Bluetooth is a useful and free wireless technology for connecting devices together
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows devices such as mobile phones, keyboards, mice, headsets and speakers to interact with each other over short distances without cables.
In this article we will explain how to find out if your PC has Bluetooth, how to enable it and how to use it to connect to another device. We will also show how to install and set up a Bluetooth adapter on an older PC.
What is Bluetooth?
In essence, Bluetooth is a wireless technology that connects electronic devices together using radio waves instead of cables. This might sound like Wifi but it is different. Bluetooth is good at connecting devices that have no need to be part of a particular network – such as a wireless mouse or headset for a mobile phone.
Bluetooth is suited to short-range communication (ie, just over a few feet). It is quicker and easier to set up than Wifi, which makes it ideal for hooking up just two devices together, and it also draws less power – prolonging the life of battery-powered gadgets such as mice and smartphones.
To find out if your PC has Bluetooth, in Windows 7 and Vista click the Start button, type device manager into the empty box and press Enter. XP users should click Start followed by Run, then type devmgmt.msc and press Enter.
When Device Manager launches, look for an item called Bluetooth Radios in the list of devices – if it’s there, your PC should be equipped for Bluetooth communications. If it’s not, and you would like to add Bluetooth functionality, adapters are cheap to buy – one that slots into a USB port will cost less than £10.
Bluetooth remains a widespread and useful technology. If your PC doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth, adapters are cheap to buy and easy to fit. So, if you own a Bluetooth smartphone you fancy pairing with your PC to exchange files, for example – give it a go.
Installing a Bluetooth adapter
Windows 7 and Vista should recognise a Bluetooth adapter when one is plugged in, installing the driver software automatically. Windows 7 places the settings in Control Panel under Hardware and Sound, inside Devices and Printers.
Bluetooth adapters installed on Windows Vista are also found in the Control Panel, under Hardware and Sound and inside Bluetooth Devices.
Windows XP usually requires the disc that’s included with adapter, like this Mini from Belkin. Pop the disc in the drive and then follow the instructions to set it up.
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