Stumbled across an annoying little issue the other morning performing a reload of Windows 10 on to an existing Lab setup for a client. This machine has had a number of OS configurations over the past 9 mo and is used for computation analysis (and why they aren’t using VM’s).
I immediately ran into an issue with a disk / partition error. Quick Stack Overflow / Google searches were all pointing at random things with a general theme: 1, 2, 3.
A LITTLE HISTORY ON THIS MACHINE
Little known to me at the time (clients machine, not one I had dealt with the original setup), this server previously had a dual-boot with windows8 and CentOS6, but had mistakenly been completely wiped w/ an updated CentOS7, still on Disk1.
After researching the issue for more details, one thing was for certain, folks have run into some pretty weird installation problems with Windows over the years. The problem I ran into ended up being a tad different than most of the posts above elude to, but similar enough for the error the installer provided:
Error: "We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one"
I used Rufus to create a bootable USB thumb-drive from an ISO the client had (no DVD drives on these servers). I went about attempting to install windows10 onto the primary Disk 0, leaving Disk 1 for CentOS and a third disk for their vast dataset. I tried a number of methods to clean up Disk 0, create a fresh partition, make sure it’s active, etc; but each time the wonderful installer would fail with the above error. Fun.
I eventually found the issue with the RAID configuration (after fiddling with diskpart and the BIOS for way too long). Turns out that with the previous dual-boot, as CentOS and grub were on the second disk (Disk 1), the RAID controller was configured to point at virtual Drive as the primary containing the MBR. During their previous accidental refresh, when CentOS7 was loaded directly to Disk 1, things coincidentally continued to work fine being that the OS was still loaded onto Disk 1. When I attempted to install a fresh windows 10 on the first disk, windows complained since the RAID controller was only still set for Disk 1, not the windows target of Disk 0.
RAID WEB BIOS
This server uses an LSI MegaRaid setup and has a web BIOS (read: ugly, basic UI). Since I’m not that familiar with the LSI CLI, I booted into the GUI and poked around. Once I discovered the RAID card was setup for a MBR on the wrong virtual drive (changing it to point at Disk 0), the installer finally gracefully continued on.
I’m really not a fan of GUI tools like this (or the ‘web’ bios nomenclature), but the LSI tool does make viewing all the details about your RAID setup rather straight forward. Here’s a glimpse on how this machine is setup. We’re going to dive into the
Virtual Drives menu option in the subsequent images.
Here’s how I find the virtual drive setup. The Boot Drive was set to Disk 1, pointing to linux / grub to handle the now defunct dual boot.
It was a simple change in the end, just set the Boot Drive to 0, for Drive 0.
Back to the install
After the next boot and install attempt, Windows 10 finally proceeded without further errors. w00t.