‘The security module on this device is not working’ on Chromebook

Your Chromebook might display the error “The security module on this device is not working” and in most cases resetting the Embedded Controller (EC) chip resolves the issue.

What is EC

According to Wikipedia, An embedded controller (EC) is a microcontroller in computers that handles various system tasks that the operating system does not handle. You will get a list of such tasks here. Check that out if you are curious.

Now, what’s the deal with Chrome OS and EC?

According to the official documentation:

“The Chromium OS project includes open-source software for embedded controllers (EC) used in recent ARM and x86 based Chromebooks. This software includes a lightweight, multitasking OS with modules for power sequencing, keyboard control, thermal control, battery charging, and verified boot.

 This includes the Samsung Chromebook (XE303C12) and all Chromebooks shipped after the Chromebook Pixel 2013 (inclusive). See the Chrome OS devices page for a list.

How do you fix this error?

This might sound strange, but according to Google Product Expert Jim, doing this for at least 25 times will fix the issue for you. You may not need the whole 25, but you get the idea.

  1. Power on the Chromebook.
  2. Leave on for at least 30 seconds. Don’t do anything.
  3. Power off the Chromebook. (Shut it off completely, don’t just close the lid. Refer to “Turn off your Chromebook” section here if you want to know how to do that.)
  4. Repeat.

Give this a try and let me know in comments if it worked. Stay tuned for more Chrome OS troubleshooting resources.

24 responses to “‘The security module on this device is not working’ on Chromebook”

  1. mboardmanatlncs

    Holy Cow that worked! I was stuck on recovery and insert USB stick and nothing. Just kept power cycle, wait a bit, power cycle. Maybe 4 or 5 times after I read your post.

    1. Dinsan – Bangalore, India – Digital Minimalist & Content Developer. Drinks Tea and writes Stuff (mostly about Chromebooks). My views are mostly copied from others.

      Thank you for letting me know.

    2. Since I have the first reply and there seems to be some interest happening here, I thought I would clarify my experience.

      I have successfully “recovered” at least four systems using this method. The symptoms are receiving the insert USB recovery method. Rebooting a time or two sometimes just works right away (not counting these, only the persistent ones). So, then I try using the USB recovery and receive the “security module” problem.

      The fix here has worked, but once you receive the “security module” message, DON’T USE THE USB ANYMORE. Just keep powering on, wait 30 or so seconds, press/hold power until it goes black. Power on again. If you still receive the message repeat.

      I have had the Chromebook plugged in to charge, and I’ve unplugged the computer as well. The amount of times I’ve rebooted have varied from around 4 or 5 the first time to maybe 20 for max. Once, I gave up and went home only to come back to a working system the next day. Just completed the 4th recovery in a year today.

    3. Brother we have to do on off procedure while usb inserted or after removing it????
      Please help

      1. In my clarification, you don’t use the USB recovery stick. Just need to run through the power cycles.

        Just keep powering on, wait 30 or so seconds, press/hold power until it goes black. Power on again. If you still receive the message repeat.

        It’s taken the 4 or 5 systems I’ve need to do anywhere from 5 or 6 cycles to over a dozen but I have been successful in all attempts to reset these systems.

  2. puts, aqui nao vai por nada, ja fiz umas 40 vezes….

    1. Também estou tentando e nada

  3. To be honest, I was skeptical but after the 4th or 5th repeat, it WORKED! Thank you.

  4. Did not work for me, and I did it at least 40 times.

  5. It worked! just a few tries

  6. thank you, it actually worked on my samsung chromebook. While it did not require 20 times, it came on after about the 6th time. Thanks again for the advice!

  7. I have tried this and it has not worked. I tried a recovery usb and get error security module on this device is not working. now what do I do .

  8. Mine isn’t working at all. I have done it around 40 times

  9. It worked for me by disconnecting the AC power cord and the battery For the Battery need to remove the Keyboard. This is for a HP G5ee and G6ee. Pressing the power bottom for about 3 to 4 times. This reset the Embedded Controller (EC) chip and resolves the issue.

  10. Is the usb installed while you’re doing this?

  11. I will never buy another one. Mine did this after the return time expired, of course. I tried everything and nothing has worked. I’m on partial disability and this was just money I really didn’t have right out the window. I’m pissed!

    1. In my lengthy experience with thousands of devices this has only happened one time. Also, hardware depends a lot, there are some really cheaply made systems out there but Chromebooks have been much more reliable than any of the “real” computers OSX/Windows we have used over the past 7 years.

      If you post your model of Chromebook I wouldn’t mind trying some Internet research to see if there is a fix. As far as the security module problem goes, how many resets have you done? I took me a bit to reliably follow the procedure (a real pain, granted) to override the issue.

  12. steveamadi3

    Mine is giving me serious headache. The OS got corrupt. I loaded a recovery utility in my 8GB flash drive. When I inserted it in the Chromebook, is now say “The security module on this device is not working
    Please refer to this URL for more information

    Can someone help me out pls?

    1. Following the directions given, it took about 30 tries on my Dell 3100. It is a tedious process, but turning on the device with nothing except the power charger cord attached, letting the screen come on for 30 seconds, then holding the power button to shut it down worked.

      I didnt need to insert my Chrome OS Flash drive to reload the OS on the device, but will do it anyway after the diagnostics run on the device to make sure everything else is running smoothly.

      THANK YOU!!!

  13. I was about to give up and after 15 tries with the usb in, it finally worked!!!!

  14. do I need to enter recovery mode each time?

  15. Jeff Liebermann – Ben Lomond, California, USA – AE6KS

    It worked for me. 6 reboots on an Acer Chromebook R11 CB5-132T-C8ZW). I’ve been working with Chromebooks for many years and this is the first time I’ve seen this problem or read about this particular solution.

    There are two blue LED’s on the front edge of the R11. The left LED indicates if the machine is powered on and running. When I initially tried to start the R11, I would need to hold the power button on for several seconds before it would stay on. With each reboot cycle, the LED would turn on (and stay on) in a shorter amount of time. Now that it’s working again, the LED comes on and stays on almost immediately after the power button is pressed. Also, I think leaving it run for 30 seconds might not be long enough or marginal. I used 45 seconds and a timer app on my Android phone.

    My thanks and my neighbors thanks (it’s her R11).

  16. craftinglove

    HOLY SH!T it worked!

    I’m in disbelief but had to comment and say thanks! It took about 12-13 times and I was ready to give up.. but MAN, what a simple fix. This Chromebook has been sitting for a few years and I was fixing to toss it. Figured I’d give it one last try.

    Thanks again!!!

  17. He intentado todos los pasos que dicen y todavía no puedo arreglar mi chromebook tengo una lenovo alguien me podría ayudar ?
    I did all that I inserted the usb but at the end of the whole process it gives me an error some say that you have to turn it off and on like 20 times I did that, but it doesn’t work now my wife is going to kill me

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