Good afternoon. I ran into an issue today I have seen quite a few times. I had a customer that was trying to load Windows 2012 on a server. No matter what he tried he would always receive the same error.
“We couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one.”
At first glance it might seem like there is an issue with the disk. That is not the case though. The problem has to do with the boot priority as setup in the BIOS of the system. In this case my customer had a Dell server with an SD card. He had ordered the server with ESXi loaded on the SD card. Therefore Dell had put the SD card at the top of the boot priority when it was configured at the factory. The raid controller was second in the boot priority. The reason this is a problem is that Windows setup needs to create or use an existing partition on the first device in the boot priority. Compounding the issue is that, when using the setup, Windows can only be loaded on a fixed disk. Therefore the error is due to the inability to create a system reserved partition for the boot loader files.
Keep in mind this issue can happen on any system that has more than one entry in the boot priority. For instance, I have also seen this problem when there were multiple hard disk controllers in a server and the wrong one is at the top of the list.
The fix is quite simple. Go into the bios and change the boot priority to put the device that will have Windows loaded on it at the top.
I hope you have found this article informative. If you have anything to add, please use the comments section below.