Getting Started with Arduino and Genuino on Windows

This document explains how to connect your Arduino board to the computer and upload your first sketch.

1 | Get an Arduino or Genuino board and USB cable

In this tutorial, we assume you're using an Arduino or Genuino Uno or an Arduino or Genuino Mega 2560. If you are using a retired board as Arduino Duemilanove, Nano or Diecimila please refer to the driver installation instructions end of this document. If you have another board, read the corresponding page linked in the main getting started page.

You also need a standard USB cable (A plug to B plug): the kind you would connect to a USB printer, for example.

2 | Download and install the Arduino Software (IDE)

Get the latest version from the download page. You can choose between the Installer (.exe) and the Zip packages. We suggest you use the first one that installs directly everything you need to use the Arduino Software (IDE), including the drivers. With the Zip package you need to install the drivers manually.

When the download finishes, proceed with the installation and please allow the driver installation process.

Choose the components to install

Choose the installation directory (we suggest to keep the default one)

The process will extract and install all the required files to execute properly the Arduino Software (IDE)

3 | Connect the board

The USB connection with the PC is necessary to program the board and not just to power it up. The Uno and Mega automatically draw power from either the USB or an external power supply. Connect the board to your computer using the USB cable. The green power LED (labelled PWR) should go on.

4 | Install the board drivers

If you used the Installer, Windows - from XP up to 10 - will install drivers automatically as soon as you connect your board.

If you downloaded and expanded the Zip package or, for some reason, the board wasn't properly recognized, please follow the procedure below.

  • Click on the Start Menu, and open up the Control Panel.
  • While in the Control Panel, navigate to System and Security. Next, click on System. Once the System window is up, open the Device Manager.
  • Look under Ports (COM & LPT). You should see an open port named "Arduino UNO (COMxx)". If there is no COM & LPT section, look under "Other Devices" for "Unknown Device".
  • Right click on the "Arduino UNO (COmxx)" port and choose the "Update Driver Software" option.
  • Next, choose the "Browse my computer for Driver software" option.
  • Finally, navigate to and select the driver file named "arduino.inf", located in the "Drivers" folder of the Arduino Software download (not the "FTDI USB Drivers" sub-directory). If you are using an old version of the IDE (1.0.3 or older), choose the Uno driver file named "Arduino UNO.inf"
  • Windows will finish up the driver installation from there.

See also: step-by-step screenshots for installing the Uno under Windows XP.

5 | Launch the Arduino Software (IDE)

Double-click the Arduino icon (arduino.exe) created by the installation process. (Note: if the Arduino Software loads in the wrong language, you can change it in the preferences dialog. See the Arduino Software (IDE) page for details.)

6 | Open the blink example

Open the LED blink example sketch: File > Examples >01.Basics > Blink.

7 | Select your board

You'll need to select the entry in the Tools > Board menu that corresponds to your Arduino or Genuino board.

Selecting an Arduino/Genuino Uno

Details of the board menu entries are available on the environment page.

8 | Select your serial port

Select the serial device of the board from the Tools | Serial Port menu. This is likely to be COM3 or higher (COM1 and COM2 are usually reserved for hardware serial ports). To find out, you can disconnect your board and re-open the menu; the entry that disappears should be the Arduino or Genuino board. Reconnect the board and select that serial port.

9 | Upload the program

Now, simply click the "Upload" button in the environment. Wait a few seconds - you should see the RX and TX leds on the board flashing. If the upload is successful, the message "Done uploading." will appear in the status bar.


A few seconds after the upload finishes, you should see the pin 13 (L) LED on the board start to blink (in orange). If it does, congratulations! You've gotten Arduino or Genuino up-and-running. If you have problems, please see the troubleshooting suggestions.

R | Retired boards installation

Installing drivers for the Arduino Duemilanove, Nano, or Diecimila with Windows7, Vista, or XP:

When you connect the board, Windows should initiate the driver installation process (if you haven't used the computer with an Arduino board before).

On Windows Vista, the driver should be automatically downloaded and installed. (Really, it works!)

On Windows XP, the Add New Hardware wizard will open:

  • When asked Can Windows connect to Windows Update to search for software? select No, not this time. Click next.
  • Select Install from a list or specified location (Advanced) and click next.
  • Make sure that Search for the best driver in these locations is checked; uncheck Search removable media; check Include this location in the search and browse to the drivers/FTDI USB Drivers directory of the Arduino distribution. (The latest version of the drivers can be found on the FTDI website.) Click next.
  • The wizard will search for the driver and then tell you that a "USB Serial Converter" was found. Click finish.
  • The new hardware wizard will appear again. Go through the same steps and select the same options and location to search. This time, a "USB Serial Port" will be found.

You can check that the drivers have been installed by opening the Windows Device Mananger (in the Hardware tab of System control panel). Look for a "USB Serial Port" in the Ports section; that's the Arduino board.

You might also want to look at:

  • the examples for using various sensors and actuators
  • the reference for the Arduino language



Last revision 15/02/2016 by SM

The text of the Arduino getting started guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Code samples in the guide are released into the public domain.

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