How to Activate a Bluetooth on a PC

By Ellis Davidson

Many desktop and laptop computers come with Bluetooth hardware pre-installed, which allows them to communicate wirelessly with a wide range of hardware devices, including mice, keyboards, cell phones, PDAs and headset microphones. The Bluetooth specification ensures that all computers and portable devices that are Bluetooth compliant will be compatible with each other, but some devices support more functionality than others do. To use any two Bluetooth devices, you must pair them to allow wireless connectivity.

Things You'll Need

  • A computer with Bluetooth capability
  • A handheld device with Bluetooth capability

Step 1

Most computers with Bluetooth will default to turning Bluetooth wireless connections on when the computer is booted, but some laptops may have Bluetooth wireless turned off to conserve battery power. Open the Bluetooth Control Panel (on Windows) or System Preferences panel (on Macintosh) and ensure that Bluetooth is powered on.

Step 2

Set your handheld device to "Bluetooth discoverable." Instructions on how to do this vary with every Bluetooth device, but can be found in the manual that came with your device. This allows your computer to find the device when it searches the local vicinity for available devices.

Step 3

In the Bluetooth Control Panel or System Preferences, there will be a button to "add new devices." Click this to launch a setup wizard, which will allow you to "pair" the device to your computer. Pairing involves setting a numeric password on the handheld device (or using a permanent preset password) and entering this password on your computer. Devices need only be paired once. Afterward, the computer and device will automatically connect.

Step 4

Your Bluetooth device and computer will now see each other whenever the Bluetooth radio is powered on in both devices and they are within radio range. You should review the manual for the handheld device to determine how to turn Bluetooth off when you are not using it. Bluetooth broadcasts a radio signal whenever it is in use, and battery life will be greatly extended if it is powered down when you don't need it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bluetooth devices vary in what services are offered over the Bluetooth connection. A smart phone may allow you to use Bluetooth to transfer files back and forth from your computer, while a standard cell phone may only allow for synchronization of your contacts, but not photos taken with the phone. Check your handheld device's manual for details on what you can do with it over Bluetooth.