Bluetooth helps you connect your wireless devices to your PC, whether a mouse, keyboard, headphones or any other peripheral. When it stops working, it can be a headache to figure out what the problem is.
From minor software glitches preventing Bluetooth on your computer to an outdated Bluetooth driver, there are plenty of reasons why your Bluetooth is not working on Windows.
Sometimes, even malware hiding on your PC can mess with your system settings, blocking all Bluetooth connections.
This guide will help you fix Bluetooth issues on Windows and give you the tools to fend off malicious software using the best antivirus software.
Bluetooth not working on Windows: Quick fixes
Having Bluetooth connection problems on Windows? Follow the steps below to help fix the problem.
If a virus or malware infection is hiding in plain sight, it’s best to use a reliable antivirus scanner to make sure it’s not harming your system (and your personal information).
Check if Bluetooth is turned on
This may be obvious, but a simple check will quickly solve your Bluetooth connection problems on Windows. Sometimes, accidentally pressing a keyboard shortcut can turn off Bluetooth, so make sure it’s switched on.
Go to Settings > Bluetooth & devices. Next to Bluetooth, make sure the switch is toggled to On. Alternatively, open Quick Settings (the battery, network and volume icon on the right end of the taskbar) and check if the Bluetooth icon is highlighted, indicating it is on. If not, click on it.
If your PC is in Flight Mode, it will automatically switch off Bluetooth. Switch it off by opening Quick Settings and clicking on Flight mode.
Update/ Uninstall your Bluetooth drivers
If your computer has outdated or corrupted Bluetooth drivers installed, it can cause Bluetooth to stop working. If this is the case, you’ll need to update your drivers.
You can update your Bluetooth drivers in Windows settings. In the search box on the taskbar, type in “Device Manager” and select Device Manager > Bluetooth > right-click on the Bluetooth adapter > Update driver and follow the steps.
If Bluetooth driver updates are available, download and install the update to see if this fixes the issue.
You can also try uninstalling the Bluetooth driver if updating doesn’t help. Follow the same steps above. Instead of clicking Update Driver, select Uninstall device. Restart your PC, and Windows will try to download the driver automatically. If not, go to Device Manager > Action > Scan for hardware changes and follow the instructions.
Run the Bluetooth troubleshooter
If you’re experiencing problems out of your control, like a missing Bluetooth icon, Bluetooth not working after a Windows update, or it doesn’t appear on the device manager, it’s time to let Windows figure out the problem.
The Bluetooth troubleshooter will automatically detect any issues with Windows and offer solutions to the problem.
Go to Settings > System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters to use it. Next to Bluetooth, click Run. If any issues are detected, follow the instructions to fix the problem.
Update your software and restart your computer
Updating your Windows PC software and restarting your computer can often fix minor glitches that are causing Bluetooth to stop working, but it can also fend off malicious software.
Cybercriminals take advantage of security vulnerabilities on your device. These zero-day vulnerabilities allow threat actors to exploit computer systems until developers mitigate them, which can cause major damage.
Updating your system’s software can resolve the issue. A software update often contains security patches that help protect your device, as developers work to protect users from known zero-day attacks and other forms of malware trying to infect your device, especially with unfamiliar processes.
You can update your device through its settings. For example, you can update your Windows PC by navigating to Start > Settings > Windows Update > Check for updates. If there are any, download and install the update.
Change your passwords
If you’ve Bluetooth problems on Windows and nothing will fix it, chances are your PC has been infected with a virus or malware, and your online accounts and devices are at risk of being compromised.
To help mitigate potential malware threats or hackers taking control of your accounts, change your passwords and use a strong password to stop suspicious activity.
Changing passwords will stop hackers from trying to steal any sensitive information and your online accounts.
Use antivirus software to detect and stop malware
Getting Bluetooth problems on your PC is annoying, but if a virus or malware is the reason, it could cause serious damage to your machine and more. Using one of the best antivirus software like Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) will keep you safe from any malicious software, like ransomware, adware, spyware, phishing and more.
That’s not all; antivirus software can provide extra features like VPNs, dark web monitoring and more. Norton 360 has all these features and extra security tools that can backup your data, prevent online identity theft and stop malware.
What’s more, Norton 360 comes with monitoring features to identify all suspicious activity on your device. It will help detect and notify you about any unusual activity, including issues with your PC’s Bluetooth, and stop it using it’s protection tools.
Can someone hack a Windows PC using Bluetooth?
While it’s rare for someone to hack an PC via Bluetooth, it doesn’t make it impossible.
Attackers can trick users into accepting a Bluetooth pairing request by naming the device something familiar to the user. Fast Pair can also be risky, as threat actors can share data, such as malicious links and more, that users can click on.
Furthermore, a hacker can use a malicious Bluetooth device designed to infiltrate Windows, tricking the smartphone to pair with it. From there, the hacker can steal data or install malware on the smartphone.
Again, this is a relatively difficult task, as Windows regularly releases security updates to patch vulnerabilities in Bluetooth. That’s why keeping your device updated with the latest software updates is essential.
To identify and remove malicious software and prevent infections from happening, it’s best to use an antivirus like Norton 360 to detect any malicious activity and stop the malware from causing more harm.
Are public Wi-Fi networks dangerous for my PC?
Malware can spread through all kinds of networks, wireless or not, and Wi-Fi is among the most appealing. From man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks to abusing Wi-Fi hotspots, there are several ways hackers can exploit an unsecured Wi-Fi network, especially in public.
Sometimes, threat actors will even set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots to dupe users into connecting with their network, allowing them to hijack their session and steal information. You’ll want to be aware of strange-looking “McDonald Wi-Fi free” type names (especially if there isn’t a McDonald’s around).
Some common public Wi-Fi and Bluetooth attacks include a Man-in-the-Middle attack and file sharing. An MITM is a cyberattack where a bad actor puts themselves in the middle of a conversation or data transfer between a user and an application. The hacker will intercept the user’s traffic through the compromised network, allowing them to learn their personal information.
File sharing, especially through Bluetooth, is a great way to send files between devices quickly, but attackers can also use this to their advantage. Cybercriminals can send malicious software straight to a user’s device through a compromised Wi-Fi network or unsecured Bluetooth.
However, using an antivirus for your PC can detect malware and keep your computer safe.
Can any antivirus software stop viruses and malware?
The best antivirus software will stop malware in its tracks. Not all antivirus software is equal, as some don’t have high malware detection and protection rates or have accredited lab scores to back them up.
However, many high-standard AV protections offer near-perfect scores when detecting and protecting against malware, meaning even complex malicious software can’t go unnoticed. If a malicious Bluetooth device has infected your Windows PC with malware, the right antivirus software will help you stay protected.
Services, including Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) and Bitdefender (from $19.99/year), include device monitoring features to help uncover suspicious activity early and offer the tools to fight off cyberattacks. Whether its a phishing attack, ransomware, spyware or infostealer malware, these security products have the tools to protect you.
These services have protection features that block malicious activity blocking any software updates on your device. To make sure your device is ready to identify and block malware damaging your system, set yourself up with an antivirus.
Best antivirus to prevent viruses and malware
1. Norton 360 🥇From $19.99/year
Best overall antivirus of 2023
“Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990.
Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats.
Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.
If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.
Read our full Norton 360 review
2. Bitdefender 🥈 From $19.99/year
Best security features and tools
Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.
Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.
It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need.
Read our full Bitdefender review
3. Malwarebytes 🥉 From $44.99/year
Best antivirus for Windows PC
Hundreds of malware emerge every minute, and it’s Malwarebytes’ mission to detect and conquer them all. Does the antivirus do this successfully? Yes, but there’s wiggle room for improvements.
Malwarebytes’ no-nonsense approach to protecting your devices from the onslaught of malware and viruses is effective for those who need a reliable antivirus that will detect and remove malicious software, especially with its free version. However, while its premium service provides 24/7 real-time detection, conveniently blocks vicious ransomware and shields users from malicious websites, it doesn’t go beyond on the feature front.
That’s no bad thing, as sometimes a user only needs a powerful antivirus to keep them safe from cyber threats. But considering its competitors add a few more security tools, such as data breach monitoring and a firewall, there’s room for improvement.
Read our full Malwarebytes review
4. Avast One 🙌 From $39.99/year
Best antivirus for beginners + free plan available!
With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.
Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.
It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.
Read our full Avast One review
5. AVG👍 From 4.99/month
Best antivirus for + free plan available!
You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.
AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.
Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.
Read our full AVG Antivirus review