Add a Bluetooth or other wireless or network device: frequently asked questions

The Add a device wizard in this version of Windows lets you connect a Bluetooth mobile phone, keyboard, mouse, or other wireless device to your computer, including devices that use Wi‑Fi connections. You can also use this wizard to connect a network device to your computer, such as a network-enabled scanner, storage device, or Windows Media Center Extender. Network-enabled devices must be connected to the same network your computer is on before you can add them to your computer.

Here are some answers to common questions about adding such devices to your computer.

For information about how to add a wireless or network printer, see Install a printer.

Note

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

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How do I add a wireless or network device to my computer?

The easiest way is to use the Add a device wizard in this version of Windows.

  1. Open Devices and Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, on the Start menu, clicking Devices and Printers.

  2. Click Add a device and follow the instructions.

Picture of the Add a device wizard
The Add a device wizard

Why doesn't Windows detect the wireless device I want to add to my computer?

There are many reasons why Windows might not be able to detect a wireless device, such as a Bluetooth mobile phone or keyboard. Here are some tips to help you find the device you want to add to your computer:

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

  • Make sure the device is within wireless range of your computer, typically within 6-9 feet for most Bluetooth enabled devices, or within 100 feet for a wireless network Wi‑Fi device. If you aren't sure if the device is in range, try moving it closer to your computer. If there is 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 properly attached and installed.

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

  • Make sure the device is discoverable. When a Bluetooth enabled 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 check the manufacturer's website. Some devices (such as a wireless mouse or keyboard) have a button on them you need to push, while others (such as a Bluetooth mobile phone) might have a setting in their software menu 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're not sure how to do this, check the information that came with the device or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • If you upgrade your computer to Windows 7 and find that some of its Bluetooth connections have stopped working, try restarting your computer. If that doesn't work, try unplugging the external Bluetooth adapter, if your computer uses one, and then plugging it back in. If Bluetooth capability is integrated into your computer, try turning the Bluetooth switch off and on again. (This switch might not be labeled "Bluetooth"; it might be combined with a switch that also turns your wireless network receiver on and off.)

For more information, search Help and Support for "Bluetooth."

Why doesn't Windows detect the network device I want to add to my computer?

There are many reasons why Windows might not be able to detect a network device, such as a network-enabled scanner, storage device, or Windows Media Center Extender. Here are some tips to help you find the network device 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 wireless network (Wi‑Fi) device, make sure it's turned on and properly configured to connect to your network. If you're not 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 more 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 capable of connecting 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 connecting 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.

Why can't I connect my Bluetooth device to my computer?

You might need to make your computer discoverable to Bluetooth devices, or set Windows to alert you when a new device tries to connect to your computer. To do this, you need to control how your computer pairs with (connects to) Bluetooth devices.

To control how your computer pairs with Bluetooth devices

  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 Options tab and do any of the following:

    • To make your computer discoverable to Bluetooth devices, select the check box for Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer.

      When a Bluetooth enabled computer is in discovery mode, it broadcasts a wireless signal that allows it to be detected by other Bluetooth enabled computers or devices. This is sometimes called pairing mode.

      Warning

      • To help protect your computer from someone accessing it without your permission, only make your computer discoverable when you want a Bluetooth device to find your computer. Disable discovery when you no longer need it.

    • To allow Bluetooth devices to connect to your computer, select the check box for Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer.

    • To be notified when a Bluetooth device is trying to connect to your computer, select the check box for Alert me when a new Bluetooth device wants to connect.

Picture of the Options tab in the Bluetooth Settings dialog box
The Options tab in the Bluetooth Settings dialog box

Why doesn't my wireless keyboard or mouse work?

If you've already paired a wireless keyboard or mouse with your computer and it no longer works, make sure it has fresh batteries or is fully charged. If that doesn't solve the problem, try removing the keyboard or mouse from your computer and then adding it again. First, connect a wired keyboard or mouse to your computer so you can control your PC, and then follow these steps:

  1. Open Devices and Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, on the Start menu, clicking Devices and Printers.

  2. Right click the mouse or keyboard that's not working, and then click Remove device. If you don't see the mouse or keyboard listed, continue to the next step.

  3. Click Add a device.

  4. Make sure the wireless keyboard or mouse is discoverable by pressing the button (usually a small button on the bottom) labeled "Connect," "Pair," or something similar.

  5. Select the wireless keyboard or mouse you want to add, click Next, and follow the instructions.

    If you don't see the keyboard or mouse you want to add and you're sure it has fresh batteries or is fully charged, repeat these steps. If the keyboard or mouse still isn't found, see the section in this topic: "Why doesn't Windows detect the wireless device I want to add to my computer?"

Note

  • If you're having trouble connecting a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard to your computer, look for a small button on the bottom of the mouse or keyboard marked with the Bluetooth logo or labeled "Connect." Hold this button down for about 20 seconds. When you're done, try adding your mouse or keyboard again to your computer following the steps above.

Why isn't my wireless device working properly after I paired it with my computer?

There are many reasons why a wireless device might stop working properly after you've added it to your computer. Here are some tips to help you get the device working again:

  • Make sure the device is within wireless range of your computer, typically within 6-9 feet for most Bluetooth enabled 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 is a wall between the device and the computer, try putting the device and computer in the same room.

  • Make sure the device isn't too busy and doesn't have too many connections (for example, other devices might be connected to a Bluetooth printer). If the device is busy, wait a little while and then try again. If the device seems to have too many connections, set the other devices so that they aren't discoverable. If you're not sure how to turn off discoverability, check the information that came with the devices or go to the manufacturers' websites.

  • Try removing and reinstalling the device. To remove the device, open Devices and Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, on the Start menu, clicking Devices and Printers. Right-click the device, and then click Remove device. To reinstall the device, click Add a device and follow the instructions.
  • Make sure that your computer is trying to connect to the correct device. There might be more than one device like the one you are trying to add, especially if you are in a large office or public place.

  • Make sure that you typed the correct pairing code (sometimes called a PIN or passcode) for the device. For more information, see the section in this topic: "How do I find or enter a pairing code for my wireless device?"

  • Try moving the device away from other devices that use radio frequencies, such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, or wireless networks, to make sure those devices aren't interfering with the wireless signal.

  • After you turn on a wireless device, or move it within range of your computer, 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.

  • Make sure software drivers for the device have been properly installed. If there's a problem with this, Windows should display a yellow warning icon Picture of the yellow warning icon for the device in Devices and Printers.

How do I find or enter a pairing code for my wireless device?

Some wireless devices come with their own pairing code (sometimes called a PIN or passcode). You might be asked to enter this code when you pair the device with your computer. Windows tries to select the best pairing method for your device and give you instructions that often include a pairing code. However, some wireless devices come with their own pairing code, which you'll need to find.

Even if you know the pairing code, it can be difficult to enter the code into a device. Some wireless devices, such as mobile phones, come with a keypad you can use to enter the pairing code and a screen to verify you are typing the correct code. Others, such as Bluetooth headphones, don't have a keypad or screen.

Here are some tips on how to find the pairing code for a wireless device:

  • Check the information that came with your device. The pairing code might be listed there or printed on the device itself (often on the bottom). Not all wireless devices come with a pairing code.

  • If Windows encounters problems during the pairing process, it might give you the option of creating your own pairing code. If you choose this option, you don't need to use the code that came with the device.

Here are some tips if you have trouble entering the pairing code for a wireless device:

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

  • If you've typed the code for the device but Windows doesn't detect that you did so, you might need to enter the code by pressing a key on the device labeled "Enter," "OK," "Return," or something similar. For some devices, such as mobile phones, you might need to select a menu option to enter the code. If you can't find a button, key, or menu option, check the information that came with your device or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • Make sure that you're typing the pairing code quickly enough. You usually have only 30 seconds before the device or computer stops trying to pair. The exact amount of time depends on the device.

  • Make sure the device can display a pairing code. Some devices, such as headsets, might communicate to Windows that they can display a pairing code even though there's no place to display it. If this is the case, and Windows asks you to verify a pairing code displayed on the device, try pairing with the device again. Windows should allow you to choose a different pairing option the next time you attempt to pair. If you aren't sure which option to choose, check the information that came with your device or go to the manufacturer's website.

  • If you're within range of other wireless devices, you might be unintentionally pairing with someone else's device (for example, someone nearby with the same model mobile phone). Make sure that you're pairing with the correct device.

  • If you are in a public place, there could be several devices with the same name within range of your computer. If you see multiple devices with the same name in the Add a device wizard, you might want to rename some of the devices in the list to differentiate them. To rename a device, right-click it, and then click Properties. On the General tab, type a new name, and then click OK.

  • Windows might ask you to verify that the same code appears on both the device and your computer. If these codes don't match or no code is displayed, you might be unintentionally pairing with someone else's device. In that case, Windows might display an incorrect pairing code or no pairing code at all. Make sure that you're pairing with the correct device.

  • You might need to place some wireless devices into a special pairing mode that allows computers or other devices to connect to them. Most Bluetooth enabled devices go into this mode when they are made discoverable. Other wireless devices might need to be put into a pairing mode and made discoverable. For more information, check the information that came with your device or go to the manufacturer's website.

Why does Windows say there's a problem with my Bluetooth enabled device when it seems to work fine?

Some wireless devices support Bluetooth services that aren't designed to work with Windows. For example, a mobile phone might have a service that allows it to stream audio to a Bluetooth headset. This service isn't needed for the device to work with your computer, but if Windows can't find a driver for that service, it might report that the device failed.

If Windows reports that a device failed, it displays a yellow warning icon Picture of the yellow warning icon next to the device in Devices and Printers in Control Panel. If your Bluetooth enabled device works properly with your computer, you can ignore this warning icon.

You can disable the unsupported Bluetooth service by right-clicking the device in Devices and Printers, clicking Properties, and then clicking the Services tab. Clear the check box next to each unsupported service, and then click OK. This will make the yellow warning icon disappear.

Warning

  • Disabling some services might prevent your Bluetooth enabled device from working properly with your computer.