I already got two bluescreens this morning when running PuTTY (version, which is the newest version as far as I can tell). I have a microcontroller that sends data to a serial-to-USB converter. The driver for the converter is called "Prolific USB-To-Serial Comm Port (COM12)". The driver version number is (date 2013-10-17). So this seems to be up-to-date as well. I run Windows 7.

The data gets transmitted flawlessly until the bluescreen appears. Is this a problem of PuTTY or the serial-to-USB conversion? Is there an alternative to PuTTY that I can try (HyperTerminal seems to be no longer available on Windows 7).

  • Try an older version, the newest version is not per definition to most stable one. – Mixxiphoid Nov 26 '13 at 10:23
  • @Mixxiphoid I agree, see my full answer. – Tonny Nov 26 '13 at 10:29

Mmmhh.. I use a similar configuration without any issues.

But I use a much older version of the Prolific driver (version 1.10 from 2009). I had stability issues in the past with various versions of the Prolific drivers. I had to experiment a bit to find a stable one, and I have stuck with that version over the past few years.

I always throw away the driver which comes with the converter and use the one directly from Prolific instead.

(About half of all USB-to-serial converters use a Prolific chip inside and will work with the generic Prolific driver... The other half usually have an FTDI chip and work best with the generic FTDI driver. The generic drivers are usually more stable than a rebranded and possibly modified driver that the manufacturer puts in the box with the converter.)

PuTTY by the way can't normally cause a blue screen. It doesn't operate in the danger zone where software might cause a blue screen.

It has to be caused by either the driver or the converter itself sending something weird to the driver which causes the blue-screen to happen. In rare cases an upgrade of the USB drivers of the PC itself may be needed. It could be some weird interaction between the USB root-hub drivers and the drivers that go with the converter.

  • This makes sense. But where do I find older drivers? The prolific homepage on lists the most recent one. Is there something like a repository? – Lucas Nov 26 '13 at 10:59
  • Are you sure that the driver version you are using is 1.10. I just tested the driver version, which is from 2007 (it also crashed). – Lucas Nov 26 '13 at 12:06
  • @Lucas Seems they have cleanup their website and removed the older versions, Plugable.com has a slightly older version of the driver online. usbserialdrivers.com has several older versionw (and has also the FTDI ones). – Tonny Nov 26 '13 at 12:11
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    As promised the link to the version of the driver I use. Valid until December 4, 2013. we.tl/hiE0mMcSNB – Tonny Nov 27 '13 at 19:10
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    @dmd vangeloof.info/USB-serial_drivers.zip Please note: The webserver may take a minute to startup when it is in powersave mode. Contains Prolific, FTDI and Cisco (for USB ports on switches) drivers. – Tonny Apr 28 '16 at 8:30

It's not just PuTTY; a lot of other terminal software also semi-consistently bluescreens with USB serial ports, especially if the baudrate is not set correctly or the serial waveform is otherwise messed up. After a lot of testing, I finally switched to using TeraTerm, which looks ancient, but it seems to work reliably.

TeraTerm + Windows 7 + Prolific driver has never bluescreened so far, and I've used it almost daily for about a year. Unlike most other programs, it also can handle indefinitely long incoming ASCII dumps at a high-ish baudrate (115,200 bit/s) whereas other serial terminal programs that I've used, sometimes crash after just a few seconds of incoming data flood.

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