How to Fix "Setup was Unable to Create a New System Partition"

Unlike many errors, you have to correct the error “setup was unable to create a new system partition” yourself.

make windows identify drive to install

Microsoft has fixed most Windows errors and bugs. However, you have to correct the error "Setup was unable to create a new system partition" yourself, since it does not arise because of software issues. Here, we will describe the error and explain its existing solutions. Let's dig in and find a solution.

What Is the Error "Setup was Unable to Create a New System Partition"?

If Windows fails to recognize the device to install the operating system, the error "Setup was unable to create a new system partition" will happen. This usually occurs when you try to install some versions of Windows, such as Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10 from a bootable disk other than CD/DVD drives. And, if you want to fix the issue, you should make Windows identify the drive used to install the OS. There are several methods to do so, explained in the following sections.

Causes of "Setup was Unable to Create a New System Partition"

This is a hardware-dependant error, so the actual cause differs from computer to computer. The error hinges upon the following hardware parts:

  • The motherboard
  • The USB interface
  • The USB stick you use
  • The version of Windows

However, we can say that the primary cause of this problem is when you install Windows using a USB, external drive, thumb drive, etc. In such cases, Windows may not be able to identify the drive from which the OS is to be installed.

As we mentioned earlier, the problem happens while installing Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Windows 11. But, it typically does not occur with EFI and UEFI installations of mentioned versions of Windows.

Occasionally, Windows cannot distinguish the external USB drive from the local disk to which Windows must be installed. Of course, it depends on your computer configuration and your hardware.

You most likely encounter this problem if you install Windows from a larger USB or set the BIOS to always boot from the USB drive. Furthermore, a USB stick may be presented to Windows as a regular drive, not a USB drive. It precludes Windows from identifying the boot drive.

How to Fix "Setup was Unable to Create a New System Partition"

There are several solutions for the error "Setup was unable to create a new system partition." Thus, you can test different ways to make your system work properly. Here are the existing solutions for the problem.

Solution 1: Re-insert the USB Installation Media

There is no need to use diskpart or partition your system again manually. If you encounter this error, it is enough to make Windows re-arrange the order of the drives. So, complete the following steps to work around the error:

  1. As soon as you face the error message, remove the USB you are using to set up the Windows.
  2. Exit the installation wizard - you should select the Close (X) button. Click OK when your system wants you to confirm the step. Notice that you will go back to the main setup page by this step.
  3. Now, go for Install Now - do not re-insert the USB stick.
  4. Windows cannot locate files. Thus, you get a message to load a CD/DVD driver if you want Windows setup to proceed.
  5. Click on the OK button, leave the setup dialog again, and go back to the main setup page.
  6. Now, re-insert the USB and once more click on the Install Now.

When you complete these steps, you force Windows to identify the USB as an external drive. Thus, the process should proceed well because Windows can now recognize the boot drive correctly.

identify usb as external drive

Solution 2: Create the System Partition Manually with Diskpart

Another way to solve this error is to copy the installation files from the USB to your device. In other words, you can manually create the system partition. It is enough to complete the following steps if you need to:

  1. Plug in the setup USB drive and boot your computer from it. Then, hit the "F10 + Shift" simultaneously to open the Command Prompt.
  2. Type "diskpart" in the Command Prompt and press the Enter key to run the Diskpart.
  3. Follow the commands below:
    • Get a list of all the disks on your computer by "list disk".
    • Pick the disk you want by "select disk 0".
    • Erase all the data on your disk 0 by "clean".
    • Determine the primary size of your new partition by "size = x".
    • Format your partition as NTFS by "format fs = NTFS".
    • Specify the drive letter to your partition by "assign".
    • Set the partition as active by "active".
    • Exit from the Diskpart by "exit".
  4. Run the "cd: d" command to open the setup USB drive - remember that you have assigned d as your drive letter.
  5. Navigate the boot folder by writing "cd boot" and pressing the Enter key.
  6. Make the recently made partition bootable by typing "bootsect/nt60 c:"
  7. Remove the USB from the computer, restart it, enter the Windows setup, and install Windows step-by-step.
  8. When Windows is installed on the computer, boot the device from it.
  9. Type "CMD' in the Search box, right-click it and select the "Run as administrator" option from the list.
  10. Input "list bcdedit" in the CMD box and press the Enter key.
  11. Find the Windows Setup and copy the identifier from the listed content.
  12. Run unnecessary menu items from the boot screen by typing "bcdedit/delete {identifier}".
type bcdedit/delete

Solution 3: Reconfigure the SATA Mode in BIOS Settings

Incorrect configuration of the SATA mode can make a hard drive unrecognizable by Windows. Thus, you should reconfigure it if it is not compatible with the system. This way, you will solve the "setup was unable to create a new partition." So, complete the following steps to change the SATA mode in BIOS settings:

  1. Enter BIOS - restart your computer and press F8, F12, or Delete. Notice that each system uses one of these keys, but the typical key is usually Delete.
  2. Open the "Advanced," "Main," or "Integrated Peripherals" menu - use arrow keys to do so.
  3. Search different options to encounter the SATA mode or something with the same sense. Notice that the place will change according to the system's manufacturer.
  4. Open the SATA mode and press the Enter key. Change it IDE and press Enter again.
  5. After returning to Main Menu, press F10 to save and exit the BIOS.
save and edit bios

If you have completed the steps, you can reinstall Windows. The error should not be shown anymore.

Solution 4: Set the Hard Drive Where You Want to Install Windows as the First Boot Device

Sometimes, you have to select the USB drive as your computer first boot before starting to install Windows. In this case, you should set the first boot device in the BIOS to the disk where you install the operating system. Now, boot your computer from the setup USB drive and reinstall Windows.

Related: How to fix computer won't boot up.

Solution 5: Change USB Bootable Media to CD/DVD

The error "setup was unable to create a new system partition" happens when you use a USB drive to install Windows on your system. In these cases, the system may not find the primary partition to which OS must be installed.

If you have tried all the above ways, but the problem is still not solved, you should eject all the USB drives. The best job is to use a CD/DVD to install Windows and eliminate the error. Here is the complete guide on how to set computer to boot from CD/DVD.


In this blog post, we presented four ways to troubleshoot the error "setup was unable to create a new system partition." Now, you know what to do when you face such an error. However, there may be another way to solve the problem that our other audiences, and we like to know. Don't wait to inform us of your way!