6 ways to troubleshoot if you can’t remove a Bluetooth device from your Windows computer

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  • If you try to remove a Bluetooth device on Windows and it doesn’t work, there are a few troubleshooting methods to try.
  • You can generally remove Bluetooth devices using the Settings app, but that process won’t work on occasion.
  • You can also remove your Bluetooth device from the Control Panel, restart some services, and update drivers.

Although there’s usually no disadvantage by leaving Bluetooth devices paired to your computer, you might occasionally want to clean up your Bluetooth settings by removing devices you no longer use.

It’s generally easy to remove unused Bluetooth devices, but sometimes Windows suffers a glitch, and removing the device doesn’t work. Here are some common and easy troubleshooting steps you can take to solve this problem and get your unwanted devices removed.

Remove a device using Settings

There are several ways to remove Bluetooth devices from Windows 10 or Windows 11, so start by double-checking the most common approach: using Bluetooth settings.

1. Click Start and then click Settings.

2. Click Bluetooth & devices in the pane on the left. (Select Devices in Windows 10.)

3. Find the Bluetooth device you want to remove. You might need to click View more devices.

4. To the right of the device, click the three dots and then click Remove device.

© Dave Johnson

Turn off Bluetooth

If you’re having trouble removing a Bluetooth device, it’s possible that Windows won’t “let go” of the device because it thinks there’s an active Bluetooth connection. To remedy that, open Settings in Windows 11 and click Bluetooth & devices. Then turn off Bluetooth by swiping the button to the left.

© Dave Johnson

Remove the device using Control Panel

If Settings didn’t work, there’s more than one way to get rid of the device in Windows, so try using the Control Panel instead.

1. In the Start Search box, type “Control Panel” and when you see Control Panel appear in the results, click it.

2. In the Hardware and Sound section, click View devices and printers.

3. Right-click the device you want to remove and choose Remove device.

© Dave Johnson

Restart the Device Association Service

This is a little esoteric, but it’s possible that a piece of software called the Device Association Service has accidentally stopped or otherwise has failed. This can prevent you from removing a Bluetooth device. Here’s what do to:

1. Press Windows + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.

2. Type services.msc and click OK.

3. After a moment, the Services dialog box will appear.

4. Right-click Device Association Services and choose Restart from the drop-down menu.

5. Go back to Settings and try to remove the Bluetooth device.

© Dave Johnson

Update your Bluetooth drivers

It’s possible a glitch in your Bluetooth software is interfering with removing the device, so try updating the drivers first.

1. In the Start Search box, start to type “device manager” and click Device Manager when you see it appear in the results.

2. Click the arrow beside Bluetooth to expand the list.

3. Right-click the Bluetooth adapter and in the drop-down menu, choose Update driver.

4. Click Search automatically for drivers and then follow the instructions to install the update.

© Dave Johnson

Run the Bluetooth troubleshooter

Finally, Windows has its own troubleshooter that might uncover and solve a problem, enabling you to delete the device.

1. Click Start and then click Settings.

2. In the Settings window’s search box, type “trouble” and then click Troubleshoot other problems when you see it in search results.

3. In the Other section, click Run in the Bluetooth box and follow the instructions to run the troubleshooter.


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