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My computer is running Windows 8.1, and as a back up to my chartplotter I am running OpenCPN chartware.  However, a brand new Globalsat BU-353 GPS 'mouse or dongle' would not talk to OpenCPN and therefore no boat position would show on screen. 

Internet searches showed the BU-353 is fitted with a Prolific PL2303HXA chipset which is not supported by Windows 8 and later.

Below is the workaround that I used to get the GPS data transferred to OpenCPN software.


PL2303HXA/XA Windows 8 Update Driver Installation


How to Update Driver to Support PL2303HXA/XA in Windows 8 Operating Systems



a)  USB Device with embedded PL2303HX (Rev A) or PL2303X (Rev A) chip version

b)  Driver Installer & Build date: 1.5.0 (10/21/2011)

c)  Windows Vista/7 (32 & 64-bit) Driver: v3.4.25.218 (Compatible with Windows 8)


What You Need to Know About PL2303HXA/XAin Windows 8

PL2303HXA/XA has already discontinued (EOL) and will not be supported in Windows 8 with the new PL-2303 Windows 8 WHQL driver (Installer v1.7.0 and above). The PL2303HXA/XA device will not install properly and will show a yellow mark (Error Code 10) in Windows 8 Device Manager. Windows 8 will also automatically download the latest driver using Windows Update if the computer has an Internet connection.

The workaround solution is to manually roll-back the latest driver to an older driver version (Driver Installer v1.5.0 & Driver v3.4.25.218) that is compatible with the PL2303HXA/XA in Windows 8. You would also need to turn off Windows Update to make sure Windows does not automatically update the driver again. (Windows Update is enabled by default.)

Note that Prolific has also discontinued technical support for PL2303HXA/XA chip versions. So the old driver workaround is AS IS and will not be provided support.


How to Update or Roll-Back the Driver for PL2303HXA/XA in Windows 8

1. Unplug first the USB device (PL2303HXA/XA). Power on your computer and boot to Windows8. If you have installed the latest PL2303 Windows Driver Installer program, you will need to uninstall or remove it first from Control Panel.

2. Press Start button and type "Control Panel". Click Control Panel when found.

Or open Explorer folder and pull down folder menu to look for Control Panel.

3. Click Uninstall a program under Control Panel-Programs.

4. Check if "PL-2303 USB-to-Serial" (version 1.7.0) is installed. Click Uninstall to remove the driver.

5. Run or double-click the PL-2303 Windows Driver Installer v1.5.0 program.  (You can download the driver by copying and pasting PL2303_Prolific_DriverInstaller_v1.5.0 in Google search bar.)   Do not plug-in the USB device yet.  Unplug the device from the USB port before running the driver installation.

6. The Install Shield Wizard will be displayed to inform you that the PL-2303 USB-to-Serial driver will be installed on your computer. Click Next to continue.

7. The PL-2303 Driver Installer program will then start to install the drivers needed. Click the Finish button to close the Install Shield program.

8. Go to Control Panel-Programs again. Click Uninstall a program under Programs. Now check if "PL-2303 USB-to-Serial"(v1.5.0) is installed.

9. Go to Device Manager. Press Start button and type "Device Manager" and click Settings to find Device Manager. Or right-click Properties My Computer to go to Device Manager.

10. Plug-in the USB device (PL2303HXA/XA) to the USB port. If the PC is connected to the Internet, Windows will first check Windows Update for new driver available. It will download the new driver instead which is not compatible with PL2303HXA/XA and will show a yellow mark (error code 10) for "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port" in Device Manager.

11. To roll-back the driver to the compatible old driver version, right-click "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port" and click "Update Driver Software…"

12. Click "Browse my computer for driver software" to locate and install driver software manually.

13. Because the old driver has already been installed, you just click the bottom option "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer "to show the list of installed driver software compatible with the device.

14. From the list of installed drivers, look for the driver version [10/7/2011], click it to select and click Next to continue.

15. Windows will then install the old driver back to the system.

16. Wait until Windows has successfully updated your driver software. Click Close when finished.

17. You will now see the "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port" is installed properly. Right-click Properties the device again to confirm the driver version is the old compatible version.

18. You may now run your software and set the assigned COM port number.

How to Turn-Off Windows Update

To make sure Windows does not update the driver to a newer version, you will need to disable Windows Update. Note, however, that would affect all devices driver updates. If you want to run Windows Update, you would need to unplug the USB PL2303HXA/XA device first.

1. Right-click Properties My Computer. Click Advanced system settings.

2. Click Hardware tab, and Device Installation Settings.

3. Click "No, let me choose what to do" and click "Never installed driver software from Windows Update."  Click Save Changes.


You will now need to manually check for Windows updates on a once a week basis.


 1.  Go to Control Panel and click System Security.

2.  Click Windows Update


I hope the above is helpful for anyone experiencing the same problems I was having.  Good luck.


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