How to Fix: Operation Requires Interactive Windows Station (Code 28) Error

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Gord F. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently installed Windows 10 on my PC. Everything has been working fine for over a year, however, all the sudden my Logitech webcam 300 stopped working with Windows 10. I thought perhaps I may need to reinstall the driver, so I went to Device Manager to locate the webcam but it is not there anymore. Instead, I see an 'Unknown device' and if I double click it, it says: 'The drivers for this device are not installed. (Code 28) This operation requires an interactive windows station'. I have absolutely no idea what that means. I tried downloading my webcam driver from Logitech's website but it doesn't do anything and I still see that Code 28 error message. Can you please help? "

My response:

I asked Gord if he would like me to connect to his machine to have a closer look using my remote desktop support service, and he agreed. Sure enough, there was no webcam listed in Device Manager, and the "Unknown Device" had a very cryptic error message. I tried deleting those devices under Device Manager in order to reset / reinstall them, but all I got back was the same configuration.

After a bit of research, I discovered that the Code 28 error "This operation requires an interactive windows station" usually means that the permissions on folders: C:\Windows\System32\drivers and C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore have been corrupted, and resetting the permissions will likely fix this issue. In doing so, I was able to resolve this issue for Gord.

Below I will explain the steps I took to fix the issue.

How to Fix: Operation Requires Interactive Windows Station (Code 28) Error

The first thing you need to do is to reset the folder permissions on C:\Windows\System32\drivers and C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore folders, then reset the permissions recursively on the files and folders within. When that is complete, delete and re-scan the devices in Device Manager to have them reset and reinstall.

To do so:

  1. Go to My Computer / This PC. Click Start, then click "My Computer" or "This PC".
     
  2. Double click the C drive, then go to the folder: Windows -> System32.
     
  3. Next, locate the "Drivers" folder in the list, then right click it and select Properties. The "Properties" window will be displayed; click the "Security" tab near the top. Near the bottom of the "Properties" window, click the "Advanced" button.
     
  4. A new window will appear with the title: "Advanced Security Settings for [folder name]". Near the very top of the window, it will say: "Owner: TrustedInstaller" (or perhaps another name), with a clickable link with the words "Change". Click the "Change" link.
     
  5. A new window will appear with the title: "Select a user or group". Under the heading "Enter the object name to select", type in the word: "Administrators" (no quotes) - then, ! IMPORTANT ! click on "Check Names" button immediately to the right. The "Administrators" text you input should change to something like "ComputerName\Administrators" and the entire phrase will be underlined (note: "ComputerName" is your computer's name). If the text does not underline, then you did not type in the word "Administrators" properly. Please retry this step until it becomes underlined.
     
  6. Click OK to set and dismiss the "Select User or Group" folder, and then OK once more to set and dismiss the close the "Advanced Security Settings for [foldername]".
     
  7. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 again, except apply the changes to the folder "DriverStore" located in C:\Windows\System32.
     
  8. Now it's time to recursively reset the file permissions in both C:\Windows\System32\Drivers and C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore. To do so: click Start, then type in "cmd" (no quotes); wait for CMD.EXE or Command Prompt to appear in the list, then right click it and select "Run as Administrator". A black Administrative Command Prompt window will appear.

    Next, use your mouse to highlight the next below:

    rem #was owned by trusted installer
    icacls "C:\Windows\System32\drivers" /grant Administrators:(OI)(CI)F /T /Q /C
    rem #was owned by system
    icacls "C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore" /grant Administrators:(OI)(CI)F /T /Q /C
    echo this is a dummy line
    rem #if you see errors you can safely ignore
     
  9. Go to the Administrative Command Prompt window you opened in Step #8, and right click in the middle of the window, then select "Paste" from the dialogue menu. The text you copied in Step #8 should be output to the command line.
     
  10. At this point your permissions should be reset. If you are like Gord and have a webcam that is not not working due to Code 28, go to Device Manager and delete the unknown devices, then have Device Manager re-scan the devices (note: you may need to download the driver from the manufacturer's website to complete the installation).

    To do so:

    (a) Click Start, then right click on "This PC" or "My Computer", and select Properties. The "System" window will appear; click the Device Manager link near the top left of the window.

    (b) Next, go through the list and left click to select any "Unknown Device" in the list, then press DEL on the keyboard to remove it from Device Manager. If asked, do not delete the driver - simply remove it from Device Manager.

    (c) Repeat these steps until all "Unknown Devices" have been removed from the list. Repeat the same steps for any driver that may be listed in Device Manager that is not working with Code 28. For example: you may not have "Unknown Devices" but you may have a driver with a Code 28 - left click to select it, then remove it from Device Manager by pressing DEL on the keyboard.

    (d) Once complete, go to the top of the Device Manager window and click the "Action" menu, then select "Scan for hardware changes" to have your devices added again (and drivers reinstalled). At this point Windows will either reinstall the driver without asking you, or you may be asked for a driver - in the latter case, you can either point to the location of the driver (if the driver files have been extracted to a folder directory structure) - if not, then you can click the Cancel button to abort, then go online the Internet to download the driver, and install the driver from a setup.exe file.

You should definitely be able to get passed the Code 28 error message at this point and the device should be listed under Device Manager properly. Also note that you may still have other "Unknown Devices" that will still show up - this may happen if Windows simply does not have drivers for certain devices. What's important is that the device that was not previously working is now working and without error Code 28.

I hope that helps.

Additional 1-on-1 Help: from Dennis

If all of this is over your head, or if you need additional help getting passed the "The drivers for this device are not installed. (Code 28) This operation requires an interactive windows station" error message, I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me briefly describing your issue, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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