I am about to be in my window (no pun intended) to get a new laptop from my employer.
I have been stung by the failure of my Belkin USB-to-Serial adapter to send Ctrl-Break to Cisco routers for password recovery twice in the last year. I would like to order a laptop with a fully-functional serial port. I have looked through the Lenovo (employer's preferred brand) and did not find any models that have a serial port.
I would be interested to hear from peers who have a laptop with a serial port and what brand and model it is. I could really care less about the rest of the laptop. I use my home PC for multimedia and gaming.
Some of the HP "business laptops" have a serial port, but they are becoming quite rare. Check to see if your USB adapters support break, a lot of them do.
Even all of the people at Cisco use USB-only laptops at this point!
This is one of the models that has been successfully used inside Cisco: http://www.cymaxstores.com/CODi-USB-to-Serial-Adapter-Cable-A01026.htm
The community at http://www.conserver.com/ spends a lot of time discussing these kinds of issues.
Things like this work well...use the PCMCIA bus to drive your serial port. The usb drivers for the dongles are often pretty poor.
http://www.usbgear.com/USB-SERIAL-ADAPTER-1x-Serial-PCMCIA.html (look at the card adapters)
Hope that helps...
Are you saying that you have never been able to send a break signal using your Belkin USB-to-Serial adapter, or that intermittently you are unable to do so. If intermittently, were you using the same terminal software at the time of failure, as you were at the time of success?
The key stroke combination required to send a Break Signal depends on the terminal emulator in use.
The following document provides a list of key stroke combinations for common applications, and describes "how to simulate a break signal".
Standard Break Key Sequence Combinations During Password Recovery
If using PuTTY, you would right-click on the title bar, click Special Command, and then click Break.