Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows you to connect devices together. On Windows 10, you can use Bluetooth to pair your keyboard, phone, speakers, and more.
Bluetooth is great when it works, but you might run into problems trying to pair your device to a Windows 10 system. We’ll show you how to fix that pairing issue.
Check if your device has Bluetooth
This may sound silly, but it’s easy to mistakenly assume that a device has Bluetooth. Check the product specifications of your device look for the Bluetooth logo on the packaging. If you can’t find a reference to it, chances are it doesn’t support Bluetooth and should instead be connected via Wi-Fi or cable.
If your Windows 10 computer doesn’t have Bluetooth, don’t worry. You can buy an inexpensive Bluetooth adapter that is small and plugs into a USB slot.
Make sure Bluetooth is Enabled
Your device doesn’t have to turn on Bluetooth by default.
On Windows 10, press Window key + A to open Action Center. Make sure the Bluetooth tile is highlighted and on. Otherwise, click the tile to activate it. If you don’t see the Bluetooth tile, click Expand. While you’re here, double-check that Flight mode is disabled as this turns off Bluetooth.
Alternatively, press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to Devices > Bluetooth & other devices and toggle Bluetooth to On.
The device you want to pair will have its own method of enabling it, so check the documentation. There may even be a physical switch to enable Bluetooth.
Check Bluetooth Service Status
Bluetooth is a service on Windows 10. It must be turned on as part of the above process. But it’s always best to check again.
Press Windows key + R to open Run and input services.msc. The list is sorted by name alphabetically, so look for anything starting with Bluetooth.
Double click each and check the Service status. If it shows as Stopped, click Start to run it.
Make Your System Discoverable
Confusingly, Windows 10’s settings are still fragmented, and this also applies to Bluetooth.
The setting to make your PC discoverable by other Bluetooth devices is not what you expected. Press Windows key + I and go to Devices > More Bluetooth options.
Check Allow Bluetooth devices to find this PC and click OK. This isn’t necessary if you want to pair something like a mouse or keyboard, but it can be helpful for pairing devices like cell phones.
Reposition Your Device
Bluetooth has limited range. Specific values vary, but in a home setting, it’s roughly ten meters. It can be greatly reduced by physical barriers such as walls.
Thus, make sure the device you want to pair to your computer is turned on, fully charged, and in close proximity to your Windows 10 system.
Also, make sure it’s not too close to other devices using the USB 3.0 port. Unprotected USB devices can sometimes interfere with the Bluetooth connection.
Disable Other Bluetooth Devices
Technically, you don’t need to disable other Bluetooth devices, but they may cause interference when you try to pair a new device.
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To disable it, press Windows key + I to open Settings and click Devices. In turn, click each Bluetooth device and click Remove device > Yes
Of course, remember to pair these devices again if you still need them.
Read Event Log
In June 2019, Microsoft patched Windows 10 to protect against Bluetooth security vulnerabilities. However, it causes some Bluetooth devices to experience connectivity issues.
You can see if this has an impact on you. Press Windows key + X and click Event Viewer. Under Summary of Administrative Events, expand Errors and look for the following:
- Event ID: 22
- Event Source: BTHUSB or BTHMINI
- Name: BTHPORT_DEBUG_LINK_KEY_NOT_ALLOWED
- Event Message Text: Your Bluetooth device attempted to establish a debug connection. Windows Bluetooth stack does not allow debug connections when not in debug mode.
If you see this, Microsoft recommends contacting the manufacturer of your Bluetooth device to see if they have created a patch. Otherwise, you may need to purchase a completely new Bluetooth device.
Check Windows Update
We recommend updating Windows to take advantage of the latest security features and patches. This can help resolve issues with Bluetooth.
Windows 10 will automatically update, but you can manually check for and install updates. To do this, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Update & Security and click Check for updates.
Your system will already be running the latest version, or it will start downloading and installing a new patch.
Your Bluetooth driver may be outdated. This will often happen if you recently updated Windows 10.
To check for driver updates, press Windows key + X and click Device Manager. Open Bluetooth and right click the adapter.
Click Update driver > Search automatically for updated driver software. Follow the instructions. Once the drivers are updated, restart your system.
If this process doesn’t find any drivers, check your manufacturer’s website and download them from there. If it’s an EXE file, open it and follow the instructions.
Or, it’s another format, such as INF or SYS, follow the instructions above to update via Device Manager, but select Browse my computer for driver software when prompted. Browse to what you just downloaded, select a location, click OK, then Next to see the guide to the end. Restart your computer when finished.
Run the Bluetooth Troubleshooter
Windows 10 has a built-in Bluetooth troubleshooter. It will detect the problem and automatically try to fix it.
To run it, press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Bluetooth > Run the troubleshooter. Follow the instructions.
It should fix the problems it finds, but some of them may require your manual action.
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