Tech Blog

Get extra COM ports to appear in Device Manager

Posted in Windows by Ed Ross on August 12, 2007

Another tip from guest James Saunders:

I noticed while configuring my Bluetooth devices that they were using quite high COM port numbers (COM8, COM9, COM10), and each time I installed a new device the COM port numbers would keep on rising.
Windows has a habit of assigning COM ports to connections which, even after the device is removed, still remain allocated to that device. As you connect new devices they get assigned the next free COM port number, and before you know it, you are using COM ports 30-40.
Although they are configured in Windows, they will not show up when viewing the hardware configuration in control panel. These COM ports can not be seen even after selecting ‘Show Hidden Devices’. The only time these COM Ports are visible is when the device is connected.

In order to get these extra COM ports to appear in Device Manager, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Start -> Click Run
  2. Type ‘cmd.exe’ in the textbox and click OK.
  3. Type ‘set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1’ and hit ENTER.
  4. Type ‘cd \windows\system32’ and hit ENTER.
  5. Type ‘start devmgmt.msc’ and hit ENTER.
  6. When the Device Manager opens, click View -> Show Hidden Devices.
  7. Click on the + sign next to the Ports to see the full list of COM ports being used.
  8. Highlight the port you wish to delete and then press delete. Accept when asked to do so and continue with any more that you wish to delete.

Thanks James!


How to access the web via Microsoft Calculator

Posted in Windows by Ed Ross on July 4, 2007

Here is a tip from special guest expert, James Saunders:

This is a simple trick on how to access the web via your standard
Microsoft Calculator. When your browser(s) is/are messed up for some unexplainable reason or your computer has had Internet Explorer locked down by an IT Admin:

  1. Open your MS Calculator. This is normally found in
    Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Calculator.
  2. Open the help-window by pressing the F1 key.
  3. left Click on the little yellow Question mark icon in the top left of the help window.
  4. Click “Jump to URL”.
  5. Enter URL address (e.g “”) and click OK.

The webpage will appear in the Help window and you can browse ad usual and use the back and forward buttons to navigate likewise.

Thank you James.

Remove viruses

Posted in Security,Windows by Ed Ross on June 26, 2007

There is a good article on how to remove viruses that you might want to study.

Of course, not getting them in the first place would be a better option!

Change which program opens particular types of file

Posted in Windows by Ed Ross on June 6, 2007

If you want to change the program that runs a certain type of file (make mp3 files open in Window Media Player, for example):

  1. Right click on a file of that type
  2. Go to the “Open with” menu, and select “Choose program”
  3. If the program you want to use is in the list, click it. If it isn’t, click “Browse” and navigate to the program
  4. Click the “Always use the selected program to open this  kind of file” check box
  5. Click “OK”

That should change the program used for the specified file type to the one that you want.

Useful Windows shortcut keys

Posted in Windows by Ed Ross on May 22, 2007

Someone who I consider to have some technical knowledge at work didn’t know at least one of these, I found out today, so maybe you’ll want to know these too:

Windows key + “e”, will open My Computer/Explorer

Windows key + “d”, will minimise all windows, to show the desktop

Windows key + “r”, will open the “Run” box.