The PL2303HXA Driver phased out. Regrettably, it appears that a solution to the issue at hand may be elusive. A multitude of individuals have reported encountering problems with Windows 10 (W10) in conjunction with Prolific devices, specifically those reliant on the popular PL2303 adapter.
PL2303HXA Driver Phased Out
In my own experience, I’ve grappled with similar difficulties involving scrolling LED Badges and USB to COM dongles. These devices all share a common thread – they utilize the PL2303 for USB connectivity, although internally they employ an RS232-like interface, effectively presenting themselves as COM ports within the operating system. Upon plugging these devices into a USB port, W10 promptly identifies them and attempts to load the Prolific driver. This initial step typically proceeds without a hitch. However, upon inspecting the configuration panel, one can’t help but notice the presence of an error code 10, signaling that the driver is not functioning as expected.
One plausible solution would be to manually update the driver by visiting the Prolific website and downloading the requisite drivers. However, a crucial caveat exists in the form of a prominent notice on the website, written in bold red letters: “Windows 8/8.1/10 are NOT supported in PL-2303HXA and PL-2303X EOL (End Of Life) chip versions.” Yes so yuou might get “PL2303 serial driver retired in 2012”. I installed the prolific driver, v. 220.127.116.11, but then got message that “device settings not migrated”, and port doesn’t work.
End of Life Chips
This assertion is unequivocal: if your device employs an older chip version of PL2303, it is incompatible with W10 (as well as W8). This predicament may come as a surprise to many who, like me, transitioned from W7 to W10 without prior knowledge of this issue. It is a lamentable situation, particularly considering that these devices are still in use. For example, my LED badges are less than a year old and rely on the EOL PL-2303 HX chip. It’s worth noting the irony in Prolific’s recommendation to use the “PL-2303HXD (HX Rev D) or PL2303TA chip.” The hitch here lies in the fact that users are unable to make this switch independently.
I’m hesitant to discard my devices simply because they are deemed too antiquated (despite being less than a year old) to garner support from W10.
However, amidst this frustrating ordeal, a glimmer of hope emerges. Upon installing W10, the device driver for PL-2303 is typically the most up-to-date version. This can be confirmed in the configuration panel by navigating to the COM and LPT section, where one should locate “Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm (COM X).” Clicking on properties and delving into the details should reveal the driver version (ser2pl.sys or ser2pl64.sys), which should read something along the lines of 18.104.22.1680. Unfortunately, this latest version proves incompatible with older PL-2303 hardware, contrary to the expectation that updating drivers often resolves issues.
In such cases, the solution paradoxically lies in downgrading the driver. If you had previously used PL-2303 with W7 and subsequently upgraded to W10, this process is relatively straightforward, as previous driver versions are likely still residing on your computer. To initiate the downgrade, proceed to the configuration panel, select COM and LPT, and right-click. The first option, often labeled “update driver,” should appear. In the subsequent window, opt for the second choice, “Look for a driver on my computer.” Another window emerges, presenting the option to “choose from a list on my computer.” Here, you will encounter a list showcasing various driver versions, such as:
- Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port Version: 22.214.171.124
- Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port Version: 126.96.36.1992
- Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port Version: 188.8.131.520
Select the older 3.3 version from 2009. Versions beyond 3.4 or 3.6 tend to trigger error code 10.
I personally verified that both 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 function effectively with older PL-2303 HXA/X hardware. For those lacking older driver versions, it’s worth attempting to install them from the minidisc provided with your product. On my end, I encountered two programs (32 and 64-bit) labeled “PL-2303 WIN7 Driver Installer.exe.” Executing this program facilitates driver installation. However, be aware that when you subsequently plug the device into a USB port, W10 may revert to the latest version (3.6). This action is observable in the configuration panel, where the COM port initially appears to be in working order but ultimately disconnects due to error 10. Fortunately, the old version should now be available in the list, allowing you to proceed with the previously outlined steps. Once manually set, the device driver remains at version 3.3.
My experimentation has indicated that this approach is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of W10, spanning the Home and Pro editions. Likewise also see the Prolific USB to serial driver Windows 7 as well as Prolific USB to Serial Comm Port and finally the article on Prolific USB to Serial Comm Port Driver.
Dont Automatic Update
However, it’s essential to be aware that the solution, while effective, is temporary in nature. With each computer shutdown or whenever the device is disconnected and reconnected to a USB port, W10 will reload the latest driver version due to automatic updates. A workaround does exist to prevent this, as shared by Microsoft. It involves utilizing a tool known as “wushowhide.diagcab” (Show and Hide Update) to inhibit auto-updates for specific programs or drivers, such as Prolific. This tool offers a measure of control over the update process.
Should you opt to change the connection port for your device. Then, please bear in mind that the latest driver version will be automatically loaded. In such cases, you will need to manually reset the driver to version 3.3. Though this action is only necessary upon first-time usage of the port. Subsequently, the driver should remain fixed at version 3.3, with no automatic upgrades to version 3.6. Likewise also see the articles on Bluetooth not Working as well as FT601Q-B USB 3.0 Sync FIFO Driver.
In light of the foregoing. Likewise, it’s apparent that while the situation is challenging, there are viable solutions to address the compatibility issues. This between older PL-2303 HXA/X hardware and W10. Yes the PL2303HXA driver phased out but there is a solution.