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Strix Z390-E Gaming - BSOD Loop as soon as Windows downloads drivers

Level 7


We got a computer for repair here that has an ASUS Strix Z390-E Gaming motherboard.

If we do a fresh Windows installation it runs without issues (for hours if we let it) but as soon as we connect it to the internet it's a matter of minutes (or less) before it freezes or bluescreens and afterward can't boot into Windows anymore (always BSOD or freeze during boot, safe-mode also not possible).

My assumption is that it's a faulty driver (or less probable: another kind of Windows update) that Windows downloads as soon as it gets an internet connection. So Windows basically self-destructs with a driver update that Microsoft or a vendor provides through Windows Update.

We have been able to "delay" self-destruction after getting internet connection by using some registry "hacks" that should prevent Windows Update from downloading/updating drivers but eventually it will download something that destroys the system.

We had a very similar case in 2021 where deactivating the "driverless" devices "SMBus controller" and "PCI communicatin device" in the device manager before connecting the device to the internet "solved" the problem (assumedly because Windows would then not download faulty drivers for those devices and therefore not destroy itself).

However in this case the deactivation of the "driverless" devices in the device manager will not prevent the system from self-destrcution. So I assume it might be an update for some device that already has a non-faulty driver installed that is the culprit in this case.

Question is: how to find out which device causes the problem? Most likely something that is on the Motherboard. Does ASUS know something?

(We tried to pull Minidumps from the system but there were none.)




Customer Service Agent

Hello, @peon2t 

May I ask if you experienced this issue before reinstalling Windows?
Could you please help confirm the following questions?
- the current BIOS version and the images of the setting in BIOS, or whether it is the default
- the OS version and OS build
- the brand and model name of the CPU, GPU, DRAM (also part number), and PSU currently installed
- What versions of network drivers or wireless card drivers are you using?
Have you updated to the latest versions from the official website?
- Are there any external hardware devices connected? 
If you remove them, does it improve the BSOD situation?

Thank you.