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Fix “Windows is unable to install to the selected location” in Windows 7 or Vista

So while playing with Windows 7 and installing it on different computers, I came across an interesting error message that you can also see:

Windows cannot install to the selected location

Or, you may also see this associated message when trying to select a drive to install Windows 7:

Setup was unable to create a new system partition or find an existing system partition.

In this case, your problem may have several reasons. I’ll try to look at various ways to solve this problem below.

Method 1 – Reinsert the Windows 7 DVD

First insert the Windows 7 installation DVD and boot to the setup screen. Now navigate to the location where you need to select the section and click on “Download Driver”.

Insert the driver CD or DVD and find the memory controller driver. At the bottom you will see the message “Windows cannot be installed on this disk”. Ignore this.

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Now insert the Windows 7 DVD into the drive. Make sure you click the Update link. Then expand Advanced Drive Options and create a new partition of whatever size you like.

Click OK when Windows says it needs to do something, and eventually you will notice that there is a new system partition and a new primary partition. If you already have a partition setting, select it.

Select a new primary partition and click Next. The setup should continue without interruption!

Note that this method will likely fix problems on computers that use AHCI-enabled RAID controllers.

The second method – change the boot order

If you are not using RAID, then your problem may be that the disk is not bootable.

Note that the installation will fail if the drive you are trying to install Windows 7 to is not your boot drive. To check which disk is your bootable one, you need to enter BIOS.

Here is a step-by-step article on how to enter BIOS and change the boot order of your computer. You need to move the drive where you want to install Windows to the top of the list.

Method 3 – Unplug SATA drives

Another setup that can cause this issue is if you have a SCSI drive or multiple SATA drives on multiple SATA controllers.

Open your computer and disconnect all other SATA drives (except the main drive), including all SATA DVD-ROM drives. You should also disconnect any USB storage devices from your computer, such as external hard drives, etc., just in case.

That’s all! Hopefully one of these three methods will solve your problem! If not, please leave a comment and I’ll try to help. Enjoy!

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