- Category: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Troubleshooting
- Last Updated: 31 January 2018
- Hits: 2261
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.
- 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:
- Update your BIOS from your machine or mainboard's support page.
- Update your chipset drivers from your machine or mainboard's support page.
- Update the USB drivers from your machine or mainboard's support page. If none are listed, they are probably rolled into the chipset driver.
- 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.
- 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
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.