When you upgrade from an earlier version of Windows to Windows 10, you will be prompted “you can’t install Windows on a USB flash drive using Setup”. What’s the reason? How can you fix this issue? Now, read this article from MiniTool Solution and you will know some useful methods.

Can’t Install Windows 10 on USB Stick

Usually, you download an ISO file and burn it to your USB flash drive for Windows 10 upgrade. During the installation, Setup checks each constraint that is indirectly or directly related to up-gradation. If a single factor is non-aligned to expected behavior, Setup will fail to do the upgrade.

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According to reports, an error happens while upgrading an earlier version of Windows to Windows 10. The error message says “This PC can’t run Windows 10. You can’t install Windows on a USB flash drive using Setup”. Or sometimes, the first sentence is “Windows couldn’t be installed…”

Sometimes the error appears even if you upgrade your PC via Windows Update without a USB drive with Windows recovery media installed on it.

Why can’t you install Windows 10 on USB drive? This is because a faulty registry key may trick your system into thinking it is a portable version, leading to the error described in this post. Besides, the partition where you want to install the OS isn’t marked as active.

What to do if PC won’t install Windows 10 on USB? Now, follow these solutions below.

How to Fix “You Can’t Install Windows 10 on a USB Flash Drive Using Setup”

Solution 1: Change a Registry Entry

Some users reported changing a registry value could be helpful to fix the issue. If you find you can’t install Windows 10 on USB stick, just try this way.

Warning: Editing the registry is dangerous since mistakes could affect your system adversely. Thus, you should be careful and create a backup of registry keys or create a system restore point before you proceed.
  1. Open Registry Editor by inputting regedit to the search box and clicking the result.
  2. Go to the path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control.
  3. Locate an entry called PortableOperatingSystem from the right panel. If you cannot find this key, right-click the blank and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value to create it.
  4. Double-click on it and set its value data from 1 to 0.

change registry key

After finishing changing the registry key, you should reboot your PC and check if you can install Windows on a USB drive.

Solution 2: Mark Partition Active

If you try to install a fresh copy of Windows on your PC, this solution is highly useful. Follow the following steps below to set the partition where you need to install the system as active.

  1. Right-click This PC and choose Manage to open Disk Management.
  2. Right-click the target primary partition and choose Mark Partition as Active.
  3. Confirm the operation. After that, restart your PC and see if the error “you can’t install Windows on a USB flash drive using Setup” is fixed.
Tip: In addition, you can use a professional partition manager to set partition active and MiniTool Partition Wizard is such a tool. Refer to this help document - How to Set Active/Inactive | MiniTool Partition Wizard Tutorial for much information.

The End

Have received the error “you can’t install Windows on a USB flash drive using Setup”? If PC won’t install Windows 10 on USB drive, now follow these two methods above and you can easily fix this issue.

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