Now, I tried programming the mini by connecting the pins in this order: Rx -> tx, tx-> rx, VCC -> 5V, GND -> GND, DTR -> DTR
The computer detected the USB to Serial converter after I installed the drivers manually. However, the Arduino IDE failed to program the Arduino Mini every single time, even after I swapped the TX, RX pins.
I tried to program the Arduino Mini using an Arduino Uno (I removed the onboard Atmel Atmega microcontroller on the Uno before programming). I connected the pins in this order: TX->TX, RX->RX, 5V-> VCC, GND-> GND, RST -> DTR. From the IDE, I chose Arduino Pro Mini (5V, 16Mhz).
The Mini was programmed successfully this time.
My question: What was wrong with the USB to Serial converter? Why couldn't it program the Arduino Mini with the USB to Serial Converter?