This Device Cannot Start: How to Fix Code 10 Errors

This error involves the Windows Device Manager and is usually due to driver issues

The Code 10 error is one of several Device Manager error codes. It's generated when Device Manager can't start the hardware device, a situation usually caused by outdated or corrupted drivers.

A device may also receive a Code 10 error if a driver generates an error that Device Manager doesn't understand. In other words, a Code 10 error can sometimes be a very generic message indicating some kind of unspecified driver or hardware problem.

The Code 10 error could apply to any hardware device in Device Manager, though most Code 10 errors appear on USB and audio devices.

Any of Microsoft's operating systems could experience a Code 10 Device Manager error including Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and more.

The Code 10 Error

The Code 10 error will almost always display in the following way:

This device cannot start. (Code 10)
Code 10 error on Windows 10 Desktop

Details on Device Manager error codes like Code 10 are available in the Device Status area in the device's properties.

Device Manager error codes are exclusive to Device Manager. If you see the Code 10 error elsewhere in Windows, chances are it's a system error code or software-specific error, which you should not troubleshoot as a Device Manager issue.

How to Fix a Code 10 Error

  1. Restart your computer if you haven't done so already.

    There's always the chance that the error Code 10 was caused by some temporary problem in Device Manager or with the hardware. If so, a reboot, like in many situations, might fix it.

    Restart option in Windows 10 Start Menu
  2. Did you install a device or make a change in Device Manager just before the Code 10 error appeared? If so, it's possible that the change you made caused the error.

    Device Manager in Hardware and Sound Control Panel in Windows 10

    Undo the change if you can, restart your PC, and then check again for the Code 10 error.

    Depending on what happened, some solutions might include:

    • Removing or reconfiguring the newly installed device
    • Rolling back the driver to a version prior to your update
    • Using System Restore to undo recent Device Manager related changes
    • Reinstall the drivers for the device. Uninstalling and then reinstalling the drivers for the device is a likely solution to a Code 10 error.

    If a USB device is generating the Code 10 error, uninstall every device under the Universal Serial Bus controllers hardware category in Device Manager as part of the driver reinstall. This includes any USB Mass Storage Device, USB Host Controller, and USB Root Hub.

    Properly reinstalling a driver, as in the instructions linked above, isn't the same as simply updating a driver. A full driver reinstall involves completely removing the currently installed driver and then letting Windows install it over again from scratch.

  3. Update the drivers for the device. It's also very possible that installing the latest drivers for the device could correct the Code 10 error, even if these drivers were previously functional.

    If this works, it means that the stored Windows drivers you reinstalled earlier were either damaged or outdated with a problem that the more up-to-date drivers corrected.

    Be sure to check for the latest drivers from your computer and device manufacturer (if applicable) since one may have a more recent driver available than the other.

  4. Install the latest Windows updates. Microsoft often releases patches for Windows, and some computers don't have the latest service packs installed, either of which might contain a fix for the Code 10 error.

  5. Delete the UpperFilters and LowerFilters values in the registry. Two particular values in the Windows Registry could be corrupted, causing the error.

    While this isn't a very common solution to a Code 10 issue, it is for many other Device Manager error codes. Don't be afraid to try this if the previous ideas haven't worked.

  6. Try an older driver version, or one for the previous version of Windows. Almost all manufacturers continue to provide previously available drivers on their websites.

    This trick doesn't work to fix Code 10 errors very often, and when it does, it probably means that the latest driver provided by the manufacturer has serious problems, but it's worth a shot before trying the next few steps.

    Try visiting the DriverHub website to install an older driver if you can't find it on the manufacturer's website.

  7. Purchase a powered USB hub if the Code 10 error is showing up for a USB device.

    Some USB devices require more power than the USB ports in your computer can give it. Plugging those devices into a powered USB hub circumvents that issue.

  8. Replace the hardware. A problem with the hardware device itself might be causing the Code 10 error, in which case replacing the hardware is your next logical step.

    Another possibility, while not very likely, is that the device isn't compatible with your version of Windows. You can always check the Windows HCL to be sure.

  9. If you're positive that a hardware problem isn't causing the Code 10 error, you could try a repair install of Windows. If that doesn't work, try a clean install of Windows. We don't recommend doing either before you replace the hardware, but you might have to give them a try if you're out of other options.

Please let us know if you've fixed a Code 10 error using a method not listed above. We'd like to keep this page as accurate as possible.

Need More Help?

If you don't want to fix this problem yourself, read our article How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? for a full list of support options, plus help with everything along the way like figuring out repair costs, getting your files off, choosing a repair service, and a whole lot more.

  • How do I fix a code 43 on my USB device?

    Unplug all of your USB devices then shut down your PC. After a few minutes, power on your PC. Plug one USB device at a time to make sure they each work. If one device triggers the error, try some additional troubleshooting on that specific device.

  • What is USB-C?

    USB Type C connectors is a variant of the USB connector. Its shape is a small, thin oval in appearance and is not "keyed" (usable on either side). It supports newer USB formats 3.2 and 3.1 but is also backward compatible.

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