Successfully Pairing and Connecting Your Bluetooth Audio Device in Windows

Connecting Bluetooth devices can be a pain! While resolving thousands of Bluetooth issues here at Plugable, we’ve learned that the problem is often something going wrong in the pairing process. As we’ve helped customers with these issues, we’ve developed a step-by-step procedure that should work in any situation where a device isn’t pairing properly. We’ve also put together a database of pairing instructions for a wide range of Bluetooth audio devices.

There are two sets of instructions below, one for Windows 8/8.1/10 and one for Windows 7. If you are having troubles connecting, try the instructions. If it fails at any point, contact us at support@plugable.com and tell us which step it failed on, and we’ll already have a good start on the troubleshooting process!

Windows 8/8.1/10

1. If you have previously connected your Bluetooth audio device to any phone, tablet or a different computer, turn that device’s Bluetooth off and “Unpair” or “Forget” the connection in that device’s Bluetooth settings. This is very important to make sure your audio device doesn’t automatically connect to one of them instead of to the computer.

2. On the computer, click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray (click the upward pointing arrow near the clock) and select Add a Bluetooth Device. The Manage Bluetooth devices window will open.

3. If a listing for your audio device appears in the Manage Bluetooth devices Window, click it and select Remove Device, if that option is available, then confirm in the next screen.


4. Put your audio device in pairing mode, following the instructions in the owner’s manual or look up the instructions in our database below. The procedure typically involves holding a button or moving a switch until an LED starts flashing showing you are in pairing mode. If your device has already been paired to a different Bluetooth device, like a phone or tablet, you may need to follow a different procedure for the second time you pair. If you don’t find your device in the database, contact us at support@plugable.com, and we can help.

Scroll down to find your device. Use the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom to view the full instructions.

5. Now a new listing for the audio device should show up in the Manage Bluetooth Devices list on the computer. Click it, then select Pair.

6. The audio device should connect. Try playing audio through it. If it doesn’t work, continue with step 7.

7. Right click the speaker icon on in the system tray at lower right.

8. Select Playback devices. The audio device should be on the list as “Headphones” or “Speaker.” Right-click the listing and click Set as Default device. If the device has a microphone, you can click “Set as Default Communications Device” to use its microphone in Skype or other applications that require two-way communication. For some devices this setting may be available under a separate “Headset” icon. Please note when the Headset profile is being used, the device will be limited to mono, telephone quality sound. This is a Bluetooth limitation.

9. Your audio device should now be working. If not, contact us at support@plugable.com and let us know at which step the process failed. We are happy to help!

Windows 7

Note: Some recent Bluetooth audio devices use a non-standard connection method and require special treatment in Windows 7. These include the Bose QuietComfort 35, SoundLink AE2, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless, Sennheiser PXC 550, UE Boom 2, Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay S3, and others. If you have one of these, or if following the instructions below doesn’t work for you, see this blog post or contact us at support@plugable.com.

1. If you have previously connected your Bluetooth audio device to any phone, tablet or a different computer, turn that device’s Bluetooth off and “Unpair” or “Forget” the connection in that device’s Bluetooth settings. This is very important to make sure your audio device doesn’t automatically connect to one of them instead of to the computer.

2. On the computer, click the Start button, then select Devices and Printers.

3. In the Devices and Printers window, if you see an entry for your device, right-click it and select Remove Device, then select Yes in the next window.

4. Put your audio device in pairing mode, following the instructions in the owner’s manual or look up the instructions in our database above. The procedure typically involves holding a button or moving a switch until an LED starts flashing showing you are in pairing mode. If your device has already been paired to a different Bluetooth device, like a phone or tablet, you may need to follow a different procedure for the second time you pair. If you don’t find your device in the database, contact us at support@plugable.com, and we can help.

5. In the Devices and Printers window, select Add a device.

6. An icon for your earphones should show up in the Add a Device window. Click it, then select Next.

7. The audio device should connect. Try playing audio through it. If it doesn’t work, continue with step 8.

8. Right click the speaker icon on in the system tray at lower right.

9. Select Playback devices. The audio device should be on the list as “Headphones” or “Speaker.” Right-click the listing and click Set as Default device. If the device has a microphone, you can click “Set as Default Communications Device” to use its microphone in Skype or other applications that require two-way communication. For some devices this setting may be available under a separate “Headset” icon. Please note when the Headset profile is being used, the device will be limited to mono, telephone quality sound. This is a Bluetooth limitation.

10. Your audio device should now be working. If not, contact us at support@plugable.com and let us know at which step the process failed. We are happy to help!

Comments, questions, or suggestions on improving this post? Let us know by commenting here or contacting us at support@plugable.com. Please note we can offer only limited help with non-Plugable Bluetooth adapters.

12 comments on “Successfully Pairing and Connecting Your Bluetooth Audio Device in Windows”

  1. Greg Gill Reply

    I love Plugable and the tips. Connecting Bluetooth devices is the most painful things to do. You don’t have to tell me. Many many thanks for the tips.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      The Plugable Bluetooth adapter won’t work with a Mac, but it shouldn’t be needed because all Mac laptops in recent memory have Bluetooth already installed. However, you can connect a Windows or Linux computer that uses the Plugable Bluetooth adapter to your Mac through Bluetooth.

  2. Jonathan Reply

    I have a T46G YEALINK desk phone that has a bluetooth dongle slot. The google hat I got from YEALINK connects to all my headsets EXCEPT the BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 35. Will your dongle work with these two devices?

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Unfortunately, our USB-BT4LE Bluetooth adapter only works with supported Windows and Linux computers. However, the problem in your case is probably not the dongle. Either the Bose headphones aren’t making themselves available to the phone or the phone software can’t handle them. I would recommend doing the following to clear all the pairings from your headphones and try connecting again:

      On the Bose QuietComfort 35, slide the power button to the Bluetooth icon, and hold it there for 10 seconds, until you hear “Bluetooth device list cleared.” The Bluetooth indicator should blink blue. If not, slide the power button to the Bluetooth icon again until you hear “Ready to Pair” and the indicator blinks blue.

  3. janet Reply

    i have sennheiser headphones and your plugable won’t with my headphones either. it works just fine on my android. it’s not the headphones.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Janet, Thank you for posting. If you have the PXC 550 headphones, they are different because they are designed to connect through an app that installs on mobile devices. They will still connect in Windows 10, but you will see two icons for them. One of the two icons should show a pair of headphones, while the other shows a monitor and a smartphone. Connect using the icon that shows headphones. If you don’t see the headphones icon, please contact us directly at support@plugable.com. Be sure to turn off Bluetooth on your Android device and any other devices you have connected the headphones to before trying to connect to the Plugable adapter.

      Here are instructions for putting the headphones in pairing mode:

      Turn the headphones on. Press the Effect Mode Control Button for 4 seconds or until you hear tones and the voice prompt “Pairing.” The LEDs will flash in sequence on the headphones.

  4. MASOUD PAJOH Reply

    I have Jam Transit Bluetooth headphones.
    They worked erratically before I installed USB-BT4LE_win7_vista_x64.exe.
    Now no matter what I try the head phones do not show in list of the devices to be picked as the default device.
    I use windows 7 Professional with all the updates.

    Thanks for any help.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Masoud,

      Thank you for your comment. If you have the Plugable USB-BT4LE, could you contact us directly at support@plugable.com and refer to ticket #177123? It looks like this will take some troubleshooting. Thanks!

  5. Dustin Reply

    Hello,

    I use XO Worktime (VOIP) – How can I change make the Bluetooth headset work with this application?

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      It depends on your operation system and version, but for most versions of Windows, you can right-click the speaker icon in the lower right of the screen near the clock, then select Playback Devices. This will open the Sound window. Find your headset. If there are two listings for it, go for the one that says headset or hands-free instead of headphones, stereo, or A2DP. Right-click it, then select Set as Default Communications device. Then try using Voip with your headset again. If it still doesn’t work, and you have a Plugable Bluetooth adapter or headset, please contact us at support@plugable.com. Thanks!

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