Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0 - Windows Installation fails

Hi everybody. I recently purchased a Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0 and i am really happy with it. The thing is that i use to have my windows installation on USB instead of using CD/DVD’s along with all the apps + drivers i need for my pc. Started with various brands before, with capacities of 8,16,32GB USB 2.0 and recently moved on to this 64GB USB 3.0.

For my setup i use apps like Rufus, universal usb installer, yumi, even the windows 7 usb tool. All of them work fine.

The problem is that with this new USB no windows installation can create / find partitions during the setup. Tried windows 7 32&64 bit, windows 8 32&64 bit, tried diskpart to create partitions… Nothing works. Even tried various format types for the usb.

I am sure all these are not the problem, not the applications i use nor the windows setup files, because i repeat the same procedure with any of the other usb 2.0 i have and all work fine.

Is this a general USB 3.0 problem, so i should just stick to my USB 2.0 or a Sandisk extreme problem? Or is it even just my own memory stick that has a problem?

**Just to note that i am trying to install using usb 2.0 and 3.0 ports onboard, no other extra cards or anything! Also, it’s clean installation on a single disk, set as primary, formatted and with no problems or various partitions on it! Also tried it on other PC’s and still not working! Linux installations work fine though…

Thanks in advance for your responses!

Looks like you need to make this USB bootable. There are tons of guides online on how to do this. You can search at youtube too. <img src=“”/>


Thanks for the answer. The USB is bootable, like all my other USB 2.0 are.

Booting up is not the problem. With the Sandisk USB 3.0, just the windows setup won’t work. It will initialize, start the setup, get to the disk partitioning step and then it simply won’t be able to create any partition (or even use the existing Correct one) to install windows.

Just to repeat myself, all other USB 2.0 work like a charm. I have windows 7, windows 8, ubuntu, memtest, bootable antivirus, hiren’s boot cd, all working fine with the USB 2.0

With the Sandisk all other work perfectly too, just the windows 7/8 setup fails.

Thanks though for your response!!!

Try it in a USB 2.0 port.  It could be a timing issue.

Is there anything on the drive prior to your trying to install Windows 7/8 on it?

Have tried on both usb 2.0 and 3.0 ports with all my USB devices. Keeps failing only with the Sandisk 3.0

Tried on a new disk and on a previously used disk (partition deleted though)

Here is a linkto an image with the problem i am facing. 

What i am really curious is if it is a general windows installation flaw regarding usb 3.0 memory sticks or it’s just my own usb… hmm…

there is a post on the ssd board with a similar issue where they suggest using Diskpart to clean the partition. see the forum post below for instructions.

Another approach might help get around the problem.  Rather than installing Windows 7/8 to the USB flash drive, install them to a VHD file then boot the VHD file.  Grub4DOS can do that.

This thread may interest you:

@   Ed_P

@   drlucky

Thanks a lot for your time!!!

Unfortunately after having a go at both your info, these cases do not apply to my situation! 1st problem they had was with a smaller in size memory stick but since it was USB 2.0 it finally worked (so do my own USB 2.0)

and 2nd creating the VHD means i am able to load windows etc. I use the windows installation USB for installing windows to various cases, including new machines or replacing corrupted disks or even “broken” windows…

Thanks again! Really apreciate the effort!!!


I recently bought a couple of SanDisk Extreme 16GB USB 3.0 CZ80 flash pen drives in retail packs and I am having issue with not being able to deploy/install Windows 7 64bit from them ever since.

I am trying to do a clean fresh installation of Windows 7 64bit on Seagate 250GB unpartitioned/unformatted SATA2 hard drive. The problem is that when I boot from this new SanDisk USB 3.0 pen drive I get to stage when Windows 7 installer prompts user to create partitions and specify one to install Windows to. But it does not create 100MB System Reserved partition and cannot proceed with installation any further. The error message at the bottom of the installer’s screen reports:

“Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See Setup log files for more information.”

However, I do not have same issue with my other three USB pen drives:

  • Transcend JetFlash 700 32GB USB3.0;

  • Transcend JetFlash 600 (TS32GJF600) 32GB USB2.0;

  • Kingston G3 DataTraveler 8GB USB2.0.

I created three bootable USB pen drives using Microsoft Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool that “burns” ISO image of Windows 7 to USB drive. And on all three of them I have also tried successfully making bootable USBs using Diskpart and Bootsect.exe utilities and copying same image to all three drives. I even tried to clone Kingston G3 to SanDisk Extreme using EaseUS Disk Copy Home Edition 2.3.1; the resulting drive would boot but still with same issue while original does not have one.

When I use any of my Transcend USB drives Windows installer always automatically creates 100MB System Reserved partition and I can always complete the installation. With SanDisk drive I get two additional prompts that I do not get from other USB pen drives; first is to select “My language is English” (I have integrated Russian Language Pack to my Windows 7 64bit image); second is to click on “Install Now” button which should be suppressed by Autounattend file in the image.

I tested my Transcend USB3.0 and SanDisk Extreme USB3.0 drives on four different computers:

  • PC1: custom built desktop (Core 2 Quad, Gigabyte GA-G41M-Combo rev.2.0 motherboard, 2GB RAM, 1x Seagate 250GB SATA2 HDD, DVDRW SATA drive).

  • PC2: custom built desktop (Core i7 2600, AsRock Z68 Pro3 motherboard, 16GB RAM, Samsung 840Pro 128GB SSD, 2x WD Caviar Blue 500GB SATA2 HDDs in RAID-0, 1x Seagate 500GB SATA2 HDD, DVDRW SATA, BluRay SATA).

  • PC3: HP EliteBook 2530p laptop (Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, Kingston V200 128GB SSD).

  • PC4: Acer Aspire 5738Z-423G16Mn, laptop (Pentium T4200 2.0GHz Dual-Core, 3GB RAM, 160GB SATA HDD).

Transcend and Kingston USB flash drives work well on all tested computers: Windows 7 installer boots from them and I get just two expected prompts, i.e. I had created Autounattend file that suppresses some other prompts that I do not want to waste time for and the installer takes me straight to select language and then to creating partitions steps.

However, when I use SanDisk pen drive, it fails to work properly on PC1, PC3 and PC4 but works ok on PC2. On three PCs Windows 7 installer gives one extra prompt as described above, which indicates that installer is not doing everything as on other drive and I should expect a problem. And yes, when I get to partition step the installer cannot proceed and cannot complete installation as described above.

Thus, to summarise all these finding here:

  • there is no problem with Windows 7 image as it works perfectly from Transcend and Kingston USB pen drives on all four physical computers that I tested on as well as I had this image tested successfully on my VMware virtual machines. And I used exactly same image and same technique with Microsoft Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool and also combination of Diskpart and Bootsect while making ISO-to-USB bootable drives and finally direct sector-by-sector disk cloning utilities (EaseUS Disk Copy);

  • there is no issue with USB3.0 here as I was plugging all drives to USB2.0 ports on all computers and Transcend USB3.0 worked just as perfectly ok as Transcend USB2.0 and Kingston USB2.0 pen drives;

  • there are numerous postings on different online forums where other people reporting exactly same issue with SanDisk USB3.0 drives (my guess is these reports are related to Extreme series of drives) – due to forum rules I don’t think I can put here direct links to other forums but if you try to search for same issue you’ll see what I am talking about.

I would really hope if SanDisk technical support could get involved here and help to resolve this issue if possible. Maybe this is due to pen drive’s firmware that needs updating. And I am not asking if anyone else had same issue – as said earlier, there are enough reports that this issue does exist with SanDisk USB3.0 flash drives. I am asking if anyone who had this issue had it resolved fully or found some other workaround?

Could you please do not write “don’t use SanDisk flash drives…” advices which are rather useless to me now since I have already unpacked and cannot return one of the SanDisk pen drives. And I have other larger capacity USB drives to use as mobile storage. This SanDisk Extreme drive is very fast which makes it more attractive and more sense to deploy fresh OS from it to new PCs.

Thanks in advance for your responses!

Found a workaround suggested by x23piracy  and  Stimpy  here:

At the step when Windows 7 setup prompts to create and/or select partition to deploy Windows 7 to:

  • unplug SanDisk Extreme USB3.0 flash drive from USB port;

  • click Refresh button;

  • setup will still indicate that Windows cannot be installed on hard drive, just ignore it;

  • plug back SanDisk Extreme USB3.0 flash drive;

  • click again on Refresh button;

  • now you can create if required new partition for Windows and the setup will automatically create 100MB System Reserved partition;

  • proceed and complete Windows 7 installation.

Thank you, x23piracy and  Stimpy!

I should say it is far from ideal, and I am quite disappointed as new owner of SanDisk product because this issue has been reported to SanDisk at least in February 2013 if not earlier. But at least I don’t have to just give up on it yet.

1 Like

same problem… 

Hi dinox80

Try the “workaround” in the post one above yours. Alternatively, as I did, you could buy other manufacturer’s USB2.0 or even USB3.0 Flash Drive.  I sent back my SanDisk drive and bought Transcend JetFlash 780 USB3.0 and super happy about it now.

I’ve run into this same issue a few times in the past and in each case I did the following to resolve it:

  1. Insert the thumb drive into a USB port.

  2. From a command prompt run “diskpart”

  3. Run the command “disk list”. Note the ID of the thumb drive (it should be obvious from the size).

  4. Run “select disk x” (replace the x with the disk number for the thumb drive noted above.

  5. Run the following commands


create partition primary


format fs=fat32


Notes: On the format line above DO NOT add the add the “quick” option. Allow it to do a long format. Also, note that for some systems you can format as NTFS but not systems will boot from an NTFS formatted thumb drive, especially true UEFI based systems.

  1. Copy all files from your Windows installation medisa (DVD or ISO image) to the thumbdrive.

I’d appreciate it if anyone could comment as to whether this helps them or not.

@elny16 wrote:


Could you please do not write “don’t use SanDisk flash drives…” advices which are rather useless to me now since I have already unpacked and cannot return one of the SanDisk pen drives.

I also discovered problems with my Extreme (obviously, after I unpacked it) and sent it back for replacement. They sent me a new one with no questions asked.

Unless you think this issue wont be recognized as a “fault of the product”.

I agree, the handling of the issues with this USB drive by SanDisk is less than adequate.



This does not appear to help.  Can’t format the 64Gb extreme USB to fat32, but creating an 8Gb primary partition and formatting as fat32, making active with DISKPART doesn’t help.

Need to make the stick bootable, which it may not support.

Hi wmfoster2001.

Your issue is not related to this topic. See this article:

It is possible to format and mount volumes FAT32 larger than 32GB. To format use third party tools, and I do not know which as I never needed this. But then again, please open another thread possibly not on Sandisk forum. As said earlier, this is not the same issue as we had/have with Sandisk drives.

you need to slip stream USB 3.0 drivers into the Windows 7 boot.wim

so the installer knows where to find the rest of the drivers need to setup windows

this link gives a good idea on how to do it!%29

the idea is to add native usb 3.0 support to Windows First. i have done this on my 32GB sandisk Extream

note using this same method you can add other drivers like network cards so you can conect to the net and download new ones once your done.

if you do this type on thing a lot look up Slipstreaming Windows so you can all the updates and software you want as well.

i did this a lot at work but at home windows installs from PXE network boot witch is about 1/2 the speed of this USB drive

note: this usb drive installing windows 7 on a sandisk EX II ssd takes 4mins 58sec on avg over 10 installs (system is 4770K HT OFF on setup much faster 16GB DDR3 2400Mhz 10-11-10-20 1.55v)

another thing that will help is hitting it with “bootsect.exe /nt60 %your sandisk drive%: /force” from CMD

you can do this to make usb hard drives bootable as well

how to

dump files to drive (sandisk or even real ssd in USB 3.0 2.5in enclosure)

then open CMD (replace X with your drive letter)

Type “cd X:\boot” hit enter

Type “bootsect /nt60 X: /force” hit enter

type exit hit enter

now go get your self a drink lots of work to do… like nothing your done sit back and enjoy

I have made a Batch Script for injecting drivers into usb drives BUT requires WAIK be installed

if anyone wants the script just let me know “Built-in wim management menu” it’s pure BATCH cls i can post code as well it’s only like 200 lines

Hint to people with intel Core cpu’s turn HT off in Bios for install saves 20~30% on your install time (windows 7 / WS no impact on W8)

Just been tearing my hair out for over an hour with my SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 64GB that booted Ultimate Boot CD once, but after I DBANed it (to check the device was all working) and re-created my bootable data, it would hang on the Syslinux prompt.

I didn’t think to try deleting all of the partitions again and re-trying, but that seems to have worked for now. A bit worrying that the device does not function as advertised, as it was clearly not correctly reading data that I had written to it.

After a few investigations and tries, finally found a tool can sucessfully create Windows To Go with windows 8.1 pro ISO.

Try 2.1 beta version of WinToUSB,

Sucessfully install Windows To Go on Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0, using WinToUSB with VHD mode.