How to Tell If Your Computer Has a Bluetooth Adapter Built Into it

by David Lipscomb

Bluetooth is a digital wireless connection protocol, able to send data between a "master" and "slave" unit. If your computer has a built-in Bluetooth adapter, it helps with secure syncing with cell phones, wireless headphones and other hardware. Bluetooth "pairs" these devices using various levels of encryption. Since Bluetooth devices pair to your computer over the air, incorporating this functionality potentially reduces desk clutter from extra wires and cables scattered across your workspace.

Look for a switch on the outside of the computer or laptop to turn on Bluetooth. If there is a switch, there should be a built-in adapter.

Open the Start menu and click on the "Control Panel" option.

Click on the "Network and Internet" icon. Click the "Network and Sharing Center," then click the "Manage Network Connections" option.

Click on the Network Adapter choice in the resulting hardware list. Examine the options in the drop-down list, looking for an option specifically mentioning Bluetooth.

Right-click on the adapter. Choose "Enable" if the device is marked with a red "X," indicating it has been accidentally turned off or otherwise disabled. Clicking "Enable" restores functionality to the Bluetooth adapter.

Test the adapter by enabling Bluetooth in your cell phone, headphones or keyboard. Follow the device's instructions to make the device discoverable. Consult the unit's manual, as this procedure will vary from device to device. The devices should identify one another and pair.


  • If your laptop or desktop does not have built-in Bluetooth, the technology can be added via a dongle. These devices are usually the size of USB thumb drives and offer pairing range up to 300 feet, depending on the model.
  • Since you don't need to interact with the dongle after installation, keep it on the back of the computer or laptop. If you have ports on the front or side of the computer, this keeps those ports open for jump drives and other more frequently accessed USB devices.

Items you will need

  • Bluetooth wireless dongle (if needed)

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Photo Credits

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