Fix: Network Adapter ‘this device cannot start. (code 10)’

This error occurs when the device is not properly connected, or there is an incompatible driver installed for the device causing this issue. Oftentimes, you could face this error on the network adapter, which your Windows sometimes cannot recognize, or the device stopped working, and as a result, you encounter this error.

Network Adaptor Error Code 10

1. Disable or Enable the device 

In most cases, the error can easily be fixed by disabling and enabling the defective driver. If the device is not working, but Windows is showing that it is enabled, then disabling and enabling it might fix the issue. Follow the steps to do that:

  1. Right-click the Start Menu and select Device Manager to open.
    Heading to the Device Manager
    Heading to the Device Manager
  2. Once the device manager is opened, right-click the defective driver (showing the error) and select Disable device.
    Disabling Network Adapter
    Disabling Network Adapter
  3. Once you have disabled the driver, again right-click the defective driver and select Enable device.
    Enabling Network Adapter
    Enabling Network Adapter
  4. Once done, check if the error code 10 persists.

2. Power cycle your Machine

Another solution for this issue is to power cycle the computer. When a device suddenly stops working, power cycling the computer is one of the ways you can use to get the device working. Just do the following steps to power cycle your computer.

2.1 Computer

  1. Completely turn off your computer and unplug the power cable along with other peripheral devices.
  2. Once you unplug all the cables, hold the power button for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Then, plug the power cables back and turn on your computer to see if the device starts working.

2.2 Laptop

  1. Power off your laptop, then remove the battery if you can.
  2. Press or hold the power button for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Then, turn on the laptop and see if the error is fixed.

3. Reinstall the driver

Since the issue occurs due to a corrupt or incompatible driver, reinstalling the driver is also one of the best ways to fix this issue. You need to uninstall the defective driver and restart the computer to install it again. You don’t have to worry about installing the driver because Windows always have a default diver for input and output devices. Just follow the steps to reinstall the driver.

  1. Press the Win + R keys together to open the Run Program.
  2. Enter devmgmt.msc and press Enter to open the Device Manager.
    Navigating to Device Manager
    Navigating to Device Manager
  3. Now right-click the defective driver and select Uninstall device.
    Uninstalling Network driver
    Uninstalling Network driver
  4. Again click Uninstall to confirm the action.
  5. Once done, restart your computer to install the driver again, and hopefully, the issue will resolve. If not, follow the other methods.

4. Download the driver from the manufacturer

If the issue still persists, try downloading and installing the driver from your manufacturer’s website. You will get a compatible driver that is built for your computer or laptop. Therefore, it is recommended to follow this method and install the compatible driver.

If it is a network adapter that is displaying the error message, then you need to use another computer or a device to download a driver and transfer it to your computer with the help of a USB.

First, you need to know your system model number to search for compatible drivers for a laptop or computer.

  1. Press the Win + R keys simultaneously to launch the Run Program.
  2. Enter msinfo32 and press Enter to open the system information.
    Opening System Information Window
    Opening System Information Window
  3. Select the System Model and press Ctrl + C on your keyboard to copy the name of your System Model.
    Copying System Model
    Copying System Model
  4. Go to the official manufacturer’s website and find the drivers with the help of the model name that you copied.
  5. Click the Download button and wait for it to download.
    Downloading Network Driver
    Downloading Network Driver
  6. Once done, right-click the Start Menu and select the Device Manager to open.
    Opening Device Manager
    Opening Device Manager
  7. Right-click the defective driver and select Uninstall device.
    Uninstalling the defective driver
    Uninstalling the defective driver
  8. Again click Uninstall.
  9. After that, install the driver. by following the on-screen instructions.
  10. Once done, check if the error is fixed.

5. Run hardware and component troubleshooter

Hardware and other device troubleshooters are built-in utilities to fix the problems automatically.  Every troubleshooter has its own way of fixing problems, depending on the device you are trying to fix. If it is a network adapter, the troubleshooter will first ensure that the device is enabled from a device manager. If it is a Windows update troubleshooter, it will check for pending restarts and registry files to fix problems automatically.

Hardware troubleshooter is an advanced feature as it looks through every hardware connected to your computer. You can try running both troubleshooters to fix problems by following the steps:

  1. Click Start Menu and type Troubleshooting settings.
    Opening troubleshooting settings
    Opening troubleshooting settings
  2. Open the troubleshooting settings, and click Additional troubleshooter.
    Navigating to additional troubleshooters
    Navigating to additional troubleshooters
  3. Select the troubleshooter according to your problem and click Run the troubleshooter.
    Running Network Adapter troubleshooter
    Running Network Adapter troubleshooter
  4. Then, follow the on-screen instruction according to the problem you are facing.
  5. Once done, check if your problem is fixed. If not, press the Win + R keys together.
  6. Enter the following command to run the hardware troubleshooter.
    msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
    Running hardware troubleshooter
    Running hardware troubleshooter
  7. Click Next and wait for the hardware troubleshooter to look for problems.
    Clicking Next
    Clicking Next
  8. Once it’s found, it will show you devices that have errors.
    Applying a fix to the network adapter
    Applying a fix to the network adapter
  9. Select the one you want to fix and follow the on-screen instructions to fix the problem.

6. Use a System Restore

In the end, if none of the methods have worked, the last method we recommend is restoring your Windows with the help of a restore point you created when all the devices were working fine. If you don’t have a restore point, try resetting the Windows but before that, make sure that the device is connected properly and does not contain any hardware issues.

  1. Click Start Menu and search Rstrui.

    Opening System Restore with a command
    Opening System Restore with a command
  2. Open the System Restore settings by pressing Enter.
  3. Click Next and select a restore point.
    Selecting a Restore Point
    Selecting a Restore Point
  4. Then, click Next and click Finish.
    Clicking Finish
    Clicking Finish

    Note: It might take several minutes as it will restore your Windows version to a previous state and then restart your computer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.
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Fix: Network Adapter ‘this device cannot start. (code 10)’

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