USB Driver Installation

I've been searching around and so far it seems like the simplest way to get the arduino USB drivers installed is to install the IDE. Is this correct?

I want to provide some pre-flashed arduinos to some tech-nots and I want their experience to be as easy/smooth as possible. They don't need to modify the sketch but the nature of the application requires a PC to communicate back and forth with the arduino.

Any thoughts on the best way to do this? Is it the IDE installation?

Thanks Dave

Well installing the IDE does not install any USB drivers automatically as the IDE does not know at installation time what kind of arduino board you may have or how many different types of arduino boards you may add in the future. Installing the IDE does result in all the various drivers being placed in a folder, but the actual installation of the drivers is a manual process that one has to go through when they first plug a arduino board into their PC.

So for non-tech types I would think having then install the whole arduino IDE just to have access to the usb driver files would be complex for them. Assuming you know ahead of time what flavor arduino board they will be using, you could just send them the correct USB driver file in a cheap memory stick or just email it to them?

So I'm an arduino newbie (love it btw), but all I did is plug the board in and install the IDE. It's worked ever since (Windows 7) which is why I thought I could just install the IDE for them.

I will know exactly what boards I give them (probably an Uno). If I wanted to give them the uno driver, what do I need to give them and tell them to do? Unfortunately they'll be running on anything from Win8 to WindowsXP...

To be clear, I'm trying to make sure the arduino shows up as a COM port so that the PC and arduino can have a nice little conversation.

Thanks Dave

The actual installation of USB drivers is covered in the gettiing started section. Assuming your users have the needed USB folder/files the process goes like this:

4 | Install the drivers

Installing drivers for the Arduino Uno or Arduino Mega 2560 with Windows7, Vista, or XP: Plug in your board and wait for Windows to begin it's driver installation process. After a few moments, the process will fail, despite its best efforts Click on the Start Menu, and open up the Control Panel. While in the Control Panel, navigate to System and Security. Next, click on System. Once the System window is up, open the Device Manager. Look under Ports (COM & LPT). You should see an open port named "Arduino UNO (COMxx)" Right click on the "Arduino UNO (COmxx)" port and choose the "Update Driver Software" option. Next, choose the "Browse my computer for Driver software" option. Finally, navigate to and select the driver file named "arduino.inf", located in the "Drivers" folder of the Arduino Software download (not the "FTDI USB Drivers" sub-directory). If you are using an old version of the IDE (1.0.3 or older), choose the Uno's driver file named "Arduino UNO.inf" Windows will finish up the driver installation from there. See also: step-by-step screenshots for installing the Uno under Windows XP. Installing drivers for the Arduino Duemilanove, Nano, or Diecimila with Windows7, Vista, or XP: When you connect the board, Windows should initiate the driver installation process (if you haven't used the computer with an Arduino board before). On Windows Vista, the driver should be automatically downloaded and installed. (Really, it works!) On Windows XP, the Add New Hardware wizard will open: When asked Can Windows connect to Windows Update to search for software? select No, not this time. Click next. Select Install from a list or specified location (Advanced) and click next. Make sure that Search for the best driver in these locations is checked; uncheck Search removable media; check Include this location in the search and browse to the drivers/FTDI USB Drivers directory of the Arduino distribution. (The latest version of the drivers can be found on the FTDI website.) Click next. The wizard will search for the driver and then tell you that a "USB Serial Converter" was found. Click finish. The new hardware wizard will appear again. Go through the same steps and select the same options and location to search. This time, a "USB Serial Port" will be found. You can check that the drivers have been installed by opening the Windows Device Mananger (in the Hardware tab of System control panel). Look for a "USB Serial Port" in the Ports section; that's the Arduino board.

Note that some of the older ( none Uno boards) USB drivers are not 'signed' and may need additional instruction on how to add to windows 8.1

Yeah I've seen the getting started page. It's too much for the people I want to give this to. I was hoping either to find or write something that would do it automagically for them. So the guide would look like this:

1) Plug the board in 2) Double click install.exe 3) Double click app.exe

My tech-nots can handle that... I guess what I'm curious about is that on my Win7 machine I plugged the board in and installed the IDE. That's it. Did I get away with that because my win7 install didn't need a driver install?


Yeah I’ve seen the getting started page. It’s too much for the people I want to give this to. I was hoping either to find or write something that would do it automagically for them. So the guide would look like this:

  1. Plug the board in
  2. Double click install.exe
  3. Double click app.exe

My tech-nots can handle that… I guess what I’m curious about is that on my Win7 machine I plugged the board in and installed the IDE. That’s it. Did I get away with that because my win7 install didn’t need a driver install?


I can’t really answer that not being a Windows software guru type. I started with arduino back in the version 7 or 8 IDE days I think, and once your PC already has the needed USB drivers installed, upgrading the IDE does not require reinstalling USB drivers if you already have them installed into your machine. I did recently get a new computer with windows 8.1 and spend a lot of time on the web finding the work around of installing ‘unsigned’ drivers for FTDI, USBasp programmer, USBtiny USB driver, etc. but in the end it got done, abet with a lot of time and frustration on my part.

I do appreciate your problem/objective and a simple standalone .exe installation of arduino USB drivers would be a nice thing to have in ones ‘tool box’ if it is indeed possible. But keep in mind that the arduino platform supports multiple OSs and they have to publish installation instruction to support so many different PC, OS versions, and board types that it’s hard to see how to simplify the process for just a subset of user’s needs. But again there are gurus around here so maybe someone can help you with your desired objective.

Good luck

I hear you. This just isn't what I wanted to hear... This seems like it would be a fairly common issue. Maybe somebody out there has already dealt with it and will reply to this post.

Thanks Dave