Connect to Bluetooth and other wireless or network devices

You can connect a wireless phone, keyboard, mouse, or other device to your computer. This includes Bluetooth and wireless network (Wi‑Fi) devices. You can also add a network device to your computer, such as a network-enabled printer, storage device, or Windows Media Center Extender.

Watch this video to learn how to connect Bluetooth and other wireless or network devices to your computer (1:17)

You don't have to add devices already connected to your computer with a USB cable or other wired connection. Windows will automatically detect and display them.

Picture of the Add a device wizard
List of devices in Add a device wizard

Note

  • Bluetooth isn't supported in any version of Windows Server.

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To add a wireless or network device

  1. Open Control Panel by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel.

  2. Under Hardware and Sound, click Add a device, and then follow the instructions.

    If you don't see the wireless or network device you want to add, see the instructions below.

For more information about adding a wireless or network printer, see Install a printer.

To find a wireless device

If Windows can't detect a wireless device that you want to add to your computer, here are some tips that can help.

  • Make sure the device you're trying to pair with (connect to) isn't turned off, low on battery power, or in sleep mode.

  • Make sure you haven't already added the device to your computer. Devices that have already been added aren't displayed in the list of devices you can connect to in the Add a device wizard.

  • Make sure the device is within wireless range of your computer, typically within six to nine feet for most Bluetooth devices, or within 100 feet for a Wi‑Fi device. If you aren't sure if the device is in range, try moving it closer to your computer. If there's a wall between the device and the computer, try putting the device and computer in the same room.

  • Make sure there are no other devices interfering with the wireless device, such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, or other wireless devices.

  • If your computer uses an external Bluetooth or Wi‑Fi adapter, make sure the adapter is working correctly and is attached and installed properly.

  • If Bluetooth capability is integrated into your computer, make sure the Bluetooth radio transmitter is turned on. This might also turn your wireless network receiver on and off. Many laptops have an external switch for turning the transmitter on and off. If you aren't sure how to turn it on, check the information that came with your computer or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • Make sure the device is discoverable. When a Bluetooth device is set to be discoverable, it sends out radio signals to advertise its location to other devices and computers. If you aren’t sure how to set your device to be discoverable, check the information that came with your device or go to the manufacturer’s website. A device (such as a wireless mouse or a keyboard) might have a button on it that you need to push, while others (such as a Bluetooth mobile phone) might have a setting in their software menu that you need to select to make them discoverable.

  • If you're trying to add a wireless network device, it must be configured for your wireless network before you can add it to your computer. If you aren't sure how to do this, check the information that came with the device or go to the manufacturer's website.

    Note

    • Some Wi‑Fi devices need to be put into a discovery mode known as Wireless Protected Setup (WPS) before they can be detected. To learn more, check the information that came with the device or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • If you’re using Bluetooth software from a manufacturer other than Microsoft, Windows might not be able to detect your Bluetooth device and let you add it to your computer. To check if your Bluetooth software came from Microsoft, follow these steps:

    1. Open Control Panel by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel.

    2. In the Control Panel search box, type Bluetooth, and then click Change Bluetooth settings.

    3. In the Bluetooth Settings dialog box, click the Hardware tab and look for Microsoft Bluetooth Enumerator. If you don't see this, then your Bluetooth software didn't come from Microsoft.

To find a network device

Here are some tips on how to help Windows detect a network device that you want to add to your computer.

  • Make sure the device is already connected to the same network your computer is on. If this is a wired network device, make sure it's plugged into the network and turned on. If this is a Wi‑Fi device, make sure it's turned on and configured properly to connect to your network. If you aren't sure how to do this, check the information that came with the device or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • Make sure you haven't already added the device to your computer. Devices that have already been added aren't displayed in the list of devices you can connect to in the Add a device wizard.

  • After you connect a new device to your network, wait several seconds for Windows to discover it.

  • Make sure your network firewall isn't blocking the device from appearing in the list of devices you can add. You might need to turn on network discovery. For information, see Enable or disable network discovery.

  • Not all network devices can be added to a computer, even if you can detect the device on your network. To find out if a device is able to connect to your computer, check the information that came with the device or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • Most network devices can only be discovered if they're on the same network subnet as your computer. If your network consists of multiple network subnets connected together, try to connect the device to the same network subnet. For more information, contact your network administrator.

  • Make sure the network device has an IP address and proper network address. Most network routers assign IP addresses automatically as devices connect to the network. For more information, contact your network administrator.

  • Make sure the device is configured to broadcast its presence on the network. Most network devices automatically do this. For more information, check the information that came with the device or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • If you’re having trouble discovering or pairing with your network router or other network device, try updating the software on the device. This device software is called firmware. Check the website of the manufacturer for downloadable firmware updates.