Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Delete UpperFilters and LowerFilters For a Device Driver


From time to time, it is possible to get the following errors without having a device driver disabled:
  • "A driver (service) for this device has been disabled. An alternate driver may be providing this functionality. (Code 32)"
  • "The device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device (Code 31)"
  • "A driver for this device was not required, and has been disabled (Code 32 or Code 31)."
  • Your registry might be corrupted. (Code 19) 
  • Windows successfully loaded the device driver for this hardware but cannot find the hardware device. (Code 41) 
  • Something with code 39 referenced (see KB982116)

In the Windows registry every device driver has at least two entries in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet. One of the entries is in the Service key and can be used to control the Start mode of the driver (see How to Disable and Enable Windows Device Drivers). The second is in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class. The unique ID for the driver can be found in the device manager using the following steps,

Right click the device and select properties,

On the details tab, select the Driver key property,

Identify this key under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Class key

If there is an UpperFilters or LowerFilters value that is incorrect in the right pane, this value may need to be modified or deleted. This change would take effect on the next reboot. Examples of this condition are described by
  • Microsoft KB 314060: Your CD drive or DVD drive is missing or is not recognized by Windows or other programs and
  • Microsoft KB 929461: The CD drive or the DVD drive does not work as expected on a computer that you upgraded to Windows Vista
  • Microsoft KB 270008: Cannot Access CD-ROM and "Code 31" Error Message in Device Manager After You Remove Adaptec Easy CD Creator from Your Computer

When making changes to the registry, it is a good practice to back up the key that you are modifying or back up the entire registry in the event that the change causes the system to become unusable.

See Also
How to Disable and Enable Windows Device Drivers
Windows Crash Dump Analysis


  1. Useful info on a thorny problem MS doesn't document anywhere near well enough. Thanks Mike!

  2. You rock! Acronis, which disables drivers but leaves them as upper/lower filters on usbstor sucks!