Restoring Lost Bluetooth Icon to Your Windows System Tray

Missing Bluetooth IconThe Bluetooth icon in the Windows system tray provides an easy way to connect and manage Bluetooth devices on your Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 computer, and many Bluetooth users rely on it. But an accidental click in the wrong place can cause you to lose that icon, leaving no obvious way to access Bluetooth settings. Here is how to restore it.

The Problem

When Bluetooth is activated in a Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10 computer, Windows places a Bluetooth icon in the System Tray—the collection of easily accessible icons near the clock. It will either appear on the task bar or can be accessed by clicking the upward pointing triangle.
betterBTmenu
Clicking the Bluetooth icon displays a menu with entries for adding and managing Bluetooth devices. At the bottom of the menu, in a location that is easy to click by mistake, there is a Remove Icon entry. This removes the icon and closes the menu with no notification or confirmation. The next time you go to use Bluetooth, the icon is unexpectedly gone. With no icon or other indication that Bluetooth is available, it is easy to assume that Bluetooth is broken or no longer exists on the computer. It is difficult to understand why Microsoft included this, since icons in the System Tray can be easily hidden using the Customize link on the menu.

Although it is extremely easy to remove the icon by accident, Windows provides no easy way to restore it. Despite the importance of Bluetooth these days, especially to tablet users, Windows provides no Bluetooth control applet in the Control Panel. In Windows 8/8.1, a Bluetooth settings panel is available several levels deep from the Settings icon in the Charms menu, but like most Charms panels, its functionality is limited, and it includes no method to restore the Bluetooth icon.

Restoring the Icon

A detailed Bluetooth control applet does exist. Called Change Bluetooth Settings, it can be opened by searching for it in the Start menu. The procedure is slightly different in Windows 7 and in Windows 8/8.1/10, but once found, the icon is easy to restore.

Windows 7

1. Click the Start button.
Search Change Bluetooth Settings Windows 7
2. Type “change Bluetooth settings” in the Search Programs and Files box directly above the Start button.
3. “Change Bluetooth Settings” should appear in a list of search results as you type. Click it to open the Bluetooth Settings window shown below.
Change Bluetooth Icon in Windows 7
4. Under the Options tab, place a check in the box next to Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area.
5. Click OK and restart Windows. The icon should reappear the next time you log in.

Window 8/8.1

1. Right-click the Start Button.
2. Select Search
Search Change Bluetooth Settings Windows 8
3. Making sure Everywhere is selected, type “change Bluetooth settings.”
4. “Change Bluetooth Settings” should appear in a list of search results as you type. Click it to open the Bluetooth Settings window shown below.
Change Bluetooth Icon Windows 8
5. Under the Options tab, place a check in the box next to Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area.
6. Click OK and restart Windows. The icon should reappear the next time you log in.

Windows 10

1. Right-click the Start button
2. Select Control Panel.
3. Type “change bluetooth” in the Search Control Panel field at the upper-right of the Control Panel.

control_panel_win_10_1

4. “Devices and Printers-Change Bluetooth Settings should appear on the left of the screen. Click “Change Bluetooth Settings” to open the Bluetooth Settings window.

control_panel_win_10_2

5. Under the Options tab, place a check in the box next to Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area.

Windows_10_show_icon

6. Click OK and restart Windows. The icon should reappear the next time you log in.

We hope this guide is useful! If you have any questions, please comment below. Thanks!

52 comments on “Restoring Lost Bluetooth Icon to Your Windows System Tray”

  1. grahamft Reply

    Sorry, no, doesn’t work. The problem is that since I upgraded to Windows 10, the Bluetooth icon *only* appears in the System Tray when Bluetooth is turned on. If Bluetooth is turned off, the icon disappears. In Windows 7, the Bluetooth icon *always* appeared, whether on or off.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      The Bluetooth icon appearing only when Bluetooth is turned on is the normal behavior for Windows 10. However, you turn on Bluetooth and the icon does not appear, then the procedure in this blog post may help you recover it.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Thank you for asking! I’ve updated the blog post to include instructions for Windows 10. The procedure is basically the same, just the method to open the Bluetooth Settings window is different.

  2. Jerry Reply

    Bluetooth no longer appears on the menu since I refreshed my PC. “Change bluetooth settings” only gives me a “No items match your search” result.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Jerry, Thanks for your question. This is likely because Bluetooth itself is not working. I would check the Bluetooth Support Service to make use it is running. It it isn’t, try setting to “Automatic” and restart your computer. If this doesn’t work, I would be happy to help if you have a Plugable adapter. Please contact us directly at support@plugable.com. If you have an adapter from another company, the next step would be to contact them to help. Thanks!

  3. I D C Reply

    This did not work for me on windows 10. Searching “change bluetooth” in the control panel gives no results.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Thank you for posting. I just tested it, and it still works. The “change Bluetooth settings” link will be under the words “Devices and Printers.”

    • Jena Prabhakar Reply

      I have have a new laptop with window 10, can’t find the Bluetooth icon. I have been searching to locate the icon by following all instructions but of no help. It is like frustrating situation, wasting of time and a lot. It seem to me that window 7 was better and much much easier to operate than window 10. Need help.

      • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

        Hi Jena, If the Bluetooth icon isn’t showing up on a new Windows 10 laptop, then the most likely causes are either that there is no Bluetooth installed, or its drivers haven’t been installed. I would check the specs to make sure Bluetooth is included, and if it is, I would contact customer support at the laptop maker to find out why it isn’t working.

  4. Arne Reply

    As others have said searching for ‘change bluetooth’ yields no results. The bluetooth support service is running, I have several bluetooth dongles yet I have no bluetooth functionality at all, no option to turn it on or off anywhere.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Arne,

      The “Change Bluetooth Settings” will only appear if your computer has recognized and connected a Bluetooth adapter. If you have connected several adapters without removing the drivers from previous ones, they could be conflicting with each other, and preventing any from working correctly. If any of your adapters is a Plugable one, please contact us at support@plugable.com, and we can help straighten this out. If not, try plugging each adapter in one by one, then remove its driver in Device Manager by right-clicking, then selecting Uninstall. In the next window, select to delete the driver completely. Once you have done this for each adapter, plug in just one of them, and install its driver if it comes with one for the Windows version you are using. With Windows 10, you should be able to just plug it in. If the Bluetooth icon still doesn’t appear, and you aren’t able to find Change Bluetooth Settings in Control Panel, then there is probably a more serious problem in your Bluetooth software that needs to be addressed.

      I hope this is helpful.

      David

  5. grahamft Reply

    Create a shortcut on your Desktop. Make the URL “ms-settings:bluetooth”. Instant access to your Bluetooth settings. Sorted!

  6. jovita Reply

    i could not find it when i typed ”change bluetooth”. and i use window 8.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      If it isn’t showing up, make sure Bluetooth is actually working on your computer. You should be able to see it in Device Manager.

  7. Oscar L Guimmayen jr Reply

    hi im oscar i have window 7 before then i download window 10, my problem is bluetooth how to restored, in my device there is no list bluetooth..

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Oscar, Probably either the proper drivers for your Bluetooth adapter haven’t loaded after the update, or your adapter doesn’t have a Windows 10 driver available. If you have a Plugable adapter, I would be happy to help with this. Just email us at support@plugable.com. If you have another company’s driver, it would probably be good to contact their customer support.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Thank you for asking! If the icon has been turned off in the Bluetooth settings by removing the check mark from “Show the Bluetooth icon in the Notification area” in the Change Bluetooth Settings window as mentioned here, you should be able to access that Window as explained in this blog post, even though you don’t have admin access. However, if the problem is that the software isn’t installed, or there is a driver issue, you may need to obtain Admin rights to resolve it.

  8. Silver Girl Reply

    Since upgrading to Windows 10, my Bluetooth 4.0 has disappeared from my Device Manager. Bluetooth icon is missing in settings Windows 10, No Bluetooth icon in the device manager, Bluetooth icon is not in Control Panel or SysTray.

    I restarted the Support Service — nothing. I ran the Troubleshooter — nothing. Bluetooth no longer appears on the menu since I refreshed my PC. “Change bluetooth settings” only gives me a “No items match your search” result.

    I have an ASUS R510LA (July 2014) with a Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 Wifi Adapter.

  9. Oscar L Guimmayen jr Reply

    pls help me to restore my bluetooth in my loptop i dont know how to put it back , i use it before then i directly off my bluetooth speaker then the bluetooth in my computer is missing..

  10. Prafull Rajurkar Reply

    Thank. I tried restoring bluetooth icon and it was sucessfully installed. Thanks a lot.

  11. Eduardo Reply

    In the windows 10 section above, when I type “Change Bluetooth Settings” , the search does not bring anything up

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Eduardo,

      Generally if the search doesn’t bring up the settings when your type Change Bluetooth Settings, then something has gone wrong with the Bluetooth installation. If you have a Plugable adapter, please contact us directly at support@plugable.com and we can help with this. Thanks!

  12. Jeremy Reply

    Had Same Issue…Had No Bluetooth Icon + Bluetooth Settings. But Had Bluetooth Adapter Showing Under Device Manager.
    Just Fixed It Like This:
    Right Clicked On Bluetooth Adapter Under Device Manager And Uninstalled It With Delete Driver & Software Ticked.
    That’s All…Pulled Out USB Bluetooth Adapter & Put It Back In…Windows Installed It’s Generic Drivers & My Bluetooth Icon Was Back. I’m Not Going To Update The Bluetooth Drivers Now.

    Hope This Helps.

  13. ostotohotspot Reply

    My Windows 10 laptop bluetooth can’t work after a update. I can’t see it in Device Manager. My brother said that the bluetooth driver for Windows 10 was missing. He gave me a program named Driver Talent to install bluetooth driver for Windows 10.

  14. Kevin Reply

    I Have windows 8.1. When I seasch for “change bluetooth” as per your blog “Change Bluetooth Settings does not come up. Is there a command line instruction I can use for the same purpose?

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Kevin, Thank you for your comment. There isn’t a command that I know of that will activate the Change Bluetooth Settings window from a command prompt. If the setting window isn’t coming up, it probably means there is something wrong with the Bluetooth installation. Some possibilities are the Bluetooth Support Service being turned off or the Bluetooth adapter not being installed. If you have a Plugable adapter, please contact us directly at support@plugable.com. We will help with this. Thanks!

  15. Felix Reply

    I lose my bluetooth (device becomes inactive/hidden) and the only way it works again is if I run the “Btw_on.exe” file. I need to do this every time. Anyway this can be fixed? All settings within “Services” are set to automatic. Windows 10 is a tough one.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Felix, Thank you for posting. I’ve never seen this particular issue. If you have a Plugable adapter, we would be happy to see if we can figure it out. If so, please contact us at support@plugable.com. Thanks!

  16. Frederic Reply

    I have lost the bluetooth icon bluetooth pairing and can’t get it back. None of your work-arounds have helped. I reset the computer and reinstalled all Intel and Dell drivers. Not a fix.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Generally when this happens it means that for some reason the Bluetooth support software isn’t running. It could be because it has been disabled, conflicting with other software, or it could be caused by a problem with the Bluetooth adapter itself. Probably the best thing to do at this point is to contact the maker of your computer if the adapter is built in or contact the adapter maker if it in an external Bluetooth adapter.

  17. Charlie Pearson Reply

    Hi. It looks as if some of the people above are having the same problem as me. Your fixes don’t currently fix the problem for me but this may be because my problem is subtly different or it may be that you needed more details. What I see is as follows:
    1. I have a Lenovo Yoga laptop running Windows 10. Out of the box, and until very recently, it ran a Bluetooth mouse fine – I didn’t know where the Bluetooth settings were on the machine and I didn’t need to: it just worked! Whether I did a ‘start’, a ‘restart’, or simply a ‘resume’ by opening the lid it just worked. (Microsoft arc Bluetooth mouse, not USB)
    2. Suddenly, perhaps as a result of a windows update (I don’t always notice what these are/when they are) the behaviour of the machine has changed: Now, if I ‘start’ or ‘restart’ my laptop the mouse works fine. About half of the times that I ‘resume’ or open the lid to continue it works fine, but on the other half the mouse doesn’t work. When it doesn’t work, the Bluetooth icon in ‘printers and devices’ has disappeared too.
    3. When the Bluetooth icon has disappeared, I can find no way to get it back without re-starting the machine. If I type ‘bluetooth’ in the search box it tells me that perhaps Bluetooth is not installed on the machine. If I ‘re-start’ (so far) the Bluetooth icon re-appears, but I don’t necessarily need to go there because the mouse works again anyway.
    As you can see from the above, this is not consistent: there is no definite trigger that I can see that causes the Bluetooth adapter to become unavailable. Surely if this was a driver problem it would be consistent. (Incidentally: your suggestion of typing ‘Bluetooth change’ in the Control Panel search bar produces nothing at all).
    Do you have any other thoughts?

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Thank you for posting. It sounds like there is a deeper problem than just the driver, especially since the icon is disappearing and reappearing. I think this is probably the last thing you want to hear, but I recommend contacting Lenovo about this. If your computer is still under warranty and it turns out to be a hardware problem, you would be covered.

  18. munish sharma Reply

    just try connecting your laptop with a mobile hot spot through wifi, bluetooth icon will appear for sure and you can use it again, if disappeared again do the same procedure.

  19. jenny Reply

    If I click go to devices and printers and right click the name of my computer I can see the Bluetooth settings option, but on clicking it, it doesn’t respond. what do I do?

  20. David Roberts David Roberts Reply

    Thank you for posting. If the Bluetooth settings don’t appear, there is likely a driver problem with your Bluetooth adapter. If you have a Plugable adapter, please contact us at support@plugable.com, and we would be able to help with this. Otherwise, you will probably have to contact your computer or Bluetooth adapter maker.

  21. Aviv Valuevich Reply

    For those who have win10 and this guide didnt help you,search device manager and there click on universal serial bus controllers and enable them all,worked for me

  22. angus h Reply

    I have win10, this guide didn’t help at all. I read the previous comment, searched for device manager, opened it and there was a bluetooth icon there that i right clicked and there was an option to enable. This happened after I updated my pc.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Thank you for pointing this out. It may be a change introduced by the update. I’ll check it out and update the blog post accordingly.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      After looking into this, I think that probably the Bluetooth adapter in your computer was disabled, and right-clicking the icon for the adapter and selecting Enable caused it to be enabled again.

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