Trouble booting newer Linux kernels on Asus VivoPC VM42

I recently bought an Asus VivoPC VM42 because I wanted a small and simple desktop computer to play around with different Linux distros.

I was able to install Ubuntu 14.04 without problems, but when booting it for the first time it got stuck with a message from NMI Watchdog saying that CPU#1 had been stuck for 22 seconds.

I also tried booting Linux Mint and Fedora from a Live USB, but the same thing happened.

The only thing that was working was booting Ubuntu with kernel 3.19.0-25.

I tried the following:

  1. Booting with nomodeset
  2. Booting with noacpi
  3. Updating the BIOS from version 1008 to 1203
  4. Using legacy BIOS instead of UEFI
  5. Disabling Secure Boot and Fast Boot
  6. A bunch of other things

Finally, after several days of searching for a solution, I tried disabling all the on-board controllers:

  • HD Audio
  • WLAN
  • Bluetooth

Now I could boot everything, including newer kernels, Linux Mint and Fedora. I have yet to figure out which one was causing the problem, but I will update this post whenever I do.

Update: Turned out it was the WLAN controller that caused this issue.

I should of course have tried this at an earlier stage, but since the older version of the kernel was working, I figured it couldn’t be because of those BIOS settings.

I was wrong.