When your Windows 10 or 11 PC fails to recognize or communicate with a hardware device, Device Manager may show the error code 19 and the message ‘Windows cannot start this hardware device’ message. This can happen with any hardware device, such as a mouse, keyboard, hard drive, or other external devices.
If you are fortunate, restarting your PC might make the error go away. If not, you can work through the following troubleshooting tips to help fix the error on your PC.
1. Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter
When you experience problems with a hardware device on Windows, you should first run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter. This tool can automatically identify and fix common issues with your devices.
Step 1: Press the Windows + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run dialog box.
Step 2: Type the following command in the Open field and press Enter.
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
Step 3: Click on Advanced.
Step 4: Tick the Apply repairs automatically checkbox and click Next.
Allow the troubleshooter to detect and fix any issues and see if that resolves the error.
2. Roll Back the Driver
A recent driver update may have caused the ‘Windows cannot start this hardware device (code 19)’ error. If that’s the case, rolling back the driver to its previous version should resolve the issue.
Step 1: Press the Windows + S keyboard shortcut to open the search menu. Type in device manager and press Enter.
Step 2: Locate the problematic driver, right-click on it, and select Properties.
Step 3: Switch to the Driver tab and click the Roll Back Driver button.
Step 4: Select a reason for the rollback and click Yes to proceed.
After Windows restores the older driver verion ., you should not see any errors.
3. Reinstall the Problematic Driver
If rolling back the driver to its previous version does not solve the problem, your next best option is to uninstall the faulty driver and reinstall it. Here are the steps for the same.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run dialog box. Type devmgmt.msc in the text field and press Enter.
Step 2: Locate the problematic driver, right-click on it, and select Uninstall device.
Restart your PC afterward, and Windows will install the missing driver during boot. After that, check if the error still appears.
4. Delete Problematic Registry Values
Corrupted registry values linked to your driver can trigger error code 19 in the Device Manager. In that case, you may see a message that reads, ‘Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged.’
To resolve this issue, you need to delete the UpperFilters and LowerFilters keys associated with the problematic device using the Registry Editor. Before you do so, back up all registry files or create a restore point. This will allow you to restore normalcy if something goes wrong.
Step 1: Right-click on the Start icon and select Device Manager from the Power User menu.
Step 2: Right-click the problematic driver and select Properties.
Step 3: Switch to the Details tab and use the drop-down menu under Property to select Class Guid. Then, note down the value that appears in the box.
Step 4: Click the search icon on the taskbar, type in registry editor, and select Run as administrator.
Step 5: Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
Step 6: Paste the following path in the address bar at the top and press Enter to navigate to the Class key.
Step 7: Within the Class key, locate the GUID value noted earlier and select it. You should see the UpperFilters and LowerFilters values in the right pane.
Step 8: Right-click on the UpperFilters entry and select Delete. Similarly, delete the LowerFilters entry as well.
Restart your PC after completing the above steps and check if the error reappears.
5. Perform a System Restore
Finally, if all else fails, you can consider performing a system restore. This will allow you to revert any bad changes that may have caused the error. Don’t worry, this process won’t remove your files.
Step 1: Click the search icon on the taskbar, type in create a restore point, and press Enter.
Step 2: Under the System Protection tab, click the System Restore button.
Step 3: Select the Recommended restore option and click Next.
Step 4: Click Finish and allow Windows to restore to the specified restore point.
Empower Your Devices
Unless your device is faulty, one of the above tips should help fix the ‘Windows cannot start this hardware device (code 19)’ error on your Windows 10 or 11 PC. After that, you should be able to use your device without issues.
Last updated on 11 September, 2023
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