Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Missing

4.3 

Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Missing

Note: This guide can be used in the event of any M.2 device vanishing from the Device Manager. The procedure lists Killer devices specifically, but the phenomenon is widespread among M.2 devices and Windows 10, and these same steps can be used to restore functionality when any M.2 device disappears from Device Manager.

When this occurs, it is an issue of the BIOS or the operating system not enumerating the device properly. In very rare situations, it can be cause by some kind of physical trauma causing the device to become dislodged, or the device failing, but more often than not, the hardware is just fine. It’s just a matter of getting Windows or, sometimes, the BIOS, to see it again. Sometimes the device will be missing altogether, or sometimes it will be grayed out - the difference is only in whether your Device Manager is set to show devices that are no longer present in the machine. Either way, the Device Manager thinks that the device is gone, and that is what needs to be addressed.

  • First off, make sure that you do not have any USB devices disabled. The internal Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapter is actually USB device, so if there are any USB devices disabled in your Device Manager, for any reason, this can cause the Bluetooth device to vanish. If you are unable to enable the USB device, then you should resolve that issue first. This includes USB Hub devices, or any devices under the Universal Serial Bus controllers category in Device Manager that show any errors, for any reason. Once you no longer have any disabled USB devices, the Bluetooth device should show back up. On some platforms, this is the #1 cause of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters mysteriously vanishing from the Device Manager. Once you have resolved the USB issue, restart your machine, and check to see if the missing device has reappeared in your Device Manager. 

USB Error

  • If you do not have any disabled USB devices, or any with errors, or if you have resolved that issue and the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth adapter has not reappeared in the Device Manager, then you will need to update your chipset drivers, and possibly your machine or mainboard’s BIOS. We have noted that some platforms have chipset drivers that are buggy enough that they absolutely will experience this issue if their chipset drivers are not updated. You will need to obtain these drivers from your mainboard or machine manufacturer’s support download page. You can usually find this page by going to the main website for your machine or mainboard manufacturer and looking under "Support", or by using your preferred search engine to search for your specific model, then selecting the result that leads to your machine or mainboard manufacturer's website. Once you have found the support downloads page, if you cannot tell which drivers are the chipset drivers, it is generally recommended that you simply update all of the offered drivers, except for the Killer Network card drivers, which you should get from us, as they are likely more recent. If there is a BIOS update available, then updating the BIOS is also recommended, especially if the BIOS update notes mention anything that might pertain to this situation. Make certain that you at least update the chipset and USB drivers, if applicable. Some platforms combine the USB drivers into the chipset drivers, so you may not see a separate download. Once you have done these updates, restart the machine, and see if the missing device reappears in the Device Manager.
  • Depending on what is available, the best order in which to update is as follows:
    1. Update your BIOS from your machine or mainboard's support page. 
    2. Update your chipset drivers from your machine or mainboard's support page. 
    3. Update the USB drivers from your machine or mainboard's support page.  If none are listed, they are probably rolled into the chipset driver. 
    4. Update all other drivers available from your machine or mainboard's support page, except Killer Networking and Bluetooth drivers, which you should get from us.
    5. Restart your machine by clicking Start > Power > Restart
  • Windows itself can also play a part in the disappearing device. The Anniversary Update saw many such devices vanish, so much so that the Creator’s Update added a Bluetooth troubleshooter to Windows 10. Make sure that your Windows installation is up to date by using Windows Search to search Windows Update

    windows update

    then press Enter, and click Check for Updates

  • Once it has downloaded and installed everything it finds, restart the machine, and repeat this process until Windows Update finds no updates directly after restarting. Once this happens, check to see if the device has reappeared in the Device Manager. If this doesn’t help, and the issue is Bluetooth related, you can try troubleshooting using Windows built-in troubleshooter. Microsoft has instructions here - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/14169/windows-10-fix-bluetooth-problems-faq
  • If the device is still missing from the Device Manager, then that means that it isn’t the chipset drivers (or at least it isn’t only the chipset drivers) that is not properly enumerating the device, but rather the BIOS itself. In this case, you will need to discharge the machine to force the BIOS to re-enumerate all of its hardware (instructions below). Before you do this, make sure that you have updated the BIOS to the latest version, from the mainboard or machine manufacturer’s website, so that you address the flaw that caused this issue in the first place. Once that BIOS update is in place, and you have confirmed that the machine has booted back up, but the device is still not appearing in Device Manager, shut the machine back down, and unplug it from the wall. You will now need to fully discharge the machine.
    • If this is a desktop, you will need to remove the side panel, discharge yourself of static electricity on something metal (your computer’s case might work, or possibly your desk) and look for the CMOS battery. It is a large coin-cell battery. Remove that battery. Sometimes it’s easier with a flathead screwdriver, but it should be fairly simple to remove. Once you have removed that battery, press the power button on the machine 2-3 times to completely discharge it, then replace the CMOS battery and the case. If you are not comfortable doing this on your own, please refer to your mainboard or machine's support. 
    • If this is a laptop, hopefully it is one where you can easily remove the battery. This will be specific to your model of laptop, so you may need to refer to your owner’s manual, or your laptop’s support website. Some MSI models are held in with a single screw. If you are able to remove the laptop battery, do so, and then press the laptop’s power button a few times to fully discharge it.
    • If this is a laptop, but you are unable to remove the battery, or would prefer not to, you can discharge the machine through usage, instead. Unplug the laptop from the electric outlet, and temporarily change the power plan to a setting that does not allow it to sleep when the battery is low, then run the laptop until it discharges itself and will no longer power on. Once it has discharged itself, press the power button a few times to make sure it is fully discharged.
    • Once you have a fully discharged machine, put it back together, plug it back in, and let it boot in to Windows. You may see a message mentioning setting the BIOS to defaults, or something along those lines. This is nothing to be alarmed about – simply confirm that you want it set to defaults, unless you had set custom settings, in which case, you will need to re-set those custom settings. In the future, this message may be a warning that your CMOS or laptop battery is dead or on its last legs, but for now, we know that you discharged the machine on purpose, so we can safely ignore this warning. Once you are booted back in to Windows, check the Device Manager to make sure that the missing Wi-Fi or Bluetooth device is no longer missing.
  • In some very rare cases, the device may not show up because the machine was not fully discharged. We have had users report that they were able to repeat the steps to discharge their machines a second time, and have had success after that. Once the updates were in place, and the devices shows up, that is usually the end of the problem.

One final step that you can take, if you are willing and able to do so, is to physically reseat your Wi-Fi adapter. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth device are on the same card, so there is only one adapter to reseat, and reseating this adapter only requires that you remove one screw, slide it out of the slot, then slide it back in and screw it back down, being careful not to dislodge or damage the attached antenna leads. However, the difficulty in getting to this adapter and performing this step will vary depending on your machine or mainboard, and your level of expertise. You may wish to consult with your mainboard or machine manufacturer’s support at this point. If you have followed all of the other steps, and the device still has not reappeared, the device, or the mainboard, may also be physically damaged, and in need of repair, which would also necessitate contacting your mainboard or machine manufacturer’s support for RMA or repair options.  

Bluetooth Issues

 

Some users may experience issues with Bluetooth devices. These issues may include, but are not limited to:

  • Unable to discover any devices
  • Unable to discover the devices you wish to use
  • Unable to pair with devices
  • Devices pair but do not work correctly
  • Devices pair and work correctly but intermittently
  • Devices pair and work correctly but disconnect intermittently

The first thing to do is to make sure you have the latest Bluetooth driver installed. Bluetooth drivers for Killer devices are not included in any other package, and must be downloaded and installed separately. They can be found here - http://killernetworking.com/driver-downloads/category/bluetooth. Once you have run the installer for the Bluetooth driver, check to make sure that the latest driver has been installed. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Click Device Manager
  3. Double-click Bluetooth
  4. Locate your Bluetooth adapter, which should be labeled Qualcomm (something something) Bluetooth 4.1. See image below.



  5. Right-click on your Bluetooth adapter and click Properties, and click the Driver tab. Make sure that the number beside Driver Version corresponds with the current Driver Version listed in the Bluetooth download page for your device. See below image. Note that this image only highlights the location of the driver version number. Do not compare the number to this image - compare to the current version on the download page.

    Bluetooth Driver Version

  6. If the correct driver version number is not displayed, you may have to install the Bluetooth driver manually. Please see this guide - http://killernetworking.com/driver-downloads/kb/faq/49-installing-bluetooth-drivers-from-device-manager
  7. Once the Bluetooth driver is up to date, restart your machine by clicking Power > Start > Restart, then test to see if the issue is resolved.

If the issue is not resolved, then the problem could be due to a variety of causes. Found below are the most common fixes for Bluetooth problems, which we update regularly:

  • Update your BIOS from your machine or mainboard manufacturer's support page.
  • Update your chipset driver from your machine or mainboard manufacturer's support page.
  • Update the drivers for any other device on your machine that uses any kind of wireless technology, as it may be interfering with your Bluetooth device. For example, if your machine is equipped with Thunderbolt 
  • If you have a dual-band Wi-Fi connection, use the 5 GHz connection instead of the 2.4 GHz connection. Bluetooth operates on the 2.4 GHz band, and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi can cause interference with Bluetooth.
  • In your Wi-Fi router or modem's settings page, change the sideband or side channel of your 2.4 GHz radio to 20 MHz. This creates a tighter radio wave that is less likely to cause interference to other 2.4 GHz devices.
  • Change your Wi-Fi router or modem's 2.4 GHz channel. Try to stick to Channels 1, 11, or 6. Use the Killer Control Center's Wi-Fi Analyzer to see which channel has the least interference. If you are already on that channel, switch to the next least interference, and see if that improves your Bluetooth issues. 
  • If you have any USB wireless devices on connected to your machine, try unplugging them and see if that improves your Bluetooth issues. If it does, try moving the USB dongle to a different USB port, as far away from the original port as possible. 
  • Some monitors and LCD displays and televisions can cause interference with higher 2.4 GHz channels. If you are experiencing issues near such a device, try changing the 2.4 GHz channel on your wireless router to 1 or 6 to free up as much space as possible in the upper bands, to reduce interference. 
  • Poorly shielded cabling for external devices, especially high powered devices like hard drives or external media readers and writers, can cause radio interference. If the issue is especially prevalent when using such devices, try replacing the cables.  

There are many other things that can cause wireless interference. If you are experiencing otherwise unresolved Bluetooth issues, either try to avoid being physically near these potential contributors to interference, or take measures to increase and improve shielding, to decrease interference. 

  • Microwave ovens
  • Cabling and connectors for Direct Satellite Service (DSS) (If these are old, consider replacing them)
  • Poorly shielded power lines in the wall
  • 2.4 GHz cordless phones (these may have a channel switch on them - try changing it) 
  • Wireless RF security video recorders
  • Wireless speakers (for computer or otherwise)
  • Any other wireless device, such as microwave transmitters, wireless cameras, baby monitors, or even a neighbor's Wi-Fi device, if you live in close proximity, where their Wi-Fi device may be just on the other side of the wall, can potentially cause enough interference on the 2.4 GHz band to completely disable Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth standard is usually very good at finding a space in which to operate, regardless of interference, and the vast majority of the time, it does this without any user interaction. Unfortunately, though, sometimes there is just too much interference, or the interference unbalances the 2.4 GHz wavelength in such a way, that it is impossible to make a connection. You will never eliminate all sources of interference. There are just too many devices that are constantly bombarding the 2.4 GHz band, which is why the 5 GHz band was introduced for Wi-Fi. The goal in troubleshooting Bluetooth interference is to eliminate enough interference for the Bluetooth adapter to be able to find a spot with which to make a good connection. 

If you are unable to eliminate causes of Bluetooth interference, it is possible to increase shielding. Metal, concrete, and plaster are all very good at reflecting and/or absorbing radio waves, as is brick, to a lesser degree, so consider that when relocating your machine to move away from any interference. 

Installing Bluetooth Drivers From Device Manager

 

In some cases, when there is no driver for your Bluetooth device, the Device Manager may mis-identify the Bluetooth device, or it may not identify it at all. In this case, you will need to install the Bluetooth driver from the Device Manager by following these steps:

  1. Run the installer but don't bother rebooting
  2. Verify that it created a folder called "C:\Program Files (x86)\Bluetooth Suite"
  3. In Device Manager, double-click the Bluetooth device, however it is currently named
  4. Under the Driver tab, click Update Driver
  5. Click Browse My Computer For Driver Software
  6. Click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  7. Click Have Disk
  8. Browse to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Bluetooth Suite\driver"
  9. There should be only one option - atheros_bth.inf - click it and click Open
  10. Click Okay
  11. Select Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4 Bluetooth 4.1 and click Next
  12. Click Yes on the warning popup
  13. Reboot after it finishes the install
  14. After the reboot, check Device Manager to verify that your Bluetooth device is now named Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4 Bluetooth 4.1 and you should be good to go!

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