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Frequently Asked Questions -- Page 1
Will VCDS work with my car?
will work with most Volkswagen and
Audi models sold
through the current model year. It will work with some cars all the way back to model
year 1990. It will also work with most late-model
Skoda models sold in markets other than North
America. If your VW or Audi has a
style" Data Link Connector, VCDS will definitely
work. If your car has the old "2x2"
Data Link Connection, check if there is a wire going to each pin, as
shown in the picture. If there are four wires, VCDS
should work with any diagnostics-capable modules that are present. If there are only three
wires, then nothing in the car is diagnostics-capable.. Please see
these Application Charts
where you can select your model and see which modules can communicate
with VCDS. Also see the Issues page for a few things that may not work as
expected. If in doubt,
Will VCDS work even if my car is "chipped"?
Yes. If it doesn't work in a "chipped" car, the chip-vendor did
something seriously wrong! Chips from reputable vendors do not interfere
with diagnostic functions so if the factory scan tools can "talk" to the
ECU, then VCDS should be able to as well.
1.3 What functions are included in
the current release?
Please see the Function
Chart for the current feature set. We strive to keep VCDS
updated to work with the latest vehicles and functions. The objective is
to allow users to perform the same diagnostic functions that are
performed by the VW/Audi factory scan tools, using instructions found in
the factory repair manuals.
1.4 What are the computer requirements?
A computer running
Microsoft Windows. A Laptop, Netbook or Tablet computer is best, but a desktop PC
can also be used.
With a Serial
interface: As of VCDS Release 11.x, we recommend at least
a 500 MHz Pentium-II (or AMD equivalent) with 128 MB of RAM and Windows 2000 or newer.
Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8 are all fine. As of
Release 10, we no longer support Windows 95, 98, ME or NT4.
With a USB interface:
We recommend at least a 1 GHz Pentium-III (or AMD equivalent) with 256
MB of RAM and Windows XP or newer.
Vista, 7, or 8 use a machine robust enough to properly support the operating system.
VCDS may work on
some lesser PCs, but machines with specs lower than the above recommendations are "unsupported" meaning if it doesn't work, please
don't ask us for help.
disk-space should be a non-issue on any PC made in the last 10 years;
VCDS requires less than 100 MB.
Screen resolution can be as low as
640x480, but 800x600 or more is recommended.
you are using a power supply for a laptop, it should be one
specifically designed for that purpose, NOT a "universal" adapter.
Systems running Windows in a
virtualized environment (for example Virtual PC on a Mac) are not supported. See also Question 1.8.
Should I get a Serial or a USB interface?
This depends primarily on the PC
you're planning to use:
If you're using a modern PC running
Windows XP or newer, then you should probably get a USB interface. Although USB interfaces are no faster than
serial versions, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find new PCs with serial ports, so a USB interface is more
If you're using a PC running an
older version of Windows or with a CPU speed of less than 1GHz, we
recommend a Serial interface. Obviously a serial interface
requires a Serial Port
which looks like this:
Observe the port we surrounded with
oval. Notice the 9 male pins? That's a Serial port. Observe the port circled and crossed in
Notice the 15 female pins? That is a Monitor port and will not work!
Many generic USB<->Serial converters are
unable to handle the baud rate and timing requirements that are
demanded by some control modules using the VAG protocols. If you
wish to use a USB<->Serial converter, we recommend that you get one with
an FT232B or FT232R chipset.
It is essential to configure the virtual COM port that it creates to be
in the range of COM1 to COM4, and to set the Latency timer to 2.
See this screen-shot as a guide
to configuring these devices. Please understand, this is a
recommendation only; if you purchase your own USB<->Serial converter,
please do not expect us to support it.
For registered users with HEX-COM or HEX-COM+CAN interfaces,
we can supply a modified FT232B based
USB<->Serial converter, which is
compatible with the "Direct" drivers provided
with VCDS version 10.6 and newer, and is fully
supported by us. Once "married" to your
interface, these converters provide the exact
same functionality as our HEX-USB or HEX-USB+CAN
interfaces. However, this "marriage" requires a
revised license to be loaded in the interface,
so the initial installation is not just
plug-an-play. This makes us reluctant to put
them in our web-store. If you are registered user with
a HEX-COM or HEX-COM+CAN interface and no longer
have a PC with a serial port, please
contact our Sales
1.6 What if the PC I wish to use with VCDS doesn't
have Internet access?
Except for the Pro-Kit,
our software is provided to you via our download
page, rather than a disk, so you will need a way to
transfer the Self-Installing EXE file
to the PC that you will be using with VCDS. The file fits easily on a
removable USB drive and can also be burned onto a CD-R or CD-RW. Make
sure that you do not run the EXE file until you have copied it onto
the PC where you would like VCDS to be installed. Since software
updates are provided only through our website, you should plan on
repeating this transfer process to keep current. You do not need to be
connected to the Internet while using VCDS.
Can I use VCDS on a desktop computer?
Yes, but you
will probably need an extension cable for your interface if the PC
is more than 6 feet from the car's diagnostic port..
Serial extension cables 15' (3m) length. You can extend a Serial
interface up to 50'. See the Accessories
section of our Store for pricing.
We stock a
16-ft Active USB Extension.
You can extend a USB interface up to 32' with two of these.
We do not sell or support any other brands or models of USB
extensions. If you have problems with a different brand of USB extension, the first thing
we're going to tell you is to eliminate the extension.
there be a Mac or Linux version?
There will be no "native" Mac or Linux versions. The time and effort
required to "port" VCDS to these platforms would
never be worthwhile.
Linux (Serial versions only, no reports of
USB versions working)
One person has gotten VCDS running under Linux using WINE --
here for details.
A much more recent one: HOW-TO
Install VCDS in Ubuntu Linux using Wine
IBM/Motorola Power-PC based Macs using Virtual PC vary. Some people have gotten it to work, but sample rates tend to
be poor and the sessions tend to drop frequently. This is likely inherent in the overhead and latency inherent
in the virtualized environment. Some people have not gotten it to work at all.
Reports from numerous users indicate that VCDS works perfectly on the latest Intel-based Macs when these run Windows XP natively using
We've had a few reports that VCDS does not work with Windows Vista
under Boot Camp. Reports from people using Parallels
are less favorable, most people who've tried this have not been able to
get it to work at all, especially with Parallels builds lower than
The bottom line:
We do not consider any of these to be
"Supported" platforms for VCDS. If you can get
work on one of these platforms, great. But if it doesn't
work, please don't expect us to be able to help you.
1.9 Will there be a
version for iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone 7?
We are not planning to make
a native "Application" for any of these platforms. Instead,
we are working on an approach to support modern mobile devices in
a completely platform independent way. We've made pretty
good progress on this project
recently, but we do not yet have a firm date when it will be available.
Rest assured that we won't keep it a secret when it's ready!
In the meanwhile, the most portable way to
run VCDS is to use a
Netbook PC. These are small enough to fit in your glove box and cost
less than a typical smart phone. Current ones usually come
with Windows 7 Starter Edition, and VCDS works fine with this.
Older ones normally came with XP-Home and VCDS works fine on that as
1.10 What's the difference between VCDS and an OBD-II Scan-Tool?
OBD-II is a government mandated diagnostic protocol that is primarily
aimed at diagnosing emissions-related problems. An OBD-II
scan tool will work in many different brands of cars. VCDS uses VW's
proprietary diagnostic protocol and and is only designed and supported
for use in VW/Audi vehicles. Although you can use an OBD-II Scan Tool in an OBD-II
compliant (1996 or newer) VW or Audi, an OBD-II Scan Tool can only talk
to the engine, not the numerous other "intelligent" systems in
the car. Want to reprogram your central locks or your
Radio? Diagnose a problem with your ABS, Airbags, or Automatic
Transmission? Re-align your Immobilizer after swapping
ECU's? Reset your Service Reminder Indicators?
Communicate with a pre-1996 model (not OBD-II compliant) car? An
OBD-II Scan-Tool can't do any of these things. Please see our
OBD-II Page for information on
using the Generic OBD-II function in VCDS. Want some reasons to
over a generic OBD-II scan tool? See this
Real World Comparison.
1.11 Can I use VCDS to roll back my electronic odometer?
VCDS cannot be used to change odometer readings, with one exception:
The odometer reading on a brand new instrument cluster (with less than
100 km / 62 miles on it) can be increased, one time only. Of course, this assumes that the
instrument cluster is new enough cluster to be "diagnostics capable";
as a general rule most 1998 and newer instrument clusters are.
1.12 Can I use VCDS to "Flash" the chip in my ECU?
No, we have
investigated flashing, but found that there are several different
methods of encryption for various VW/Audi vehicles, as well as delicate
licensing issues to overcome. Therefore, we do not intend to pursue
flashing any further at this time. You cannot alter boost, timing,
fueling, rev limiter, or speed limiter with VCDS. You should contact
a chiptuner if you wish to have those parameters altered.
1.13 Is there anything else I need to make full
use of VCDS?
A good Repair Manual containing the the "Native"
Scan-Tool procedures for your car. VCDS is a tool, not an
on-line service manual. We could not possibly document everything you
can do with it in every year and model of VW/Audi that VCDS can be
In the USA, VW/Audi provides
online fee-based factory repair information through the
Through model year 2008 for US and Canadian
market VW and Audi models, you can also purchase DVD
Repair Manuals by
Robert Bentley Publishers. This
may be a more cost-effective solution for owners of a single
year/model compared to the erWin subscriptions. Please note that Bentley also has some publications called
"Service Manuals". These tend to be less complete than the Official Factory Repair manuals and are
not recommended for use with VCDS.
Since the above
sources of repair information only applies to US/Canadian vehicles, if your car is
European-spec or from the rest of the World, they may be of little use
For Rest-of-World VW,
Audi, and SEAT manuals, check
Skoda manuals, check
1.14 Will VCDS work on Windows Vista
and Windows 7?
Yes, all current versions of
VCDS and VCDS-Lite are fully compatible with Windows 7.
If you're using an old version that isn't, please update.
1.15 Will VCDS work on
Yes, all current versions
of VCDS and VCDS-Lite are fully compatible with Windows 8.
If you're using an old version that isn't, please update.
1.16 Will VCDS work on Microsoft Surface tablets?
We are expecting Microsoft to
release two versions of
these tablets, "Surface" and "Surface Pro". The regular
"Surface" tablets will be based on
CPUs running "Windows
RT" and will have no compatibility with normal Windows x86 programs.
The regular Windows-based version VCDS will not
work on these, but
VCDS-Mobile should, once it's available. The "Surface Pro" tablets
will use Intel CPUs and
Windows 8 Pro, and we expect that
VCDS will work fine on them, but we can't give any iron-clad
guarantees until we've actually had a chance to test on
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