If your computer doesn’t have Bluetooth built-in, you’ll need to enable it. If your computer has Bluetooth, but your Bluetooth headphones and accessories are old enough to have a better experience, you should upgrade them. The good news is that this is easy to do and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on the project. Even better, the difference between adding Bluetooth to an existing computer and upgrading existing Bluetooth is that you only need to add one step.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a technology standard that allows electrical devices to communicate wirelessly across short distances. Bluetooth devices do not require a line of sight to communicate since the technology uses radio frequencies instead of the infrared spectrum used by conventional remote controllers.

How to Add Bluetooth to Your PC: Here are 4 ways to connect Bluetooth to your computer

Step 1: Purchase a Bluetooth USB dongle.

You don’t need much to follow this tutorial. Make sure your computer has a USB port available before installing a Bluetooth radio, and if you need one, think about getting a good USB hub or USB extension card.

The Kinivo BTD-400 is now compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 dongles like the TP-Link Bluetooth 5.0 USB Adapter, offering all Bluetooth 5.0 features and backward compatibility. Other solutions include using a MiniPCI slot with a laptop’s Bluetooth/WiFi module, but these can cause issues. Desktops can use a PCI Wi-Fi card with built-in Bluetooth, making USB-based solutions less effective.

Step 2: Install the Bluetooth dongle

When you install a USB key in Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows 11, the process is very simple. Just log in right away. Windows automatically installs Broadcom Bluetooth drivers for dongles, but older versions or USB keys not recognized require Bluetooth driver installation. You’ll know your computer needs a driver when, after turning on the wheel, the Device Manager window appears like this:

Depending on your version of Windows, the “missing” Bluetooth dongle or card may appear as a generic item in the Other Devices section of Device Manager, or it may be identified as a Bluetooth dongle or card. Windows can detect what the hardware is, but it can’t initialize it, so it appears as a “generic Bluetooth radio”.

In either case, you should visit the manufacturer’s website to download the appropriate drivers. Download drivers for two USB switches from Kinivo or TP-Link’s respective pages, depending on your operating system (32-bit or 64-bit Windows), and run the installer.

Step 3: Turn off the old Bluetooth device during the update

Connecting Bluetooth to a computer without a connector or an older removable device can skip this step. If a Bluetooth 5.0 dongle or upgrade card connects to an existing Bluetooth radio, disable it. In Windows Device Manager, find the Bluetooth radio you want to disable, right-click it, and select Disable Device.

It’s important to select “Erase device” instead of “Erase device” because you don’t want Windows to find and reinstall the device. You want Windows to recognize the device and ignore it. It is also useful to leave it installed so you can use it when needed. For example, let’s say you discover 30 minutes before your flight departs that your laptop doesn’t have an updated Bluetooth dongle.

Once you have everything installed, you can go to Device Manager and turn on your existing Bluetooth radio. This is correct. Bluetooth 4.0 may not be perfect these days, but old Bluetooth is better than no Bluetooth at all.

Step 4: Pair your devices

Now that the dongle is installed, you can pair your devices. For now, it’s a good idea to turn on your device and make sure it’s in pairing mode. (We’re not complaining about Bluetooth because it doesn’t notice devices that aren’t in pairing mode, but that’s at the top of the list of reasons.)
After inserting the connector and installing the appropriate drivers, a Bluetooth icon will appear in the system tray, as shown in the screenshot below. Selecting “Connect Bluetooth Device” from the context menu will cause the icon to right-click.

Connecting Bluetooth devices to your Windows computer is straightforward and hasn’t changed much over the years. Follow these steps depending on your Windows version. Control your devices by going to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > View Devices and Printers or opening the Bluetooth menu from the system tray.

FAQs on How to Add Bluetooth to Your PC:

What’s the Bluetooth shortcut key?

Win + K: While this function is in Windows 10, it now opens the Cast menu in Windows 11. Enter the following command to open the entire Bluetooth options menu rather than the quick connect menu: ms-settings: Bluetooth. Execute the following command: ms-settings: connected devices.

Does Bluetooth come with my PC?

Locate and launch the Control Panel by opening the Windows Start Menu. After selecting Hardware and Sound, select Device Manager. Under the Devices and Printers category in Windows 10, you can also find the Device Manager link. In the list, look for a Bluetooth drop-down menu.

What gear does Bluetooth require?

To modulate and demodulate the digital signal, Bluetooth, like all wireless communication systems, requires a transmitter, receiver, and modem-like control chips. A single SoC with a transceiver, antenna, and control chip typically houses all of these components.

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