FTDI recently submitted a couple of drivers to Microsoft for automatic update via Microsoft’s Windows update feature. The drivers work well, IF you are using a USB to RS232 converter that uses FTDI’s chip. If, however, you are using a ‘knock-off’ or a clone chip, these drivers will render them useless.
The drivers reprogram the PID to all zero’s and cause the devices using the cloned chip to appear as something other than an FTDI to the drivers. This makes them useless, even if used with older drivers or Linux.
FTDI has long been battling these cloned chips and this is the latest salvo. Previously, they just would not work with Windows 8.x if you used an 8.x driver. The 7.x drivers worked great under Windows 8.x and still do. Though, I think I have a converter using one of the cloned chips and Windows did, in fact, update that driver. Now, however, that particular device does not work with the old driver.
There is a recovery tool, available from FTDI, that fixes the issue, but if a newer driver is used again, you will have the same problem.
Microsoft reached out to FTDI and the drivers in question have been removed from Windows Update.
Thanks to reader Thomas Foster for bringing this to my attention.