How to Fix Code 10 Error

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Error codes, such as Code 10 error are unique to the Device Manager in Windows. They are displayed only when a device listed is corrupted or malfunctioning. This error also signifies that the OS is having a problem controlling the device and does not provide the specific reason.

What is “code 10 error”?

This error is generated when the system fails to recognize a device in the Device Manager of the Operating system. A missing or a corrupt driver file can cause this error. Usually, devices such as USB devices that are externally connected to the system display this error.

Error that appears on the screen

This device cannot start. (Code 10)


This device is either not present, not working properly, or does not have all the drivers installed. (Code 10)

Windows versions that display the code 10 error

All versions of:

  • Win XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 2008

What causes the Error Code 10 and how to fix it?

Code 10 error is one of the most common errors and this error usually causes a flickering cursor when the system is started or can give a blue screen with a restart.  Let’s have a look at some of the common causes of this error and how to deal with them.

Driver Conflicts

Drivers are software programs that provide an interface between the hardware and the operating system. Any driver uses specific locations of memory for the device to work correctly and if another driver tries to use the same memory locations both the devices will conflict and stop working, generating the code 10 error.

If the system was working fine before installing any device you can try these steps-

  1. Restart the system.
  2. Keep hitting the F8 key.
  3. When the Advanced Boot Options menu is displayed, scroll down and select “Last known Good Configuration”.

This option will put your system back to the good known backup taken by the system.

If the above steps don’t solve the code 10 error then find out the conflicting drivers following these steps:

  1. Click Start and select All Programs.
  2. Click Accessories and then go to System Tools.
  3. Click System Information.
  4. Under Hardware Resources click on Conflicts/Sharing.
  5. Any device with a yellow or red cross mark reflects the device creating the conflict and is displayed on the right.

You can uninstall the device driver and restart the system and this should fix the problem with code 10 error. If it still gives the error you can try the steps below.

Corrupt Drivers

If the drivers of the device are corrupted, you can use the steps below to fix the issue –

  1. Right-click My Computer and select Properties.
  2. Open the Hardware tab and then click Device Manager.
  3. Browse to the device causing the problem and right-click on it and select Uninstall.
  4. Close all the windows and restart the system.

Windows will automatically install the drivers from its driver’s database, or else it will provide an option to install from the CD/DVD provided for the device.

Hardware Malfunction

Most of the times when the externally connected device malfunctions, Windows pops up a blue screen and shuts the system down and after restarting the OS shows a blinking cursor. Follow the steps listed below to check for device malfunction –

  1. Disconnect the device that you think is generating the problem from the system and restart.
  2. Connect the same device to another good known system and check for any errors.
  3. Run any diagnostic tests on the device provided by the manufacturer.

The above steps should remove the code 10 error.

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