How to Connect a Bluetooth Device to Your Windows Network - dummies

How to Connect a Bluetooth Device to Your Windows Network

By Dan Gookin

The Bluetooth wireless networking standard has been around since the 1990s. It’s not as popular on the PC as it is on the Mac, considering that a lot of PC laptops don’t bother coming with Bluetooth hardware. Even so, Bluetooth exists as a wireless standard for connecting peripherals and for wireless networking.

Adding a Bluetooth device to your Windows computer works like this:

  1. Ensure that the device is powered on, has its Bluetooth radio on, and is discoverable.

    For the simplest Bluetooth devices, you merely turn on the gizmo and push a button (often the Power button) to ensure that the device is active. Being discoverable means that the device is broadcasting itself as available.

  2. On your computer, click the Bluetooth icon in the notification area.

  3. Ensure that the Bluetooth adapter is turned on.

    In Windows 7, choose the menu item Turn Adapter On; in Windows Vista, the item is named Turn Bluetooth Adapter On. If you don’t see that command on the menu, the adapter is on and you’re ready to go.

  4. Add the Bluetooth device.

    • In Windows 7, choose the command Add a Device.

    • In Windows Vista, choose the command Add a Bluetooth Device.

    The window that appears is named Add a Device in Windows 7, or Pair with a Wireless Device in Windows Vista.


    If you don’t see the device you want to pair with, wait a few seconds. If necessary, touch the Power button or Bluetooth button, or somehow reactivate the device as discoverable.

  5. Choose the device from those listed in the window.

  6. Click the Next button.

  7. If prompted, obey the directions on the screen to enter the passkey to ensure that the devices are paired securely.

    For example, you may be asked to type a number on the screen by using the Bluetooth keyboard and then press the Enter key (on the Bluetooth keyboard). For a smartphone, you may be asked to confirm that a PIN is the same on both your computer and the phone.

    Some devices, such as a wireless mouse, don’t require a passkey; they simply connect and are ready to use (though the device may not be usable until you complete the next, final step).

  8. Click the Close button after the devices are paired.

    You can now use your Bluetooth device with your computer.

After the device is paired, it effectively becomes a peripheral to your computer, just like any other peripheral ― but it’s wireless!

  • Bluetooth peripherals paired with your PC can be turned on or off at any time. Turning on a paired device again instantly reestablishes the wireless connection.

  • To use a Bluetooth gizmo with another computer, you must unpair it.

  • An extra screen appears in the pairing process when pairing your computer with another Bluetooth computer. Use that screen to choose which of the other computer’s hardware you want your computer to use, such as its microphone, speakers, Internet connection, or whatever is available.

  • On a smartphone, you need to turn on the Bluetooth radio as well as set the phone to be discoverable. The steps for accomplishing this feat are unique and confusing for all cellphones.

  • Pairing with a smartphone allows you to use that phone’s Internet connection, to use the phone itself to make phone calls, to listen to music on the phone, or to make use of any of a bunch of interesting features, depending on the phone.