The Code 3 error is one of several Device Manager error codes. The Code 3 error will usually appear like:
The driver for this device might be corrupted, or your system may be running low on memory or other resources. (Code 3)
Important: Device Manager error codes are only seen in the Device Manager. If you see the Code 3 error somewhere else in Windows, it is most likely a system error.
What Causes the Code 3 Error?
A Code 3 error is generated when the Device Manager can’t start the device due to outdated or corrupted drivers or poor system resources.
- Restart your computer. There is always the chance that the error Code 3 you’re seeing on a device was caused by some temporary memory problem or an issue in the Device Manager or with the hardware. Sometimes rebooting your machine might fix the Code 3 error.
- Undo Recent Changes. If you recently installed a device or made a change in the Device Manager just before the Code 3 error appeared, then undo whatever change you made to see if the error is still there. Depending on the changes you made, you might try to:
- Remove or reconfigure the newly installed device.
- Roll back the driver to a previous version.
- Use System Restore to go back to a date prior to your Code 3 error.
- Reinstall the drivers for the device. Uninstalling and then reinstalling the drivers for the device is a likely solution to a Code 3 error. (If a USB device is generating the Code 3 error, uninstall every device under the Universal Serial Bus controllers hardware category in the Device Manager as part of the driver reinstall.) It is important to note that 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 also very possible that installing the latest drivers for the device could correct the Code 3 error. If it does, it means that the stored Windows drivers you reinstalled in Step 3 were were probably damaged.
- Install the latest Windows service pack Microsoft often releases service packs and other patches for Windows, one of which might contain a fix for the Code 3 error.
- Replace the hardware. A problem with the hardware device might be causing the Code 3 error, in which case replacing the hardware is your next logical step. Another possibility, is that the device is not compatible with your version of Windows. You can check the Windows HCL to be sure. If you’re positive that a hardware problem isn’t causing the Code 3 error, you could try to repair your Windows instillation. If that doesn’t work, as a last resort, you may need to contact a local repair shop or try a clean install of Windows.