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How to Determine If Your PC Has Bluetooth Capability

Like everything else in your computer, Bluetooth requires both hardware and software. A Bluetooth adapter supplies Bluetooth hardware. If your PC didn’t come with the Bluetooth hardware installed, you can easily add it by purchasing a Bluetooth USB dongle.

To determine whether your PC has Bluetooth hardware, check the Device Manager for Bluetooth Radio. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose Hardware and Sound, and then choose Device Manager.

    In Windows 7, the Device Manager link is found beneath the Devices and Printers heading; in Windows Vista, Device Manager is its own heading.

  3. In Windows Vista, click the Continue button or type the administrator’s password.

  4. Look for the item Bluetooth Radios in the list.

    If the item is there, your PC has Bluetooth hardware installed, and you can safely assume that the software has been set up as well.

  5. Close the various windows you opened.

The Bluetooth software is supplied by Windows, as well as by whatever installation disc comes with the Bluetooth hardware. After it's set up, you’ll most likely use the Bluetooth icon in the notification area to manage various connections and settings. The Bluetooth icon is shown in the margin.

  • The Bluetooth icon in the notification area is the means by which you do most Bluetoothy things in Windows.

  • In Windows 7, you see the Bluetooth hardware listed in the Devices and Printers window. You can use that window, and the Add a Device toolbar button, to browse for and connect Bluetooth gizmos to your computer.

  • Windows Vista allows you to access Bluetooth via the Control Panel. It’s located in the Hardware and Sound category and has its own heading, Bluetooth Devices.

  • Bluetooth devices are paired, which means that a Bluetooth gizmo is assigned to work with only one device at a time. The pairing process is part of connecting a Bluetooth gizmo.

  • The wireless networking used by Bluetooth isn’t as robust as the Wi-Fi wireless networking. For the most part, Bluetooth is a low-powered system. You can’t move a Bluetooth gizmo more than 10 feet or so from its paired device without losing the signal.

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