Bluetooth is a standard short-range wireless technology that allows you to connect a long list of peripherals (such as mice, keyboards, and speakers) to your computer wirelessly. In addition, it's often used as a medium to transfer low-rate data between devices — for example, between your PC and phone.

Usually, if you're replacing a faulty Bluetooth adapter by removing and adding a new one, the configuration is a straightforward process. However, if the adapter is integrated onto the motherboard or wireless card (like those from Intel), even if it doesn't work correctly, but Windows 10 still detecting it, installing a replacement can be a challenge, because you often want to use only one adapter per computer. Otherwise, you're likely to have stability problems connecting devices.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to install a second Bluetooth adapter on your computer if it's not possible to remove the old wireless radio adapter.

How to install a second Bluetooth adapter

If you want to avoid conflicts and other problems, before adding a new Bluetooth adapter, you must first disable the old adapter, and then install the new device.

Disabling an old Bluetooth adapter

To disable a defective Bluetooth adapter on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Double-click the Bluetooth branch.
  4. Right-click the adapter and select the Disable device option.

  5. Click the Yes button.

Once you complete these steps, you can proceed to add the new adapter.

If your old Bluetooth adapter is up for a replacement, we recommend the Sabrent BT-UB40 USB Bluetooth 4.0 micro adapter, because of its compact design and USB connectivity that makes it perfect to quickly add reliable Bluetooth connectivity on any desktop, laptop, or tablet running Windows 10. Also, the adapter uses Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology, but it is compatible with previous versions of the technology.

Our pick

Sabrent USB Bluetooth 4.0 micro adapter

Add Bluetooth to any PC

This tiny adapter lets you add Bluetooth connectivity (with backward compatibility support) to any Windows 10 device without breaking your wallet.

Installing a new Bluetooth adapter

To properly install the new Bluetooth adapter, use these steps:

  1. Connect the new Bluetooth adapter.
  2. Allow Windows 10 to detect and install the driver automatically.

After you complete these steps, you should verify that the new short-range wireless radio is configured correctly.

Checking new device

To determine if the adapter was recognized properly, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Devices.
  3. Click on Bluetooth & other devices.

If you see a Bluetooth toggle switch, your device was installed properly. Otherwise, if you only see an Add Bluetooth or other device button, there's a problem with the short-range wireless radio.

Installing a driver manually

Settings up a new Bluetooth adapter should be a plug-and-play process, but depending on the adapter, you may need to install its driver manually.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Double-click the Other devices branch.
  4. Right-click the adapter with the yellow mark, and select the Update driver option.

  5. Click the Search automatically for updated driver software option.

  6. If the system couldn't install the driver, click the Search for updated drivers on Windows Update button.

  7. Click the Check for updates button in the Settings app.

  8. Restart your computer.

Once you complete the steps, you can connect Bluetooth devices to your computer without problems.

In the rare case that Windows Update couldn't install the proper driver, you may have to download and install the latest controllers from your Bluetooth manufacturer support website by following their instructions.

Our pick

Sabrent USB Bluetooth 4.0 micro adapter

Add Bluetooth to any PC

This tiny adapter lets you add Bluetooth connectivity (with backward compatibility support) to any Windows 10 device without breaking your wallet.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro recommends all these affordable accessories

Hi, I'm Mauro Huculak, Windows Central's help and how-to guru. I wrote the post you're reading now, and I know the Windows OS inside and out. But I'm also a bit of a hardware geek. These are some of the affordable gadgets on my desk today.

Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse ($72 at Amazon)

I know mice, and this is the one I use every day. The MX Master is a wireless high-precision mouse that's very comfortable to use and has many great features, including the ability to connect with multiple devices, an infinite scroll wheel, back and forward buttons, all of which you can customize.

Ktrio Extended Gaming Mouse Pad ($12 at Amazon)

If you spend a lot of time typing, your palms and mouse will leave tracks on your desk. My solution was to start using gaming mouse pads, which are big enough for you to use the keyboard and the mouse comfortably. This is the one I use and recommend.

Supernight LED light strip ($20 at Amazon)

You could just use a regular light bulb in your office, but if you want to add some ambient lighting with different colors, an RGB LED strip is the way to go. This one is Mauro-approved.

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