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Solving Windows 7 Installation Problems

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 5/30/2011

Windows 7 installation problems can annoy you if the setup terminated without giving any tips to fix the problems. Let us check out some such scenarios and see how to fix the problems.

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    Windows 7 Installation Problems – Known Issues

    One of the most encountered Windows 7 Installation problems is setup terminating with a message that says “Cannot copy files to Local Drive”. Next in line is the problem where you cannot install Windows 7 through XP or Vista. This means you are not performing a clean installation and instead, you boot and then try to install Windows 7 using the Windows GUI. Among other Windows 7 installation problems is the setup terminating with a message saying it cannot communicate with a device attached to the computer, activation problems, and more.

    Let us check out the tested fixes for these installation problems in the following sections.

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    Windows 7 Installation - Cannot Copy Files to Local Drive

    Windows Cannot Copy Files Required for Installation Sometimes, after you run the Windows 7 installer, the setup shows progress up to 27 or 33 per cent, hangs for a few minutes and terminates saying Cannot Copy Files to Local Drive. The primary reasons for this error are that the installation DVD contains scratches, the drive you are using to install Windows 7 is highly defragmented, or the DVD drive lens is dirty.

    Try to copy the contents of the DVD to a local disk (some partition other than the one where you are installing Windows 7). You can also try to copy it to a removable disk if you have one. If the copy is complete without you having to “skip” any file, you will be able to install Windows 7 using the local dump. If you are having problems copying the contents of the DVD to a local disk, either the disk is not readable or the lens of DVD drive needs cleaning. Use a drop of alcohol to clean the DVD. Do NOT drop the alcohol directly on the disk. Pour few drops on some soft cloth and use it to clean the DVD. Wait for a while till it dries up and restart copying. This should help. For cleaning the DVD lens, you can also use some lens cleaner. If that does not help, its time you test it on some other computer and see if it works. If it does, you might be able to copy it to the other computer and then take it to some external storage device and use it to install Windows 7 without any installation error. If it does not work on the other computer, you need a replacement disk. Ask the vendor where you purchased the Windows 7 copy.

    If you are able to copy the contents of the Windows 7 installation DVD to the local disk, yet you get the Cannot Copy Files to Local Drive message – it indicates that your Hard Disk contains some unmovable system files that obstruct the installation. You can use a third party defragmenter to defrag the partition where you intend to install Windows 7. I don’t recommend using Windows default defragmenter as they do not help. You may use the free SmartDefrag from Once defragmented, you should be able to install Windows 7. If this does not solve the problem, format the partition and then use the Windows DVD to boot and install Windows 7.

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    Windows 7 Installation Problems – Cannot Install from Existing Windows Copy

    This one of the Windows 7 installation problems that is almost the same as the one we discussed in the previous section. Either the disk is corrupt or the drive is not able to read the disk properly. The workaround is also the same. Try copying the contents of DVD to a local disk or some removable storage to install Windows 7.

    In some cases, the workaround may be to do a clean install. I don’t know the exact reason but in my case, I was not able to install Windows 7 from XP. I inserted the DVD into the drive and booted from the DVD drive. The Setup continued without any problem and installed Windows 7. I did use the option to format the C drive, which is where I was installing the new OS.

    If running a clean install also does not work, ask the vendor for a replacement DVD.

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    Cannot Communicate with Device, Activation, and More

    Windows 7 Installation Problems Many a times, you get the error message saying Setup Cannot Communicate with One of the Devices Connected to Your Computer. In most cases, this is the drive or removable disk/storage that you are trying to use as Windows 7 Installer. Check that the device is working by opening Device Manager (Windows Key + PrintScreen). If you see any exclamation mark, right click and select Update Driver or Install Driver as the case may be. If you are using a USB port, you may also remove all the ports and restart the computer so that the ports are installed again. You can then see if the error message appears or Windows Installation is successful.

    Another important point to note is that you should remove any USB devices that are not in use. These may create a conflict if you are using a Flash drive or removable HDD to install Windows 7. Finally, if you are not able to trace why Windows is giving the message, you may want to contact a local technician to help you trace the problem. Please note that it can also be the DVD drive. You can try the methods explain to clean the DVD and lens before contacting the technician.

    Among other Windows 7 installation problems is the activation process. If you are facing problems activating your copy of Windows 7, please read my article on Solving Windows 7 Activation Problems. If you are creating partitions using the Windows 7 installation DVD, you may encounter problems where Setup is not able to create partitions. To fix the problem, please read our article on Correcting the "Windows 7 Setup Unable to Create New System Partition" Error.

    The next common Windows 7 install error applies to both Windows 7 and to Windows Vista. If you encounter a message saying Windows installation encountered an unexpected error 0xc0000005, the problem could be with Windows Installer. To know more about the problem and how to fix it, please read our article on Troubleshooting Windows Installation Error 0xC0000005.

    Note: In many cases, Windows 7 installation errors occur if your computer hardware and/or software do not meet the minimum requirements for installing the latest operating system from Microsoft. I strongly recommend using Windows 7 Compatibility Advisor before installing Windows 7. Our article on transition to Windows 7 helps you make an informed choice by presenting a list of factors that you need to know before you go for Windows 7.

Windows 7 - Problems, Tips, and Tricks

Windows 7 is one of the best and wonderful operating systems released by Microsoft. This series on Windows 7 offers you some insights into the OS and helps you with tips and tricks to overcome Windows 7 problems, including network printing and changing background in the Starter Edition.
  1. What To Do If Unable To Change Desktop Background in Windows 7
  2. Solving Windows 7 Installation Problems
  3. Solving Windows 7 Activation Problems
  4. Fixes for Windows 7: Printer Will not Work
  5. What to Do When You Cannot Install a Network Printer on Windows 7