Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Windows 10 problem - Partitions are not in the recommended order

Windows 10 installation problem: "The partitions on the disk selected for installation are not in the recommended order.  For additional information about installing to GPT disks...."

You are doing a fresh install, from a Windows 10 ISO image, or are installing Windows to an existing hard disk that had a previously-installed operating system.

You have selected the (largest) available partition to install, likely the same partition Windows 7 or 8 was installed.  Other partitions, such as an ESP partition, are ordered earlier in the list. 

Solution 1
(not recommended, but easy)

A.  During the installation, select the previous Windows 7/8 partition and ignore the error.  Windows will install properly, even with the error.  However, this is not recommended, leaving old partitions and wasting disk space.

Solution 2 (recommended)

Older versions of Windows included a basic partition utility, exposed during the installation steps.  With this utility you could delete partitions and consolidate the disk, as well as other functions.  But with Windows 10, Microsoft chose to hide the utility - right at the time you needed it most.

Fortunately, there is an easy, albeit geeky solution.  A hidden DOS utility can delete the disk's partitions during Windows 10 Setup. 

Obvious caution:  This will erase all partitions, destroying all data, files and partitions.

1. Start the Windows 10 install ("Install Now").

Typically choose "I do not have a product key" (which is the normal choice for all Windows 10 non-Enterprise upgrades/installs).

After accepting the license agreement, choose "Advanced Installation".

2.  At the Windows 10 "Setup Partition Screen" (where it shows the C: drive),

Press Shift-F10
This opens a DOS prompt

3.  Type this command:  "diskpart"  (no quotes)

4.  Type "List Disk".

Note which disk is your largest.  This is likely the one where your existing operating system is installed.  For most, DISK 0 is the disk you care about.  

If you have SD card slots, they will also show in the list; ignore them.
Your CD drive may appear as "no media"; also ignore.

5.  Type "Select Disk=0"  to activate your disk.

6.  Type "List Partition"  (singular, not "partitions")

-- You could confirm this matches what the Windows Setup screen showed.  My disk looks like this illustration.  In this case, some of the partitions were from Windows 8. When Windows 10 upgraded, it adds its own new partitions rather than risk damaging the older ones.  The space occupied by these is negligible but would be wasted:

7.  Type "Clean"

One command does it all.  There is no warning. It will run for just a few seconds.  
Results: "DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk."

8.  Type "List Partition"  (singular)

- expected results: "There are no partitions on this disk to show"

9.  Type "exit", closing DiskPart
10. Type "exit", closing the command window

This returns to the already-in-progress Windows 10 setup, where the old partitions still show.
Continue with these steps:

11.  Click "Refresh"  

-Note:  Drive 0 shows all as "un-allocated space" - all on one partition.

12.  Click "*new",  then "Apply," accepting the recommended disk size. 

(Special note: If you are installing a new SSD drive *and* are cloning an existing Windows disk, look at this article, which recommends holding back 10% of the disk partition for an Over Provision partition.  See this keyliner article:  Crucial 500GB MX300 Enable Over Provision Partition.  If you are re-installing Windows from scratch, continue with this article.)

13.  At the prompt, "To ensure Windows features work correctly, Windows might create additional partitions."  Click OK

Continue with your Windows install

Benefits of the recommended solution

By cleaning the drive, all partitions, including vendor recovery files, prior versions of Windows utility partitions, which are now obsolete, are erased.  You gain back the disk space and will have a simpler partition table to manage.  As the Windows install continues, it will build its own partitions, and these will be in the recommended order for all eternity.

Drawback to the recommended solution

Most vendor PC's come with a hidden partition which contains an emergency disk recovery image.  With this, you can restore the PC to a factory image - which is often Windows 7 or 8.  The steps above destroy that partition.  My experience is these recovery partitions seldom work or you need to spin them to a DVD before using.  Few of us bothered.  The vendor sells a recovery DVD for a nominal cost, usually for $20 or so.

With this said, in Windows 10, I no longer bother with the vendor's recovery disks.  Instead, download Microsoft's Windows 10 installation ISO (The Windows 10 "Media Creation Tool" - you are probably running that install disk right now).  The rebuild will work because your PC has already registered with Microsoft and you can recover at any time with this method, including re-installing to a new hard disk.  Once rebuilt, download all drivers from your original OEM vendor.  In other words, You no longer need the vendor's recovery disk.


Related Articles:
keyliner:   Crucial 500GB MX300 Enable Over Provision Partition
keyliner: Erasing all partitions after a Clone and Formatting
keyliner: Best Virus scanner

keyliner: Western Digital Cloud-Drive Review
   and Happy backups on Western Digital Drives

Related links: Windows 10 Media Creation Tool


  1. Excellent information, thank you so much. Worked like a charm, my install is now proceeding nicely :-)

  2. Thank you for your time in posting this most useful bit of info. worked great. Now have win10 fresh on an intel750 series

  3. Thank you sooo mouch :):):)

  4. Well explained.
    Appreciate the directions.

  5. Thank you very much it worked very smoothly, the steps were clear and easy and all expectations turned out right
    Thank you :)

  6. Worked for me! I had ubuntu installed on my main SSD and wasnt able to use the HDD(original drive for computer) but this fixed it

  7. Thanks!!! It worked for me

  8. Absolutely perfect.


  10. I want to reaffirm all of the comments above. Thank you.

  11. I want to keep data on my other partition. I just want to clean the OS partition only to install Win 10. Is that possible? Because I neglected the error and now I'm stuck at "Getting Ready" screen and the system won't boot up.

  12. Omg Best blog ever!!!!!!!! I thought I had lost my laptop. I have been here for 2 days trying procedure after procedures that I tried from other sites/ videos that did not work. This has my pc now restarting fresh and I'm very greatful, Thanks very much.


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