How to Add Bluetooth to Your Computer
Even though the vast majority of laptops and computers now come equipped with Bluetooth support, some of us still require Bluetooth upgrades. There is no need for concern if you are using a device that does not support Bluetooth. Continue reading and we will demonstrate how simple and inexpensive it is to add Bluetooth support to any computer.
Why Would I Wish To Carry Out This Action?
There are tens of thousands of peripherals and accessories that require Bluetooth, or that would be made more convenient by Bluetooth. While it is true that you can get by just fine without Bluetooth support on your computer (especially if you are using a desktop), there are also true that you can get by just fine without it.
You could, for instance, run an auxiliary audio cable from your computer to any of the Bluetooth speakers that we evaluated in our guide to Bluetooth speakers; however, it would make your speaker a lot more portable and convenient to pipe in the music over Bluetooth so that you could retain the ability to move it anywhere in your workplace. Additionally helpful when utilising wireless headsets, Bluetooth trackers, game controllers, mice, keyboards, and other peripherals is Bluetooth’s ability to transfer data wirelessly.
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Check to See if Bluetooth Is Already Installed on Your Computer
Before we go any further, we strongly suggest that you check your computer once more to see if it has any Bluetooth radios. If you have an older laptop or computer, it is likely that you are correct in assuming that it does not come equipped with Bluetooth already installed. On the other hand, if you have a more recent model of laptop, Bluetooth support is almost certainly already installed. In a similar vein, this feature was once nonexistent on desktop personal computers, but in the recent past an unexpectedly high percentage of desktops have started shipping with Bluetooth radios.
It is not difficult to investigate whether or not Bluetooth support is present in Windows. You can check for Bluetooth by going to the Control Panel, clicking on Network and Internet, and then clicking on Network Connections. You will see an entry for “Bluetooth Network Connection” alongside other network connections, such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi, if there is a Bluetooth radio that has been installed and configured in the correct manner.
Another option is to launch Device Manager by pressing the Start button and typing “device manager” into the search bar. Once Device Manager is open, you should look for an entry labelled “Bluetooth.” Even if it is not properly configured, Device Manager will reveal whether or not your personal computer has a Bluetooth device installed.
We also recommend performing a thorough verification of the statistics on your personal computer. Although it is highly unlikely, it is possible that the hardware vendor who is responsible for your hardware makes use of a specialised driver or another tool, both of which require downloading before the Bluetooth connection can be enabled. A quick search on Google will tell you whether or not you already possess the necessary hardware and whether or not you require any specialised drivers, BIOS updates, or other types of upgrades.
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Include Bluetooth in Your Computer.
If you have discovered that your personal computer does not come equipped with Bluetooth already installed, then you will need to add it. The good news is that it’s simple to carry out, and the bad news is that you won’t have to spend a lot of money on it.
First Step: Acquire the Necessary Items
To be able to follow along with this tutorial, you won’t need a whole lot of stuff. After you have established that your personal computer requires a Bluetooth radio, as opposed to merely requiring a driver update, it is time to examine whether or not you have a spare USB port available. If you don’t already have one, and you can’t add more ports because you’re already using them all, you should seriously consider investing in either a high-quality USB hub or a USB expansion card.
The only other thing you require is a USB Bluetooth adapter if you already have a free USB port on your device. We will be utilising the highly-rated and relatively inexpensive Kinivo BTD-400 ($11.99) USB dongle for the purposes of this tutorial, as well as for use on our own computers.
There are additional approaches that one can take to the issue; however, the vast majority of them are quite impractical. You could, for instance, use up the mini PCI slot on your laptop by installing a laptop Bluetooth/Wi-Fi module; however, doing so involves a lot of extra work. If you really don’t want to give up a USB port on a laptop and don’t want to carry around a USB hub, one reason you might want to go the route of mini PCI is if you really don’t want to give up a USB port.
On the desktop side, the only reason we can think of for not using the USB-based solution is if you are specifically in the market for a Wi-Fi PCI card for a desktop computer, as many Wi-Fi PCI cards come with Bluetooth built in. This is the only reason we can think of for not using the USB-based solution on the desktop side.
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Installing the Bluetooth Dongle is the second step.
Simply plugging in the Kinivo device is all that is required to complete the installation process on Windows 8 or Windows 10. Windows already contains the fundamental Broadcom Bluetooth drivers that are necessary for the dongle, and it will install these drivers automatically when it recognises the new device.
You will be required to install the Bluetooth drivers if you are working with an older version of Windows to carry out the installation. If the pane in Device Manager looks like this after you have plugged in the dongle, then you will know that you need to download the necessary drivers.
HOW DO I TELL IF I’M USING THE 32-BIT OR 64-BIT VERSION OF WINDOWS?
You can get the drivers by downloading them from either Broadcom or Kinivo, which is the manufacturer of the dongle (the manufacturer of the actual Bluetooth radio inside the device). Simply run the installer after you have downloaded the appropriate version for your operating system (you can check here to see if you are using a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows), and you will be ready to go.
Step Three: Connect Your Devices to Each Other
You are now prepared to pair a device because you have successfully installed the dongle. In order to give you an idea of how the process works, we’re going to demonstrate it by pairing one of the portable Bluetooth speakers that we covered in our previous article.
Following the insertion of the dongle and the installation of the necessary drivers, a Bluetooth icon should show up in the system tray, as shown in the screenshot below. To add a Bluetooth device, right-click the icon, then go to the context menu and select “Add a Bluetooth Device.”
You’ll see a screen similar to the one below if you’re working with Windows 8 or Windows 10. Simply connect the device you want to use by pressing the “Pair” button on it.
You will see a screen similar to this one instead if you are utilising Windows 7 or an earlier version of Windows. After choosing the device to which you wish to connect, proceed by clicking the “Next” button.
After you have made your selection, Windows will continue to communicate with the device for approximately a half minute while it finishes the pairing process automatically. After that, you are free to use your device however you like!
You can manage your Bluetooth devices by navigating to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Devices and Printers, as we did just now, or by accessing the Bluetooth menu via the system tray, as we did just now. In either case, you should be able to view (and interact with) both your Bluetooth dongle and any other Bluetooth devices that are attached to your system.