Problems Hooking Up?

Although interactive realtime is becoming more and more popular with our clients, I still hear attorneys complain that they do not bother using it because they have struggled “hooking up” in the past with the reporter.    We’ve been lucky – I say that loosely since there is quite a skill to it – to have an almost perfect hook-up rate.  What I always tell clients and reporters is the problem is usually the misidentification of a COM port.  With any interactive realtime, the reporter on his/her end must first identify the COM port that the realtime text is being output to for viewing, and the attorney on the receive laptop would likewise need to identify the COM port that would receive the realtime text.  

To determine which COM port is in use, you need to go to Device Manager.   To do so, do the following:

  • Click on “Start” or right click on “My Computer”   
  • Click on “Control Panel”
  • Click on “System”
  • Click on “Hardware” tab and open “Device Manager”


  • Right click on “My Computer”
  • Click on “Properties”
  • Click on “Hardware” tab and open “Device Manager”

Then to determine the COM port assignment in “Device Manager,” do the following:

  • Scroll down to Ports (COM & LPT)
  • Click on + sign next to COM & LPT
  • From the list of COM ports in use, identify the one assigned to your USB-to-serial adapter
  • COM port assigned is in parens next to adapter ID

Remember, you will need to check each computer and then adjust the COM port setting accordingly. 

Interactive realtime can be a great tool.  If you are struggling to “hook up,” first try checking the COM ports.  In my experience, that’s usually the problem.

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