Seeing “This Device Cannot Start, Code 10” when you try to use the hardware in Windows? Here’s how to fix it.
This error can appear in all versions of Windows and is very vague, so it can be understandably frustrating.
Let’s take a look at what code 10 is in Windows, the common reasons why it happens, and how to fix it.
What is Error Code 10
Code Error 10 “This Device Cannot Start” is usually related to a removable device. It appears when Windows cannot run hardware devices, such as printers or USB drives, properly.
Because of this, you may see it appear after Windows tries to install drivers for a new device. Sometimes, this might prevent the CD drive or other storage device from showing up on This PC.
You will also see this status for the affected devices on the tab General in Device Manager, which we will discuss later. Oftentimes, code 10 appears due to a problem with the audio device or USB specifically. Let’s take a look at the fix for this problem.
Reboot Your Computer
As with most computer problems, sometimes you can solve this problem with a simple restart. You should always take these basic troubleshooting steps first, so you don’t waste time on unnecessary advanced methods.
Restart your computer and try to access the device again. If the error message continues to appear, proceed to more advanced troubleshooting.
Run the Hardware Troubleshooter (Device Troubleshooter)
Windows includes several automatic troubleshooters that help you troubleshoot various problems. One of them is a tool Hardware and Devices, which fixes the problem in this area. While there’s no guarantee of finding anything, it’s worth running when you run into this problem.
For some reason, Microsoft removed this from the menu Troubleshoot in Windows 10, but you can still access it via Command Prompt or PowerShell. Press the button Windows + X again and choose Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell from the menu, then enter the following line:
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
It will open Troubleshoot in a new window. Click Next to run it; once the wizard is complete, it will notify you of any issues found and the results for fixing them.
Check Device Manager For More Info
Device Manager collects info about all the devices connected to your PC, so it’s an important place to check when you see error code 10. To open it, press Windows + X or right-click on the Start button, then select Device Manager from the menu.
You can expand each section to see the individual devices below it. If your device has a problem, you’ll see a small yellow warning sign next to it; this should show the device causing the error. Double click the device and check the field Device statust; if it is written This device cannot start (Code 10), then it doesn’t work properly.
You should check all categories, especially Audio inputs and outputs as well as Universal Serial Bus controllers. If you don’t see the problem here, look at other USB devices such as Printers and Mice and other pointing devices. If you recently added any hardware to your computer, check that too.
When you find a device that appears with the error, try unplugging it for a few minutes, then reconnecting it. If this has no effect, you will have to go ahead and update or remove the drivers for that device.
Update Hardware Driver
If you want to update a specific driver, right click in Device Manager and select Update drivers > Search automatically for drivers. This will check your computer for newer drivers. If that doesn’t work, search your device name online to see if there are newer drivers available from the manufacturer.
Uninstall Non-Functional Drivers
If updating the device driver doesn’t work, you should try replacing or removing the next driver. Right click on the problematic device and select Properties, followed by tab Driver, for some options.
Choose Rollback Driver will cancel the latest update and revert to the previous version. However, it is only accessible if there is an old version to roll back.
If you can’t do this, you have to choose Uninstall Device to remove it completely from your system. After doing so, reboot. Windows will have to install generic drivers for some devices (such as mice and keyboards) when you do this, but you may have to install the manufacturer-specific drivers yourself.
Hopefully a refreshed driver will cause a stop code 10 error.
Try Another USB Port or Hub
If you have identified which device is causing the code 10 error to appear, try connecting it to a different USB port on your computer. It is possible that your USB port is damaged, causing your computer to communicate with the device incorrectly.
Also, if you use a basic USB hub with your computer, consider replacing it with a powered model. Powered USB hubs, such as the Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 hub, are more reliable than those that rely on your PC for power.
Delete UpperFilters And LowerFilters In Registry
As an advanced step, you can delete the pair of Registry values associated with the filter driver, which works between Windows and the hardware. Anything wrong with this could lead to a code 10 error.
Making inappropriate changes in the Registry can cause more problems, so make sure you exercise caution during this process:
- Press Windows + R to open a dialog box Run and enter regedit to launch the Registry Editor.
- Use the navigation tree on the left to browse to the following locations: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlClass.
- With key class expanded, you’ll see a lot of keys underneath which are a long string of characters. These GUIDs (Globally Unique Identifiers) all correspond to different types of hardware in Device Manager.
Now, you should find the correct GUID for the type of device you are looking for.
To do this, go back to Device Manager and double-click on the device that is experiencing the problem. Switch to tab Details in the resulting window and change the dropdown box property to Class Guide. Value will appear in the box below, matching one of the keys in the Registry.
Click the matching character string in the left pane of the Registry to open its contents in the right pane. From there:
- Search items UpperFilters and LowerFilters. You might only see one of these, and that’s fine. If you don’t see both, double check that you have the correct GUID. If you’re sure you got it right and still don’t see it, this won’t work for you.
- Right click on UpperFilters and/or LowerFilters and select Delete. Confirm the warning and the file will be deleted.
- Restart your computer, then check the device again to see if it works.
Note that depending on the GUID you remove, some of the software that uses the device may not function properly until you reinstall it.
Test Your Hardware Elsewhere
At this point, chances are you have a faulty device. If possible, try connecting it to another computer and see if it works at all. If it doesn’t work on other systems then you will have to contact the manufacturer or have the device replaced.
Perform System Restore Or Reset
If this fails, you can do a full Windows reset, but that might be overkill for this issue. Hardware problems, especially at this point, are usually problems with the device itself. But if your device works elsewhere and you don’t mind trying, performing a Windows 10 reset could potentially solve the problem.
Fix Error Code 10 In Windows: It Worked
Now you know what to do when you see “This Device Cannot Start (Code 10)” in Windows. Hopefully, you won’t have to do a lot of troubleshooting to get your hardware working again. Driver errors are never fun to fix, but it helps to know where to look.