If You Can't Update Windows 10, Blame Your Realtek Drivers

Here’s the good news: If you haven’t updated your Realtek Bluetooth drivers in some time, or don’t even know that’s a thing, you can finally update to Windows 10 version 1909—the latest and greatest iteration of the operating system as of when we published this article.

According to Bleeping Computer, Microsoft has removed a block that prevented you from upgrading to this, or even Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1809, as a result of your older Realtek drivers causing issues with device connections on newer versions of the OS.

Screenshot: Microsoft

Whatever that problem was, it has since been fixed with a newer version of Realtek’s drivers. In theory, you should be able to update to the latest version of these via Windows Update itself—version 1.5.1012 or later, that is. You can check to see what you’re running by opening up Device Manager, expanding the Bluetooth section, right-clicking and selecting “Properties,” and clicking on the Driver tab:

Not Realtek, obviously—just an example! (Screenshot: David Murphy)

If you’re running an older driver, and no update is available via Windows Update, you can try installing Realtek’s Bluetooth drivers manually. It looks like an incredibly complicated process, but you’ll be fine. As Microsoft describes:

  1. Download both of the Realtek Bluetooth radio drivers to your preferred folder: Driver 1, Driver 2. Note We recommend downloading them to your Documents folder.

  2. Open File Explorer. If there is no file explorer icon in the task bar, select the search box and enter file explorer and select it.

  3. Within File Explorer, go the the Documents folder or the folder you downloaded the drivers to.

  4. Find and double click or double tap on the file named 068de0d6-6ac2-473a-8cbd-bd449cd5c97c_942eec5828662eecc6b98cc2706658bf2433717c.cab

  5. Select CTRL+a on the keyboard. This should select all of the files

  6. Right click or long press on any of the files and select Extract.

  7. Select the New folder button and rename it Realtek Bluetooth.

  8. Select the Extract button.

  9. In File Explorer, select the back button to go to the location you downloaded the drivers into.

  10. Find and double click or double tap on the file named f2748416-7753-49c6-9185-56f4986f490b_e98e0d664b7e874011b8e3752046ca61f3475295.cab

  11. Select CTRL+a on the keyboard. This should select all of the files

  12. Right click or long press on any of the files and select Extract.

  13. If you are in the folder named Realtek Bluetooth, then select the New folder button and type Realtek Bluetooth 2.

  14. Select the Extract button.

  15. In the search box on the taskbar, enter device manager, then select Device Manager.

  16. Find Bluetooth and expand it.

  17. Find the Realtek device and right-click or long press on it.

  18. Select Update Driver from the context menu.

  19. Select the Browse my computer for driver software button.

  20. It should default to your Documents folder, if this is where you saved the drivers then just select the Next button. If you did not save the drivers to your Documents folder, select the Browse button and find the folder you downloaded the drivers to and select OK.

  21. It should now find the updated drivers and install them. Wait for this to complete and select Close.

Once you’ve done that, feel free to ponder a refreshing beverage while you wait for Windows 10 to update to the latest version, too. However, I wouldn’t start pouring it until you have confirmation that the update is ready to download and install; Microsoft says it could take up to 48 hours or so after you’ve updated your Bluetooth drivers for the Windows update to become available.


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