My XP PC detects my weather station sometimes as a "MS Serial Ballpoint"

Hi everyone,

This problem is known and seen sometimes in XP: after restart of the PC, the operating system detects some serial devices as a “Microsoft Serial Ballpoint” wrongly, in my case my Weather Station is not recognized, and as a result WD can not start and this problem forces the PC to reboot until the PC detects the Weather Station correctly.

This doesn’t happen after each reboot/restart of my PC, it is intermittent and random. I have a Radioshack Model 63-1016 Touchscreen, identical to Oregon Scientific Model WMR-968. I use COM Port 2, I have set the COM Port to be reset at each restart.

Has anyone faced a similar problem? What could be done to solve it? I want to get rid of it, as I lose sometimes 10-15 minutes without being able to collect weather data because of several restart attempts…


This might work if you haven’t tried it:

Hi dwesley226, thank you for the help. I knew this thread, I have read it before.

In my case Windows does not assign a phantom mouse to my COM Port etc, and so my Windows Device Manager does not list two mice. So I mean that my PC can not start at all, it first detects a new hardware (MS Serial Ballpoint) after loading Windows main screen, is confused, can not go further and reboots automatically after each wrong attempt until it detects the weather station correctly.

I can force it to happen again by unplugging my weather station and plugging it again to the serial port, but this problem does not necessarily happen at each reboot or each plug-in.

Any other tips or technics you might know?

Important is that I should be fast enough to open device manager before the PC reboots! It hangs 15-20 seconds struggling to recognize the “new hardware”, but reboots afterwards. But also important is that the “Serial Ballpoint” should be generated in the device manager list during those 20 seconds so that I can disable it!

Because after a normal restart, nothing unusual is seen in the device manager, only the PS/2 mouse…

I found (google) another solution to this windows xp problem which is to edit the boot.ini file to disable fastdetect for the com port, see that option fully discussed in this MS article which links to more info.

This switch turns off serial and bus mouse detection in the file for the specified port. Use this switch if you have a component other than a mouse that is attached to a serial port during the startup process. For example, type /fastdetect:comnumber, where number is the number of the serial port. Ports may be separated with commas to turn off more than one port. If you use /fastdetect, and you do not specify a communications port, serial mouse detection is turned off on all communications ports.

That sounds as the best solution Niko!

Thanks, I will try it when I get back home…


See for how to edit the file, you cannot access it directly. The sample that they show has the /fastdetect in the [operating systems] section.

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=“Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect

Niko, I have edited my boot.ini last night, applied the fastdetect switch to my com port number 2 where my weather station is connected.

My PC booted without any problem. Ofcourse I can not be 100% sure if the problem was eliminated, as this “Serial Ballpoint” error was not happening at each reboot, it was random and intermittent.

Folks, important to add: in my case I had an additional switch parameter in my original boot.ini file for fastdetect; it was NoExecute:Optin

I removed that also, I think it was for disabling the fastdetect function which is ignoring serial ballpoint/mouse detection. I only left it as:

/fastdetect:com2 The “NoExecute:Optin” was following the fastdetect switch and my original boot.ini was: /fastdetect /NoExecute:Optin

Thank you Niko, thanks to all, it seems that this switch option in boot.ini has solved the problem completely…