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I have been using USB-to-serial port converters and have not been careful to plug them into -exactly- the same USB port every time. What is the best (and safest) method to clean up the giant mess of COM ports generated by Windows XP when you do this?

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If you mean a giant mess of COM ports in the Device Manager, then right click -> uninstall.

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Unfortunately, this doesn't clean up something in the registry. When I plug back in, I don't get a reasonable port number again. I discovered the hard way that Python really doesn't like port numbers greater than COM9. – mkClark Aug 26 '09 at 21:45
Device Manager > right click on any of the 'virtual' COM ports > Properties > Port Settings > Advanced ... change the COM Port Number to your likings/requirements. – Molly7244 Aug 26 '09 at 22:03

There are a couple of suggestions here.

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