The Code 39 error is one of several Device Manager error codes. The Code 39 error will almost always display exactly like this:
"Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)"
Details on Device Manager error codes like Code 39 are available in the Device Status area in the device's properties: How To View a Device's Status in Device Manager.
Important: Device Manager error codes are exclusive to Device Manager. If you see the Code 39 error elsewhere in Windows, chances are it's a system error code which you should not troubleshoot as a Device Manager issue.
Cause of the Code 39 Error
In most cases, a Code 39 error is caused by either a missing driver for that particular piece of hardware or by a Windows Registry issue. While less common, a Code 39 error can also be caused by a corrupt driver or driver related file.
Error Code 39 Troubleshooting
Restart your computer if you haven't done so already.
There is always the slim possibility that the Code 39 error you're seeing in Device Manager was caused by some fluke with Device Manager or your BIOS. If that's true, a simple reboot might fix the Code 39.
Did you install a device or make a change in Device Manager just before you noticed the Code 39? If so, there's a good chance that the change you made caused the Code 39 error.
Undo the change, restart your PC, and then check for the Code 39 error again.
Depending on what changes you made, some solutions might include:
Remove or reconfigure the newly installed device.
Roll back the driver to a version prior to your update.
Use System Restore to undo recent Device Manager related changes.
Delete the UpperFilters and LowerFilters registry values. A common cause of Code 39 errors is the corruption of two specific registry values in the DVD/CD-ROM Drive Class registry key.
Note: Deleting similar values in the Windows Registry could also fix a Code 39 error that appears on hardware other than a DVD or CD drive. The UpperFilters/LowerFilters tutorial linked above will show you exactly what you need to do.
Reinstall the drivers for the device. Uninstalling and then reinstalling the drivers for the device that's experiencing the Code 39 error is a likely solution to this problem.
Note: Properly reinstalling a driver, as in the instructions linked above, is not the same as simply updating a driver. A full driver reinstall involves completely removing the currently installed driver and then letting Windows install it over again from scratch.
Update the drivers for the device. It's possible that installing the latest manufacturer supplied drivers for a device could fix the Code 39 error. If this works, it means that the stored drivers that you reinstalled in Step 4 were probably corrupted.
Replace the hardware. As a last resort, due to a malfunction with the hardware, you may need to replace the device with the Code 39 error.
It's also possible that the device is not compatible with this version of Windows. You can check the Windows HCL to be sure.
Note: If you're convinced there is still an operating system component to this Code 39 error, you could try a repair install of Windows and if that doesn't work, a clean install of Windows. I don't recommend doing either before you try replacing the hardware, but they may be necessary if you've exhausted all of your other options.
Please let me know if you've fixed a Code 39 error using a method that I don't have above. I'd like to keep this page as updated as possible.
The Code 39 error could apply to any hardware device in Device Manager. In most cases, however, the Code 39 error appears on optical drives like CD and DVD drives.
Any of Microsoft's operating systems could experience a Code 39 Device Manager error including Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and more.
Still Having Code 39 Issues in Device Manager?
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