What is “This Device Cannot Start. (Code 10)” error

This Device Cannot Start. (Code 10) is an error that indicates Windows failed to run some devices. It can appear on both Windows 11 and Windows 10, and possibly older versions as well. Usually, this error applies to peripheral hardware, such as USB drives, printers, and other kinds of plug-in-type devices. Users can see spot this error after its sudden interruption right on the screen or as a “Device status” message mainly while inspecting various hardware in Device Manager. The effect of this error is that it prevents the proper operation of the malfunctioned device and therefore disallows users to use it. The most common reasons for its appearance are often reported coming from problems with drivers, outdated systems, badly plugged cables, third-party apps incompatibility, and other possible causes. Before you move to our solutions below, try to perform simple fixes like rebooting your PC, reconnecting the problematic device again, or trying to plug it into other USB ports/hubs. If this does not resolve the issue, feel free to take on the solutions below.

this device cannot start code 10 error

Download Windows Repair Tool

Download Windows Repair Tool

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There are special repair utilities for Windows, that can solve problems related to registry corruption, file system malfunction, Windows drivers instability. We recommend you to use Advanced System Repair Pro to fix the “This Device Cannot Start. (Code 10)” error in Windows 11 or Windows 10.

1. Make sure your system is up-to-date

Your system may lack certain updates that are necessary for the proper operation of some hardware devices. Therefore, check whether there are any available updates waiting to be installed. The instructions for this and other solutions are based on Windows 11, however, they are very similar to Windows 10 and may have only slight differences at some steps.

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu button at the bottom taskbar of your desktop and choose Settings. You can also press Windows Key + I buttons instead.
  2. Navigate to Windows Update and click Check for updates.
  3. Wait until Windows finds new updates and install them. If new updates were already pending, you can install them immediately without searching for them.

2. Use Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

You can also try the in-built Windows Troubleshooter to diagnose and address certain issues. Try it to analyze potential issues and fix them if any are found. Although it does not actually solve problems that often, sometimes it may be able to help. It is pretty easy to use:

  1. Press Ctrl + R buttons together to open the Run dialogue box.
  2. Copy-paste this line msdt.exe -id devicediagnostic and click OK.
  3. In the opened window, choose Next and wait some time until Windows figures things out.
  4. Once done, click Apply this fix and follow on-screen guidelines.
  5. Finally, restart your PC and check whether the same Code 10 appears.

3. Disable/uninstall third-party software

Some kinds of third-party software, such as antivirus, can sometimes cause compatibility issues and interfere with certain Windows processes. As such, the connected devices may be suspected by antivirus as something unwanted and therefore blocked from running correctly. As a result, users may get the “This Device Cannot Start. (Code 10)” error or similar problems as well. If you have active third-party anti-malware software, try to disable it for some time and see whether it changes the situation. Make sure you close the program completely as sometimes it still remains working in the background. To be sure it doesn’t, you can end app-related process(es) using Task Manager:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Tab buttons together to open Task Manager. Alternatively, you can also right-click on the Windows icon and choose Task Manager there.
  2. Navigate to the Processes tab, right-click on an app-related process and choose End task.
  3. After making sure the application is totally closed, try to use/connect the problematic device once more.

4. Update or Roll back drivers

Your drivers may be malfunctioned or be outdated, which is a commonly-reported cause for facing the “This Device Cannot Start. (Code 10)” error. As a rule, it is USB or Audio drivers that get affected by this error. So make sure you check them in the first order (unless you already know the culprit). Alternatively, if you started experiencing Code 10 after installing new updates for drivers, you can also roll them back to their previous version. Choose which alternative suits you the best:

To update the driver:

  1. Right-click on the Windows 11 icon and select Device Manager.
  2. Unless it is already known to you, expand each section to see what driver is causing the issue. Problematic drivers are usually marked with yellow triangle, so look for them first.
  3. Right-click on the suspected device, select Update Driver, choose Search automatically for drivers and follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Windows will start searching for available updates and automatically install them on your computer.

To roll back drivers:

  1. Navigate to Device Manager as we did above.
  2. Locate and right-click on a recently updated driver that you suspect to be guilty.
  3. Choose Properties and go to the Driver tab.
  4. Then, click on Roll Back Driver and follow instructions.
  5. Once finished, reboot your PC and see if the problem dissipates.

Updating each driver manually can be time- and energy-consuming. If you want to update drivers faster and altogether without having to do it manually, we recommend using a special utility called Driver Booster from IObit. The program is equipped and always updated with broad databases of drivers for all Windows devices. You can download it using the button below.

Download Driver Booster

5. Delete UpperFilters and LowerFilters in Registry Editor

Here is a more advanced step, which involves the deletion of two registry entries called UpperFilters and LowerFilters. These entries are related to “filter drivers” which operate between Windows and hardware. Some users reported that deleting them helped resolve the issue.

  1. Press Windows key + R buttons together and copy-paste regedit into the field. Click OK or press Enter to open Registry Editor.
  2. On the left pane, navigate through this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class.
  3. Once you reach the Class folder, expand it and you will see a number of folders (with a long string of characters). Each of these folders is linked to some specific hardware. We can find out what device it is related to in Device Manager, like shown below.

  4. Navigate to Device Manager as we did earlier above.
  5. Locate and right-click on a piece of hardware that is causing the issue.
  6. Choose Properties and go to the Details tab.
  7. In Property, find and choose Class Guid.
  8. After choosing, a string of characters will appear below. This is the string that we need.
  9. Now go back to the Class folder in Registry Editor and select a folder with the string of characters we identified above.
  10. After selecting the right folder, look for UpperFilters and LowerFilters entries on the right pane. Right-click on each of them and choose Delete for each. Confirm your choice if necessary. If you see only one of the entries, feel free to delete only one. If none are visible at all and you are sure your selected the right folder, then this method might not be right for you.
  11. Finally, restart your computer and see if the error has been resolved.

Note that after erasing these entries, some software that used those devices might not work properly. If such a problem occurs, simply reinstall this software and it should get back to working just fine.

6. Use System Restore Point

If you tried everything and still nothing resolves the error, then our final suggestion is to use System Restore. Unless you installed Windows just now and if you started facing the issue just recently, there should be a backup point stored by the system when there was nothing to cause the “This Device Cannot Start. (Code 10)” error. Let’s try to find this point and restore your system through it.

  1. Type Recovery into the searching tab and open it.
  2. Choose Open System Restore and click Next.
  3. Choose a restore point you want to you from the list and click Scan for affected programs to see what programs will be deleted upon restoration. If there are no Restore points visible, try to choose Show more restore points.
  4. Click Next again and Finish to finalize the process and let Windows restore your system from the selected backup.
  5. We hope this finally helped your device start working without issues again.


We hope our guide was helpful and landed you the right solutions that you were looking for. “This Device Cannot Start. (Code 10)” is quite similar to other errors that we discussed on our website before, such as when Windows is unable to recognize some peripheral devices. If you end up facing similar or new problems in the future, feel free to refer to our page and look for articles relevant to issues.

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James Kramer
Hello, I'm James. My website Bugsfighter.com, a culmination of a decade's journey in the realms of computer troubleshooting, software testing, and development. My mission here is to offer you comprehensive, yet user-friendly guides across a spectrum of topics in this niche. Should you encounter any challenges with the software or the methodologies I endorse, please know that I am readily accessible for assistance. For any inquiries or further communication, feel free to reach out through the 'Contacts' page. Your journey towards seamless computing starts here