Fix: ‘This device cannot start. (Code 10)’ Error in Sound Devices on Windows 10 / 11

“This device cannot start. (Code 10)” is an error which happens when Device Manager cannot start the sound card driver or when driver generates an error unknown to Device Manager, mainly due to outdated or corrupted driver installed on your computer. If you are facing this issue, don’t worry. There are easy fixes available to solve this problem. But, before going for the fixes go through these initial workarounds.

Initial Workarounds-

1. Restart your computer and check if your sound device is working without the error.
2. If you are using an external speaker, check the connection of the speaker. It’s better to unplug the speaker and connect it with the computer again. If it is possible, check your speaker by plugging it to another computer. Check if your problem has solved.

If these initial workarounds didn’t work out for you go for these fixes-


Fix-1 Update your sound card driver

If you are facing the ‘This device cannot start. (Code 10)’ Error in your sound card driver, it may possible is that there is an old sound card driver is installed on your computer.

1. To open the Device Manager window,  press the Windows key and the ‘X‘ key from your keyboard.


Device Manager


 2. Now, look for “Sound, video and game controllers” in the list of devices. Expand this particular section by clicking on it.

3. Now, right-click on the driver you are using as your current sound system and click on “Update driver“.


Update Sound


3. Now, you have to select the option that says, “Search automatically for updated driver software“.


Driver Update


Wait till Windows searches for compatible driver for your sound card, downloads it and installs it

Reboot your computer.

Check if updating the sound driver has solved your problem or not. Go for the next fix if your problem continues.


Fix-2 Rollback sound card driver update

Recent updates to your sound card driver may be the reason you are witnessing the problem on your computer. Rolling back the last update of your sound driver received can solve the problem.
Follow these steps to rollback the faulty update of your sound card driver

1. As the initial step, press “Windows key+X” from your keyboard.

2. Now, what you have to do is click on the “Device Manager“.


No Wifi Not Showing Up


3. In this Device Manager window, look out for the “Sound, video and game controllers” list. You can expand the section to visualize the drivers in it.

4. Now, right-click on your current sound driver and click on “Properties“.


Properties Sound


The Properties window will open.

5. In the Properties window, go to the “Driver” tab.

6. Click on “Roll Back Driver“.


Rollback Sound


7. Choose “My apps don’t work with this driver” at first.

8. Then choose the option, “Yes” to confirm your choice.


Why Rollback


Your sound driver will be rolled back to the default driver.

Close Device Manager window.

Restart your computer.

After rebooting your computer check if you can use the sound driver without facing ‘Error code 10’.

If you are still having the same problem go for the next fix.


Fix-3 Uninstall and Reinstall sound card driver

Uninstalling and reinstalling the sound card driver can clear any corrupt or bad files of the sound card driver from your computer.

Follow these steps to uninstall your sound card driver-

1. Press Windows key+ R to open the Run.

2. Now, type “devmgmt.msc” and hit Enter.


Run Devicemanager


2. Once the Device Manager utility has appeared on your screen, expand”Sound,video and game controllers

3. Right-click on the sound card driver you are using,  and then click on “Uninstall device“.

This will uninstall the sound card driver.


Uninstall Soundcard


In the next method, we will reinstall the uninstalled driver again on your system-

Method 1

1. Shut down your computer.

2. Unplug the power cable.

3. Press the power button for at least 30 seconds.

4. Plug your computer again and switch it ON.

Windows will install the uninstalled driver itself during the booting process. You will have your sound card driver working fine again.

Method 2

If rebooting your computer didn’t install the driver then you have to install the driver yourself. Follow to install the driver manually-

1. In the Device Manager window, click on “Action.

2. After that, you have to click on “Scan for hardware changes“.


Scan For Hardware Change


2. This will find the uninstalled driver and install the driver again.

Method 3 –

If Method 2 did not install the driver, maybe your driver became hidden after the uninstallation process, then follow this next steps –

1. Click on “View” of the Device Manager.

2. Next, you have to click on the “Show hidden device“.


Show Hidden


3. This will show the hidden drivers. Look out for your sound card driver.

4. The sound card driver which you have uninstalled will bear a yellow triangle (Δ) in its name.

5. Right Click on the sound card driver and click on the “Update driver software“.


Update Driver


3. Next, what you have to do is to click on the “Search automatically for updated driver software“.


Driver Update


Windows will now install the default driver .

Restart your computer to save the changes. Check if you are facing the same problem again or not.

Fix-4 Start Windows audio service

1 – Hit Windows Key and R key together at once to open run

2 – Now, Open service manager by typing services.msc in it and click OK.

Services Msc New Min

3 – Now, Locate Windows audio from the list.

4 – Now, double click on Windows audio service.

5 -If it is not running , click on start and set startup type to automatic.

Screenshot 2022 05 19 124125 Min


6 – If it is already running, click on stop it to stop it. Then again click on start to start it again.

Fix-5 Deleting UpperFilters / LowerFilters key in your Registry

Deleting UpperFilters/ LowerFilters key in your Registry can solve the ‘This device cannot start. (Code 10)’ problem on your computer. You can do it by following these steps-


1. Press the Windows+R key. This shall open up a Run instance.

2. In that Run terminal, type “regedit” and then click on “OK“.




3. Navigate to this location on the left pane of Registry Editor




Registry Upperfilter


4. On the right pane, check if you can find ‘UpperFilters‘ or ‘LowerFilters‘ key (You will find either ‘UpperFilters’ or ‘LowerFilters’ key on your computer).

5. Right-click on it. Click on “Delete“.
[NOTE- If you can find neither ‘UpperFilters’ nor ‘LowerFilters’ key in the Registry Editor this fix will not work for you]


Upperfilter Delete


4. Click on “Yes” to delete the key.


Confirm Deleteregistry


Reboot your computer and once your system boots up, check if you are facing the ‘This device cannot start. (Code 10)’ error or not. Your problem should be solved.

7 thoughts on “Fix: ‘This device cannot start. (Code 10)’ Error in Sound Devices on Windows 10 / 11”

  1. Hi
    Thank you very much. I tried all the solutions but the last one worked for me. Thank you again.

  2. Nothing works. If anything I can try to delete the UpperFilters / LowerFilters key in the registry, but when I arrive there following your instructions the filters aren’t there anymore.

    Can you please provide another solution?

  3. You are amazing ! The problem appeared to me all of a sudden today, while last night my audio was working perfectly. I did all that you say initially (check for driver update, restart my pc, check if my speakers work on another machine), but it didn’t work. Then I decided to uninstall the driver, allthough i am a lawyer and not a high-tech expert… My fear was that i wouldn’t manage to reinstall the driver but i took the risk. So i uninstalled the driver and then followed method 1 which worked immediately just fine !!! The sound in my speakers is back !!! If i managed to do it, then everybody else can fix this problem with your detailed, extremely helpful and “life-saving” instructions ! THANK YOU FOR YOUR FREE ADVICE ! THANK YOU !

  4. None of these will work. There is no Sound, video and game controllers tab in my device manager anymore, and neither the Upper or Lower filters appear. I’ve already factory reset my computer, and I have no audio devices available anymore.

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