This article documents my attempts to add back Bluetooth back into Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2. (64 bit). I'm using Standard Edition in this example, but I feel my experiences should apply to any 2012 R2 variant.
Remind me About Bluetooth
5 years ago or so Bluetooth was a joke [to me]. All the Bluetooth devices I owned were a complete pain to use. Not only power hungry, but the software to connect (say) from my Bluetooth keyboard to my phone did not work reliably.
BTLE Bluetooth Low Energy aka 4.0 changed everything
And then vendors, especially low cost from China have flooded the market with working low cost devices.
Read my review of the Bluedio Q5 headphones. Under 20 GBP including shipping. Absolutely ridiculously good value.
What is the Problem?
For reasons presumably to annoy people like Marcus who use Windows Server 2012 R2 as a workstation Operating System, not having Bluetooth becomes an increasingly big deal.
I have a smorgasboard of devices like Speakers, Smartphones and Smartwatches that might like to connect using Bluetooth.
But you may recall that Microsoft surgically extracted the Bluetooth software stack from Windows 2012 Server. Hmm.
Putting it back
- You will need a USB Bluetooth capable USB key. I have some really ancient ones e.g. Gigabyte GB-BTD02 (may not hat 4.0 in fact) also I just ordered an ebay noname here
- Find this file on the internet using google search TC00442200F.EXE
This is the Toshiba Bluetooth stack
- I used Winrar to unpack this file to these files and then after a virus check ran setup.exe to install
- Here are some setup screens:
When asked to install device press Cancel and after setup completes reboot.
- Tweak the install
You will need to add a TestVersion Name, REG_DWORD value 1 into the registry here
- Check Device manager
Plug in your Bluetooth Key
With my ebay Bluetooth CSR 4.0 key physically installed , device manager now shows a Bluetooth Device manager entry and some meaningful tree branches.
Oh yes, did I tell you the Bluetooth key cost less than 3GBP including postage from China. Yes, really! It is bonkers.
- Now connect a device
I switched on my excellent Logitech UE Mini Boom speaker, put it into pairing mode (press Bluetooth symbol on top), then clicked on the Bluetooth icon on my Windows Server installation
I followed the New Connection prompts after pressing the button. I successfully added the speaker, then set my default speaker to this and voila. It only worked!
I kept going and added in a sooper dooper Sony Bluetooth headset (which has a microphone).
Trying to add a /New Connection/ from the Bluetooth tray application does not always work correctly. Variety of errors about "service". And that is the kindly caution. In other words, it is a bit hit and miss. However, once the device is added, then subsequent connection seems to be more stable, but still not bulletproof.
I am just over the moon to have Bluetooth working. I've been struggling along with my capable but ordinary and averagely comfortable Logitech H800 headphones because they have a dedicated USB (non Bluetooth) wireless connection.
But now, I can use any decent Bluetooth Headset, and it gives me the ability to choose the one I want, or say broadcast the sound to the room next door with the UE Mini Boom
eBay working Bluetooth 40 key < 3GBP !!