Slow Arduino IDE

  • Up until a few days ago, I’d been doing most of my Arduino development on my desktop (XP). Recently, I’ve started drafting more ideas on the go with my laptop (Vista). The problem I encountered on the laptop, which I never had on the desktop, was that the Arduino IDE was running painfully slow. It took about 30 seconds to start up, and any time I accessed the “tools” menu, it would hang for another 20 seconds. Boo!

    After doing some research, I came across this thread on the Arduino forums. Reading on that thread and in other posts on the forums, it’s apparent that this is not an uncommon problem. Apparently it has to do with the rxtx library which the IDE uses to scan and manipulate COM ports, and is caused generally by the fact that the IDE is a cross-platform project but that Windows (particularly Vista) has more problems than most other platforms.

    The fact that my laptop has bluetooth (I use a BT mouse and headphones) only compounds the problem. Bluetooth is something of a serial comm resource hog, but it’s also something I basically need — I can’t run Eagle without my mouse. Turning it off every time I run the Arduino IDE is not an option.

    Thankfully, Arduino forum member eried did us all a great favor in isolating and solving the problem.

    Here’s a link to the “fixed” rxtxSerial.dll file (wrapped in a rar). All you need to do is swap it in for the existing rxtxSerial.dll file in the Arduino directory, and you’re good to go!

    UPDATE — 12 July, 2014: I have used this method on a new computer running Win7/64-bit and Arduino 1.0.5 and it still works. Also, I’ve mirrored the file for the fix on my server, in case the original becomes unavailable. All credit still goes to eried for the original patch!