Bluetooth functionality might disappear from your Windows 10 system’s Settings for a variety of reasons, including software glitches, outdated drivers, or hardware malfunctions. If you’re faced with this issue, you’re likely searching for reasons why the Bluetooth option has vanished and how to bring it back.
Newer versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11 have consolidated the Bluetooth settings under Bluetooth & other devices within the Windows Settings app. Additionally, the Bluetooth icon might go missing from the Task Tray. This updated article aims to provide steps to resolve these related issues.
First, ensure that your device has Bluetooth hardware or supports Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is indeed present, the current predicament could be due to incorrect configuration. The following solutions may help you address the problem.
1. Boot into Safe Mode and then Back to Normal Mode
- Press the Windows key and R. Type msconfig and click OK.
- In the Boot tab, check the Safe Boot option.
- Restart the PC to boot into Safe Mode. Drivers should install automatically in this mode.
- Repeat Steps 1 and 2, this time unchecking Safe Boot, to reboot back into Normal Mode and see if the issue is resolved.
2. Checking the Bluetooth Service
A common reason for Bluetooth not appearing in Settings or the taskbar icon is the service being disabled. By default, the service’s startup type is set to Manual. We can attempt to start the service again, setting it to Automatic, and check if this resolves the problem.
- Press Windows + R, type services.msc in the Run dialog box, and press Enter.
- In the Services window, navigate to Bluetooth Support Service and double-click it to access its properties.
Note: On some devices, there may be additional services such as Bluetooth Driver Management System. Ensure that you adjust these services as needed.
- Click the Start button to initiate the service and set the startup type to Automatic. Click Apply to save changes and exit.
- Press Windows + I to open settings, navigate to Devices, and verify if the problem has been fixed.
3. Installing the Default Drivers
Installing the default drivers for the hardware is another solution to this problem. Uninstall the device and then check for hardware changes using the device manager.
- Hold Windows + R, type devmgmt.msc in the Run dialog box, and press Enter.
- In the Device Manager, expand the Bluetooth category. Right-click on the Bluetooth hardware and select Uninstall.
- Notice that the Bluetooth category disappears from the device manager, confirming the hardware uninstallation success.
- If Bluetooth devices are not visible, click on the View menu, then select Show Hidden Devices.
- Right-click on an empty space and select Scan for hardware changes. The computer will scan for all connected hardware and should automatically install the default drivers upon detecting the Bluetooth hardware.
- Reopen the Bluetooth category to confirm the successful driver installation.
- Next, see if the Bluetooth option has returned in the settings. Restart your computer if necessary and check again. Note that you may need to scan for hardware changes multiple times if the system does not detect your Bluetooth hardware on the first attempt.
Note: Additionally, ensure the device is enabled. Right-click on the Bluetooth entry and select Enable device.
In certain cases, if your hardware’s driver is corrupt or incompatible, right-click on the device and select Update driver. Choose the automatic option and ensure you have an active internet connection. Windows will search for the latest drivers online and update them accordingly.
If automatic updates yield no results, opt for the manual method and manually install the drivers after downloading them from the manufacturer’s website.
4. Enabling Bluetooth using the Physical Key
Some laptops have a separate key for toggling Bluetooth on or off. Ensure that Bluetooth is activated using any physical switches or function key combinations (commonly Fn + F12) on your laptop. The physical switches typically supersede software toggles, meaning the software alone might not activate your Bluetooth device.
5. Enabling Bluetooth on the Taskbar
To add the Bluetooth option to your notification area, adjust your settings accordingly. By doing so, you can manage Bluetooth features right from the taskbar rather than navigating through settings.
- Press Windows + S to open the search bar. Type Bluetooth and launch the most relevant application displayed.
- On the left side, select More Bluetooth options.
- Check Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area, click Apply, and exit. The Bluetooth icon should now appear on your taskbar.
If the icon is not immediately visible, click the upwards arrow on the taskbar to reveal hidden icons.
6. Run the Bluetooth Troubleshooter
Windows comes equipped with numerous troubleshooters tailored to address common system problems, including a dedicated Bluetooth Troubleshooter. It checks your Bluetooth hardware’s integration with the operating system, attempting to reinitialize and reconfigure any malfunctions automatically.
- Press the Windows key, type Troubleshoot and then select Troubleshoot Settings.
- In the settings window, scroll down to find Bluetooth.
- Click on Bluetooth and then on Run the troubleshooter.
- Follow the on-screen prompts.
- After the troubleshooter completes, restart your system and check if the Bluetooth icon has reappeared.
Hopefully, these steps will resolve the Bluetooth issues on your system. If you are still facing difficulties, consider resetting your BIOS to Factory Settings.