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Win 98SE serial port problems

By mieke ·
I support a software product that relies on serial port communications from a proprietary HOST. We work with about 5 HOST vendor hardware and Client owned hardware.
With Win98SE we've found that serial ports are just not always functioning properly. We can't seem to re-create the problem, but dozens of our clients can NOT use the serial ports as is.
Working with hardware support of various Vendors, i.e. hp, ibm, gateway, compaq... and finding that a replacement... same model often solves the problem, we're leaning towards the Win98SE 'install options' as the possible cause.
Has anyone run into serial port problems with the Win98 that just couldn't be resolved?
FYI.. the same serial port will work if a mouse or printer driver is installed... so often hardware absolves themselves of the problem... but since we can't use the port that way, it doesn't help us to test with drivers.

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