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I'm having trouble installing Windows 7 Pro x64 and I've listed below the steps that I have taken so far. If anyone could point me in the right direction on how to solve this, I would greatly appreciate it.

The laptop has Windows 10 Pro installed on it. I created a Windows 7 Pro x64 USB Flash and the USB flash boots, but when I click on Install Windows, the following message pops up:

Windows could not retrieve the information about the disks on this computer.

For creating the USB Flash, I used the following settings: USB Flash Settings

The hard disk that I am trying to install it on is NTFS and when I check the disk using DISKPART, the hard disk is non-GPT.

Additional note: since I was unable to use the USB Flash with Windows 7 Pro on it to install Windows or format the hard disk, I created another USB Flash with Windows 10 Pro on it and used it to format the hard disk. However, even though the hard disk is now formatted, the same error still shows up when trying to install Windows 7 Pro.

Update: Using a USB Flash with Windows 10 Pro, I was able to delete all partitions, and what remained was one partition named Drive 0 Unallocated Space. After that, I inserted the USB Flash with Windows 7 Pro Partition scheme MBR, restarted the computer, but when I clicked "Install Now" the same message appeared, "Windows could not retrieve the information about the disks on this computer." If a USB Flash with Windows 7 Pro Partition scheme GPT is used, the laptop won't even boot the flash. The laptop bios are said to Legacy and prioritize Legacy. If set to UEFI, neither the MBR or GPT Partition scheme version of the USB Flash with Windows 7 Pro boots up.

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  • When choosing Custom install, are you going into "Drive options (advanced)" and deleting all existing partitions? (obviously being aware that it will delete all data on the disk)
    – Smock
    Jul 22, 2020 at 13:14
  • Hi Smock, no, I just formatted the partition that I am trying to install Windows 7 on.
    – pizi
    Jul 22, 2020 at 13:29
  • Try deleting the partitions first in the drive options then - The installer should then be faced with a disk with no partitions ad create its own one.
    – Smock
    Jul 22, 2020 at 17:43
  • according to this linux probe ( linux-hardware.org/index.php?probe=f78c1a07a9 ) , that motherboard model (listed in a comment) is an intel 8 c220 series chipset. you are probably going to need to get an SATA AHCI Controller driver and install it during setup. I vaguely recall windows-7 support stopping at around series 6, but newer boards after win 7 release often required a driver to be installed during setup to access the drives.
    – Yorik
    Jul 29, 2020 at 14:24
  • What exactly is your computer model, CPU, motherboard and BIOS? Please add a screenshot of the BIOS page where is defined Legacy/Secure mode. Rub Coreinfo and post its log file.
    – harrymc
    Jul 29, 2020 at 15:55

3 Answers 3

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+50

If the same version of Windows 10 was already installed on this same computer, then Windows 10 will activate automatically once it is installed.

The Microsoft license servers keep a hardware fingerprint of the computer, which is called "digital entitlement". As long as you have not changed the hardware in a significant manner, such as replacing the motherboard or the network adapter, Windows 10 will activate without the need for a serial key.

Install Windows 10, and when Windows 10 prompts for the key (twice in fact), hit the "Skip for now" button and let Windows 10 install.

Afterward, if it does not activate itself after a couple of reboots, you may do the activation manually.

See the article:
You do not need to Activate Windows 10 to install it, but this is how you can activate later.

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  • It seems that the Windows 10 installation via the USB boot media always defaults to install as Windows 10 Home and not Windows 10 Pro, even though the ISO which was used to create the boot media is Windows 10 Pro. Since Windows 10 Home is currently installed on the computer, it's not activating, and there is no way to activate it since there is no key for Windows 10 Home, but only for Windows 10 Pro. Do you have any suggestions?
    – pizi
    Aug 5, 2020 at 18:51
  • Possible idea : Install using the Window 10 Pro generic key VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T. This key will not activate Windows, but will hopefully get you installed the Pro version instead of Home, that later will activate itself by digital entitlement.
    – harrymc
    Aug 5, 2020 at 18:58
  • That worked. 1) Without connecting to the Internet, install Windows 10 using a USB 2) Without connecting to the Internet, enter the generic Windows 10 Pro key 3) Restart computer 4) Connect to the Internet and the Windows 10 Pro activates itself by digital entitlement thanks to the hardware fingerprint.
    – pizi
    Aug 6, 2020 at 5:54
1

I would recommend using the Drive options (advanced) to delete the offending partition(s).
(since there shouldn't be any data on there in your case this should be fine).

enter image description here

enter image description here

(WARNING: This deletes all data!)

This gets the disk space into the unallocated state:

enter image description here

Click next with the unallocated space selected and it will create all the partitions it needs as part of the install process.

enter image description here

I usually do this method every time I (re)install windows 7 - assuming I want to wipe the disk
(Which I do as I always store my documents/data on a seperate disk from the O/S one)

But here's a detailed guide I found that also follows the same process: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-clean-install-windows-7-2624917

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  • There were three partitions. I don't need the data so I was able to delete one partition and then merge it into the larger one. Now I have two partitions: C: and System Reserved. I restarted and tried to install, but the same error shows up. Do you have any ideas on what else I could try?
    – pizi
    Jul 23, 2020 at 11:29
  • Is there any reason you didn't delete all partitions? (are you still using one to boot from or something?)
    – Smock
    Jul 23, 2020 at 20:09
  • Yes, there is a reason. The drive options screen appears only after the screen "Install Now" and I wasn't able to get to that screen using a Windows 7 USB Flash, but I was able to click repair your computer, so I clicked repair, restarted, and the computer somehow booted into Windows 10. Since it booted, I used Disk Management to delete one partition, but couldn't delete the other two.
    – pizi
    Jul 24, 2020 at 15:59
  • However, after your comment, I used the Windows 10 USB Flash which allowed me to click "Install Now" and then go to the drive options screen where I was able to delete all partitions. After deleting all partitions, what remained was one partition named Drive 0 Unallocated Space. After that, I inserted the Windows 7 USB Flash, restarted, but when I clicked "Install Now" the same message appeared, "Windows could not retrieve the information about the disks on this computer."
    – pizi
    Jul 24, 2020 at 15:59
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    Hmm. This has jogged some memory about using 3rd party disk drivers on Windows 7 installation (to get the installer to recognise the some more recent types of disks properly). I'm sure there's an option somewhere to load them during boot. what is the disk type/manufacturer and the motherboard info?
    – Smock
    Jul 25, 2020 at 19:10
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GPT Partitions won't allow modifications to any partitions once they are set with any operating system installed (Windows 10 Pro) in your case. You need to delete all of your partitions of the HDD and then create a new one from the installation menu of your Windows 7 installer. Then only you can proceed. That's the main problem with GPT partitions, once they are set... doing anything requires a full hard drive clearup.

Make sure you backup your important data of your HDD before you completely erase all partitions in order to make your HDD partition table into MBR.

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  • 5
    That's plain wrong. GPT is just as editable as MBR. Whether an OS is installed or there's something on partitions is irrelevant. GPT is just a data structure that outlines where partitions start and end. It doesn't care about data on these partitions, installed OS etc.
    – gronostaj
    Jul 22, 2020 at 6:41

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