To check whether or not an RS-232 serial port is working, perform an RS-232 loopback test by doing the following:
Note: To open a telnet session on the COM port, you need a telnet client like PuTTY or Hyper Terminal. Windows XP comes with Hyper Terminal.
If the loopback test fails, make sure that the serial cable or gender changer that you are using works and that the adapter is in the correct port.
You can check multiple ports at the same time by opening multiple sessions, putting the loopback adapter on one port, and trying to type into each session. When you can see what you are typing, you know that the COM port is working and you can see which port number the physical serial port is. Close the window for the port that you just tested to speed up the testing of the remaining serial ports.