The little icon in the drop down list has nothing at all with being connected to some instrument or anything else. The icon means that a VISA session is open to that resource. With a com port, you open a resource to that and an instrument does not have to be connected. In fact, there is no way to tell if you actually have an instrument connected unless you do an actual read from the instrument.
Good to know.
So is there a way to programmatically get that list of com port numbers that are displayed in the VISA IO control?