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I tried to install Windows XP on an old acer laptop. I deleted all partitions and ended up with one unallocated space. I pressed Enter to install XP in the unallocated space. It was examining this drive and after that, the unallocated space turned into "setup cannot access this disk". There is no place to install windows.

There is a message like "Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for install." The hard drive status is unreadable.

So I'm a complete noob installing windows and I may have deleted some partitions I shouldn't have deleted? Maybe the hard drive is so old that it got unreadable when I deleted the partitions.

Is there a way to fix this disk unreadable and no volume/place to install windows problem? Is the hard drive simply messed up?

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I had been in a similar situation before, I used Easeus Partition Master to create a bootable CD and create partitions from unallocated space but that isn't free. You can Get MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD It will do the work for you. Burn it on a CD and boot from it, create new partitions. You need to create a primary NTFS partition and set it as Active to install and boot Windows from it.

Alternatively You could also create a bootable USB drive having Minitool Partition Wizard using YUMI to create partitions, if you dont want to burn a CD.

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Here is the cause:

The hard drive status is unreadable.

This is probably a hardware problem, which were visible only on the reinstall.

Probably it is a bad block at the partition table or in the very sensitive first part of the hard disk.

What you could do:

1) if you can, try this install with another hard disk. This could test, if it is the real problem.

2) if you can't do this (f.e. you haven't a replacement hard disk on your hand): try to reformat the hard disk with another tool, and not with the windows installer. Also do a full bad block check!

3) Try to install windows to this, checked partition, without reformat.


I don't think that some bad block were always an acceptable cause to drop a hard disk, but it is really simpler and safer. You should later periodically full bad block rescan on this disk, and periodacally save all important data on that.

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