no more available com ports

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April 27, 2010 at 13:14:02
Specs: Windows Vista
I am facing this problem. I am trying to set up a TM-T88IV Epson Thermal Printer under Windows Vista SP1. I have downloaded most updates, even those which are only recommended but not important.

When I try to install the driver I downloaded from epson website, I get to a screen in which I have to choose among the possible connections (USB, COM, Ethernet,...). Since this thermal printer is linked to the computer through the COM port, I select COM as connection.

The problem comes up after selecting COM because the installer program shows up a window with a message like "No more available COM ports..."

After some research I thought this might have to do with COM ports being busy by other devices. Nonetheless I do not use a serial (COM) mouse but a USB one.
Apparently, there are only two external COM ports on the back of this HP desktop computer and just one of them is used with this printer, the other is free. Anyways, I read somewhere that serial COM ports sometimes should be freed up by disabling them at BIOS level. I looked this COM port in all the BIOS options, the advance tab included and there is no COM port option at the bios displayed for this computer. Well, this might be because new computers do not show their COM ports in the BIOS.

The problem is that this printer was working so far but something happened to windows Vista which did not let it boot anymore. Therefore I had to restore windows vista with the typical HP restore software.

After doing that the printer does not work.
If I go to control panel->printers then I do not even see the printer because I could not finish the installation process, as I told you, I got stuck with the step of choosing the connection (COM).

Other approach I tried was buying a USB to serial cable and trying to set usb as connection type in the corresponding step of the install software. It seems that this did install the printer because control panel->printers showed the printer. However, it showed it as no connected even when it is plugged.

Eventually, I tried one more thing with this USB to serial converting cable: installing the special software that epson put in their website to make this TM-T88IV thermal printer work under a USB interface. But, this did not work either because the printer shows up in controlpanel->printers as no connected.

Moreover, hopefully the printer is not damaged since it has been protected from high currents with one of this typical multiple outlet extension cord specifically designed for this purpose.

For the time being, I cannot think of any other idea to make this printer work.

I greatly appreciate any kind of suggestions to solve this problem which is driving me nuts.

Thanks a lot in advance.

See More: no more available com ports

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April 27, 2010 at 18:17:53
Your problem may be an IRQ problem. It may be conflicting with another device. Can you go to your Device Manager and check First, that you have COM drivers for your Windows and Second are they reporting to work properly or if they say they have an IRQ conflict?

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April 27, 2010 at 18:23:54
The only thing I see in Device manager is three consecutive lines which say something like:
- a "serial pci...."
- an undefined ....
- an undefined
But I do not see the word "COM" anywhere in the device manager. Well, I only see a "COM" reference in a device manager's line if I install not only the printer's driver but
this TM Virtual Port Driver from epson website: This driver is a serial/parallel-USB conversion driver to make an EPSON TM/BA/EU printer and DM-D Customer display connected via USB accessible from a POS application through virtual COM/LPT ports.
Anyways, the printer does not show up as connected even when using this virtual port driver with the usb-serial converting cable.
As for IRQ conflicts, I do not see anyone displayed in the device manager yet.
Any other idea?
Thanks a lot.

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April 27, 2010 at 18:35:56
They should be under "Ports (COM & LPT)" tree. It should appear as "Communications Port (COM1)" unless the Windows defualt driver is not compatible with your Motherboard. If this is the case then you will need to down load the drivers from the website for your Motherboard. Do you know who make your motherboard and what model it is? If not who is the manufacture of your computer and what is its model number? Might be able to get the info from their site.

Also do you have any devices showing with a question mark like in this picture?

P.S. How are you getting to your device manager. Did you do this.

Windows Sphere -> Control Panel -> System -> Device Manager? If so and you are not seeing a "Ports (COM & LPT)" like in the picture then you need to goto the control panel and do an Add Remove Hardware and select COM ports.

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April 27, 2010 at 18:46:48
When I said:
"The only thing I see in Device manager is three consecutive lines which say something like:
- a "serial pci...."
- an undefined ....
- an undefined"
actually, if I do not remember badly because I do not have the computer in front of me right now, the lines starting with "an undefined" meant that there was an ? sign infront of the line. At least those two lines had the ? sign infront of them. I do not remember though whether the serial pci line had this ? sign infront of this line.
So, then I will search for my motherboard brand and will search the drivers. I will keep you updated when I know the mother board's model and I have downloaded the drivers. It is just strange because I restore the computer to the original state with this typical restoration software, so I thought that should be enogh in order to set up all the comptuer's hardware.
My only concern now is that I hope that the problem does not lie in the fact that com ports are somehow disabled under the bios. I searched for "COM" string in the bios, including under advanced tab, but I just found some other ports like USB, SATA,.... and I found nothing about "COM" at there. That is why I hope that is not the problem.

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April 28, 2010 at 02:57:56
According to siw the motherboard model is
Manufacturer MSI
version 1.0
chipset vendor intel corporation
chipset model P35/G33 (Bearlake) Processor to I/O Controller
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo
Cpu Socket LGA775 [Socket 775]
Max CPU Speed 4000 MHz

Any idea?

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April 28, 2010 at 08:16:31
Windows comes with a set of default drivers that work with most devices out there. It's what they call plug-and-play we call it plug-and-pray, any ways, if these drivers do not work they will show up in the others devices with a question mark because Windows does not know what driver to use for this device. I am willing to bet that you COM port is one of these. You are on the right path with finding the drivers for your mother board.

Just a guess, but do you have an HP Compaq computer?

Try downloading the Chipset Drivers and install them.

Is this your MoBo...

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April 28, 2010 at 13:23:43
I got to see the COM ports in the device manager. This is what I did to be able to see them. The two COM ports are not in the motherbaord but in a SUNIX expansion PCI card with two COM ports. So I asked SINUX for the drivers, they sent them to me and I installed them.

Then I installed the EPSON TM-T88IV thermal printer with the printer unplugged. In the installation process there is a step where you have to choose among a list of possible connections: USB, serial, ethernet,... I chose serial and then it shows up a window with the two COM ports that I see in the device manager: COM3 and COM4 so that I select one of them to install the printer with it. I do not know why but I do not see COM1 and COM2. Anyways there are only two physical COM ports on this PCI card so I guess I should not bother with the name of the COM ports as long as I see two COM ports in the device manager.
Anyways,after selecting COM3 as the port that the printer is going to use, the installation process of the printer's drivers finishes. Then I turn on the printer and plug it to the computer. Then I still see the printer in the controlpanel->printers as no available instead of as ready. So what I try now is this: I reboot the computer. But this does not fix the problem either. So I change the cable to the other COM port. This does not work either. Then I reboot the computer. But this does not work either. Then I decide to install the printer's drivers also on the second COM port available, that is to say, COM4. Then repeat the same steps as I just detailed but it does not work either. Basically the printer should work now no matter the COM port I plugged it of the two available COM ports because the printer's drivers are installed on both COM ports just in case that worked.

Anyways, now I do not know what I can do to make this printer work. It was working until two days ago, but now it does not get the ready state in control panel->printers and instead it stays as not available for both COM ports.

Any idea to make this EPSON thermal printer TM-T88IV work?

Thanks in advance

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April 28, 2010 at 13:44:04
If the mother board you listed is the right mother board it has a com port too which may be in conflict with the PCI card. Also, you may have to change the baud rate settings on your COM port to 9600 because it is an older printer which may not support the new UART chip set. If it is in conflict with a COm port on your MoBo then you may need to change its IRQ. COM printers are a pain because you have to get them just right. This is why they did away with them back in the 90s.

Please read this...

The only instruction I could find is Windows 98 because it was the operating system of that era.

At least you now have working drivers to allow you to configure these options. My guess is if the print driver installed there may be an issue under its settings. Double check the port it is connected to.

Good Luck this old stuff is hard to fix.

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April 28, 2010 at 14:03:03
Hello ace_omega

As for
"Just a guess, but do you have an HP Compaq computer?"
Answer: YES->HP COMPAQ DX2420 Microtower
As for:

exactly, that is the computer.

As for try downloading the Chipset Drivers and install them.-> I already downloaded them and installed them.

As for:
"Is this your MoBo..."
" target="_blank"> I do not think so, because I think the motherboard has only two PCI slots according to what I saw when I opened the case.


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April 28, 2010 at 17:27:53
I have this doubt.
I installed drivers for EPSON TM-T88IV receipt according to what I chose in the EPSON website. But I saw a very similar driver for EPSON TM-T88IV sticker which might be a more modern printer. The problem is that I do not know which one my printer is. My printer's model is: M129H and its serial no: J56F012544
Does this help to know the drivers I should install?

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April 28, 2010 at 17:29:56
Hello ace_omega
As for it seems a really long document. I just took a look at it but I did not find anything which help me solve this yet.
As for

this link just take me to this forum's thread. Did you make a mistake when copy pasting this link?

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April 28, 2010 at 17:56:16
The most similar pci card I could find to the one I have (SUNIX SER4037T) is
sunix ser4037D
but I do not know why I cannot find SER4037T under SUNIX website.


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April 28, 2010 at 18:25:24
I have a new problem besides this epson printer. I do not know why but may be because of installing the chipset drivers for my motherboard to try to solve the problem of the com ports, now the cd rom does not read the cds. It is not like when the cdrom lens is dirty because now when I put a cd in the tray and close the tray, then the computer quickly displays a message which says that a cd should be placed on the tray and opens the trray at the same time. Hopefully this might get solved easily, but I do not know why this is happening. I do see the cdrom in the device manager though.
Any idea also about this problem?
Thanks a lot.

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April 29, 2010 at 01:24:05
I have another doubt. Might the modem which seems to be installed on this computer according to its specs ( be the one causing all the problems to get the printer in ready state?
I have seen in that modem might use serial interface as well. Well, I do not know what interface this modem uses. Is there any way to know with and without opening the case? I think both keyboard and mouse use usb interface so that could not cause a conflict with IRQs.

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April 29, 2010 at 06:50:20
Hello eventually I set up successfully the printer because now I can print for example from notepad with this epson TM-T88IV. All I had to do was use the same settings in both the com3 port in the device manager and during the printer's drivers installation process, settings such as baud speed (9600) and flow control (hardware) for both of them.

The question now is that the printer does not get to work successfully with a POS software called tpvsol.
The problem is that the printer is selected in the configuration menu of this program. As far as tpvsol manuals says, it seems there are two choices to set up the printer with this tpv:
either select the epson printer from the list, as I did (it did not work)
or select just a printing port. By default it writes LPT1.DOS but my printer is in COM3 port. Moreover, if using this second choice I should fill the 4 fields corresponding to the opening of the cash drawer, for red color, for black color and for automatic cutting of the ticket. By default there are some numbers filled as well for these four fields and they are like these in the same order I mentioned their meaning:
27 112 48
27 114 49
27 114 48
27 105

According to the POS software manual, these codes should usually be available on the printer's manual but I have not found them at there.

Any idea to make this printer work with this POS software?

Thanks a lot.

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April 29, 2010 at 08:00:27
So you have a Point Of Sale Credit Card verification machine on this computer. They use the COM ports too so yes they may be interfering with each other. This could also be why your CD/ROM is not working. I would recommend using another computer if you can because you are using a great number of devices on this computer. I would also call the POS company for advice to see if they can help you to configure it to prevent the conflicts.

Also, you may want to report this in the general hardware forum because they know more about these kinds of issues.

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April 29, 2010 at 08:36:40
Thanks a lot to all of you, the printer printer is already set up successfully with the POS software. I was not setting up it right untill I call the POS software support number.
Thanks again

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May 1, 2010 at 03:39:24
There is just a little problem. Whenever I try to print a ticket with the POS software called TPVSOL, the printer EPSON TM-T88IV takes a while (like 20-30 secs) to start printing the receipt in contrast to any other windows program which will print anything throught this printer almost immediately. Any idea?

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