With Windows 7, users are able to enjoy a wide range of software and services. Hardware technologies are another area of the Windows ecosystem that users are able to benefit from tremendously with a plethora of solutions to do anything you want with your Windows 7 PC. One of these technologies I would like discuss today is Bluetooth technology, which is a radio frequency for short-range communication. Bluetooth in technical circles is called PAN which is short for Personal Area Network.
Bluetooth is popular for use in wireless devices such as headsets and is used in mobile devices such as cellular phones, PDA’s and laptop computers. I recently got a new cellular phone (its hand me down phone actually, but still very new). I didn’t get the USB connector cable at the same time. I also didn’t have access to the installation software. I thought, how could I connect my new cell phone with my Windows 7 PC in the mean time? The answer….Bluetooth.
First things first, you need to make sure your computer supports Bluetooth. Many laptops sold today already include built-in Bluetooth. If your computer (desktop or laptop) does not have built-in Bluetooth then you can purchase a separate Bluetooth USB adapter, sometimes called a dongle, that will allow a Bluetooth device to connect to your computer, usually by using a USB port.
The next thing we need to do is turn on Bluetooth on both the computer and the device. For the purposes of this article, I will be using my new Nokia cellular phone.
Enabling Bluetooth communication on a cellular phone
On Cellular phones this will vary, you should consult the documentation that came with your phone or go to the manufacturer’s website. On my Nokia, I clicked Menu > select ‘Settings’ go down to ‘Connectivity’ > select Bluetooth. The Bluetooth menu will probably display its status as ‘off’. This is important for reasons such as preserving battery life. I recommend keeping Bluetooth off when you are not going to use it, since leaving it on will have the technology searching for other Bluetooth devices to connect to, ultimately draining the battery.
After selecting Bluetooth, select the ‘On’ menu and Bluetooth will be turned on. Again, this will vary according to the brand phone/model or device you are connecting. For instance, if you are connecting a Bluetooth mouse, this will require that you attach a USB Bluetooth dongle to your computer and peer it with the mouse during the installation wizard. Always consult the documentation that came with your product.
On the computer, especially laptops, turning on Bluetooth is a simple process that involves switching the identified latch on the laptop chassis until a Blue light or indicator that Bluetooth is turned on. Consult your computers documentation if you are unable to find the Bluetooth latch, some manufacturers place it at the front or side of the laptop chassis, others might be software controlled requiring that you turn it on from within Windows using a bundled utility.
Devices and Printers
The Windows Team has made setting up devices in Windows 7 very easy, the new Devices and Printers window located on the Start menu offers quick and centralized access to all your devices. Once your phone is on and Bluetooth is enabled, in Devices and Printers, click Add Device on the command bar. This will begin the Add Device wizard. Your Bluetooth device should immediately be recognized by its name and model number. Click Next, the next window will generate a unique ID that you will use to enter on your phone to confirm and connect the device to your computer.
Once this is done, the wizard will configure the device and prepare it for use with your Windows 7 PC. Windows will automatically install any necessary drivers for added functionality. To verify that your Bluetooth is ready for use, we will now check in the Devices and Printers window.
Adding a Bluetooth Device Wizard
My Bluetooth enabled phone displayed in Devices and Printers.
And there we go, our Bluetooth device is now available in Devices and Printers. What can we now do? Well, you can add files to your phone easily. Or in the case of a cellular phone, you could use it as a wireless modem to connect to Internet (charges may apply and you might need to sign up for a mobile Internet contract with your service provider before you can do this).
Sending a file to my phone using Bluetooth
Let me show you how to add an audio file to your Bluetooth enabled phone. Click Start, open your Music folder or wherever you store your music. Right click the audio file > select Send to > click Bluetooth device. This will start the Bluetooth File Transfer wizard. Select your Bluetooth device, then click Next. Your file will then be transferred to your device and that’s it!
Bluetooth Transfer wizard transferring file to phone
You can check your phone which will alert that the file is now available, click Finish. It’s that simple! You can do the same with documents, pictures and even video.
Transferring a file from my phone to my computer using Bluetooth.
If you want to send a file from your Bluetooth device to your Windows 7 PC, you will need to consult your devices documentation as this may vary. In my case, all I had to do for sending a picture, was browse the Pictures Gallery on my phone, select Options > select Send and select via Bluetooth. Select the name of your computer and click OK.
File transferred successfully!
Windows 7 will prompt you that this is an unsecured connection which cannot be permanently authorized. To work around this, click OK, click the ‘Allow Access’ For the next check box and select how long you would like the device to be connected while transferring data. Once this is done, simply click OK and your file will be transferred in seconds. To find the transferred file, click Start > your account folder > Documents folder > and open the Bluetooth Exchange Folder. There you will see your recently transferred file.
Removing Bluetooth devices
When you have completed your task and you decide you no longer need to have your Bluetooth device connected to your computer, just open Devices and Printers, select the device and click Remove Device on the command bar. Wait while Windows removes the device from your computer. If are going to be using the device regularly with your computer through Bluetooth, its best you at least let Windows 7 keep it until you are ready to use it again. Just remember to turn the Bluetooth connectivity on both your phone and computer off to preserve battery life and for security purposes.
So these are just some of the basic, easy and productive things you can do with Bluetooth in Windows 7. It’s not limited to just phones either, you can set up a Bluetooth printer, keyboard, mice and other types of peripherals and use them wirelessly. Certain Bluetooth devices can even work with your computer from 30 feet away. Bluetooth is powerful indeed!