Windows installation: Couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one

All we need is an easy explanation of the problem, so here it is.

I was trying to get a clean Windows installation on my hard drive, but am running into some issues.
I get to the part where I need to select which hard drive I want to install Windows on.
I have 2 harddrives, but both give this error:

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

Extra info:

  • Trying to install Windows 8.1
  • The computer had Windows 8.1 installed before that too
  • I’m installing through an USB drive with MBR partition scheme
  • Screenshot of the error message
  • My BIOS settings: 1, 2, 3
  • I’m unable to copy or upload my Setup log files (since no OS) but I seem to be getting the exact same ones as here

Things I have tried:

  • Cleaning the DISKPART
  • Formatting the drives before attempting to install Windows
  • Deleting and re-adding the drives
  • Deleting and attempting to install on unallocated space
  • Changing the boot order in the BIOS between Harddrive and USB
  • Changing the SATA mode in the BIOS between AHCI and IDE
  • Changing the EFI mode in the BIOS
  • Disabling USB Legacy Boot mode and re-enabling it again
  • Resetting the PC through the advanced Repair options, however this would corrupt the USB drive and result in this error
  • Plugging out one of the hard drives so there was only one to install to
  • Unplugging the USB, however it wouldn’t let me continue the installation or even get to the first step without the USB.
  • Fixing the MBR
  • Tried Windows 7
  • Resetting the BIOS to default Factory settings

None of these solutions worked.

How to solve :

I know you bored from this bug, So we are here to help you! Take a deep breath and look at the explanation of your problem. We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first method because it is tested & true method that will 100% work for you.

Method 1

Apparently my specific BIOS version simply did not allow OS installation through USB:

Serial ATA AHCI BIOS, Version iSrc 1.20E
Copyright (c) 2003-2008 Intel Corporation
**This version supports only Hard Disk and CDROM disks.**
Please wait. This will take few seconds.

This would appear for about 0,5 sec during the boot sequence.

I found an old Windows 7 CDRom and it’s installing without issues now.

Method 2

I had the same error installing windows 2012 server R2 in a Dell R210 II. My machine didn’t give me a message saying it wouldn’t support USB, but I tried practically everything that the OP did to no success. I checked the log %WINDIR%\Panther\setuperr.log and had the message:

Error [0x06069e] IBS GetMachineInfo:Couldn't find boot disk on this BIOS-based computer

I came across a webpage that said the windows installation had problems because it was using USB3.0 and I should try an older USB. I did that too and it didn’t work, but it got me in the right track. I booted a CD with grub and booted the USB from there, finally it worked. Here’s what I did once I got GRUB loaded:

c # to access the command line
root (hd1,0) # hd1 is the USB stick
chainloader +1

This fooled the windows installer, because I was no longer booting from the USB, I was booting from a CD instead, even though the installer was loaded from the USB. I hope this helps other people.

Method 3

I had the same problem until I used USB 2.0 drive which worked…
I used 3.0 before and tried everything without luck.
USB 2.0 FIXED this problem.

Note: Use and implement method 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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