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Serial Port Conflict Problem

Posted on 1997-10-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-14
I have just installed NT 4.0 Workstation and NT 4.0 Server on my computer.  The computer is an old 486 running at 66MHZ ,has two physical hard drives, a CD-Rom and a Sound card.  The workstation boots clean with virtually no messages in the event log. (other than some forced election on the network or something) The server on the other hand boots with the following messages in the event log:

1. "User configuration data for parameter COM2 overriding firmware configuration data."
2. "A conflict has been detected between two drivers which claimed two overlapping IO port regions.  Driver serial with device <\Device\Serial1001.Translated>, claimed an IO port range with starting address in data address 0x28 and 0x2c and length in data address 0x30."
3. same as #2 except between Driver Sermouse and device <\Device\PointerPort0.Translated>.
4. "The hardware resources for Com1 are already in use by another device."

I determined that the multi IO card in my computer has preset COM2 at address 3E8 (which I beleive is not standard)so I went into NT and changed the address of COM2 to 3E8 from the default.  NT dropped the first message above and the first two messages now are:

1. "The control registers for COM2 overlaps with the COM2 control registers."
2. "While validating that COM2 was really a serial port, the contents of the divisor latch register was identical to the interupt enable and the receive registers.  The device is assumed not to be a serial port and will be deleted."

I have not installed service pack 3 yet for Server.  
The workstation COM2 remains set at "default" and does not report any event log at bootup.

My resources from diagnostics are as follows:
Resource      IO Address

i8042prt      0060-0060, 0064-0064
serial        02F8-02FE
sermouse      03F8-03FE
Floppy        03F0-03F5, 03F7-03F7
PNPNT         0340-035F
Atdisk        01F0-01F7, 03F6-03F6
atapi         0170-0177

Parport       0378
cirrus        03B0-03BB, 03C0-03DF

What looks odd to me here is the sermouse.  Isn't the mouse using i8042prt.  Is NT thinking that sermouse is another mouse??  Your comments to solve this would be appreciated.

...Garth
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Question by:Garth020497
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barthollis earned 200 total points
ID: 1768236
The sermouse at 3F8 is Com1 with the mouse connected.  (Means you have a Com 1 and the mouse is connected to it)

The system is seeing Com2 at 2F8 (the usual place for Com2)

Does that system board have build in Com ports?  If so, you'll need to disable either the ports on the system board, or the ports on the Multi-IO board.

If the system board has no Com ports, set your IO card to Com 1 at 3F8 IRQ 4 and the Com 2 at 2F8  IRQ 3 by using the jumpers.  Set the ports to these addresses and IRQs in the control panel.  It should all work then.
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by:Garth020497
ID: 1768237
"Does that system board have build in Com ports? If so, you'll need to disable either the ports on the system board, or the ports on the Multi-IO board."

I'm not sure if I understand.  The COM ports are on the Multi I/O card.  This card has jumpers to enable or disable a number of things as follows:

                           Current Settings
Printer Port               : Enabled
Hardisk Controller         : Exist
COM1 or COM3               : Enabled
COM1/COM3 selected         : COM1 selected
COM2 or COM4               : Enabled
Floppy                     : Enabled
LPT1/LPT2 selected         : LPT1 selected
COM2/COM4 selected         : COM2 selected
Game Port                  : Disabled

There are also some jumpers that have to do with the hardisk speed.  There are no jumpers to set I/O addresses or IRQs.  The manual for the Multi I/O card indicates that the I/O addresses are as follows:

COM1:3F8H
COM2:3E8H
COM3:2F8H
COM4:2E8H
LPT1:378H
LPT2:278H

"If the system board has no Com ports, set your IO card to Com 1 at 3F8 IRQ 4 and the Com2 at 2F8 IRQ 3 by using the jumpers. Set the ports to these addresses and IRQs in the control panel. It should all work then."

There is nothing on the system board to do with COM ports, that I can see.  There is also no place on the Multi I/O card to set either IRQs or I/O addresses.  As you can see from the above, I/O addresses are preset on the Multi I/O card.

I would appreciate anything you may be able to add that would help.

...Garth  
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by:barthollis
ID: 1768238
Would you verify the addresses you typed?  They are non-standard.  Usually, COM1 is at address 3F8h and COM2 is at 2F8h.

COM3 is often set at 3E8h and COM4 is often at 2E8h although no hard fast rule applies to COM3 and 4.  I have never seen a card that offered COM2 at the settings you list.  Is there any mention of which IRQs are being used?

You say you have COM1 and COM2 selected.  That should be OK, even at the address you show. I'm concerned about the IRQs, although you're not getting any error messages, so they should be alright.

The COM ports on the system board I referred to would be disabled by using the BIOS setup program.  You access this during boot up.  Usually the <DEL> key.  Take a look there.  If you have any serial ports showing in the setup, disable them.  Most, not all, 486 boards have them, and if there, would cause the problems you're having.

Let me know what you find.
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by:Garth020497
ID: 1768239
"Would you verify the addresses you typed? They are non-standard. Usually, COM1 is at address 3F8h and COM2 is at 2F8h."

The addresses I showed are the addresses listed on the pamphlet that came with the card.

"The COM ports on the system board I referred to would be disabled by using the BIOS setup program. You access this during boot up. Usually the <DEL> key. Take a look there.                      If you have any serial ports showing in the setup, disable them. Most, not all, 486 boards have them, and if there, would cause the problems you're having."

Actually there is no way to disable COM ports in the BIOS setup program.  The only way to enable or disable the COM ports is fro the multi I/O card.  I just talked to one of the tech guys where I bought this computer and he confirmed this.  Interesting, they have written this off as a problem with NT.  Then again they are the first to admit they don't support NT.  
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by:barthollis
ID: 1768240
Problem with NT huh?  If that were the case.....

Anyway, you don't seem to have any ports on your system board.  Otherwise you would see them in the setup.  These are the ones I was talking about when I mentioned the BIOS setup.  You are correct in that you cannot change any of the settings on the IO card through the BIOS.

What is confusing me is that Workstation is seeing a port (COM2) at 2F8h when you say the IO card sets COM2 at 3E8.  And, you did not mention any problem with the mouse.  It is on COM1, is it not?  I really can't think of any other device that would be set at any of the addresses you mention EXCEPT one, and it's a long shot.  What are you using for a video card.  There are a few that take up an address in the 2E range.

Seeing that Workstation is behaving normally, is reinstalling the server an option?
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by:Garth020497
ID: 1768241
"What is confusing me is that Workstation is seeing a port (COM2) at 2F8h when you say the IO card sets COM2 at 3E8. And, you did not mention any problem with the mouse. It is on COM1, is it not?" <Yes on COM1 as labelled and as I enabled it on the multi I/O card>

Well acually we assume it's seeing it at 2F8h.  I just went into Workstation and checked the advanced port settings in the control panel.  It was showing only COM2.  I swear there was a COM1 there too before.  Anyway both the IRQ and the I/O are set to the word "default".  Then I went into Server and deleted COM1 from Ports.  I changed the I/O and IRQ to the word "default" just like in Workstation and rebooted.  The following two messages were in the event log:

1. "User configuration data for parameter COM2 overriding firmware configuration data."    
2. "While validating that COM2 was really a serial port, the contents of the divisor latch register was identical to the interupt enable and the receive registers. The device is assumed not to be a serial port and will be deleted."

I then checked the advanced settings in ports in control panel and NT changed COM2 from the word "default" to I/O - 2f8 and IRQ - 3.  I then changed the I/O to 3E8 was forced to reboot and the following messages appeared in the event log:

1. "The control registers for COM2 overlaps with the COM2 control registers."
2. "While validating that COM2 was really a serial port, the contents of the divisor latch register was identical to the interupt enable and the receive registers. The device is assumed not to be a serial port and will be deleted."

So the difference is Workstation puts the word "default" in for the I/O and IRQ for COM2 whereas Server puts in the numbers.
A number of messages disapeared when I deleted COM1 from ports in NT.  You know I'm not actually using COM2 for anything right now.

 "I really can't think of any other device that would be set at any of the addresses you mention EXCEPT one, and it's a long shot. What are you using for a video card. There are a few that take up an address in the 2E range."

VC-826W VESA Local Bus VGA Adapter with Cirrus Logic driver.

"Seeing that Workstation is behaving normally, is reinstalling the server an option?"

This is not too big a deal.

...Garth  
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by:barthollis
ID: 1768242
Workstation, on my machine, also "hides" COM1.  My guess is that if the mouse is using it, we shouldn't be mucking around with the settings.  In any event, I got no errors, my mouse works fine, I quit worring about COM1.  You seem to have the same situation -- for COM1.

I have not had any experience with the video card you are using.  At this point, I'm also just about out of ideas.

Let me tell you how I have my system set up and what I went through to get it there.  Perhaps you'll find something that will help.  I'll also throw in a couple of "I don't know if it'll work, but I'll try it anyway" type of suggestions.

My server is also a 486/66 local bus board (I'll bet we're about the last).  When I look at the ports, COM1 does not show up.  I have a 4 port card installed.  I took the settings off "Default" and put the actual 2F8 / IRQ3 settings in the dialog box and am getting the same "overriding default settings" message.  My feeling is that the message is telling us we're not using the default setting in the dialog box only.  It does not seem to be an error message.

I have COM3 set to 3E8 / IRQ 15.  That tells us that 3E8 is a valid address for a COM port.  I can use IRQ 15 because I have no IDE devices in this machine.

COM4 is set to 2E8 / IRQ 9.  I had a conflict with my video card at this address.  The card was an ATI Graphics Pro Turbo.  The newer versions allow changing the address, but I had an older version.  As this machine is a server only, I elected to replace the video card with a cheap Trident chip card and run at VGA 256 colors only.  I was then able to use COM4 at the above settings.

Now, if I were at your location, I would try turning off the COM ports on your I/O card and add a different card, one with just COM ports, to the system.  I'm talking about one of those $10 cards.  Of course I have several of them in stock, so I would not have to buy one just to test it.  Can you duplicate this?  Do you have a card you can try?

Because Workstation works fine, and the code is basically the same in server, I'd try a reinstall, if I could.

If there were another video card available, I'd try changing it.

Something, somewhere is not right!  What you're trying to do should be OK.  The addresses the card wants to use, although not the usual, should not be the problem.  Perhaps the I/O card is bad?

Keep me posted.  I'll try a couple of "weird" things at my end this week end.


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by:Garth020497
ID: 1768243
I've decided to go ahead with the reinstall.  
One thing I wanted to mention is that this machine (486DX66) has been running quite slow.  I have noticed a little speed increase since I deleted COM1 but it's still slow.  To give you an idea, I normally put my menu at the bottom on auto hide and when I drag the mouse down to bring up the menu it doesn't flash up, like I'm used to in Windows 95, it comes up slowly.  Also I've experienced delays when dialogs and windows are being repainted.  I've been told that that's all I can expect from a 486 and NT.  I did quite a bit of rearranging and changing when I installed NT and so I'm a little leary that something isn't quite right.  I had the tech guys down at the shop run a diagnostic program on it outside NT and they said it's OK.  Ofcourse this doesn't tell me anything about NT, just the machine itself.  Any suggestions?  Do you think this may be related to my other trouble.  (Although both Server and Workstation seem to be performing the same)
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by:barthollis
ID: 1768244
<GRIN>  NT's taskbar comes up and goes away MUCH slower that Win95's.  It kinda sssllides up and dddooowwn even on a 200 P Pro.  That being said, a 486 is going to have it's hands full with NT.

At my location, I have 2 NT workstations and 1 Win95 box connected to my server.  The Windows box is strictly for testing and usually isn't on.  My server handles the load as well as I need it to.  About the only time the processor gets maxed out is when it's printing.  When I do use the server console, it is obviously slower than the P 166's I normally use, but I think it's livable as long as you don't try to run the whole world at the same time.  The secret is memory.  Lots is good.  Lots more is better.  As a server, I can get by with 32 megs.  On the workstations, I need 64.  Occasionally, I've hit the swap file with even 64.  Load a paint program, a copy of WordPerfect, and the usual fax, network and other stuff, and I've seen mine to 96 megs.

Let me know how the reload goes.  Make *sure* you format the partition before installing.  If that doesn't do it, perhaps I can loan you an IO card to try.  I don't have anymore cheap video cards, but that's today.  Who knows, I may do an upgrade any time and end up with one.  Somehow, we'll get it working.
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by:Garth020497
ID: 1768245
Well, the reinstall is complete.  Same problem though.  But I think I fixed it.  Through some help files at Microsoft I found out that the message:

 "While validating that COM2 was really a serial port, the contents of the divisor latch register was identical to the interupt enable and the receive registers. The device is assumed
not to be a serial port and will be deleted."

is saying that NT Server is detecting a serial port that doesn't physically exist.  I inspected and compared the

\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Serial\
Parameters

in Workstation and Server.  Workstation didn't list any serial ports while Server listed one.  I deleted it from the Server REGISTRY and now it runs clean as a whistle.  I don't think I'm going to test that COM2 port.  Don't you think that would be looking for trouble?  Thanks for the help.

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by:barthollis
ID: 1768246
I find it strange that Server listed that serial port again.  Did you format the drive before reinstalling?
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by:Garth020497
ID: 1768247
No, I didn't reformat(all done in NTFS).  Do you think that may have had something to do with it?  Can't understand it myself.
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by:barthollis
ID: 1768248
Yup.  When you reinstall, it doesn't write over the entire thing like you'd expect.  Don't know why.  Guess MS has a reason.  That's why I always reformat whenever I do a reinstall.

Glad you got it going though.
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