USB boot, 2 different errors


I'll go ahead and tell you my motherboard, cpu, and HDD:
Asrock Pro3 Z75
i5 3570-k
WD6400aaks (caviar blue)

So i've done some extensive research on this, but all for naught, so i seek the help of the masters.

I am trying to install windows 7 from a usb. All goes correctly until the installer asks which partition i would like to install to. I click on my HDD. It is a clean drive, no hidden partitions, just one big partition that encompasses the entire drive. I hit next, and at the bottom in small text it says "setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition."

Here is a list of some of the many "solutions" i have encountered:

1. Disconnect all HDDs or SSDs than the one you want to install to.
(I only have one drive.)
2. Set the HDD as the primary boot device.
(done this, every time i start up i tell the motherboard to launch from the USB that one time, not to set it as the primary drive.)
3. Delete all the partitions.
(Done it.)
4.Remove any USB sticks

#4 is my problem. It might solve the problem i am encountering, but for the fact that i have to keep the USB in or i get a completely different error message: 0x80003, which apparently means to reinsert the device that has the windows iso on it. When i do this, it goes back to telling me it can't create or locate a partition.

I am about to tear my hair out! Does anyone have a solution!?!?


Senior Member
When you say USB you mean a flash drive. So when the setup launches what does it detect the flash drive as c:/?

Is the HDD SATA or PATA. Most likely SATA. Not using raid. I believe in bios there is an option to use sata as ide. Also a master sata slot. (primary slot)

I know this is a dumb question but does the bios detect the HDD? As of the error your getting

"setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition."

Another dumb question, is the drive formated NTFS and bootable?

Your number two: set drive as primary boot device. The HDD has to be a primary partition that is bootable. I do not think its talking about the first drive the bios is set to boot from.

If you spin a disk in cd rom the HDDMBR drive is listed as c:/ when you choose the drive to setup on. But since the usb flash drive is booted it should be c:/. So that would make the HDD e:/ or something. As long as it is a bootable (MBR) drive. But it is hard to tell what letter windows is going to assign to a drive except for the cd rom. Should always get d:/. A flash drive may get c:/.

I really have to know where you got win 7 install on a flash drive.

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No, it doesn't detect the flash drive as C:/ as far as i know, because I don't know where to look.

Yes, bios detects the HDD. It's SATA, and i changed it to ide when i first got into the bios. Despite the fact that the bios is one of the fancy ones (efe i think it's called) i cant find SEVERAL of the options that i want to, such as setting a primary drive and stuff.

A little backstory on my HDD: I extracted it from a terrible computer that seemed to be created from popsicle sticks and hot glue. It's the only acceptable piece of hardware i was able to find in that hunk of junk. I hook it up to my new build, launch windows install. It previously had windows 7 on it, so first i tried just booting from it. As i expected, errors and stuff everyhere, so i just deleted all the partitions. I don't know if this would affect anything but anyway...

Lemme tell you what i haven't done for sure to my HDD: Set a master SATA slot, formatted NTFS, made it bootable. I don't even know what those are. I did set it as the primary boot device (if that's the correct term).

And as for the flash drive thing, it's actually not that uncommon. Just use a application to burn something to the flash drive like it's a cd, and burn the windows iso. Bingo! works like a charm, except it actually doesn't because it's being pretty terrible (to me anyway).


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
If there is nothing on the hard drive you want to save, you could just clean it during the install. When it ask you to select a language, hit shift+F10 for a command window. Type Diskpart to open that utility. Be aware that cleaning a drive will wipe it.

Then to find the correct drive you type

list disk

then pick the correct drive in the list, such as disk 0

sel dis 0

then clean the drive


Continue with the install. Any error messages you get after this might be because of a problem drive, or you are using USB 3.0 ports which do not work during an install after the initial boot.

The UEFI thing is a little different and Windows 7 does not make bootable flash drives, you have to add something to them. But if you are not using UEFI, no problem, you will have an MBR (Legacy) install.

Edit: And I would leave the SATA controller as AHCI. IDE might only be needed if the SATA drive is old and the controller is not compatible. But I do not know if there are such drives.

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