Strange problem you have! I have installed Windows more than 100 times at different machines (two times on a NUC) and never had problems. I am not sure I can help you. I can only tell what I would do.
First of all I would make sure to use compatible RAM.
Before installing W7 I would choose The Default settings in BIOS though I would choose Legacy Boot.
Then I would install W7 from a genuine W7 install. DVD (without scratches and dirt). I have no experience with installing from an USB flash drive. Choose format after all the problems. Don't remove the DVD from the external drive before you can use windows (it will be after rebooting and don't press a key as prompted right after rebooting - if you do that it will start all over again).
If this still doesn't work I would buy a mSATA SSD from Intel and install Windows on that before putting the HDD in the bay.
I appreciate the response and suggestions. I too have installed Windows MANY times - at least 75+- as I've been building my own PC's since the mid/late '90s. While I certainly don't consider myself an "expert", I'm not exactly a beginner either.
I've wiped/formatted/partitioned/made active the current WD HD several times via the Win7 repair dos prompt with the same result - Win7 won't boot from the HD. It installs Win7 fine and then simply won't boot from the HD. I've used a genuine Win7 SP1 DVD for both making the ISO and directly for the install - I have another genuine Win7 SP1 DVD that I'm going to try today.
I also purchased a stick of ram from the compatibility list that I'm going to try as we'll.
I'm not going to rest until I have Win7 installed and working correctly on my DN2820FYKH.
Thanks for the support. What makes me more than a little irked is that I have been able to install Openelece on ALL of my hardware since the day I received my DN2820FYKH. I know comparing Windows 7 (Microsoft) to Openelec (Independent Linux developers) isn't really fair, how can Microsoft/Intel not have all this figured out and working by now?
Update: Attempted to install Win7 from a 2nd/genuine Win7 SP DVD - same result - DN2820FYKH still won't boot from the HD.
Installed a stick of ram from the compatibility list - same result - the PC won't boot from the HD.
Tried installing Win 7 from two brand-new USB 2.0 drives - same result.
Last shot - I'm going to try installing Win Vista. Not hopeful at all...
Bill.A, I was reading at this thread and according to our website, this specific NUC has full support for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (64 bit only). It looks like Windows 7 is only supported partially. http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-034034.htm
I would recommend you to install one of the operating system supported by this product and let me know your findings.
Win 7 64 bit is working for me. One difference I noticed in BIOS settings is that I now have UEFI boot checked (and it looks like you have it unchecked). I do also have Legacy boot checked. I installed W7 using the previous BIOS, but now have the latest installed. I am not sure what sequence of settings I used to get it installed. It was a lot of trial and error. I am using an SSD: Transcend 128GB SATA III 6Gb/s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive TS128GSSD340.
I was able to install Windows 7 64-bit this weekend on my DN2820fyk with no issues. I used a USB 2.0 install stick, updated to the latest bios first, and selected Windows 7 as my OS in the bios. I installed the latest drivers for everything. It seems to be completely stable and everything appears to be working, but I don't appear to have USB 3.0 support in Windows (the USB 3 controller is listed as an unknown device) and I have a PCI Communication Controller listed under unknown devices.
Performance is excellent and the new video driver works great.
Thank you all for the replies. VERY frustrating trying to get Win7 installed on my NUC - it's even more frustrating that I seem to be one of the few owners having problems.
I did manage to get a Win7 disk (the same SSD I started with two weeks ago) to boot into the OS yesterday. Unfortunately, the system was still hosed somehow.
Any action I performed - double clicking on a folder to open it, right clicking on the desktop to change display settings, etc - would takes minutes to complete. I thought maybe I needed to do the 146 updates available right now for Win7 SP1 64 bit but that didn't correct the problem(s). Another 7 hours wasted.
I also tried a different mouse and keyboard, thinking maybe my Logitech wireless mouse/keyboard were to blame - no change.
Tried disabling all unnecessary items - wireless/Bluetooth card, onboard lan, etc - no change.
I even tried booting up in safe mode to see if there was a driver or other software problem - no change.
Finally gave up today and initiated an RMA for my NUC.
Hopefully the replacement will function correctly.
UPDATE: I received my replacement DN2820FYKH today. I installed Win 7 using the same components that I used previously, and Win 7 64 bit installed without any issues. I'm installing the recent Win 7 drivers now - hopefully that goes just as well.
Seems pretty obvious that my 1st NUC was defective in some way.
Big thanks to Intel for the quick turn around with my RMA/exchange.