Unbrick your non-genuine FTDI device (2016 January)

If your cheap Arduino clone stopped working recently you’re probably experiencing FTDIgate 2.0.

I won’t go in deep details here because I already spent too many hours solving the issue but here’s what’s happened in a nutshell: a new FTDI driver was force installed through Windows Update which renders the counterfeit chips useless again. This time the update is much more aggressive and a little bit harder to remove.

So if you have an Arduino clone that mysteriously stopped working (unable to upload new sketches) in January here’s what you can do:

  1. First connect your device via USB and open up Device Manager.
  2. Right click your device (Mine is USB Serial Port (COM5)) and click Properties -> Driverdriver
  3. Take a look at Driver Date. If it is a new version like 1/6/2016 than you are affected by FTDIgate 2.0. Continue reading…
  4. Download and run CDMUninstaller from FTDI Utilities, click “Add” to add the device to the list and click “Remove Devices”. This removes every single instance of the FTDI drivers.
  5. Right click on START menu -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> Hardware tab -> Device Installation Settings
  6. Check “No” and Save Changesdevice
  7. Open up the Registry Editor (regedit in command window). navigate to this setting:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DriverSearching

    regedit

  8. Change the value of SearchOrderConfig to “0”.
  9. Now restart your computer.
  10. After restarting, open up Windows Update and you should see an available update:
    ftdi_driver
  11. Now that is something we really want to avoid. Download the “Show or hide updates” tool from Microsoft and run it.1
  12. Click Next.2
  13. It will show available Updates which you can hide forever. Select the two FTDI entries and click Next.3
  14. Click Close.
  15. Now install manually an old version of the FTDI driver. (Right click on the device in Device Manager -> Update driver software -> Browse -> …)
  16. Open up the Registry editor again and switch back the value to “1”, so other drivers can update normally.

That’s it as far as I remember. I did many-many trials and errors and just typed everything in a rush, so there might be mistakes above. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to share them.

Did this article help you to repair your arduino? If so, please consider buying me a coffee. Thanks!

If you would like to avoid the whole mess with FTDI, you can try a board one of these:

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