Computer Upgrades Can Be a Serial Killer

March 1, 2012

I work in a large engineering department in New York and our IT department had been after me for quite some time to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. Finally I had some issues with my laptop and it made sense at that point to just do it.

There were several specific-to-my-work issues that had to be taken care of though; for example, the ability to make serial connections. During a previous laptop change-out I no longer had a DB9 available for serial connections, only USB. If you haven't been through this yet, just search for USB-to-serial converters and you'll find a wide array of devices. If you get one I recommend trying it immediately to make sure the drivers and configuration work. You don't want the frustration of setting up the converter when you're in a crunch.

Once I started using Windows 7 I discovered that hyper-terminal was not included. I got around this by just using PuTTY (

PuTTy configuration

PuTTY can save various terminal configurations (above) to simplify sessions (below).

PuTTy session

Looking for Hyper Terminal?

If you have access to a Windows XP machine, you can borrow Hyper Terminal for your Windows 7 computer. In Windows XP, find hypertrm.dll and hypertrm.exe. Copy both files to your Windows 7 machine and make a shortcut to them or add the program to the Start menu.

Irwin is transmission systems supervisor for Clear Channel NYC and chief engineer of WKTU, New York. Contact him at

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