How to Fix Code 19 “cannot start this hardware device” Error on Windows 7/8 and 10

Code 19, the entire error message being Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19), indicates that there is an error in the registry of your operating system and it causes serious problems with hardware devices connected to your system.

This might lead to hardware devices malfunctioning and not working on your operating system, most commonly the CD/DVD drive. It is frustrating and may lead you to believe that you have defective hardware, when it is only a registry error.code-19

Before panicking and thinking there’s something wrong with your hardware, try the methods mentioned below. A huge number of users have reported that they solved the problem for them, and they’re fairly easy to follow as long as you’re careful.

Method 1: Reboot your system

A lot of the errors related to the registry are temporary and appear very rarely. Due to this, there are some, albeit slim, chances that you can solve this with nothing more than a reboot.

  1. Access your power menu. You can find it in the Start menu, accessible by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard.
  2. Select Restart from the menu, and wait for your system to turn on again. See if you’re facing the problem again.

Method 2: See if iTunes is causing the problem

Despite being a fairly popular piece of software, iTunes has been known to create quite a mess in the registry. If you’re using it, this might be the cause of the Code 19 problem, so it’s worth seeing if it helps.

  1. Open your Control Panel by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard, typing Control Panel and opening the result.
  2. To the top right, switch to Large icons view, and locate Programs and Features, then open it by clicking on it.
  3. From the list, find iTunes and click the Repair button from the top toolbar. Follow the wizard until the end, and reboot your device. You shouldn’t be facing this issue anymore, if iTunes was the problem.

Method 3: Delete UpperFilters and LowerFilters from the registry

This is the last resort, and should be kept as such because messing up your registry can lead to problems that may require you to do a complete reinstall of your operating system. Please be careful when following the instructions in order not to damage your system.

Open the Run dialogue box by pressing simultaneously Windows and R on your keyboard. Type regedit in the box and click OK. This will open the Registry Editor.

Backup the registry by opening File from the menu bar, and clicking Export. Make sure the Export Range is set to All, and save the backup file somewhere you will remember, in case something goes wrong.

Navigate to the following location by using the navigation pane on the left side:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> System -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> Class

Once you’ve expanded all the aforementioned folders, click on the {4d36e967-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318} key to select it.

From the right-hand window pane, select and delete both the UpperFilters key and the LowerFilters key. You will need to confirm both by pressing OK.
Note: Perform this step at your own risk because some users were unable to get into their computers after trying this.

Close the Registry Editor and reboot your system for the changes to take effect.


The Code 19 error is actually much less difficult to solve than one might think. All you have to do is simply follow the instructions in the aforementioned methods and you won’t ever see this error again.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How to Fix Code 19 “cannot start this hardware device” Error on Windows 7/8 and 10

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