Article ID: 933171 - View products that this article applies to.
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page

Summary Section

This article describes a problem that may occur when you try to install Windows Vista. You may receive a "Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation" error message.

Symptoms of the problem

When you try to install Windows Vista, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
  • The hard disk on which you want to install Windows Vista is not listed.
  • You cannot select a hard disk partition on which to install Windows Vista.
  • You cannot format a hard disk partition.
  • You cannot set the correct size for a hard disk partition.
  • You receive the following error message:
    Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation

Methods to resolve the problem

Use the following methods in the provided order to try to install Windows Vista.

Method 1: Make sure that the partition on which you are trying to install Windows Vista is active

Note If you are installing Windows Vista on a new hard disk, the Setup program automatically creates an active partition.

Step 1: Examine the Setupact.log file to verify that the Windows Vista partition is active.
  1. Click Start, click Run, type notepad, and then click OK.
  2. On the File menu, click Open.
  3. Locate the Setupact.log file, select the file, and then click Open.

    Notes
    • If you install Windows Vista as an upgrade, the Setupact.log file is located in the Drive:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther folder. Drive represents the drive that contains the existing Windows installation.
    • If you perform a clean installation of Windows Vista, the Setupact.log file is located in the Drive:\$WINDOWS\Sources\Panther folder. Drive represents the DVD drive that contains the Windows Vista Setup files.
  4. In the Setupact.log file, locate the "DumpDiskInformation" section. This section contains information about partition mapping.
  5. In the "DumpDiskInformation" section, locate the log entry that resembles the following example.
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:===== Disk number is [0] =====
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  Disk friendly name is [\\?\PhysicalDrive0]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  Disk size in bytes [60011642880 / 0xdf8f90000]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  The disk is on a bus of type [ATA]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  Disk signature [0x1AD81AD7]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  Disk is an MBR disk
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  Partition count is [6]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  ------- Unallocated disk region --------
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition size in bytes [32256 / 0x7e00]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition offset in bytes [0 / 0x0]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition free space in bytes [32256]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition class is UNALLOCATED
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     MBR partition of type 0x0
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     The partition is not of a recognized type
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     File system is [RAW]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:  ----- NT partition number is [1] -----
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition size in bytes [5371075584 / 0x140241c00]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition offset in bytes [32256 / 0x7e00]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition free space in bytes [0]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Partition class is MBR_PRIMARY
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     MBR partition of type 0x83
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     The partition is not of a recognized type
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     File system is [UNKNOWN]
    2006-10-25 13:48:29, Info                         DumpDiskInformation:     Disk [0] partition [1] is an active partition
    
    Note the following line at the end of the example:
    Disk [0] partition [1] is an active partition
    This line means that the partition is active. If you cannot find an entry that identifies an active partition, go to Step 2.
  6. If you locate an active partition entry, determine whether the entry appears after an entry that resembles the following:
    Unknown
    In this case, the hard disk may not be configured to use a Windows-based operating system. Go to Step 2 to use the Diskpart.exe utility to configure a different partition as active. Or, use Method 5 to use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the disk, and then run Windows Vista Setup again.

    Note In Method 5, all data and all partitions on the hard disk are permanently removed.
  7. If you locate an active partition and if it is associated with a Windows-based operating system, try Method 2.
Step 2: Use the Diskpart.exe utility to configure an active partition.

Note This step prevents a third-party operating system from starting.

For more information about how to use the Diskpart.exe utility, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
300415 A description of the Diskpart.exe command-line utility

Note If you have dynamic disks, use the Diskpart.exe utility to configure them for use with Windows Vista.

Step 3: Make the new active partition compatible with Windows Vista.

Examine the Setupact.log file to determine whether this partition uses the NTFS file system. The active partition must use the NTFS file sytem. You cannot install Windows Vista on a FAT32 partition. If it is necessary, convert the partition to NTFS by using the Convert.exe command. For more information about how to use the Convert.exe command, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
314097 How to use Convert.exe to convert a partition to the NTFS file system

Method 2: If you are upgrading to Windows Vista, verify that you have the latest drivers for the hard disk controller

If you want to install Windows Vista as an upgrade, update the drivers for the hard disk controller to the latest drivers. To determine whether you have the most up-to-date drivers for the hard disk controller, contact the manufacturer of your computer hardware.

For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors/en-us
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

Note Windows Vista Setup provides a feature to migrate current drivers to the new operating system. Therefore, Windows Vista Setup may use the drivers that are currently installed on the computer. If the computer does not have the latest drivers installed, the Setup program may use the outdated drivers. In this case, you may experience compatibility problems.

Method 3: If you are installing a clean installation of Windows Vista, make sure that you load the correct drivers for the hard disk controller

When you are prompted to select the disk on which to install Window Vista, click to select the Load Driver option. Windows Vista Setup will guide you through the rest of the process.

Method 4: Use the Chkdsk.exe utility to check for problems

Run the Chkdsk.exe utility to check for disk problems. To run the Chkdsk.exe utility, follow these steps:
  1. Exit all open programs.
  2. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
     Start button
    , and then click Computer.
  3. In the Hard Disk Drive area, right-click the hard disk drive on which you are trying to install Windows Vista, and then click Properties.
  4. Click the Tools tab.
  5. In the Error-checking area, click Check Now.
  6. In the Check Disk Local Disk (C:) window, click to select the Automatically fix file system errors check box.
  7. Click to select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box, and then click Start.

    Note Replace the hard disk if it is damaged.

Method 5: Use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the disk, and then run Windows Vista Setup again

If you have tried all the steps that are listed in this section and if the problem persists, use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the disk, and then run Windows Vista Setup again.

Note Use this method only if you want to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista. When you clean the hard disk, it is formatted. All data and all partitions on the hard disk are permanently removed. We strongly recommend that you back up the files on the hard disk before you clean the disk.

To use the Diskpart.exe utility to clean the hard disk, follow these steps:
  1. Put the Windows Vista installation disc in the disc drive, and then restart the computer.
  2. Install Windows Vista. During the installation process, in the Where do you want to install Windows screen, press SHIFT+F10 to open a command prompt.
  3. Click Start, click Run, type diskpart, and then click OK.
  4. At the command prompt, type list disk, and then press ENTER. A list of available hard disks is displayed.
  5. At the command prompt, type sel disk number, and then press ENTER. The hard disk is now selected.

    Note number is the number of the hard disk that you want to clean.
  6. At the command prompt, type det disk, and then press ENTER. A list of partitions on the hard disk is displayed. Use this information to verify that the correct disk is selected.
  7. Make sure that the disk does not contain required data, type clean all at the command prompt, and then press ENTER to clean the disk. All the data and all the partitions on the disk are permanently removed.
  8. Type exit, and then press ENTER.
  9. Run Windows Vista Setup to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.

Similar problems and solutions

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
927520 You cannot select or format a hard disk partition when you try to install Windows Vista

Properties

Article ID: 933171 - Last Review: April 12, 2007 - Revision: 1.5
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit EN
Keywords: 
kbexpertiseinter kbceip kbtshoot kbprb KB933171

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com