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Posted: 4/16/2021 10:04:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2021 2:46:55 PM EDT by limaxray]
This one's complicated.

Have a small Acer Aspire One netbook (AOD255E-13639) that I purchased in 2011. Dragged it out of the closet recently to set it up for ham radio work.

New batteries, more RAM (to a whopping 2GB!  ), tried Windows 10 but it was a dog--REALLY slow, and legacy drivers didn't play well with it.  Tried Linux, but the radio software won't work on it without a massive amount of beyond-my-capability tweeking, so, back to Win 7.

Things worked, but graphics weren't working quite right--was using the generic driver and the Acer driver wouldn't load--and the machine was having connectivity issues.  Tried to get the manufacturer driver loaded, and realized that I was using Win 7, but not SP1...and the video driver wouldn't update without SP1.  So down the Win Update rabbit hole I go.  To the tune of about 26 updates/patches.

And somewhere in the process, all the COM ports disappeared (only physical ports are 3x USB 2.0, one VGA, one LAN, audio and mic jacks).  The radio software uses USB COM ports to talk to the radios, so the whole point of the exercise is moot without them.

- Using latest available drivers (chipset, LAN, wireless, video, camera) from Acer
- Originally didn't show at all in Device Manager, either as a COM port, or as a USB COM port.  USB serial ports are present, but not listed or working as COM ports.  
- I did "add legacy hardware" in the Device Manager; they install, but show with a yellow triangle and Code 34 error ("Windows Cannot Determine the Settings for This Device. Consult the Documentation That Came With This Device and Use the Resource Tab to Set the Configuration").
- I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling the ports, no luck;
- No drivers available on the internet;
- I've tried resetting COM port binding using REGEDIT;
- I even did a clean re-install of the original non-SP1 Windows 7 figuring I could walk through it again until the ports disappeared, but the ports are now missing there, too.
 
The only other issue that may apply is I'm using Win7 64-bit, and the drivers are all 32bit, but that shouldn't really matter, as far as my research shows.  

Soooo...any ideas?  I still want to use this for radio; it's perfect for it, but the COM ports missing is a showstopper.
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 10:41:19 AM EDT
Reinstall 32 bit Win 7?  Have you tried setting addresses & IRQs?
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 11:22:26 AM EDT
With only 2GB of RAM, go with 32 bit win 7.  It'll be more efficient with that limited amount of RAM.  Only go 64 bit if you're gonna have >3GB of RAM.

Anyway, the COM ports are a function of the USB to Serial adapters, whether they're in the gear, or a separate cable.  You'll have to get the drivers for those chips/adapters/gear and install them.  There were issues with fake Prolific chips, well, and still are, and Prolific's updated drivers will bork the install if the chips aren't genuine.  You can also setup Win 7 to show disconnected devices in the device manager:

Click Start, point to All Programs, point to
Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
At a command prompt, type the following command , and then press ENTER:
set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

If you are a developer or power user and you want to be able to view devices that are not connected to your computer, set this environment variable globally:
   Right-click My Computer.
   Click Properties.
   Click the Advanced tab.
   Click the Environment Variables tab.
   Set the variables in the System Variables box.

I do that on mine, so I can clear out the brazilians of things I've plugged into the USB ports.
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 11:49:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/16/2021 11:52:15 AM EDT by limaxray]
Thanks for the answers, that actually sounds like an easy fix, except...I don't have the original Windows install for this machine, and I think the only standalone copy of Win7 I have is 64 bit, I'll have to check.

I vaguely remember something about both versions being on the disk....  Looks like I'm off to google, again.  

It's a start, we'll see what happens tonight when I try it.

ETA:  What's weird is, I know that the right/easy fix is to install the right drivers, and they were in there at one time. Now, after a couple of patches, the drivers are gone, but they're gone after a clean install, too, which installed them last time....  
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 12:12:43 PM EDT
Try looking for the chipset drivers from the manufacturers website and manually installing them.

Also try booting in safe mode and seeing what hardware is listed.
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 12:38:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/16/2021 12:38:33 PM EDT by rxdawg]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By limaxray:
Thanks for the answers, that actually sounds like an easy fix, except...I don't have the original Windows install for this machine, and I think the only standalone copy of Win7 I have is 64 bit, I'll have to check.

I vaguely remember something about both versions being on the disk....  Looks like I'm off to google, again.  

It's a start, we'll see what happens tonight when I try it.

ETA:  What's weird is, I know that the right/easy fix is to install the right drivers, and they were in there at one time. Now, after a couple of patches, the drivers are gone, but they're gone after a clean install, too, which installed them last time....  
View Quote


If you have a product key, download it from Microsoft.
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 2:39:21 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By forager:
Try looking for the chipset drivers from the manufacturers website and manually installing them.

Also try booting in safe mode and seeing what hardware is listed.
View Quote

Huh.  COM and LPT ports show up in safe mode, without the yellow triangle.  But not in normal mode.
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 2:54:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/16/2021 2:59:25 PM EDT by limaxray]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rxdawg:


If you have a product key, download it from Microsoft.
View Quote

Doesn't work on the PK on the laptop ("Contact the manufacturer for the recovery disk"), and gives me repeated errors on my standalone version.

BTW, my superpower is random chaos generation.  Things that work perfectly well for others hiccup bigly around me.  Especially true for technology.  Not sure if it's my own personal magnetic field, or too much iron in my blood, or what, but this is my life.

Oh, and did I mention I used to work with nuclear weapons?  

ETA:  HAH!  Found another copy with a good product key, 32bit download in progress!
Link Posted: 4/16/2021 7:37:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/16/2021 7:44:56 PM EDT by limaxray]
Well, loaded 32 bit Win 7 SP1, and manufacturer's chipset, LAN, wireless, and VGA drivers.  

Still shows COM 3 as a yellow triangle, also still gives error code 34.

Searching for drivers for COM3 on the internet says "the best driver software for your device is already installed."

No other chipset drivers out there, BIOS is latest version and no option in BIOS to change com port settings.  

Can't see what resources conflict with it.  

But it appears to be working in safe mode.  I/O range 03F8-03FF, IRQ 0x000000004 (04), with no conflicts listed.



Oh, and I was wrong, it doesn't show USB serial ports, it only shows USB Root Hubs, and none of them are assigned as com ports.
Link Posted: 4/17/2021 2:20:17 AM EDT
Are all BIOS settings at default? Nothing disabled or changed?
Link Posted: 4/17/2021 9:16:53 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MMcCall:
Are all BIOS settings at default? Nothing disabled or changed?
View Quote

The BIOS is NOT for the power user.  

Only changeable BIOS options are date/time, security, and boot priority order.  But yes, I've reset to default a couple of times.
Link Posted: 4/18/2021 10:10:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2021 10:11:36 AM EDT by cruze5]
Link Posted: 4/18/2021 10:12:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2021 10:13:55 PM EDT by limaxray]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cruze5:
i have yet to see a netbook with Com ports.

this laptop visibly has a COM port physically on the device?



i believe what you are seeing is the DEVICE that is usb your are plugging in doesn't have the correct driver  not the com port
View Quote

Correct, sorry if I gave a different impression.  Bottom line, I'm sure there's a driver/resource conflict for USB ports used as a COM port, but I'll be dipped if I can figure it out.

Another potentially related issue--been having problems with Windows updates, kept telling me the clock wasn't correct, but it was.  Turns out the CMOS battery is dead, so I'm going to try to fix that too while I'm at it. It's a soldered-in battery, so not just a case of pop it out/pop it in.
Link Posted: 4/19/2021 10:22:47 AM EDT
A couple of issues you may be running into, sometimes Windows Updates will replace the drivers with drivers which don't always function correctly. As an example, Windows 10 replaced the drivers used for Motorola TRBO and APX radios on me. The radios were showing up as COM ports instead of Network Interfaces (which is what CPS expects for those radios) so I had to go in an reinstall the drivers for the radios.

Another thing I would note, a lot of radio programs don't like 64 bit OSes. Run 32 bit if you can. I can't tell you how much customers equipment I had to stop supporting because I got upgraded to a 64 bit machine and my old 32 bit machine got trashed. Made a lot of unhappy customers. On the Motorola side of things, all of the first generation Windows RSS (1225, MCS2000, later MTX series, Professional series (CDMs, HT750/1250/1550), Astro Saber, Astro Spectra, etc) don't properly communicate with the COM ports (even if you have physical COM ports and not USB to RS232) on 64 bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 10...the 32 bit versions run fine though.

Highly recommend quality USB to RS232 adapters as well. IOGear's adapter was on Motorola's recommended list for a good decade. Personally I've been running Brainboxes's adapters on and off for almost a decade now.
Link Posted: 4/19/2021 11:04:57 AM EDT
Oh for the days of physical address Com port cards!  
Link Posted: 4/19/2021 11:30:12 AM EDT
If this netbook is from 2011, I'll bet that it originally came with Win XP. I just this week retired an ASUS 1000HE netbook from about the same era, single core processor, 32 bit, came with 1 GB RAM, could only upgrade to 2 GB RAM total. I installed Win 7 32 bit on it in about 2012, ran pretty slow. I tried Win 10 home 32 bit when that came out, would have run better if more RAM could have been added. Since Win XP went end of life in April 2014, I've run several different distros of 32 linux bit on it, linuxlite 3.8, peppermint, Q4OS, Zorin lite. It was fine for just email and lite surfing, but that's about it. There are very few linux distros written in 32 bit now, they're all in 64 bit. Firefox was my browser of choice but version 87 seemed to be too much for it. Am using a newer Samsung dual processor 64 bit laptop with Win 10 pro on my coffee table now
Link Posted: 4/19/2021 2:28:07 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zapzap:
A couple of issues you may be running into, sometimes Windows Updates will replace the drivers with drivers which don't always function correctly. As an example, Windows 10 replaced the drivers used for Motorola TRBO and APX radios on me. The radios were showing up as COM ports instead of Network Interfaces (which is what CPS expects for those radios) so I had to go in an reinstall the drivers for the radios.

Another thing I would note, a lot of radio programs don't like 64 bit OSes. Run 32 bit if you can. I can't tell you how much customers equipment I had to stop supporting because I got upgraded to a 64 bit machine and my old 32 bit machine got trashed. Made a lot of unhappy customers. On the Motorola side of things, all of the first generation Windows RSS (1225, MCS2000, later MTX series, Professional series (CDMs, HT750/1250/1550), Astro Saber, Astro Spectra, etc) don't properly communicate with the COM ports (even if you have physical COM ports and not USB to RS232) on 64 bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 10...the 32 bit versions run fine though.

Highly recommend quality USB to RS232 adapters as well. IOGear's adapter was on Motorola's recommended list for a good decade. Personally I've been running Brainboxes's adapters on and off for almost a decade now.
View Quote

currently in the process of trying to reinstall Win7/32bit.  It loads, but as mentioned, with the CMOS battery dead, updates are not working.  Won't even get to the Microsoft Update Catalog website, because their website thinks time sync problems = "you must be a hacker."  

And I've tried both Win 10 and linux before, both gave me problems, but I think it was because of the 64/32 bit issue.
Link Posted: 4/19/2021 2:30:02 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By harrybosch:
If this netbook is from 2011, I'll bet that it originally came with Win XP. I just this week retired an ASUS 1000HE netbook from about the same era, single core processor, 32 bit, came with 1 GB RAM, could only upgrade to 2 GB RAM total. I installed Win 7 32 bit on it in about 2012, ran pretty slow. I tried Win 10 home 32 bit when that came out, would have run better if more RAM could have been added. Since Win XP went end of life in April 2014, I've run several different distros of 32 linux bit on it, linuxlite 3.8, peppermint, Q4OS, Zorin lite. It was fine for just email and lite surfing, but that's about it. There are very few linux distros written in 32 bit now, they're all in 64 bit. Firefox was my browser of choice but version 87 seemed to be too much for it. Am using a newer Samsung dual processor 64 bit laptop with Win 10 pro on my coffee table now
View Quote

Actually has a Win7/32 license, probably one of the first ones.  

Which is another story in itself--because it's an OEM version, Windows doesn't recognize the product code on the machine. I would need to send it in to Acer to have them completely reload Win7 on it.  
Link Posted: 5/2/2021 3:08:37 PM EDT
So...been following a few rabbit trails on this one lately.

Discovered that the CMOS battery was dead, which was interfering with Windows Update.  Of course, it's not a standard 2032 battery, but some weird, soldered-in one, so that took a week to get in.

Update now works, but still having problems with the USB ports.

Still can't get Windows to see them as COM ports.  I know it's a software/driver thing, because it worked at one time, and now it doesn't.

Getting even weirder--two of the three USB ports now won't load the right drivers for my mouse/keyboard dongle, either--it bleeps when you plug it in, says it's loading the software, hangs forever, then says it can't find the right software.  But it knows when something is plugged in, it just can't seem to recognize it.


I've reloaded Win 7 three times.  Uninstalled all USB ports, including the drivers, a couple of times, to let Windows try to find the right drivers. Manually added com ports through the ADD HARDWARE wizard.  Loaded FTDI VCP drivers manually. Reset the COM ports in use through Device manager and REGEDIT.


Nothing.  

About to give up and just buy another netbook..in which I need a recommendation for a cheap, >11" display Windows machine.  
Link Posted: 5/13/2021 11:41:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/13/2021 11:45:45 PM EDT by Exorpmtech]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By limaxray:
So...been following a few rabbit trails on this one lately.

Discovered that the CMOS battery was dead, which was interfering with Windows Update.  Of course, it's not a standard 2032 battery, but some weird, soldered-in one, so that took a week to get in.

Update now works, but still having problems with the USB ports.

Still can't get Windows to see them as COM ports.  I know it's a software/driver thing, because it worked at one time, and now it doesn't.

Getting even weirder--two of the three USB ports now won't load the right drivers for my mouse/keyboard dongle, either--it bleeps when you plug it in, says it's loading the software, hangs forever, then says it can't find the right software.  But it knows when something is plugged in, it just can't seem to recognize it.


I've reloaded Win 7 three times.  Uninstalled all USB ports, including the drivers, a couple of times, to let Windows try to find the right drivers. Manually added com ports through the ADD HARDWARE wizard.  Loaded FTDI VCP drivers manually. Reset the COM ports in use through Device manager and REGEDIT.


Nothing.  

About to give up and just buy another netbook..in which I need a recommendation for a cheap, >11" display Windows machine.  
View Quote


Updates kill me.  My mom's PC updated from 8 to 10 and lost all Wifi hardware.  I messed with it off and on for probably 8 hours.  Win10 refused to even see the Wifi hardware.  Network hardware was fine; no unknown devices in the device manager.  I updated drivers from HP but would not install due to version incompatibility. Tried the drivers from the hardware manufacture (Realtek?), loaded unsupported drivers on top of the ethernet hardware hoping it was tied to the Wifi and that just crapped out the network hardware.  How can you load a driver to a piece of hardware it doesn't see?  I finally gave up and had her order a $15 USB Wifi dongle.  Should have done that in the first hour.
Link Posted: 5/15/2021 12:10:20 PM EDT
Finally got it fixed (though I don't really know how).

Decided to start over.  Wiped the drive completely (full, not quick reformat), reinstalled Windows 7, patched it completely, upgraded to Windows 10, patched IT completely, then started with the drivers for my Baofeng programming cable and CHIRP.

Installation instructions for the cable are weird, you actually have to install the drivers three times in a row (for two different items in the Device Manager).  

Everything works now.  Don't know if it was a Win7 patch problem, if I wasn't installing the VCP drivers correctly (that do it three times thing), if it was the wrong phase of the moon, or what.  But that's six weeks I'm not getting back.

It's pretty slow with Win10, but I like the form factor and the fact that I won't have to buy a new machine. Eventually want to go portable with the radios, and that little netbook is perfect for things like Parks on the Air type stuff.  

So now I've got my netbook that can program any of three radios (Baofeng handhelds, my FT-7250 dual-band, and my FT-891 HF radio), and I'm starting to learn how to use FLDIGI to do CW with the HF rig.  That's turning out to be pretty hard, though it's not a software/hardware problem, it's a PEBKAC problem (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair).  I

Final result:

Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 5/15/2021 3:43:29 PM EDT
If you are just using it for CHIRP...a Debian based (such as Ubuntu or Mint) distro would've been the way to go IMO. In the past I've also had various Icom and Kenwood software functional under Ubuntu through the use of WINE. The Motorola stuff needs really Windows though.
Link Posted: 5/15/2021 4:48:08 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zapzap:  If you are just using it for CHIRP...a Debian based (such as Ubuntu or Mint) distro would've been the way to go IMO. In the past I've also had various Icom and Kenwood software functional under Ubuntu through the use of WINE. The Motorola stuff needs really Windows though.
View Quote


When I have to get my .mil card reader to work under Ubuntu, I run Windows 7 in Oracle's VM Virtual Box.  Has worked consistently for 3 years now on a couple of different boxes.
Link Posted: 5/15/2021 6:12:30 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zapzap:
If you are just using it for CHIRP...a Debian based (such as Ubuntu or Mint) distro would've been the way to go IMO. In the past I've also had various Icom and Kenwood software functional under Ubuntu through the use of WINE. The Motorola stuff needs really Windows though.
View Quote


Chirp, plus RT Systems software for both Yaesus (separate software, same vendor), and FLDIGI/FLRIG.

You can get the RT stuff and FLDIGI to work in Ubuntu, but it's a LOT of work when you're smart on Linux (which I'm not), and I wasn't willing to put the time in.

(Says the man who just spent six weeks trying to get three USB ports operational.    )
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