My system has three SATA hard drives and an IDE hard drive, so it looks like this:

  • SATA 1 - Ubuntu
  • SATA 2 - EMPTY
  • SATA 3 - Code/Documents
  • IDE - Movies/Music

I want to install XP in SATA 2, so I pop in my XP CD and restart. I then try to install in the unpartitioned space:

enter image description here

It comes up with this error on the screen:

enter image description here

To install Windows XP on the partition you selected, Setup must write some startup files to the following disk:


However, this disk does not contain a Windows XP-compatible partition.

To continue installing Windows XP, return to the partition selection screen and create a Windows XP-compatible partition on the disk above. If there is no free space on the disk, delete an existing partition, and then create a new one.

When I try to create a new partition in the unpartitioned space, I get the same error.

I've tried this on two separate XP CDs with the same results.

  • 3
    Added the images for you. – th3dude Oct 15 '09 at 20:55
  • Nah, they're fine (in my opinion). SuperUser scales them down well. – th3dude Oct 15 '09 at 20:57
  • 1
    For the sake of Google (and thus others who may run into this some day), copying (typing...) parts of the text would be even nicer! – Arjan Oct 15 '09 at 21:04
  • Solution simply is to remove other hard drives connected and now install only on the primary partition. Simple. – user67981 Feb 17 '11 at 13:09

Plug out the hard drives that contain any data at the moment.

Try installing Windows XP with only the empty hard drive connected to your computer.

And write back what happens, its also advisable to always install Windows before you install any linux operating systems on your computer but that's just in my opinion.

  • 1
    It's not just your opinion :) In my experience, Windows simply won't install if there exists an LVM partition on the disk (the installer freezes). And since many (most?) Linuxes these days defaults to LVM partitioning, this can be a serious show stopper. – Terje Mikal Oct 15 '09 at 21:37
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    This worked perfectly, I'm on windows right now =) Thank you – RyanScottLewis Oct 15 '09 at 21:52

You have to delete all partition no matter if it said NTFS, Raw or unknown delete all of them one by one pressing "D" and confirm pressing L. After that you get a new screen with the whole space of the hard drive and 4 ways to reformat you hard drive select the 3rd "Partition like a NTFS' and press enter ,when formatting is completed , XP installation set up it will continue.

I hope this will help u :)

Just Let me Know if u fixed the problem

  • you don't need to sign your comments – Shekhar Dec 24 '12 at 23:23

The simplest way to work around this XP installer bug would be to run "sudo cfdisk" in Ubuntu and just partition drive 2 manually, create a single large ntfs partition, then restart the XP installer.

  • I tried creating a single large NTFS on SATA 2, but it didn't work. – RyanScottLewis Oct 15 '09 at 22:55
  • 2
    HOW did it "not work"? What happened? – CarlF Oct 16 '09 at 1:43
  • Same error message as above. shrug – RyanScottLewis Oct 16 '09 at 6:22

According to this discussion it could be a problem with the drive itself. Before returning it for replacement, you might try unplugging the cables, cleaning the connections and replugging.


if the complete drive was originally a primary partition and you made it now into 2 partitions by creating another partition then that partition must now become the primary partition for windows to install. Just make the new partition the primary. Use partition wizard or whatever partition software you may have.


The simple technique is that 1.make partitions as much as possible in your hard drive and dont leave unpartitioned space .when there is no partitioned space ,the window will not.give error.

  • 1
    I'm not following your logic. Maybe there's some assumed detail missing. Can you expand your answer to explain why this should work? – fixer1234 Aug 19 '16 at 19:51

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