‘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.

20 responses

  1. 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. 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.

  2. in the 6 try works thanks for share 😀

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

    1. Também estou tentando e nada

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

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

    1. Me either. Smh

  6. It worked! just a few tries

  7. 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!

  8. 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 .

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

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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
    https://www.google.com/chromeos/recovery

    Can someone help me out pls?

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

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