How to Fix Common Bluetooth Problems on Windows 10

A troubleshooting guide for fixing Bluetooth problems on Windows 10.

Cable Matters (604002-BLK) Bluetooth adapter, Apple Airpods, and Bluetooth headphones (TaoTronics SoundSurge 90). TechReviewer

Last Updated: July 26, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

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Why Can't I Connect My Bluetooth Device to Another Device?

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Bluetooth devices usually auto-connect to previously connected devices.

Put your Bluetooth device into pairing mode after temporarily turning Bluetooth off on your other Bluetooth devices (ones you aren't connecting to).

How Do I Fix Bluetooth Not Working on Windows 10?

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You may be able to resolve your Bluetooth issues by running the Windows Troubleshooter for Bluetooth or updating to the latest version of Windows.

Fix #1 — Run the Bluetooth Troubleshooter

Search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Troubleshoot settings, and open it.

Near the bottom of this window, click Additional Troubleshooters, then scroll down to Bluetooth.

Click Bluetooth, then click the Run the troubleshooter button and wait for it to detect any issues.

Running the troubleshooter won't fix most problems, but it's always worth trying!

Run Windows 10 Bluetooth troubleshooter Run Windows 10 Bluetooth troubleshooter TechReviewer

Fix #2 — Restart Your Computer

Restart your computer. Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Fix #3 — Restart the Bluetooth Device

Try turning your device (for example, headphones, mouse, or keyboard) off and on again.

Fix #4 — Disconnect and Pair the Device Again

Learn how to disconnect and pair your device again in the section Pairing / Connecting a New Device (TR).

Fix #5 — Unplug Other USB Adapters and Devices

Some devices and USB Bluetooth adapters might not be compatible with each other.

Unplug any other USB adapters or devices that you have plugged into your computer.

Fix #6 — Try a Different USB Slot

Windows may update or reinstall USB drivers if you plug the Bluetooth adapter into a new USB port.

Fix #7 — Update Windows

Make sure to keep your Windows 10 up to date. To update windows, search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Check for updates, and open it.

Windows update search result on Windows 10 Windows update search result on Windows 10 TechReviewer

Then click the Check for updates button on the window that opens.

Check for Windows 10 updates Check for Windows 10 updates TechReviewer

Other Options

If your Bluetooth adapter isn't compatible with your device, your best option is to purchase a new Bluetooth adapter.

If that doesn't fix any of your problems, continue down below for other Bluetooth issues fixes. Or it's as simple as the device needs charging (it's easy to forget sometimes!)

Disable Hands-Free Telephony

Learn how to disable hands-free telephony on Windows 10. (TR)

How to Fix Low-Quality, Skipping, or Popping Bluetooth Audio on Windows 10

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To fix bad audio quality with Bluetooth headphones, you'll need to either change your sound settings, install new drivers, or buy a new device.

Note that using a wire to plug in your Bluetooth headphones to your computer won't fix this issue because doing so would only connect the headphone audio and not the microphone.

Fix #1 — Set Headphones to Be the Default Playback Device

The first step is to open your sound settings. You can access this by right-clicking on the sound icon in the taskbar. Select Sounds.

Open sound settings in Windows 10 from taskbar Open sound settings in Windows 10 from taskbar TechReviewer

If you don't see the sound button in the taskbar, you can alternatively search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Sound Settings and open it.

Then on the right side of the window, click Sound Control Panel.

Go to the Playback tab and scroll down until you see the device with which you're trying to listen.

If you see "Headset" also set as the default device, this is usually the cause of bad audio quality. Set Headphones as the default device by selecting it, then click Set Default.

Set headphones as the default device on Windows 10 Set headphones as the default device on Windows 10 TechReviewer

After that, close the window. Your sound quality should have improved.

If you can't hear anything after changing the settings above, go through the steps again and select another audio playback device.

Caveat — Can't Use Both High-Quality Headphones and Microphone

The downside to this fix is that Windows doesn't support using both the high-quality headphone audio AND the microphone from your headphones simultaneously.

So if you want good quality audio on Bluetooth, you'll need to use an external microphone.

If you want to use the microphone on your headphones, you'll need to use the "Headset" option in the sound settings; however, this would result in low-quality audio.

Fix #2 — Disable Hands-Free Telephony

Learn how to disable Hands-Free Telephony (TR).

Fix #3 — Remove Obstructions

Ensure that your computer or other objects don't obstruct your Bluetooth adapter or antenna.

The Bluetooth signal may not transmit well through some materials, which may degrade the sound/signal quality and reduce the maximum possible distance between the transmitter and receiver.

Other Options

If you’re still having issues, try these steps:

What Is Hands-Free Telephony and How Do I Disable It on Windows 10?

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Hands-free Telephony is a service on Windows that is for using Bluetooth headsets for phone calls. This service sometimes causes audio issues with Bluetooth Headphones so you might need to disable it to resolve audio problems.

You can disable this in "Windows Devices and Printers" window then the device properties window.

The downside to Hands-free Telephony is that it can reduce the sound quality of the sound on your headphones. Windows 10 doesn't support using both the high-quality headphone sound AND the microphone from your headphones at the same time. So if you want good quality audio on Bluetooth, you'll need to use an external microphone.

To Disable Hands-Free Telephony

Search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Control Panel, and open it.

Now click on Devices and Printers.

Right-click on your device and click properties.

Go to the Services tab.

Uncheck Handsfree Telephony.

Click Apply, then close the window.

Disable Handsfree Telephony on Windows 10 Disable Handsfree Telephony on Windows 10 TechReviewer

Why Is My Bluetooth Microphone Not Working on Windows 10?

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One strategy for fixing your Bluetooth Microphone is to set it as your default device in the Windows sound settings.

To fix this issue, open your sound settings. You can access this by right-clicking on the sound icon in the taskbar. Select Sounds.

If you don't see the sound button in the taskbar, you can alternatively search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Sound Settings and open it. Then on the right side of the window, click Sound Control Panel.

Open sound settings in Windows 10 from taskbar Open sound settings in Windows 10 from taskbar TechReviewer

Go to the Recording tab at the top, then scroll down until you see your device.

From there, you should see a header labeled Headset or Microphone.

"Microphone" is usually for a separate device and not a microphone on your headphones.

Select the one you want, then click Set Default.

Set headphones as default headset on recording sound settings tab Set headphones as default headset on recording sound settings tab TechReviewer

When using the microphone on your headphones, you'll need to set the default device, titled "Headset," on the "Playback" tab. When doing this, the sound quality will be degraded and not sound good. The degraded sound quality is a limitation of Windows 10. We recommend using a separate microphone (3.5 mm or USB) for optimal quality.

If this doesn't solve your issue, look through this article to see if any other fix would help.

How Do I Fix the Bluetooth Icon Missing on Windows 10?

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You can fix a missing Bluetooth icon by opening your Bluetooth Settings and checking the option to show the Bluetooth icon.

To do this, first search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Bluetooth and other devices, and open it.

Then, on the right side of the screen, click More Bluetooth Options and open it (you may have to scroll down to see this option).

The "Bluetooth Settings" window should appear. Make sure it's on the Options tab.

Then make sure the Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area is checked.

Click Apply.

If this doesn't fix the problem, you may need to reinstall your Bluetooth drivers (TR).

How to show the Bluetooth icon in the taskbar on Windows 10 How to show the Bluetooth icon in the taskbar on Windows 10 TechReviewer

How Do I Fix the Bluetooth Yellow Triangle Error Icon on Windows 10?

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To fix the yellow triangle error icon showing for Bluetooth, reinstall your drivers. Additionally, configure the Bluetooth services to run in Automatic mode to allow them to start at startup.

Yellow triangle icon for Bluetooth on Windows 10 Yellow triangle icon for Bluetooth on Windows 10 TechReviewer

Fix #1 — Reinstall Bluetooth Drivers

Reinstall your drivers.

Learn how to do this in the section how to reinstall your Bluetooth drivers (TR).

Fix #2 — Enable Bluetooth Service

The other possible solution is to make sure the Bluetooth Services are running in Automatic mode.

First, search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Services, and open it. This window shows a list of all Windows services.

Now scroll down to Bluetooth Support Service and right-click then click Properties.

Make sure it's on the General tab.

Under Startup type, change that to Automatic.

Click Apply

Set Bluetooth service to start automatically on Windows 10 Set Bluetooth service to start automatically on Windows 10 TechReviewer

You may need to restart your computer for this change to take effect.

If this doesn't fix your issue, there may be compatibility issues with your devices. You can either contact the support center of your device manufacturer or buy a newer Bluetooth adapter.