How to Make a Computer Bluetooth Discoverable

by Jeff Grundy
Bluetooth allows you to connect your computer wirelessly with phones, headphones, printers and more.

Bluetooth allows you to connect your computer wirelessly with phones, headphones, printers and more.

Many computer enthusiasts considered early versions of Bluetooth good for little more than the occasional file transfer or small print job because of its relatively slow data transmission rate. However, since the release of Bluetooth 3 in 2009 and Bluetooth 4 in 2010, many experts changed their views on the wireless protocol considerably. With speeds that now rival Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet, Bluetooth has returned to the forefront and can now be found in hundreds of devices from wireless keyboards and mice to wireless stereo speakers. Windows makes connecting to Bluetooth devices fairly simple. However, before connecting to compatible devices, you must make the Bluetooth adapter in your computer discoverable.

Install the Bluetooth Adapter (for Computers Without Bluetooth)

Place the installation CD for the USB Bluetooth adapter or wireless adapter into the optical drive of the computer.

Click the “Setup,” “Install Driver” or other similar link after the setup wizard appears on the screen. Follow the remaining on-screen prompts to install the Bluetooth adapter driver in Windows and reboot the PC if prompted.

Connect the Bluetooth adapter to an open USB port on the computer. Wait a few seconds for Windows to detect the adapter and configure it for use automatically using the driver you installed from the installation disc. After Windows configures the Bluetooth adapter, a small icon for the protocol appears on the taskbar near the time and date display.

Enable Bluetooth Discovery

Right-click the Bluetooth icon on the taskbar, and then click “Open Settings.”

Select the “Allow Bluetooth Devices to Find This Computer” check box in the Discovery section. Enable all of the options under “Connections” except “Turn Off the Bluetooth Adapter.” The Bluetooth Settings window appears.

Click the “Share” tab, and then select the “Allow Remote Devices to Browse, Send and Receive Pictures, Music and Other Files” option. Click the “Apply” button, then click “OK.”

Pair a Bluetooth Device

Enable Bluetooth on your phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device. For instance, on a smartphone with Bluetooth, you might need to tap the “Menu” key, then tap “Settings.” Open “Network Settings” or a similar option, then tap “Enable Bluetooth.” After you enable Bluetooth on the device, ensure that the discovery or broadcast setting is active.

Go to the computer to which you added the Bluetooth adapter, click “Start” and then click “Devices and Printers.”

Click “Add a Device” in the Devices and Printers window, and wait a few seconds for Windows to search for and detect nearby Bluetooth devices. A list of detected devices appears on the screen. Select the device name of the Bluetooth device you want to pair and connect with the computer, and then click the “Next” button. After a few seconds Windows connects to the Bluetooth-enabled device.

Note the access code displayed in the “Type the Following Code into Your Device” window, then click "Next."

Enter the access code from the computer on the smartphone or other Bluetooth device and then press or tap "Connect." After a few seconds the Bluetooth device connects with the computer. A confirmation window on the computer confirms the Bluetooth connection was successful. Click the “Close” button in the confirmation window and use the Bluetooth device normally.

Items you will need

  • USB Bluetooth adapter (for computers without an exiting adapter)

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Photo Credits

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