Broadcom BSOD fixed on Windows 10 – HP Compaq NC6320

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor system thread exception fault

The HP Compaq NC6320 is a laptop with integrated Broadcom Netlink™ BCM5788-A3 gigabit ethernet network card. Installation of a Windows 10 1909 ISO fails on this system with a “System Thread Exeption Not Handled” bluescreen error. I will explain how I fixed this.

As it would be insane to throw this machine in the bin over a faulty Windows install, it should be fixed. But how? As the ISO won’t install, you cannot boot into safe mode, because the installation procedure of Windows is not complete. If you try to boot in safe mode (for removing the driver) you are greeted by this error:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor windows cannot install in safe mode
The pesky error if a failed device driver is installed and you want it removed in safe mode when setup is not complete

But you cannot restart, as it immediately shut’s down with a BSOD. So how to proceed?

After a long and tedious process of thinking, I decided to try an older version of Windows 10, namely 1809. This ISO worked and the system worked fine. However, Microsoft decided that 1809 is phased out in may 2020. So updating to at least 1903 or preferably 1909 was needed. On updating to 1903, the system booted with the above bluescreen, rolling back all the update files and going back to 1809. It’s quite strange that 1809 works and 1903 does not.

Identifying the problem with SetupDiag

The silly Broadcom driver which was the culprit of installation failure was easily identified by SetupDiag a diagnose utility from Microsoft that fetches errors such as failed driver installations on Windows Update. The driver, b57nd60a.sys was giving: Error: Found a device installation hang during device install phase, device information follows: Device Installation Hang detected!. This initiated the rollback procedure wasting hours and hours of installation time.

Broadcom’s newest driver is automatically installed 🙁

All this is because of Windows 10 updating all of it’s drivers on a new feature pack update. Windows decides that the new Broadcom 214.0.0.0 driver should be used for this ethernet card, which is way too new for this system. Unfortunately the device cannot be disabled in the HP bios, which would have saved a lot of time. Manually selecting a driver inside the driver selection window did not give the correct driver, even when the “show compatible hardware” was deselected.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor driver selection windows 10 broadcom
Image is for illustration purposes only does not represent the installation

Working towards a fix: Group policy editor

This machine works best with Windows 10 Pro, as it has the group policy editor, avoiding other difficult registry hacks. Group Policy Editor is what can enable or disable several settings when managing the system. One of the settings is “Disabling automatic driver updates on Windows Update”.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor group policy prevent driver update

However, this did not work. The installation of the update to 1903 fails again. Only after deliberately setting PCI\VEN_14E4&DEV_169C in the Group Policy Editor on devices that should NOT be installed AND disabling the device in device manager, Windows can install the major software update fine after some hours of waiting.

prevent installation device drivers
The setting can differ per various language settings

Another option was staying on Windows 10 version 1809 and choosing the LTSC branch, but that is not what I preferred. I wanted to go to 1903 and then to 1909 or immediately to 1909.

The driver that works

A lot of people on the internet say the Broadcom driver that works (for them) is version 16.8.1.0 OR version 17.2.x.x. They both do not work on this system, giving a “Code 10a, device cannot be started” error. So I had to try a lot of other 64 bit drivers to find one which works. The driver that works on this system is not the b57nd60a.sys but it is the k57nd60a.sys. Driver version is 15.6.0.14. The 64 bit and 32 bit examples are uploaded by me here to download. The driver is from 2013 but works fine on this system. Part of this fix is also referenced here and here.

Image courtesy of Lucianwebservice.com

More troubles

When Windows 10 is updated to 1909 and the group policy settings are manually reverted to default after the driver has been succesfully installed, the bluescreen mentioned above returns immediately and the system is rebooted 🙁

This can be mitigated by booting into SAFE mode, removing the 214.0.0.0 driver again and installing manually the 15.6.0.14 driver. After a reboot the system works fine BUT the group policy settings are destroyed and not accesibly anymore via GPEDIT.msc. The famous read-only permission fix on the directory C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\ and it’s subdirectories did not work. However the Group Policy Editor can be fixed by opening an Explorer window, going to C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\ and renaming the Machine folder to Machine.old and then re-opening GPEDIT.MSC so the directory is regenerated. All previous group policy settings are now gone and reverted to default, so be careful if you made other fixes, you have to set them again.

Broadcom Advanced Control Suite

Also the Broadcom Advanced Control Suite 3 software is also working fine. This software can view additional information when connected to a network.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor broadcom bacs 3
Screenshot is only as example

In the future

The problem is fixed, however I am afraid that for every large feature update this hassle of a manual driver update in safe mode is needed. This can be prevented by Microsoft if they choose not to update drivers on new or feature pack installs.

4 thoughts on “Broadcom BSOD fixed on Windows 10 – HP Compaq NC6320

  1. Andrew Alston

    The Group Policy ought to remain in place ready for the next Big Update, so don’t panic yet.

    I had the same problem. In my tests, I also tried a clean install on a fresh drive. It fails in “first boot”.

    So I put the clean drive in a different machine (a desktop will do). I ran the setup from the install media all the way through to where it asks for country information. Press the power button. The machine powers down cleanly.

    Return the drive to the nc6320 and power up. It installed relevant drivers (again) and let me connect to WiFi. However, it BSODed not long after.

    The reboot BSODed again, but after the auto reboot, it announced that applying a patch might fix the problem. It then downloaded a WORKING Broadcom driver and ended up with a stable desktop.

    Hope this helps if your HDD ever gives up the ghost!

    Reply
    1. W00fer Post author

      Thanks for messaging Andrew. Putting the drive into a different laptop is what I tried as well. The harddrive controller driver and other stuff is installed on the harddisk, as well as the GPU driver. So if you put a different drive into a different laptop, it does not have the GPU driver and the laptop sometimes boots to a blinking cursor.
      I never had the suggestion that a patch might help as Windows automatically installs a driver which is too new for this card (as described in the article).
      Soon I’m going to update the laptop to Windows 10 update 2004. I’ll see if it needs the same difficult process then.

      Reply
  2. LincolnG

    I have a Compaq nc6320 and I solved the issue really easily on 10 Pro x64 1909.

    You just go to the bios and disable wan/lan switching. It’s also a good idea to turn everything else off as well. like the PCMCIA and Cardbus, Serial and Parallel too while you are there.

    I then just put a 5G USB wifi NIC as the wifi in the machine is super slow anywhere. Thanks for the suggestions about the Ethernet NIC, I will try those.

    Reply
    1. W00fer Post author

      Hi Lincoln, thanks for the reply. Unfortunately there is no option in my bios to disable the LAN adapter. Could you make a photo and send it to me?
      Or tell me where to find it? I prefer to use no external USB adapters.

      Reply

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