If you run into the error “This device cannot start. Code 10” (often followed by a driver identifier, for example “This device cannot start. Code 10 in audio driver”), here is what it means.
The Windows error “This device cannot start. Code 10” or “This device cannot start. (Code 10)” is a hardware error that most commonly means that you have a bad, missing, or incompatible device driver. So, for example, “This device cannot start. Code 10 in audio driver” means that you have a bad or missing or incompatible driver for your sound card.
The technical explanation for this message, according to Microsoft, is this:
“If the device has a FailReasonString value in its hardware key, that string appears as the error message. The driver or enumerator puts this registry string value there. If there is no FailReasonString in the hardware key, you receive the following error message:
This device cannot start. (Code 10)”
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What does that mean in plain English? It means that if the device which is throwing the error has added its own custom error text to your Windows system when the device was installed, then when the device encounters an error, you will see the custom error message specific to that device. But if it doesn’t have its own custom error message, then Windows uses its own generic error message for devices, which is “This device cannot start. (Code 10)”
Microsoft recommends that when this happens, you click “Update Driver” to update the drivers for the device. You can also start the Windows troubleshooting wizard by going to the general properties tab of the device, and clicking on “Troubleshoot”.
Before doing this, be sure that you have the correct and most up-to-date versions of the driver(s) for that device. You can also try uninstalling and reinstalling the device, using the disk which came with it.
Finally, you can go to the website of the device’s manufacturer, and check their downloads or support section for current, up-to-date drivers.
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