Recently an external DVD drive was not accessible using Windows 8.1. The device didn't show up in explorer and device manager indicated "Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged" and it indicated "Code 19" as additional information.[more]
I tried uninstalling and then scanning for hardware changes but the same error occurred.
Finally, I found a technet article that showed promise (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc772156%28v=ws.10%29.aspx) which linked to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929461?fwLinkID=192798 if the offending device is a CD or DVD drive.
Even though the subsequent article indicates it is for Vista, the solution worked for Windows 8.1. Of course, I saved a copy of the applicable registry subkey before making any changes - just in case I needed to undo my changes. However, the change fixed the problem.