Just the other day, I stumbled upon a couple of challenges when trying to install Windows 7 on a RAID array of two SSDs on my computer.

1st Issue: The missing RAID drivers

Since they didn’t exist when Windows 7 SP1 was put together, I had to load them manually inside of Windows 7 Setup.

This was simple enough, though:

  • I got on my laptop and downloaded the Intel RAID drivers from the ASUS support page for my Sabertooth X79 motherboard, then extracted the files to a USB drive.
  • I unplugged the USB disk from my laptop and loaded the driver from within Windows 7 Setup by connecting the USB drive to my main computer while in the “Where do you want to install Windows?” screen. I clicked “Load Driver” and browsed to the “Driver\Disk\64bit” folder. The next screen let me choose which driver to install (only gave me one choice).
  • The driver loaded in a couple of minutes and the disk showed up, just like a good student to school.

2nd Issue: “Setup was unable to create a new system partition”

This issue was a little trickier. To my disappointment, Windows 7 wouldn’t let me install on the RAID disk array I had chosen, giving the following error message:

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

Unlike the last time I had issues at this stage of Windows 7 setup, the root cause was not the size of the disk or that it wasn’t formatted. Formatting it did nothing. I even tried using SHIFT+F10 to open a Command Prompt within Windows 7 setup to run DISKPART. Nothing, nada, zilch.

Apparently, the issue was caused by some odd problem related to disk prioritizing!

The solution is simple, but not apparent:

  • I exited Windows 7 setup and rebooted into the BIOS setup for my motherboard.
  • Went into the “Advanced mode” section of the BIOS.

  • Clicked the “Boot” tab, then “Hard Drive BBS Priorities”.
  • Clicked “Boot Option #1” and selected the correct disk (in my case the “Intel KingstonRaid1”).

  • Clicked “Exit” and chose “Save Changes & Reset”.
  • Entered Windows 7 Setup again, loaded the RAID driver again, and selected the disk.

Now Windows 7 installed without a hitch!