Bluetooth devices have long been a staple part of desktop systems. Both Windows and Mac have supported Bluetooth connectivity and the list of Bluetooth devices you can connect to your PC is ever expanding. A Bluetooth device, when it works, works great. When it doesn’t work, the cause of the problem is hard to pin-point. If you’re having Bluetooth problems on Windows 10, here are a bunch of fixes you can try.
Basic Bluetooth Problems
The solutions below are for problems with Bluetooth devices. If the Bluetooth option is missing on Windows 10, check the linked article for a solution. Make sure you’ve connected the Bluetooth device correctly. If your Bluetooth problems are audio related, you will need to troubleshoot your sound devices as described in the linked article. You should also make sure your Bluetooth device is charged, is not undergoing a firmware update, and is in range. For other, generic Bluetooth problems, try the fixes listed below.
Both your computer, and your Bluetooth device must be discoverable. On Windows 10, if you’ve enabled Bluetooth your PC ought to be discoverable however Windows 10 has problems with how its settings are distributed. Some crucial settings are still in the Control Panel which is where you may have to enable device discoverability for your PC.
Open the Settings app and go to Device>Bluetooth. Scroll down and click ‘More Bluetooth options’. This will open the Bluetooth settings window. On the Options tab, you will see an option to allow the PC to be discoverable by other devices. This may fix problems if you’re unable to pair a phone but for devices like speakers, mouse, and keyboards this won’t be necessary.
The Bluetooth device will have similar settings. Bluetooth speakers and headphones will not need to be made discovereable but other devices like fitness trackers, smartwatches, and phones will. Check online to see how you can turn on discoverability for your Bluetooth device.
Bluetooth Service Is Running
Bluetooth runs as a service on your PC. If you’ve tinkered a bit too much Windows services you might have accidentally turned the service off. It’s also possible that a poorly developed app, or an overly zealous anti-virus decided that the Bluetooth service was a problem. Regardless, check and make sure the service is running.
Tap Win+R and in the run box, enter the following;
Look for all Bluetooth services (the list is alphabetically sorted), and make sure they’re all running. If they aren’t, right-click a service and select ‘Run’ from the context menu.
With drivers, it’s a little tricky. If you never downloaded and installed device specific drivers for your system, you’re probably running generic Windows drivers for Bluetooth. They may have limited your device or caused it to not work correctly. Look for Bluetooth drivers specifically for your system. You will need to go to your laptop/desktop manufacturer’s website and search for them.
Likewise, Bluetooth drivers that you installed from your system manufacturer may not have updated as regularly as they should have. In this case, it’s best to uninstall the drivers, and allow Windows 10 to install the generic ones. You can uninstall drivers from the Device Manager. You will need administrative rights to do this.
Pairing & Connecting
It’s important to understand the difference between pairing and connecting a Bluetooth device. When you pair a device, you let your PC know that you trust this device. It identifies the device with a specific ID. Likewise, your Bluetooth device knows that it’s paired with specific PC and it won’t easily allow other devices to connect to it.
Connecting a Bluetooth device means your device has an active connection with your PC. If your Bluetooth device has paired correctly, you may need to connect it. Open the Active Center and click the Connect button to list all available, in-range, Bluetooth devices. Select a device to connect to it.