How can I tell if my USB to serial adapter is installed and what com port it is assigned

The easiest way to tell if your USB device is installed and ready to use is through the device manager.  On most operating systems since Windows 7 you can click on the start menu and start typing "Device Manager".

A sure way to open the Device Manager on all operating systems since Windows XP is to press the Windows Key which is usually between the left "Ctrl" and "Alt" key and then the "R" key.  This will bring up the following Run dialog.  Type "devmgmt.msc" in the Open field then press "OK".



If your device is not ready to use then the folder to the device will already be open such as the image below



If you device is ready to use then it will not be easily found and causes many people to think it is not installed properly.  Open up the "Ports (COM & LPT)" folder to see your USB to serial adapter.  If it is in this folder then it is installed and ready to us.  You can also discover it's com port here which is COM5 in our case.