Intel NUC Skull Canyon (NUC6i7KYK) - Install Windows 7 (with the USB3.0 and NVMe support)

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Although the Intel NUC Skull Canyon (NUC6i7KYK) is officially compatible with Windows 7 (64-bit), you will soon realize that its installation will not be so simple.
Indeed, the Intel NUC Skull Canyon has only USB 3.0 ports and since Windows 7 does not natively support USB 3.0, installation will be impossible from the original DVD of Windows 7.

Then, you should also know that the Intel NUC Skull Canyon supports SSD in M.2 format, but also NVMe SSDs.
If you are using a M.2 SSD, it will be recognized by the Windows 7 installation wizard. But if you choose an NVMe SSD, the Windows 7 installation wizard will not detect it.
You will not be able to install Windows 7 without the following solution.

To resolve these two issues, you will need to add Intel's USB 3.0 drivers and NVMe support to the Windows 7 (64-bit) DVD.

IMPORTANT : on the Intel website, this mini PC is officially compatible with the 64-bit version of Windows 7, 8.1, 10 and Server 2012.
But after trying to install the Windows 7 x64 drivers of this mini-PC, the Bluetooth driver provided by Intel asked us to first install the SP1 of Windows 7.

Info : Intel is providing a "Windows 7 USB 3.0 Creator Utility" program that is supposed to solve the problem of USB 3.0 drivers for installing Windows 7 on this mini-PC, but when the Windows installation wizard will ask you for a name for your PC (ie after the 1st restart of the mini-PC), the keyboard will no longer be recognized. So, you must follow our tutorial to be able to install completely Windows 7 x64 on this mini PC.

  1. Required files
  2. Preparing files
    1. Drivers
    2. Windows updates
    3. Windows 7 x64 installation files
  3. Add support for USB 3.0 and NVMe in Windows 7 x64 iso
    1. Mount the install.wim image
    2. Add USB 3.0 drivers in the installation image
    3. Add Windows updates in the installation image
    4. Dismount the wim image
    5. Modification of install images of other editions of Windows 7
    6. Replace the boot image
  4. Create the new iso file
  5. Create a bootable USB key of Windows 7
  6. Configure the BIOS
  7. Install Windows 7 on your Intel NUC canyon
  8. Install Windows 7 x64 drivers of your Intel NUC canyon

1. Required files

To use this solution, you will need :

2. Preparing files

To follow this tutorial, first create a folder at the root of the C partition of your computer and create these folders :

  • ISO
  • install_mount
  • DriversAndUpdates
  • TEMP

For this tutorial, we will create these folders in a folder "nuc-canyon-win7x64".

2.1. Drivers

First, extract the contents of the Windows 7-USB3.0-Creator-V3-Win7Admin.zip file in the "Temp" folder.
In this folder, you will find an "USB_Drivers" subfolder.

In this folder you will find 2 subfolders :

  • x86 : USB 3.0 drivers for Windows 32-bit architecture
  • x64 : USB 3.0 drivers for Windows 64-bit architecture

Since this mini PC is only compatible with the 64-bit version of Windows 7, we will use only the x64 version of these USB 3.0 drivers.

In the x64 subfolder, you will find 8 files, including .sys files (drivers) and .inf files (configuration files for installing these drivers).

Copy these 8 files to your "DriversAndUpdates" folder.

2.2. Windows updates

You have 2 types of updates :

  • the .msu update files that are already in the correct format
  • and hotfix files in .exe (which you received via email following your request on the Microsoft site) that are compressed files

For .msu files, there is nothing to do. Simply copy the 2 files to the "DriversAndUpdates" folder.

For .exe files, simply :

  • run each exe file
  • click on the "Continue" button
  • click the "..." button to select your "DriversAndUpdates" folder.
  • click OK twice

Finally, you should have 2 additional .msu files.

2.3. Windows 7 x64 installation files

If you have a Windows 7 x64 physical DVD, then copy its contents to your "ISO" folder.

If you have an iso file of Windows 7 x64 :

  • install 7-Zip
  • right-click "7-Zip -> Extract files" on this iso file
  • click the "..." button to select the path of your "ISO" folder
  • click OK.

Finally, you will get this.