Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Windows XP Bluetooth Dongle Problem

I've been having a problem with my Windows XP Pro desktop system using my bluetooth dongle. Apparently, I'm not the only one. It seems that XP SP2 does not release the COM port when the dongle is removed from the system. This means that if you remove the dongle (for use on a laptop, for instance), that WXP thinks the port is still in use. This means that when you plug the dongle back in, the COM port is incremented, and the application has to be reconfigured.

The problem has manifested itself when using my Palm Hotsync via bluetooth. Every time I disconnect the dongle, the Palm Desktop software has to be reconfigured to use the new COM port. I finally found a fix, but it is a nasty hack. As if there is any other kind on WXP!

Launch System Properties, click the Hardware tab, click Device Manager. Expand Ports and double click Bluetooth link. This item will be labeled with the current port number. Select the Port Settings tab and click Advanced.

At the bottom of the window is the current port number listed in a pull down menu. Turn out, it would let you run it up to COM256! Move up the list to COM3, which will display as in use. (On your system it may be something other than COM3... Adjust appropriately.) Select the in use port, click OK. Return to Advanced, and move through the list for each of the bogus ports, clicking OK after each.

Once all the ports have been freed, select the correct port (COM3 on my system). Before leaving the Bluetooth link, try upping the connect speed-- mine was set to 9600! Click OK, exit Device Manager and System Properties.

Go to Bluetooth Devices and check the COM Ports tab. I should be back to the correct value. Reconfigure the application, and try to connect.

1 comment:

  1. If the Bluetooth Link Properties window hangs or crashes when you select the "in use" COM port, return to the Device Manager window and Disable the Bluetooth Link device. Now, you should be able to free the ports. Another hint: start with the highest number port first.