Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware (Code 38)

If you are dealing with the Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware (Code 38) error on your computer, you should be able to fix this problem using the methods given below.

Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware

When you connect a printer, camera, flash drive, phone, or external storage drive to the computer, the drivers needed to operate these devices are transferred through the USB port and automatically installed on your computer.

However, sometimes the outdated version of the driver software stays active in memory, which leads to the Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware error on the computer.

Sometimes this error message can also be caused by third party software programs interfering with driver software installation and other reasons.

1. Restart computer

An easy way to fix error code 38 in Windows 10 is to simply shut down the computer, wait 60 seconds and restart.

Your computer should automatically unload outdated device drivers when you shut down your computer and automatically install updated device drivers when you restart.

If this didn’t help, you can try other troubleshooting methods as given below.

2. Run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter

Windows 10 has its own built-in “Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter” that aims to help you fix this problem.

1. Open settings and click Updates & Security.

2. On the next screen, click Troubleshooting in the left pane. In the right pane, select the appropriate troubleshooter and click Run the troubleshooter.

Run the keyboard troubleshooter

For example, if you are having problems with the keyboard, select the keyboard troubleshooter. If the problem is with a printer, select Printer Troubleshooter.

3. Update the device driver manually

The problem could be due to Windows not being able to automatically update the drivers installed on your computer.

1. Right click on the Start button and click device manager.

2. In the Device Manager screen, right-click the problem device (in this case printer) and click update drivers.

Update printer driver

3. On the next screen, click Search automatically for updated driver software option.

4. Let Windows search for the updated printer driver and install it on your computer.

Note: If Windows cannot find the required driver, visit the manufacturer’s website and see if an updated driver is available.

If a driver is available, download the driver software to your computer and restart the computer.

4. Uninstall USB device

Sometimes the problem is that the USB device is not recognized by the computer.

1. Right click on the beginning click and click device manager.

2. On the Device Manager screen, expand for Universal serial bus controller > Right click on the Unknown device and click Uninstall device Possibility.

Uninstall faulty device

3. Click on the confirmation popup OK confirm.

4. Repeat the above steps for other affected devices (if any) and Start anew your computer.

Once your computer restarts, Windows 10 should automatically load the necessary drivers.

5. Clean start

As mentioned above, this problem can also be caused by third-party software programs that interfere with the installation of drivers on your computer.

If the problem started appearing after installing a specific app or program, you can uninstall that specific app and check if the problem is resolved.

If you are not sure, start your computer in Clean Boot mode and check if the problem is solved. If the problem does not appear in Clean Boot mode, then it is confirmed that the problem is caused by an app installed on your computer.

The next step is to identify the specific program or app that is causing this problem on your computer. This can be achieved by selectively enabling programs on your computer and examining their effects on your computer.


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