Resolving the Windows Bluetooth Metered Connection Error

Featured image depicting Bluetooth metered connection error on a Windows laptop, courtesy Pixabay.

Setting a metered connection in Windows is necessary for many users. Whether you have limited Internet or just want more control over Windows updates, a metered connection is a useful feature. At least it’s useful until you try to connect your Bluetooth headphones, keyboard, or other device. You may get a Bluetooth metered connection error in Windows. The problem isn’t your device, but the connection, which is easy to fix.

Why It Happens

The Bluetooth metered connection error occurs because Windows tries to automatically download the latest drivers and device updates every time you connect a Bluetooth device. This approach is preferable if you’re setting up a device for the first time. You don’t need to search for the drivers on your own – the system takes care of it automatically in the background.

The problem is, if you have a metered connection, Windows won’t download any updates, as these networks typically have data usage limits. You’re unable to download the latest drivers for the Bluetooth device, so it leads to an error message, such as, “Setup incomplete because of a metered connection.”

Setup incomplete because of a metered connection message in Bluetooth & Other devices (Windows 10).

Note: some devices, such as keyboards and mice, work even if you get this error. If everything’s working fine, you don’t need to change anything. Depending on the device, Windows may allow it to pair, even without turning on the download settings. For instance, I’m able to connect my Logitech mouse and keyboard each time with no problem. However, I can’t pair my Philips speaker without checking the download box.

1. Allow Bluetooth Downloads

The easiest fix is to allow Bluetooth device drivers to download, even with a metered connection. These are typically small files that won’t hurt your data plan. If you’re worried, check with the device manufacturer to see how big the driver files are.

In Windows 11, go to Settings -> Bluetooth & devices –> Device settings. Turn the Download over metered connections toggle on.

The corresponding path in Windows 10 is Settings -> Devices -> Bluetooth & other devices. Instead of a toggle, enable the Downloads over metered connections checkbox.

Download over metered connections is toggled on for Bluetooth devices.

Your device(s) should start to pair. If a compatible driver is already on your system, the pairing should be almost immediate. However, if any drivers are pending, the pairing will start as soon as they’re downloaded and installed.

Read on to learn about additional ways to resolve the Bluetooth metered connection error.

2. Disable the Metered Connection

You can temporarily disable the metered connection to allow the Bluetooth driver downloads to finish.

In Windows 11, go to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Ethernet, and turn the Metered connection toggle off.

If you’re on Windows 10, visit Settings -> Network & Internet -> Wi-Fi -> Manage known networks. Click on your Wi-Fi network, and turn the Set as metered connection toggle off.

Toggle off metered connection for Ethernet in Windows 11.

FYI: wondering how many uses there are for a Bluetooth device? Look through some of the best.

3. Enable Any Disconnected Bluetooth Network Adapters

Sometimes a new Bluetooth device can’t connect to the network if a Bluetooth network connection adapter gets disconnected. This typically happens during a faulty Windows update, but fortunately, it’s very easy to fix.

On a Windows 11 device, go to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Advanced network settings. If the Bluetooth Network Connection adapter is disabled, Enable it.

In Windows 10, the path is Settings -> Network & Internet -> Advanced network settings -> Change adapter options. Enable the Bluetooth adapter if it’s been disabled.

Enable the disabled Bluetooth network connection through

4. Remove the Device, and Add It Again

This method works best if you pair a Bluetooth device to your Windows laptop, but it doesn’t respond due to the Bluetooth metered connection errors. You just need to remove the device once and add it back.

In Windows 11, navigate to Settings -> Bluetooth & devices, and select the device. Click on the three dots, followed by Remove device.

Windows 10 users should go to Settings -> Devices -> Bluetooth & other devices. Click on the target Bluetooth device, then click Remove device.

Remove a Bluetooth mouse device and add it again later.

Tip: are you interested in setting up Bluetooth on a Linux device? We can help.

5. Run a Bluetooth Troubleshooter

Try running a Bluetooth troubleshooter to diagnose the issues on the network. In Windows 11, go to Settings -> System -> Troubleshoot -> Other troubleshooters. Click Run next to Bluetooth.

On Windows 10, visit Settings -> Update & Security > Troubleshoot –> Find and fix other problems. Select Bluetooth, followed by Run the troubleshooter.

When running the troubleshooter, click on Advanced, and check the box for Apply repairs automatically, then click Next to complete the fixes.

Apply repairs automatically to a Bluetooth troubleshooter in Windows.

Tip: Are Windows applications not responding properly? We have the fixes.

6. Disconnect Wi-Fi Network and Reconnect

If you’re using a metered Wi-Fi network, there may be issues with the Internet connection not receiving proper updates or sudden network interruptions. The best way to deal with this is to temporarily disconnect the Wi-Fi network, and reconnect it later.

You can disconnect the Wi-Fi network from the System Tray, and add it easily by entering the SSID/password again.

Disconnect a Wi-Fi network from System Tray in Windows 11.

Tip: learn how to fix the Wi-Fi not working issue in Windows.

7. Reset Network Connection

Doing a network reset helps reinstall all network adapters (including Bluetooth). This will fix any compatibility problems with the newer Bluetooth devices. They can work properly even in metered connections.

Go to Settings -> Network & internet -> Advanced network settings -> Network reset. Click on Reset now. Disconnect all online activities for the process to complete, then restart your device.

Performing network reset in Windows Advanced Network Settings.

8. Update Your Windows Operating System

The Bluetooth metered connection error in Windows disappears after your device has successfully paired. However, if you uncheck the download over a metered connections setting, the error reappears the next time you try to pair your device.

To deal with this problem, update Windows as soon as possible. Personally, Windows hasn’t downloaded anything for my Bluetooth Philips speaker, but Windows still wants to check for updates every time, no matter what. Just remember that if you continue to use a metered connection, you’ll need to pause the updates for up to seven days.

In a world of 5G and other high-speed networks, the odds of you using a metered network have diminished. If you’re still getting the “Bluetooth setup incomplete because of a metered connection” error, turn off the metered connection completely until the device pairs. This happens rarely, but some users do have trouble with certain devices.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sayak Boral.

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Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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