Removed SmartCAT serial ports remain as hidden ports

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Answered
If I remove CAT FlexVSP ports created with SmartCAT 1.6.17, they remain in the Device Manager Ports list. They disappear after a restart, but remain as hidden ports, displayed as grayed ports if Show Hidden Devices is checked.

Shouldn't the ports be completely removed from the Device Manager when removed by SmartCAT?

Ron
Photo of Ron Parsons

Ron Parsons

  • 73 Posts
  • 10 Reply Likes

Posted 3 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Steve W6SDM

Steve W6SDM

  • 625 Posts
  • 283 Reply Likes
I agree.  You have to remove them in Device Manager as well.  I don't know if it's possible, but I would like to see "one and done" when getting rid of these.
Photo of Larry - W8LLL

Larry - W8LLL

  • 498 Posts
  • 110 Reply Likes
Photo of Ron Parsons

Ron Parsons

  • 73 Posts
  • 10 Reply Likes
I understand how to get rid of them. But why are they left as hidden ports? Why doesn't SmartCAT get rid of them completely? Are they left for a reason?

Ron
Photo of Roy - W5TKZ

Roy - W5TKZ

  • 134 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Ron,

If you are using Win 10, you might try going to "Settings > Devices > Connected Devices".

There you will find all the ports from FlexRadio and others. Each port is a pair. Com4 > Com104, Com5 > Com105.
If you see a port that you don't want, click on it and then click "remove". Don't forget to remove the other half of the pair.

Restart and then check to see if the hidden port is still there. I have used this with great success in removing those hidden ports.  
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9186 Posts
  • 3541 Reply Likes
Official Response
This is not a CAT issue.  This is a Windows issue where it is failing to re-enumerate the port list after the port pair is deleted.  Windows only properly enumerates them once the PC has been rebooted.
(Edited)
Photo of Ron Parsons

Ron Parsons

  • 73 Posts
  • 10 Reply Likes
I agree with what you say, but even after the PC has been rebooted, the ports are there but hidden. Are you saying that these hidden ports will not come back to bite me in the future?

If not, why do some of your "How To" articles warn about finding and deleting hidden ports?

Ron
Photo of Vincent Martin - N5ATM

Vincent Martin - N5ATM

  • 31 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I'm having this same issue and no matter what I try, I can't get rid of the virtual serial ports.  I have done the recommended things but still no dice. 

Tim, I know you say this isn't a Flex thing, but Flex PUT them there.  Flex should be responsible for getting RID of them!

I'm an IT professional and even I'm pulling my hair out with this one and cussing Flex....and Windows 10 for that matter.
Photo of W5UN_Dave

W5UN_Dave

  • 316 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
I cannot get rid of them, no matter what I do. Rebooting solves nothing. I want to completely remove SmartCat and ALL ports, and reinstall SmartCat. Tim, give me some guidance here

Dave, W5UN
Photo of k3Tim

k3Tim

  • 901 Posts
  • 186 Reply Likes
What have you guys tried to remove them that isn't working?

Tim
Photo of Steve W6SDM

Steve W6SDM

  • 625 Posts
  • 283 Reply Likes
Sounds like you don't need Tim.  You need an exorcist.  :)

There's probably a better way, but when I had that problem I removed/uninstalled EVERYTHING Flex-related, removed the ports using CAT and Device Manager, re-installed everything, and started from scratch.  I know it's probably not the most efficient way, but it worked for me.
(Edited)
Photo of W5UN_Dave

W5UN_Dave

  • 316 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Some things never die. I did as you suggested and removed all CAT ports and uninstalled ALL flex virtual com ports in Device Manager (including any hidden ones). Uninstalled v1.6.21. and reinstalled. Let me digress: originally SmartCAT started with only com 9. I added com 10 and com 11. A few days after the first (original) install something happened, windows crashed. Upon restarting SmartCAT restarted, but com 10 and 11 were missing. and the first and only port shown was com 12. I then could not make SmartCAT start with com 9, even though I had deleted 9, 109, 10, 110, and 11, 111 in Device manager. I just cannot make these ports disappear, there they are again when I reboot. Where are these hiding? Anyone have any idea?
Photo of Steve W6SDM

Steve W6SDM

  • 625 Posts
  • 283 Reply Likes
Try to disable them instead of removing them.  I  know, it sounds strange.  I also cleaned my registry after uninstalling the Flex software and disabling the ports.  I guess that gets rid of any stray, lingering references.  Of course, re-booting between all your operations doesn't hurt either.  The bottom line is, it can be done but it involves a lot of trial and error - at least it did on my part.

I can't believe that the way Windows handles virtual serial ports is acceptable to Microsoft.
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9186 Posts
  • 3541 Reply Likes
@W5UN_Dave - My advice is when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.  Open a HelpDesk support ticket so we can assist in troubleshooting your issue.
Photo of k3Tim

k3Tim

  • 901 Posts
  • 186 Reply Likes
For those of us that prefer to keep digging, here's a steam shovel of a hint:

http://knowledge.digi.com/articles/Knowledge_Base_Article/I-have-phantom-serial-ports-in-Windows-How...

Even in Win10 the items show up in the registry where stated. Obviously one has to use an abundance of caution in editing the registry. It is however interesting to view the registry at these spots.

k3Tim
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9186 Posts
  • 3541 Reply Likes
This has a high probability of only digging the hole deeper.  And I can't stress this enough, we do not advocate or recommend doing any registry "brain surgery" to remove virtual drivers, as the action may not be able to remove everything necessary and end up doing more damage than good.  In some cases this has resulted in reloading the OS to fix the issues.

I suspect these are not phantom virtual serial ports, but actual ports that have been created properly and need to be removed by the same process that created them.  The best and safest way know if the ports are actually phantoms or just disassociated from SmartSDR CAT is to open a HelpDesk support ticket so we can investigate.
Photo of W5UN_Dave

W5UN_Dave

  • 316 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Tim, as you stated previously: this is not a Flex issue, but a Windows issue. I hate Microsoft's Windows registry, that's where the problem lies. It does not forget. This was probably one of the worst inventions of our time! But we all bought into Windows way back instead of Linux or Apple, so here we sit to this day. (actually Linux is a much better OS, but all the apps are written for Windows, go figure)
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9186 Posts
  • 3541 Reply Likes
In general, there can be two types of problems.  The first is an issue with Windows where it will not remove the com ports when the correct process to remove the ports (using the CAT application to do the port pair removal).  The other issue is where the com port pair becomes disassociated with the CAT application.  Opening a HelpDesk ticket will allow us to figure out which one of the issues you are having.  If it is the later, we can manually re-associated the com ports which should then allow you to properly remove the ports.

So, my recommends still stand; open a HelpDesk support ticket so we can assist resolving your issues.  
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
I'll second Tim's advice. My rig had a dose of 'com portitis'. Opened a helpdesk ticket, a couple of quick emails exchanged with Dr Tim and my rig was cured! I just hope it has some resistance to fight the next infection ;-).

That's enough of the medical analogies m'thinks.

73 de Guy G4DWV/4X1LT