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How to Connect Bluetooth Accessories to Your Surface

When you’re running out of room to plug in USB accessories to your Surface, Bluetooth is your friend. Bluetooth works much like Wi-Fi, but it specializes in connecting gadgets that live just a few feet apart. You can add both a Bluetooth mouse and Bluetooth keyboard to your Surface, leaving your USB port free for other items.

To add a Bluetooth item to your Surface, follow these steps:

1

Turn on your Bluetooth device and, if necessary, make it discoverable.

Most Bluetooth devices automatically turn themselves off to save power. Sometimes turning it on is as simple as flipping a neatly labelled On/Off switch; other devices sense their own movement, automatically turning on and off when needed.

Making a device discoverable makes it available to be detected by a computer, usually for a period of at least 30 seconds. Some devices automatically become discoverable when turned on. Others make you hold down a button until their light begins blinking.

If you’re having trouble making your particular device discoverable, you may need to check its manual.

2

On your Surface, fetch the Charms bar by sliding your finger inward from the screen’s right edge. Tap the Settings icon to fetch the Settings pane and then tap the words Change PC Settings.

The Start screen’s PC Settings screen appears.

3

Tap the PCs and Devices category and then tap Bluetooth from the left column.

The PC Settings’ Manage Bluetooth Devices screen appears and immediately begins searching for nearby Bluetooth gadgets in discoverable mode.

If Windows doesn’t find and list your device by name, head back to Step 1 and make sure your Bluetooth gadget is still turned on and discoverable. (If it’s been longer than 30 seconds, your device may have given up.)

4

When your Bluetooth device’s name appears in the Devices list, tap the device’s name so Windows knows to connect to it.

When you see your Bluetooth gadget listed, tap its name to introduce it to your Surface.

5

Type in your device’s code if necessary and, if asked, tap the Pair button.

Everything usually works pretty smoothly until Step 5, where Bluetooth’s security measures kick in. Windows sometimes needs you to prove that you’re controlling both your Surface and your Bluetooth device, and that you’re not somebody sitting three rows back on the bus trying to break in.

To clear that security hurdle, different Bluetooth devices offer slightly different tactics. Sometimes you need to type a passcode — a secret string of numbers — into both your device and your computer. (Pull out the device’s manual to find the passcode.) Adding to the tension, if you don’t type the passcode quickly enough, both gadgets stop waiting, forcing you to start over.

Some Bluetooth gadgets let you press or hold in a little push button at this step, if you’re holding it in your hand. Some blindly accept the tapping of the Pair button and simply start working.

After your new gadget successfully pairs with your Surface, its name and icon remain in the Bluetooth category of the PC Settings screen.

6

To remove a device shown in the Bluetooth list, tap its name.

Then, tap the Remove Device button that appears below its name.

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