How to enable Bluetooth on your computer

Bluetooth is a wireless personal network used for data transmission between devices such as keyboards, mice, gamepads, headphones, speakers, etc. The range and stability of the transmitted signal depend on the version of Bluetooth. Currently, Bluetooth 5.3 is available.

The most common question when purchasing wireless gadgets is how to turn on Bluetooth. Let's delve into this topic in more detail for devices compatible with personal computers and laptops.


Where to check for the presence of Bluetooth

The Bluetooth technology is available for both desktop computers and laptops. Special adapters are often used to implement Bluetooth connection on PCs. Bluetooth modules are sometimes built into the computer's motherboard, but this feature is considered an additional option and is fully implemented only in expensive boards.

Bluetooth modules can be internal or external. Internal adapters are installed in an m.2 slot with an E key and PCI Express. External modules are connected to USB. In both cases, it is possible to connect antennas to amplify the signal. Almost all modern laptops have Bluetooth technology available regardless of the device's cost. The main difference is the supported version of the technology and signal quality.

Drivers must be installed for Bluetooth modules to work. Modern versions of Windows on PCs can "pull" drivers from their own library or download them from the internet. For branded modules, such as Tp-Link, drivers can be downloaded from the manufacturer's official website. Below, we will explain how to check for installed drivers for each version of Windows.

Windows 7

Windows 7 was released in 2009. Despite the discontinuation of official support, it is still a popular operating system. According to open data, as of the end of 2022, Windows 7 users account for over 35%.

To check the installed Bluetooth driver, click on the "Start" icon, type "Device Manager" in the search field, and select the corresponding option from the top search results. In the Device Manager, find the "Bluetooth" item, open the device list by clicking the left mouse button. If everything is correct, the adapter and its name will be displayed without a question mark or exclamation mark. To reinstall, right-click on the device and select "Update Driver", then follow the instructions.

To enable Bluetooth on Windows 7, you need to:

  1. Click on the "Start" icon in the lower left corner, right-click once on the "Computer" option, and select "Properties".
  2. In the side menu, select "Device Manager", in the list, find the "Bluetooth Radios" line, and click on it once.
  3. In the opened list, the Bluetooth modules on this computer will be indicated. Usually, there is only one device. Right-click on it and select "Enable".
  4. Wait for 5-10 seconds for the device to turn on.

The second way to enable Bluetooth is to go to the taskbar, open the tray, click right-click on the Bluetooth icon, and click "Turn on adapter". In the off position, the icon is gray, and in the on position, it is blue.

Windows 8

Windows 8 was released in the fall of 2021 and was often used as a pre-installed operating system for laptops. It completely redesigned the familiar interface with the "Start" button in favor of mobile platforms and touch control, which raises many questions when it comes to enabling Bluetooth.

To check the driver for the Bluetooth module in Windows 8, use the key combination "Win + X" -> "Device Manager". Then, find the Bluetooth in the list, open the device list, and find the adapter. If everything is in order, the name will be displayed as "Bluetooth module" or "Bluetooth Adapter brand name". If there is a question mark next to the devices, right-click and reinstall the driver through automatic search or by selecting the driver from the hard drive.

To enable Bluetooth in Windows 8, you need to:

  1. Move the cursor to the right edge of the screen, select "Settings" in the sidebar, and go to "Change PC settings".
  2. In the left column, click on the "Network" section, and the subcategory - "Airplane mode". In the right part, find "Wireless devices", and next to Bluetooth, move the toggle switch to the on position.
  3. After that, go back to "PC Settings", section - "PC and devices". Select "Bluetooth", and the devices found nearby ready for connection will be displayed in the right part.

Windows 10

Windows 10 is the "popular" successor to Windows 7. The OS received many changes compared to the eighth version, both in terms of design and functionality, especially for gamers, in terms of compatibility with the Xbox ecosystem and Microsoft services.

To check the correctness of the installed driver for Bluetooth, go to "Start" -> "Settings", then enter "Device Manager" in the search field and click on the search result. Then, find Bluetooth and check the installed modules on the PC by pressing the corresponding key.

If the driver is installed correctly, the device brand with the label Wireless Bluetooth will be displayed without a question mark. To reinstall, right-click on the problematic device, select "Update Driver" -> "Automatically search for drivers".

To enable Bluetooth in Windows 10, do the following:

  • Click on the "Start" icon on the taskbar and go to "Settings" through the corresponding icon.
  • Select the section - "Devices", the first tab - "Bluetooth & other devices". Move the toggle switch to the right under the heading "Bluetooth".

To quickly turn Bluetooth on/off, as in the seventh version of the OS, it is available via the taskbar in the notification center. If the Bluetooth icon is gray, right-click and enable the function in the dropdown menu.

In some cases, the icon in the notification center may be unavailable. To do this, go directly to the notifications, right-click on an empty area, and click on "Edit", then click "Add" in the lower part and select Bluetooth.

Windows 11

Windows 11 was released in the summer of 2021 along with a new package of office programs. Although the eleventh version of the OS is based on its predecessor, the user interface has been redesigned, the browser has been updated, and many features have been added.

To check the correctness of the driver installation, go to "Device Manager". This can be done through "Start" -> "Settings" or through "Run" by opening the window with the key combination "Win + R". Enter the command without quotes - "devmgmt.msc" - in the field and press "Enter".

In the Device Manager, find Bluetooth, open the device list. If the driver is installed correctly, the module's name will be displayed as "Brand Name_Adapter" or "Brand Name_Wireless Bluetooth". To reinstall the driver, right-click -> "Update Driver" -> "Automatically ...". If the driver is stored on the PC, select "Search for drivers on this computer" and specify the path to it.

To enable Bluetooth in Windows 11, follow these steps:

  • Go to "Settings" through the "Start" menu in the center at the bottom of the screen, select the "Devices" section.
  • By default, the section - "Bluetooth & other devices" will be open. In the right part, turn on Bluetooth by moving the toggle switch to the corresponding position.

The second way to turn on Bluetooth is to click on the taskbar on the monitor icon with the cable (network connection), and in the small window, click "Bluetooth". By right-clicking, you can access the settings and enable the function in "Bluetooth & other devices".

How to enable Bluetooth on a laptop

As mentioned above, most laptop models are equipped with a built-in Bluetooth adapter, and the drivers for it should already be installed when purchased. If you have performed a reinstallation of the operating system, the drivers are usually stored on a reserved hard disk partition or can be downloaded from the manufacturer's official website.

This can be done from another PC or smartphone, and then transfer the files to the laptop. After installing, be sure to restart the laptop and go to the device manager using the key combination "Win + X". Another quick option is to press the combination - "Win + R", enter without quotes - "devmgmt.msc", and press Enter.

After that, make sure that the drivers are installed. Find Bluetooth in the list, open it, and check if the internal module is recognized. If the laptop comes with branded manufacturer utilities, you can enable Bluetooth through them. Some laptop models allow you to enable the function through "Fn + F1-F10". The full list of combinations should be specified in the laptop's user manual.

Aside from that, enabling Bluetooth on laptops is identical to desktop PCs, as they use the same operating systems. You can learn about the setup process for a specific version of Windows in the corresponding sections above.

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