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Community Manager

NUC7i3BNH - Random BSOD/Freeze during OS install or boot


I am setuping a NUC 7i3BNH computer for a friend. It has a Samsung SSD and a single stick of compatible DDR4 RAM.

There is a huge issue:

everytime I try to install either Windows 10 or Ubuntu (which means it is not software related), I either get:

  • Random BSOD (for Windows) during language selection screen (before the BSOD I lose the USB devices repeatedly, like I can move the mouse for half a second then it disappears, it reappears a couple seconds later and I can move it for half a second and it disappears and so on until the BSOD),
  • A freeze (for Ubuntu) after 5 seconds of loading screen (and I also get multiple "timed out" or "error" lines before the loading screen)

I tried updating the BIOS firmware. Same issue.

I tested the RAM using MemTest, with no error found. Same issue.

I formatted the SSD on my own computer. Same issue.

I even installed Windows 10 on the SSD using my own computer and "WinToUSB" tool. Same issue: I get a BSOD after like 3 seconds of loading screen.

I fear I am running out of ideas...

Any help would be appreciated!


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Super User Retired Employee

In 95% of similar cases, the problem is caused by bad or incompatible memory. Yes, I know you said you ran MemTest; it doesn't matter; MemTest cannot - and does not - catch all problem types. I am not saying that the tool is useless, but they do give a lot of false positives (i.e. succeed when the memory is actually bad).

Now, before doing anything else (including the testing I describe below), please respond and provide the part numbers for your SODIMMs. No, I don't want a description of the SODIMMs; I want the actual part numbers. Same goes for your drive(s); please provide part numbers for all drives connected. Same goes for all devices plugged into USB. Again, part numbers only; I am not interested in your descriptions.

Now, if you have two SODIMMs installed, take one out and try again to update to the latest BIOS (see note below). Regardless of whether this failed or succeeded, move the SODIMM that is in the NUC to the other SODIMM socket and then try again to update to the latest BIOS (even if this one is now installed). Regardless of whether this attempt failed or succeeded, remove the SODIMM in the NUC and replace it with the SODIMM you removed originally. Try again to update to the latest BIOS. Now move this SODIMM to the other SODIMM socket. Try again to update to the latest BIOS. So, at this point, you have attempted all four permutations possible with one SODIMM installed. Which ones succeeded and which ones failed?

Note: Attempt to update the BIOS using the F7 method. The process is as follows:

  1. You only need to do steps 1-3 once. In a separate, Windows-based PC (do not use Linux- or MACOS-based system!), insert a (preferably) USB 2.0 flash disk and reformat the drive, using the FAT32 file system, with the Quick Format option disabled.
  2. Place only the .BIO file for the latest BIOS release onto this flash disk.
  3. Remember to properly eject the flash disk from the PC. That is, use the right-click menu's Eject command within File Manager or use the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media system tray applet.
  4. Insert the flash disk into one of the NUC's USB ports. If the NUC has a (yellow) USB Charging Port on the front panel, don't use it.
  5. Power on the NUC.
  6. When the "Intel° NUC" splash screen appears, press the F7 key over and over until a dialog appears onscreen. Use this dialog to select the .BIO file on the flash disk and tell it to start the BIOS update process.
  7. The system will reset itself and then, after displaying the splash screen, it will switch to a display detailing the steps of the firmware update process.
  8. When complete, if successful, the system will be rebooted automatically, so you must watch the screen all the time. People can get bored and look away; don't.

If you have only a single SODIMM, move it to the other SODIMM socket and try updating to the latest BIOS. Did this succeed?

Sorry for seeming to be a prickly nag, but it is important to complete the process exactly as I have described. Too often, I see people taking short cuts and screwing up the process, wasting a lot of everyone's time. No shortcuts; do it exactly as I have detailed - and yes, it is important.

We'll discuss next-steps after I have all of the information about your NUC configuration and the results of the testing completed.


Community Manager

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the answer!

I was being short on time (because it was not my computer) and I sought help in all directions.

I paid a PC repair shop nearby, and 15min later (and 90€...) they told me it was because I was using a SATA SSD instead of a M.2 SSD and the bios was seemingly "configured" to work with the M.2 by default, or some thing. I did not understand everything the guy told me, but that's globally what he said.

I'm sad to have paid 90€ because the motherboard could not detect by itself if I was using SATA or M.2. I wouldn't have thought it could come down to that kind of "bug".

The NUC is working like a charm now.

Thank you for your time Scott, greatly appreciated. I hope my misfortune (90€ is a lot of money for me, plus all the time I lost with all the non-working-solutions I did try by myself before seeking help) may help other people later.


Super User Retired Employee

Hhmmm, the M.2 card, in hardware, tells the NUC whether it will use the x4 PCIe interface or the SATA interface. There is no configuration in the BIOS related specifically to this. Go into BIOS Setup and hit F9 and the configuration will set itself properly. Bottom line, I have no idea what the repair shop is talking about.


Community Manager

It was not very clear for me as well, he told me that because I was using a SATA drive and not a M.2, I had to go tell the motherboard to adapt or something.

I'll try to go see the guy next Monday and ask him precisely what he did and what was the cause. Maybe it'll make more sense then.

Thanks again Scott, your help is greatly appreciated!