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Quickly Fix "Setup Was Unable to Use the Existing Partition" Error

This article is all about fixing Windows and how to get rid of the error ‘setup was unable to use the existing partition because it does not contain the required free space’.

Basically, the reason for the above said error is due to the presence of additional hard drives on your device or if you are trying to install Windows 10 on a partition that is not completely blank.

Resolutions to the error 'Setup was unable to use the existing partition'

The very first thing you’ll have to do is to backup all important files, data and any other important documents to prevent any future issues before attempting the steps to fix the issue.

Also read: In order to recover data from external hard drive, we recommended you to use our Remo Software.

Solution #1: Unplug all peripherals

  • Unplug any USB sticks and peripherals that might be connected to your device
  • Reboot Windows 10 operating system without plugging in any of them
  • Try to run setup process again and see if you still get the message

Solution #2: Format the partition that is troubling you

Once you made your necessary backup copy of your important data, you will need to completely format the partition you are willing to install Windows 10 on.

  • Turn on your Windows 10 device
  • After the device started, insert your Windows 10 Installation Media into the CD or DVD ROM
  • Reboot your Windows device with the installation media inserted
  • It will ask you to press any key to boot from the CD or DVD
  • Follow the instructions and press any key on the keyboard to boot from the CD or DVD
  • In the first window that appears from the installation media, select your language
  • After you are done, click on the “Next” button
  • Select the “Install Windows” button
  • In the “Enter the product key to activate Windows” window, type the Windows 10 product key
  • The next page will be “Please read the license terms” and you simply need to check the “I accept the license terms” box and then hit Next
  • The system will now ask you which type of installation you prefer
  • Click on the “Custom” button
  • The “Where do you want to install Windows?” window will now appear on the screen. Select the “Drive options (advanced)” feature
  • Select the partition where you want to install Windows 10
  • Click on the “Format” feature and keep following the on-screen instructions
  • After you are done, select the “Next” button
  • Follow the on-screen instructions and finish your Windows 10 install process
  • Reboot your device once more and you are done

“If any files are missing from your drive, you can use dedicated software to recover them. For more information, read our guide to recover missing files from an external hard drive.”

Solution #3: Remove all partitions

Some users confirmed that they quickly resolved this problem by removing all the partitions on the drive and unplugging the USB drive.

  • So, open the partition selection screen > disconnect the USB drive > select Next
  • The error message “Windows is unable to install to the selected location” should appear on the screen.
  • Now, simply plug your USB drive back in and click Refresh and then Next
  • The process should resume

Solution #4: Create a new boot partition

If nothing worked, try creating a new boot partition manually. Although this method may seem a bit complicated, follow the instructions below and you should be able to solve the problem in just a few minutes.

Step 1: When the setup error pop-up appears on the screen, go to Start and enter diskpart.exe and press enter.

Step 2: In the diskpart window, type the follow commands:

  • list disk – – this will list all the disks available on your computer
  • select disk=0 — keep in mind that disk 0 is your destination drive and all data stored on this drive will be deleted
  • create partition primary size=x — Replace ‘x’ with the actual size of new partition
  • select partition=1
  • active
  • format fs=ntfs quick
  • assign
  • exit

Step 3: Open your USB flash drive > copy the files from your USB drive to your C:

Step 4: Run the following commands to make your C: drive bootable:

  • bootsect /nt60 c:
  • bootsect /nt60 c: /mbr

Step 5: You can now remove the USB drive from your PC.

Step 6: Restart your machine and go to Windows Setup > click on the “Install Now” option.

That’s it, the error message “Setup was unable to use the existing partition because it does not contain the required free space” should no longer appear on the screen.

“If you need additional help, you can read our tutorial on external hard drive recovery to recover files that has been lost or deleted due to some reasons.”

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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