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!