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Bluetooth ActiveSync Guide for Windows XP Service Pack 2

Posted on 11-Aug-2004 00:05 by Darryl Burling | Filed under: Articles

If you haven't had your head in the sand lately, you'll know that Microsoft release Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP to manufacturing recently. There are some good reasons to upgrade to Service Pack 2 now that the final release is here. This service pack includes a large number of security improvements, and because of this, Microsoft are releasing it as a critical update rather than the usual recommended update. This means that if you connect to Windows Update, it will be in the list of Critical updates - meaning you'll feel guilty for not installing it . It also means that sooner or later you are going to have to install it.

Also, it's going to be released to Automatic Updates before it's released to Windows Update, so if your computer is set to automatically download updates and notify you before they are installed, you may be in for a shock as the download is huge: 200+Mb for the network install, 400+Mb for the ISO and a variable but still large download for Automatic Updates or Windows Update users.

There are big changes in XP Service Pack 2 with regards to Bluetooth. If you are already using Bluetooth for synchronizing your Windows Mobile device, you'll need to be smart about the upgrade process, because if you don't do it right, you won't be able to Bluetooth ActiveSync after the upgrade. This is a quick start guide to take you quickly through the steps to get Bluetooth ActiveSync working after the upgrade.

Make sure you read these steps before you perform the upgrade. If you've already done the upgrade, that's unfortunate, but we'll try and help you out at the end of the article.

Another note: the Microsoft Bluetooth stack should support most Bluetooth dongles on the market. If it works with Widcomm software, it should work with the Microsoft Bluetooth stack. However this may not be always true, and only certified devices will work (check list here).

Also, you only need to follow this procedure if you don't already have Bluetooth software on your computer, or want to use the new Microsoft Bluetooth stack. Remember that most Widcomm software will have greater functionality than the Windows XP SP2 version and some older hardware may not work with SP2. A very interesting checklist article is available on Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Step One

Before installing the service pack, go into Control Panel and click �Add/Remove Programs� and look for software related to your Bluetooth adapter.

While Windows XP Service Pack 1 officially supported Bluetooth, there was no Bluetooth stack with the service pack. Therefore, manufacturers, had to provide a Bluetooth stack with the devices. In Service Pack 2, Microsoft have included a Bluetooth stack which so far seems quite robust (touch wood).

Once you find it this software, uninstall it by clicking the remove button. You may need to reboot your computer. If you are having trouble finding anything with a manufacturer name, try looking for WIDCOMM software - WIDCOMM provide the software for many of the manufacturers.

Step Two

Install Service Pack 2 and perform the necessary reboot. When the box comes up, your Bluetooth device should have been detected and the stack should be loaded. But that does not mean we are complete. However, now we will stop and try and help those who already loaded the service pack with the old drivers loaded.

Help! I already installed the service pack!

If you have got the Service Pack installed already, you can still have a go at removing the software for the device as in step one (above).

Once you've removed your software, right click on my computer and choose manage. In the Computer Management screen, select Device Manager then scroll down the right hand pane until you get to the �Universal Serial Bus Controller� and expand it by clicking the plus symbol. Look for a Bluetooth device in this list and if one exists, right click on the device and choose �Uninstall�. This will remove the drivers for the device. Now remove the device and plug the device back in. You should be prompted to install drivers. Connect to the internet and allow the computer to connect to Windows Update to search for drivers. Windows should be able to detect and download a Bluetooth driver for your device and install it on your computer. I was able to successfully do this with my DLink DBT120, however, had mixed results with a Belkin Bluetooth Dongle - however, we got it going eventually. Your mileage may vary.

Step Three

If you are here, you should be able to go into control panel and click on the Bluetooth devices applet. This is a new applet added with Service Pack 2. If you also have an applet called �Bluetooth Configuration�, you need to go back to step one and start again - this is the old applet from the old WIDCOMM software. First things first in this tool. Click on the Options tab and put a tick in the �Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area� checkbox. This will cause a Bluetooth icon to appear in your system tray - very handy going forward.

Unless you have a compelling reason, it is strongly recommended that you ensure the �Turn discovery on� check box unchecked. This means the computer is invisible to untrusted Bluetooth devices. It is a security safeguard and best left alone. You should have it checked during this configuration though, to allow your Pocket PC to find the computer.

If you click on the Hardware Tab, you should have two items in the devices list. If you have no devices in this list - your Bluetooth device has not been detected or the drivers are not installed. Refer to the section titled �Help - I already installed the service pack!� above for details on what to do in this case.

Click apply to save any changes

Step Four

This is where we add pair the Windows Mobile device to your computer. Before you do this, ensure your Windows Mobile device has it's Bluetooth stack turned on and is discoverable.

From within the Bluetooth Devices applet, in the Devices tab, click the add button. Alternatively right click on the system tray icon choose �Add a Bluetooth Device�. This will start the �Add Bluetooth Device Wizard�. When you are ready, tick the �My device is set up and ready to be found� check box and click the next button. The wizard will search for discoverable Bluetooth devices and after a brief wait, your device should appear in the list of devices discovered. Click on the device and click next.

You will be asked if you want to add a passkey to your device. The passkey is like a password used to pair your devices. It is recommended that you select �Let me choose my own passkey� and make something up. It is not particularly important what passkey you use (unless your device has one hard coded in it - e.g. a Bluetooth headset), and you don't necessarily have to remember it once this process is complete. Once you have entered your passkey, click next to continue.

Your computer will attempt to pair with the device. At this stage you will be prompted to enter your passkey on your device, once the pairing has been done, click finish to exit the wizard.

Step Five

You're nearly there! The last thing to do is go through the process of setting up a Bluetooth ActiveSync connection on your mobile device.

Firstly in the Bluetooth Devices applet on your computer, click on the COM Ports tab and add a COM Port, if there's no Incoming port already defined. Make sure the COM Port is an incoming port. Take note of the port assignment.

Next open ActiveSync, click File -> Connection Settings and tick the checkbox that says �Allow serial cable or infrared connection to this COM port:� and select the COM port that the Bluetooth Devices applet assigned to your COM port.

Finally, open the Bluetooth manager on your mobile device and configure a new ActiveSync partner with your computer. On my iPAQ 4150, this meant going into Bluetooth manager, click New, then select �ActiveSync via Bluetooth�, click next, next, select the paired computer, click next. Tick the checkbox to enable an encrypted connection and click finish. Viola - you should have a connection! You can check our other Bluetooth Guides for device specific screenshots.

Other experiences...

To get my smartphone working, I had to simply configure it to ActiveSync over Bluetooth (as seen on this guide), open ActiveSync and tap the Menu softkey and then select �Connect via Bluetooth� to initiate an ActiveSync session. I did not have to run through the Setup BT ActiveSync hoop on the desktop.