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No ports (COM1 or LPT) in device manager

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by FijiJohn, Feb 13, 2010.

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  1. FijiJohn

    FijiJohn Thread Starter

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    Guy brought me a Gateway laptop with no serial port and no parallel port. He is trying to use some USB-RS232 adapter but it gives him an error message about "No COM1". I look in device manager and there is no "Ports" entry at all. I swapped a blank drive in and did a clean install, still no "Ports" in DevMgr. Does this thing simply have no UART and that means XP does not create a Ports entry if DevMgr?
     
  2. lifeessence

    lifeessence

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    I don't know about USB-RS323 but I use PCMIA-RS323 at work (I do a lot of work with NMEA and TSIP which use RS323) and I have to use COM3, It should still show in Device Manager as a Port (USB to Serial Comm Port (COMx)). Have you made sure that the drivers are installed correctly?
     
  3. FijiJohn

    FijiJohn Thread Starter

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    He did not give me any of the devices he is trying to use so I have no way of checking right now. This is the first time I've seen an XP install without Ports in DevMgr at all - so that was what I first looked at. I've done a fair amount with various USB-Serial adapters so if I can get one of his toys I should be able to see more. (He does phone unlocking and speedometer resetting among other things that are somewhat shady, albeit legal over here.)
     
  4. Frank4d

    Frank4d Trusted Advisor

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    Most BIOS setup utilities have an option to enable/disable the COM and LPT ports, so I would look there for the no ports shown issue. But if COM ports are enabled in the BIOS, then the USB device would not work as COM1 anyway; it would be COM3 or higher. Also note some USB devices that install a virtual COM port will only show in Device Manager if the device is physically plugged in.
     
  5. FijiJohn

    FijiJohn Thread Starter

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    Most desktop BIOs can control COM ands LPT ports but not laptops in my experience (and I have worked on a lot of laptops over the years). This one does not. I see no reason one cannot remap the COM numbers any way you want in the absence of any UARTs on the motherboard, but yes, on most deskop boards which (usually, at least historically) have two UARTS, the first actually available serial port would be shown as COM3. I think the main gadget causing the problem expects to be attached via an actual serial port and wants COM1. (Bad coding but if that's how they wrote the driver that's what it will need.) AFAIK, there is no reason you cannot reassign that number to another port as long as nothing gets physically attached to an actual COM1 port (i.e., with a UART).
     
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