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Published: September 10, 2015 | Applies to:

While upgrading to Windows 10, if you get "This PC can't run Windows 10 - You can't install Windows on a USB flash drive from Setup.'', then try this fix.

When you upgrade to Windows 10 using the ISO file, the setup checks each and every constraint which is directly or indirectly related to up-gradation. If setup founds even a single factor that is non-aligned to expected behavior, the upgrade will fail on the go.

Recently while installing Windows 10 on a Windows 8.1 running system, we faced a strange error that wasn’t expected. In this case, during upgrade, setup given us following error message and the update to Windows 10 ceased due to it:

This PC can’t run Windows 10

You can’t install Windows on a USB flash drive from Setup.

You Cant Install Windows On A USB Flash Drive From Setup For Windows 10

The machine on which we faced this error don’t have any USB drive connected. This indicates that the error message is irrelevant to the context. Upon researching, we found that the setup checks the value of PortableOperatingSystem registry DWORD which sits under machine configuration. The incorrect value returned from that DWORD is the root cause for such an issue. You can set the correct value of that same DWORD to bypass this error, using following steps:

FIX : “You Can’t Install Windows On A USB Flash Drive From Setup” For Windows 10

Registry Disclaimer: The further steps will involve registry manipulation. Making mistakes while manipulating registry could affect your system adversely. So be careful while editing registry entries and create a System Restore point first.

1. Press Windows Key + R and put regedit in Run dialog box to open Registry Editor (if you’re not familiar with Registry Editor, then click here). Click OK.


2. In the left pane of Registry Editor, navigate to following registry key:


You Cant Install Windows On A USB Flash Drive From Setup For Windows 10

3. Moving on, in the left pane of above shown window, highlight the Control key. Come to its corresponding right pane and scroll down to look for PortableOperatingSystem named registry DWORD (REG_DWORD). If the DWORD doesn’t exists at all, do a right click on blank space > New > DWORD Value. Rename the newly created DWORD to PortableOperatingSystem. Now double click on this DWORD to modify it:

You Cant Install Windows On A USB Flash Drive From Setup For Windows 10

4. Finally, set the Value data in Edit DWORD box to 0 from 1. Click OK. You can now close Registry Editor and reboot the machine. After restarting your system, proceed to upgrade and this time it would work.

Hope this helps! If the issue still persists, go ahead and make a clean install of Windows 10.

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  • This seems to by only thing workd to solve. Thanks, thanks and thanks for this post. :)

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad we could help :)

  • I did the free upgrade a few months ago from windows 7 to windows 10. No problem with that upgrade. I had the issue when recently trying to update to the newest windows 10 build. Microsoft support tried to fix the issue. Nothing they tried worked.

    I just tried your suggested fix.


  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad it helped :D

  • Thanks for the info! I was running Windows 10 in Hyper-V with the VHDX file located on a USB SSD, and this registry key was set. Changing it to 0 allowed me to proceed with the upgrade. :-)

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Awesome!

  • Kapil Arya: Congratulations ! Very well explained besides with pics foolproof. Rhe perfecto solution ! I Think Microsoft people does Not know this solution… The world needs more people like you man ! Thanks !

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Thanks for your awesome feedback :)

  • I have been trying various methods for two weeks to correct this, but to no avail. FINALLY, your fix came through for me. Thanks ever so much.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Cool 😎

  • I have the same problem running Win 10 Insider Preview for over a year on my PC. This error started with Update 14367 (Version 1607) and has persisted since. Checked registry, already set to (1) all updates for past year have installed successfully up to 14366. 3 days later 14367 was released, and this error began and has persisted to latest update, 14393. Other options?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ You can use Refresh Windows tool to install latest build available: Hope it helps!

  • My DWord was already set to 1 so this does not help.

  • It was driving me crazy! Thank You!

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Happy to help!

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