boot drive. How did you generate your 'Windows ISO'? Media Creator? – Tetsujin Apr 30 '16 at 12:48
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Worked by using another USB drive. In this case an SD card actually. I had to plug in an USB drive as well (with the same Windows ISO installed), because the installer apparently couldn't find some of the media on the SD card.

TL;DR: Use another USB drive and you won't waste 8+ hours on something stupid.

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