This article explains (one way) how to re-enable Bluetooth on your Windows laptop, in case Windows has just forgotten you have a Bluetooth adapter in your pc. Which would be weird because I don’t think any pcs ship without, anymore. Even Raspberry Pis have come with Bluetooth for years now.
Anyway… What was the problem again?
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So I first noticed something was off when my headset cut a Korean drama I was watching while hacking together a small PowerShell script to loop through Azure AD users and perform arcane magic on them mid sentence.
I mean, it cut the drama off mid sentence. Not the arcane magics. Which is not as bad, but is still somewhat annoying.
So I brought up the aptly named “Bluetooth & other devices” view in Windows to investigate. And what did it say?
“Bluetooth is turned off”? Well that’s an easy fix, right – I mean, I’ll just turn it on.
… which was more easily said than done. Can you spot anything odd about the device view in the screenshot below?
Well, apart from the blurred device names. Sorry – I get a bit self-conscious about my hardware choices. It’s not your place to know I purchased $3 Bluetooth pods from AliExpress and actually kinda like them.
Ah, right. There is not button to enable Bluetooth. I guess that would be a problem, right?
Well, it’s easy to fix – Windows has a Bluetooth diagnostics tool that’ll fix any Bluetooth issues you might have. Just launch it from the Start menu:
Ah, but well – it does not find and fix problems with Bluetooth devices. Despite the name, that’s exactly what it is NOT designed to do.
Oh. Okay then.
And before you ask, yes, I’m still on Windows 10 because when updating the version number in the binaries from 10 to 11 someone accidentally overwrote the code that supports moving the task bar to the right or left side of the screen. So for now, I’m not updating.
This isn’t that exotic or (usually) that dramatic either. Windows has just forgotten whatever Bluetooth chip your machine has. Or is at least supposed to have. And you’ll need to remind Windows that you do, in fact, have Bluetooth, and everything will be fine again.
The guide below will show you how to fool Windows into accidentally fixing your Bluetooth device’s driver!
Time needed: 10 minutes
How to fix Bluetooth in a Windows pc?
- Open Device Manager
We’ll begin by navigating to Device Manager.
To do this, just search for “Device Manager” or find it from your win+x menu.
- Uninstall your Bluetooth chipset’s driver
Mine’s called “Intel(R) Wireless Bluetooth(R)”. But I guess you already know that from the fact I’m struggling with driver issues.
Anyway – uninstall the driver for that device.
Unlike in the picture (which I took afterwards), yours is probably shown with a small warning sign.
- Scan for “hardware changes”
Now we’ll need to make your computer recognize the Bluetooth adapter again.
Right click on the computer name and select “Scan for hardware changes”
This sounds far more dramatic than it is. In reality, it’ll just prompt Windows to search for devices that it is currently unaware of (like the Bluetooth module you just uninstalled), and try to set them up properly again.
- (Optional:) Reboot your machine
Did the steps above help? If they did, that’s all you need.
But if all else fails, a reboot will actually usually fix the issue. Unless your Bluetooth chipset is really broken. But that seems rare.
Did it work as well for you as it did for me? Let me know in the comments-section below!
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