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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: USB ports  (Read 2308 times)
K5MBV
Member

Posts: 265




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« on: July 24, 2010, 04:11:54 PM »

I have never understood the basics of USB and serial ports, so
my questions may not make sense to PC wizards.

The laptop pc running 32 bit Vista only shows one port in the
Control Panel Device Manager, but when trying to add another or
edit that port it shows that 16 ports are "IN USE". It seems that
every time I try to add a USB device, another port becomes "IN USE"
and adds to the count without actually becoming useable.

How does one add a device and drivers to the PC? Drivers seem
to download, but then just disappear. Is there a "PC Ports for
Dummies" book? I don't have any other problems with hardware
and the PC, but this one follows me around.
Ken  K5MBV
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12770




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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2010, 05:13:05 PM »

Many USB devices have drivers built into the Window operating system. When you plug one of those in, the driver automatically installs and sets up a port. If you unplug the device then the port remains but is deactivated. If you  then plug the same device into another physical port, it will install another driver copy and an additional port. If your USB device is not supported directly by Windows then you will be prompted to insert a CD or whatever contains the proper driver. The result is that you can wind up with many USB ports if you often connect and disconnect USB devices.

In addition to the USB driver, USB-Serial devices require the installation of a "virtual com port". This driver makes the USB device look like a legacy RS-232 port so that software that doesn't directly support USB can use it. If you connect and disconnect these devices, try to always plug them into the same physical port each time so that you don't wind up with a bunch of different serial ports that will be hard to identify.


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K5MBV
Member

Posts: 265




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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2010, 05:23:47 PM »

Thanks, ...that seems like that's what is happening. I just keep
trying to use a port that won't work over and over and ending up
with a bunch of unusable ports.

You said they can be "hard to identify". How CAN they be identified
and cleared or reused? I would like to clean out the ones that aren't
real or not actually used.

Seems like someone could write an article on this subject so that those
of us that are having problems with ports could get more use from their
PCs and less headaches.

Thanks,  Ken  K5MBV
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12770




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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 05:22:53 AM »

You can uninstall device drivers at System, Hardware. Next time you plug the device in then the driver will be reinstalled.
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K5MBV
Member

Posts: 265




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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 07:44:06 AM »

Thanks AA4PB. This is part of the answer
to the problem, but how do I identify which
drivers should be removed. I'm afraid of removing
something that is finally actually working.

You have solved 90% of the mystery for me,
but the other 10% is important to me since I
don't know what I'm doing in the Device Manager
Remove Drivers part. I know it's simple to you
and obvious what should be done, but it's not
simple to me.
Thanks, Ken

Thanks, Ken
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12770




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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 08:05:22 AM »

A program called USBDeview may be of help. It is available free at http:\\www.nirsoft.net . Its a small program that scans your computer and tries to identify all of the USB ports for you.

The issue that will still be confusing is that USB-Serial adapters are only indicated as that because it has no way of knowing what you had connected to the serial side of the adapter. If it finds a bunch of serial adapters you could just delete them all and then start re-installing as you re-connect devices. Generally when you remove a driver it doesn't actually remove it from the hard drive so next time you plug that device in it will automatically reinstall the driver from the hard drive copy. You don't have to go back and load it from the original CD.

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WB5LAI
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2010, 03:53:57 AM »

Congratulations AA4PB! This was one of the most helpful responses I have seen on this forum.
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