Listing serial (COM) ports on Windows?


I'm looking for a robust way to list the available serial (COM) ports on a Windows machine. There's this post about using WMI, but I would like something less .NET specific - I want to get the list of ports in a Python or a C++ program, without .NET.

I currently know of two other approaches:

  1. Reading the information in the HARDWARE\\DEVICEMAP\\SERIALCOMM registry key. This looks like a great option, but is it robust? I can't find a guarantee online or in MSDN that this registry cell indeed always holds the full list of available ports.

  2. Tryint to call CreateFile on COMN with N a number from 1 to something. This isn't good enough, because some COM ports aren't named COMN. For example, some virtual COM ports created are named CSNA0, CSNB0, and so on, so I wouldn't rely on this method.

Any other methods/ideas/experience to share?

Edit: by the way, here's a simple Python implementation of reading the port names from registry:

import _winreg as winreg
import itertools

def enumerate_serial_ports():
    """ Uses the Win32 registry to return a iterator of serial 
        (COM) ports existing on this computer.

        key = winreg.OpenKey(winreg.HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, path)
    except WindowsError:
        raise IterationError

    for i in itertools.count():
            val = winreg.EnumValue(key, i)
            yield (str(val[1]), str(val[0]))
        except EnvironmentError:
5/23/2017 12:03:01 PM

Accepted Answer

Several options are available:

  1. Call QueryDosDevice with a NULL lpDeviceName to list all DOS devices. Then use CreateFile and GetCommConfig with each device name in turn to figure out whether it's a serial port.

  2. Call SetupDiGetClassDevs with a ClassGuid of GUID_DEVINTERFACE_COMPORT.

  3. WMI is also available to C/C++ programs.

There's some conversation on the win32 newsgroup and a CodeProject, er, project.

7/30/2009 9:33:41 AM

Using pySerial with Python:


ports = list(
for p in ports:
    print p

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