How to Add Bluetooth to Your Computer

A Bluetooth adapter for your PC is the easiest way

Bluetooth is used by lots of devices, such as headphones and keyboards. Many computers have it as well, but if yours doesn't, you can add it through a Bluetooth dongle/adapter. Fortunately, setup is pretty straightforward.

Does your computer already have Bluetooth? You should ask yourself this before following the steps below because they involve purchasing a Bluetooth dongle. Learn how to set up Bluetooth devices and see what to do when Bluetooth isn't working in Windows 10. It's possible that Bluetooth is already available on your computer, but adding a device just isn't working.

This guide is relevant for computers running Windows 10, 8, and 7.

Find a Bluetooth Adapter

Mouse wireless adapter
David Montgomery / Getty Images 

Getting a Bluetooth adapter for your PC is the easiest way to add Bluetooth functionality to a desktop or laptop. You don't need to worry about opening your computer, installing a Bluetooth card, or anything like that.

Bluetooth dongles use USB, so they plug into the outside of your computer via an open USB port. They're inexpensive, compact, and easy to find at places like Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, etc.

Generally speaking, you want to get the fastest Bluetooth transmitter your PC will support. For most modern PCs, that means a USB 3.0 adapter. However, if you look at your PC's USB ports and they've got black plastic inserts, they're probably USB 2.0. If they're blue or labeled SS (for SuperSpeed), they're USB 3.0. This matters because while USB 3.0 devices work in USB 2.0 ports, they won't work as fast as when plugged into USB 3.0 ports.

Install the Bluetooth Adapter to Your Computer

In most cases, you can just plug the Bluetooth adapter into your computer to let Windows install the necessary driver automatically. But if that doesn't work, try a driver updater tool or visit the manufacturer's website for specific installation directions.

Each of the four Bluetooth adapters we tried installed on their own.

Connect a Device to the Bluetooth Adapter

Now that you have a Bluetooth adapter connected to your computer, it's time to pair a device with it.

For Windows 10, go to Settings > Devices > Add Bluetooth or other device > Bluetooth. Windows 8 and Windows 7 users should go into Control Panel to find Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Add a device.

Add a device screen in Windows 10

You might have to complete the pairing process by entering a code on either device.

Pair Device prompt in Windows 10

Learn how to set up a Bluetooth device for step-by-step instructions, or see these specific directions for connecting Bluetooth headphones, using Bluetooth speakers with your computer, or pairing a Bluetooth mouse.

Using Bluetooth With Other Devices

Bluetooth isn't restricted to just computers. You can also add Bluetooth to a TV and get Bluetooth in your car.

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