How to Fix It When Windows 11 Bluetooth Is Not Working

Troubleshooting and resolving issues with wireless connectivity

Windows 11 Bluetooth problems are usually software related, but they could also be caused by a hardware malfunction.

Why Is My PC Bluetooth Not Working?

Missing or corrupt drivers are sometimes the reason for Windows 11 Bluetooth problems. Fortunately, identifying something is wrong with a drive is easy, and installing them is just as simple.

However, not all Bluetooth issues are driver-related. There's a multitude of issues standing in the way of Bluetooth working properly, so your solutions include everything from a simple reboot to editing program settings and restarting a Windows service.

How to Troubleshoot Windows Bluetooth Problems

If you're sure both your device and computer support Bluetooth, and you've already paired the device with your computer, here are some things you can try to get it working:

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your computer. It's common to assume it's always on, so it's easy to overlook this simple yet vital step. Pairing a Bluetooth device is only part of the process.

    Open the Action Center from the far-right side of the taskbar, next to the clock, and select Bluetooth so it lights up. After a second or two, the button might say Not connected, but that's fine, we'll address this down below.

    Bluetooth button selected in Action Center
  2. Turn on the device you're trying to pair with your computer. It must be powered on completely for it to communicate with your PC. On some devices, you can simply restart it to trigger the pairing process to start.

    Take this time to also consider how close the device is to your computer. Bluetooth isn't like Wi-Fi where you can be essentially anywhere in your house and still get a connection. Allow only an arm's length between the device and your PC, at least until the connection is established.

  3. Turn Windows 11 Bluetooth off and then back on. If you didn't need to complete Step 1 because it's already enabled, turn it off instead, wait a few seconds, and then turn it back on.

    Toggling Bluetooth off and back on again is easiest through the Action Center as described in Step 1.

  4. Restart the Bluetooth service. It's required for Windows 11 to find and connect to Bluetooth devices. Step 3 should be enough to trigger the service on and off, but forcing it through Services is another way.

    Search for Services from the search bar, and then double-click Bluetooth Support Service from the list. From the General tab, select Stop and then Start. Also, change the startup type to be Automatic. Save with OK.

    Bluetooth Support Service Properties
  5. Run the Bluetooth troubleshooter built-in to Windows. It'll likely accomplish most of what's already been covered above, but it doesn't hurt to give it a try.

    To do this, open Settings and navigate to Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters > Bluetooth. Select Run the troubleshooter to find and fix Bluetooth problems.

    Bluetooth troubleshooter detecting problems
  6. Restart your computer. There might be background processes or other software running that's interfering with the computer's ability to effectively reach the Bluetooth device. Rebooting Windows 11 will clear the slate (so to speak) and allow you to try again before more processes start running.

    One quick way to do this is to right-click the Start button and go to Shut down or sign out > Restart.

  7. If you're using a Bluetooth adapter, unplug it from where it's at and attach it to a different USB port. If there's a cable extension being used, temporarily skip it and plug the adapter directly into the port.

  8. Review other Bluetooth connections. If multiple devices are connected to your PC at once, or your device is attempting to reach a nearby phone or computer at the same time, it could easily cause issues.

    Disable Bluetooth on any nearby phones or computers that the device has been connected to before, and shut off other Bluetooth devices that might be trying to reach the same computer simultaneously. The idea here is to have just the one computer with Bluetooth enabled, and only the one device trying to pair with it.

    You can disconnect a Bluetooth device in Windows 11 through Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.

  9. Check for a Bluetooth driver update. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest method is to use a driver updater tool.

  10. Consider it might not be a Bluetooth problem. The device you're trying to use with your computer, or the software that's installed on your PC, might be to blame instead.

    If you're able, connect the device to a different computer. If it doesn't work there, either, there's a good chance the device itself is malfunctioning, not your PC's Bluetooth.

    Also take note of the software you're using. If your headphones don't work with Zoom, for example, confirm they do work elsewhere, like in your web browser or with a video file. If just one program is to blame, check its settings to verify that it has access to your headphones; you might end up needing to update or reinstall the software.

FAQ
  • How do I turn on Bluetooth in Windows 11?

    To enable Bluetooth on Windows, select the Bluetooth icon from the Action Center as mentioned above. You can also go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & Other Devices and move the toggle to On next to Bluetooth.

  • How do I connect an Xbox One Bluetooth controller in Windows 11?

    Go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & Other Devices and select Add device > Bluetooth. When you see your controller from the device list, select Connect to pair. If you experience issues connecting your controller to your PC, check for an Xbox One controller firmware update.

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