Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to enable or disable Bluetooth in Windows XP

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows two devices to connect to each other and share information or functions.  It's most commonly used to pair a cellular phone with a hands-free earpiece, but it can be used for many other things, including connecting various devices to your computer.

If your Windows XP computer is Bluetooth-capable, there will be a Bluetooth applet in the Control Panel that you can use to configure and control your Bluetooth connections.  To access that applet, click on the Start button and select Control Panel from the Start menu, and then double click on the icon labeled Bluetooth Devices.  (This icon may not be present if your system does not support Bluetooth.)

When the Bluetooth Devices window opens, you'll see the Devices tab.  Any devices that are currently paired with your PC will be shown here.  To change Bluetooth settings, click on the Options tab.

If you want to set up a connection, put a check mark next to the options labeled "Turn discovery on" and "Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer."  You should also check "Alert me when a new Bluetooth device wants to" for better security.  Then click either OK or Apply to save your changes.

Now your computer can be paired with a Bluetooth device.  If the device is on and ready to connect, go back to the Devices tab and click the Add button to run the Add Bluetooth Device Wizard.  Just follow the wizard's prompts to set up the Bluetooth connection.

When you have terminated your Bluetooth connection, or you just want to disable Bluetooth (which is a good idea when you're not actively using it) open up the Bluetooth Devices window and uncheck the two options you checked earlier -- "Turn discovery on" and "Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer."  It's a good idea to leave the third box ("Alert me when a new Bluetooth device wants to") checked, so you can monitor any outside attempts to connect to your computer.

After you've made your selections, click OK or Apply, and your computer's Bluetooth connection will be disabled until the next time you want to use it.  You should check every once in a while to make sure the Bluetooth settings are how you left them, because some programs can enable Bluetooth and you may not even realize that it's been turned on.

(Originally published on, August 2010)

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