Fixing Windows Vista Code 19 CD/DVD/BD Drive Error “Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged.”

After uninstalling applications dealing with your optical drive in Windows Vista, chances are Device Manager displays the following message in the Device Properties dialog box, on the General tab, in the Device status text box:

Code 19 Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19)

Click ‘Check for solutions’ to send data about this device to Microsoft and to see if there is a solution available.

This is usually caused by impotent uninstaller scripts failing to accomplish the only job they’re meant to do: “software removal!”

Registry path HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} contains two keys known as filters—LowerFilters and UpperFilters—crucial to the normal operation of optical drives installed in your PC or laptop. Known as CDROM, the aforementioned Registry path is referred to as CDROM control class, and no matter what kind of optical drive you have, Windows calls it CDROM inside its primitive layer:

  • Compact Disc optical drives
    • CD-ROM drive
    • CD-writer drive
    • CD-rewriter drive
  • Digital Versatile Disc optical drives
    • DVD-ROM drive
    • DVD-writer drive
    • DVD-rewriter drive
  • Blu-ray Disc optical drives 
    • BD-ROM drive
    • BD-writer drive
    • BD-rewriter drive
  • A combination of the above, known as a combo drive

When exist, the LowerFilters and UpperFilters Registry keys refer to filter driver system files, but once the referred file cannot be located, the Code 19 error message is shown, and the drive(s) will be marked with the exclamation mark inside that annoying yellow triangle, indicating an optical drive warning inside Device Manager’s DVD/CD-ROM drives category.

The case I was faced up with was with a Matshita BD-CMB UJ-120 combo drive with the ability of reading Blue-ray discs and rewriting DVDs and CDs. The Code 19 has presumably happened after my friend uninstalled her SonicStage Mastering Studio bundled with her Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290N Windows Vista Business. The LowerFilters was referring to pxhelp20.sys, while Sonic’s pxhelp20.sys (part of Sonic Solutions InCD) was no longer existing in her Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290N Windows Vista Business system folder.

Fixing Windows Vista Optical Drive Filter Driver Registry Problem

Please note Registry changes you’re about to do require administrative privileges, so you need to be an Administrator. For added protection, create a System Restore Point in System Restore to back up the registry before you modify it. Open Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}. Now locate and delete LowerFilters and UpperFilters. Then restart your system.

Automated Fix—Chortkeh Windows Registry Fix for CDROM Filters
  • Download Chortkeh Windows Registry Fix for CDROM Filters by Komeil Bahmanpour (chortkeh-fix-cdrom-filters.cmd, Revision 1, July 21, 2007)

Download Chortkeh Windows Registry Fix for CDROM Filters and run as administrator the CMD file. Then in the command-line you need to press “c” and hit Enter to continue with the repair. Please note once finished, the fix will restart your system, so save any unsaved work, and close running programs before launching the fix. Also please note you need to be an administrator to be able to modify Registry control class entries for CDROM filter drivers.

Important Note

Please note after you remove the LowerFilters Registry entry and/or the UpperFilters Registry entry either by yourself or using the fix, you may lose functionality in certain programs such as CD recording applications. In this scenario, you must reinstall any affected programs.

Windows Server 2008 [Updated March 28, 2008]

The same procedure applies to Microsoft Windows Server 2008. Microsoft has published an article covering noteworthy information.

5 thoughts on “Fixing Windows Vista Code 19 CD/DVD/BD Drive Error “Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged.”

  1. thanx man for this very useful information & its solution.its useful windows registry cmd to fix the problem in windows vista.

  2. Follow these directions for clearing the Upper/Lower Filters: (might want to print this out)

    1. Click on Start –> Run –> and type in ‘regedit’ followed by the enter key ( if Vista Start search or windows+R )
    2. Expand the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” key (looks like a folder) by double clicking it (or
    3. clicking the “+” next to it.)
    4. Expand the “SYSTEM” Key
    5. Expand the “CurrentControlSet” Key
    6. Expand the “Control” Key
    7. Expand the “Class” Key
    8. Please look for a key containing the following string of letter and numbers:
    {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
    9. High light this key by left clicking once on it
    10. On the right hand side you are looking for “UpperFilters” and “LowerFilters” under the “Name” column, once you find these please delete them by right clicking on them and choosing “delete”
    11. Please exit the registry by clicking on the “X” in the top right hand corner of the screen

    Reboot your computer

    • Thank you, Faustine Onyango . Awesome information it fixed my cdrom issues, and now I can play my movies and cd’s. Don’t know yet if I have any new issues from doing this, but it made me happy :) I figured out the cause too. It was that I played a “Blue ray” movie in my BD Vaio program and a display popped up that it would rewrite to play the blue ray movie…I didn’t know what that meant and so I clicked ok…big mistake.

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