Random Thoughts – Randosity!

Bluetooth Mouse Pairing: Fix ‘Authentication Error’ in Windows 7

Posted in microsoft, redmond by commorancy on June 25, 2012

Every once in a while my bluetooth dongle decides to go whacky on me and the mouse won’t work any longer.  Sometimes the keyboard also.  Usually, I can unplug the dongle and replug it.  This generally recovers both the mouse and the keyboard.  Sometimes it requires repairing one or both of the devices.  Today was a repairing day (at least for the mouse).  Except, today didn’t go at all smoothly.

Note: Before proceeding with any pairing operation to battery powered devices such as mice or keyboards, always make sure your batteries are fresh.  Dead or dying batteries can cause pairing problems simply because the wireless transmitter in the device may not produce a stable enough signal for the receiver.  Also note that dead or dying batteries can sometimes be the source of device connectivity problems. Therefore, always make sure your batteries are fresh before attempting pairing operations with these devices.

The Problem

Normally I just go into ‘Devices and Printers’ and delete the device and pair it again.  This usually works seamlessly.  Today, not so much.  I successfully delete the Targus mouse from the ‘Devices and Printers’ and that works correctly.  I then put the mouse into discovery mode and start the ‘Add a Bluetooth Device’ panel.  The panel finds the mouse fine.  I select the mouse and click ‘Next’. I then see the next image.

So, this is a reasonably stupid error because it’s a mouse.  Mice don’t have authentication errors because they don’t use pairing codes.  I have no idea why Windows would even present this.  It’s clear that something is completely borked in Windows.  And, you know, this is one of the things about Windows I absolutely hate.  It gives stupid errors like this without any hope for resolution.  Note that clicking the little blue link at the bottom of the window is completely worthless.  Clicking that link won’t help you resolve this issue.  It leads you to some worthless help page that leaves more questions than answers and only serves to waste time.  I digress.

So, now that I’ve received this error, I proceed to Google to find an answer.  Well, I didn’t find one.  After traversing through several forums where people are asking the same questions, no answers here. Then, I proceed to search the registry thinking it left some garbage in the registry from the previous pairing.  Nope, that search was a waste.  So now, I’m basically at the trial and error phase of resolution.

I finally get to Microsoft’s knowledgebase which is probably where I should have visited first. Unfortunately, even that didn’t help, but I did find that Windows Server doesn’t support Bluetooth devices (not that that’s very helpful for my issue because I’m on Windows 7).  What visiting this page at Microsoft did is give me an idea of how to proceed based on some images I saw.  Not images of what I’m about to show you, though. Just an image of something that triggered a thought about how silly Microsoft is which lead to another thought and so on leading to the below.

The Fix

So, I go back to trying to pair again.  I set the mouse up into pairing mode and then start ‘Add a Bluetooth Device’.  Instead, this time I decide to right click the device about to be added:

You’ll need to do this pretty quickly as the device won’t stay in pairing mode for very long.  So, click ‘Properties’ and you’ll see the following window:

Now, check the box next to the ‘Drivers for keyboard, mice, etc (HID)’ and click ‘OK’.  This should immediately pair the device without the ‘Authentication Error’ panel appearing.  At least, this fix worked perfectly for my situation.  I can’t guarantee this will work with every Bluetooth mouse or every Bluetooth hardware.  So, your results may vary.  It’s definitely worth giving it a try, though.

Note: The differences in Bluetooth drivers may prevent this fix from working across the board.  So, you will have to try this and relay your experience of whether or not it works for you.

Note, after I unpaired the mouse and repaired it after having done the above, I now see the following panel instead of the authentication error panel. This is the correct panel for the mouse.  Clicking ‘Pair without using a code’ works perfectly now for this device.  I have no idea what caused the other panel to present above.  Note that once Windows gets into that state above, it stays there.  Not sure why Windows would cache an error, but apparently it does.  I’m at a complete loss why Microsoft would cache anything to do with real-time device connection activities like this! However, the mouse now unpairs and pairs correctly again.  Whatever causes this issue, the Windows development team needs to fix it.

My Rant

These are the stupid little things that make Windows such a hacky time-wasting experience.  It’s these stupid quirky behaviors that give Microsoft a bad wrap and that continue to make Microsoft perceived as an inept operating system development company.  It’s problems like this that make Windows a 1990′s level computer experience.

And, I’m not just talking about the error itself.  I’m talking about the overall experience surrounding the error to the lack of any help in finding an answer.  It’s having to resort to searching Google to find answers when Microsoft’s knowledgebase has nothing and offers no answers.  It’s the having to guess using trial and error to find an answer.  It’s the bad experience and bad taste that this experience leaves.  Microsoft get your sh*t together.  It’s long time for Windows to be done with experiences like this and time wasting experiences.  If there are resolutions to a problem, then the time has long past to lead your users who see errors like this one to an exact resolution page with step-by-step instructions that work.  Clearly, there is a resolution to my issue and I present it here.  Why can’t your team do the same?

Seriously, I don’t understand why Microsoft relies on sites like mine to help users fix problems that Microsoft cannot be bothered to document properly. Yes, I realize I’m contributing to the problem by writing this article and ‘helping’ Microsoft out.  Note, however, it’s not so much about helping Microsoft as it is helping users who run into this same stupid experience.  The purpose of this article is to show just how stupid this experience is.  It’s clear that Microsoft has no want in helping its own users who PAID for this product to actually give them real support and documentation.  So, why do we continue to use Windows?

61 Responses

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  1. Trevor said, on November 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I’m at the breaking point. As I don’t game much anymore, I’m going to switch to Ubuntu and for my next laptop I’m going Mac. I hate Windows Desktop with a passion. Hours googling fixes for stuff that should just work. I’m in IT and I just want things to work on my personal time. I’m fed up with Windows.

  2. Joe said, on October 24, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Dude, I don’t know who you are but you’re a fucking genius.. It was so simple I’m a little angry for not thinking of it.. Your though process was very clear..

    What made you decide to right click? Anyways it worked like a charm for me, and this was after I tried a direct fix of this mouse pairing error..

    Thanks!

    • commorancy said, on October 24, 2014 at 4:31 am

      Having worked with Windows for many years prior to this article, I already knew that Microsoft tended to hide things in the obvious. More specifically, right click menus. I wasn’t sure if it would work when I tried, but I wasn’t surprised when it did. Of course, right clicking is only half the battle, the rest is in hoping that Microsoft actually gave us something useful on the menu that would help. Thankfully, in this case they did, at least on Windows 7. I’ve been told by readers that Windows 8 and above don’t work this way.

      • Tom said, on October 27, 2014 at 1:33 am

        It’s quite logic that they’ve decided to drop the context menu in Win8 and newer. It’s due to tablet-oriented GUI and using a tablet you ain’t got no right button (finger? :D ). I have Windows 10 (Technical preview, but the latest version is quite functional) and context menu functions has been moved to other, visible-by-default parts of window. OFC it’s only T.P. so i might be changed in final version of 10, but it’s usable as for now :)

        AND THE ALLMOST-CLASSIC-START-MENU is back :D

        But we have to get used to tablet-based OS’es as the World is going into that direction really fast…

  3. Tom said, on October 18, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Hi,

    It’s a bit strange, but my M$ Sculpt Comfort Mouse doesn’t provide any service, so there’s no HID option to mark in properties…

    • commorancy said, on October 22, 2014 at 5:22 am

      If you’re on Windows 8, it might not be the mouse. I’ve heard that this fix doesn’t work on Windows 8 and above. Please let me know what OS you’re running the mouse on.

  4. Jan said, on September 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for the article. Actually this doesn’t work on Windows 8.1 anymore, because when you try to click on the name of the device in the “Add a new device” window, you don’t get the options and properties. I was digging a bit more and found out another trick – for a pairing code for the mouse (and headphones etc.), you can just enter 0000 – that is four zeros, and it works! It pairs. I don’t understand why Windows jumped into this strange configuration, but I am glad I resolved it after 2 hours of searching.. ;o/
    So, simply 0000 works guys!

    • commorancy said, on September 23, 2014 at 3:40 am

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for the tip. Though, keep in mind that 0000 might be an 8.1 workaround. Meaning, 0000 might not work in 8.0 or Windows 7. So, as I said, your mileage may vary. Again, thanks for the tip about 8.1.

  5. Axman said, on September 14, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Thank you very much – fixed my problem as well. You are absolutely right, the Microsoft error messages and their corresponding “help pages” are absolutely rubbish. Also the MS knowledgebase developed itself into a useless library – sad, beceause I remember times (Win 95 /98) when the MS hints were useful and to the point.
    Thanks again, now I can unplug my wired mouse.

  6. Iahim said, on June 1, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Thank you so very much.

  7. Javier said, on April 13, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Fix worked fine. Thank you so much!!!!

  8. Ryan Aslett said, on February 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I was unable to select the checkbox that said “Drivers for keyboard, mice, etc (HID)” because in yet another stunning example of microsoft incompetence, their keyboard navigation simply fails to highlight the checkbox on that screen.

    My bluetooth mouse is the *only* mouse I have, so in order to work around this I had turn on the “Ease of Access Center”, which under the “Make the keyboard easier to use” option allows you to turn on “mouse keys” – this let me use the number pad and arrow keys to move the mouse around to that unselectable checkbox.
    (found that info here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/keyboard_mouse/computer/win/win7/index.shtml)

    • commorancy said, on February 11, 2014 at 6:26 am

      Unfortunately, Microsoft’s keyboard navigation has dwindled in recent years. At one point, Windows used to have 100% keyboard usability. You would never need a mouse at all. However, in recent years with the introduction of Vista, Microsoft has been pushed more and more towards alternative input devices. Because of this, Microsoft now includes some controls that cannot be selected using a keyboard only. This is unfortunate because you used to be able to completely navigate Windows without a mouse. No longer. Now you are required to have a mouse to manage Windows.

      In fact, I always have two BT mice paired with my system. I have my main mouse which I use constantly and I have a backup mouse to use just in case the primary doesn’t work. This allows me to control removal and addition of the primary when something goes wonky (and it always does). I also have a wired mouse just in case all else fails.

      The best I can suggest is doing something similar so you always have a mouse you can use to clear out any problems you might run into. BT mice are relatively inexpensive at this point so it’s probably worth having multiple paired and ready.

  9. George said, on January 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Your fix worked perfect for me. Thank you very much!

  10. El1iP3S01D said, on October 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    No, the problem is fixed by fixing the Registry. Then reboot and go to Device Manager and click update driver online and Voila!!! Bluetooth Keyboard, Mice and Phone connected once again.

    • commorancy said, on October 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      As an FYI, everything is fixed in the registry. That’s because the registry is the place where all of the settings for everything in Windows is stored. So, saying that it’s fixed ‘by fixing the registry’ is, while accurate, like saying your car is fixed by having an engine. Instead of using regedit to attempt to locate and resolve this issue manually (which, yes, can be done if you happen to be a mechanic), it’s far simpler to use Windows already built-in GUI applications to resolve these issues. The reason this is important is that Windows apps already know how to manipulate all of the correct registry pieces (and also have the correct permissions and ownerships to do so).

      When you go bumbling around in the registry and remove or change things with regedit manually, you may only change one of ten different pieces fully needed to resolve this issue. Or, you may remove or change something completely unrelated and break Windows irrecoverably. Worse, since there may be no apparent relationship between the ten entries you need to change and since they’re not named to even show a relationship, you can end up making things worse rather than better by only changing one of many. Further, since you’re dealing with something as fundamental as drivers and the Bluetooth stack, this is a dangerous location in the registry which could lead to breaking Windows outright (since drivers tend to get loaded in Kernel space).

      Additionally, because each BT stack may load its own drivers and its own registry entries, this may mean you need to fix potentially hundreds of other entries to fully resolve this issue because not everyone is running the same BT stack and drivers as what’s on your system. This is why it’s important to use the GUI tools to resolve driver related issues. If you choose to go down the path of manually poking around in the registry, be prepared to pull out your Windows media to reformat and reinstall your Windows operating system if it doesn’t all go as planned.

    • John said, on October 28, 2013 at 12:38 am

      I had this exact same issue, but the problem was not completely solved. Following your procedure, I can install the mouse. However, I can not keep the driver installed. As the driver software is installing, I see the new mouse in the Devices list. However, once fully installed, this device disappears? The icon literally goes away in front of my eyes. I have never seen this before. After rebooting, the device is still not shown.

      In summary, add the mouse, the icon shows up. When fully installed and ready for use, it disappears. What a enormous waste of time this thing is. How frustrating.

      Any additional trouble shooting tips would be appreciated.

      • commorancy said, on October 28, 2013 at 1:29 am

        If you’re using an unpluggable Bluetooth dongle, then I suggest after the driver is loaded and then disappears, then unplug and replug the dongle. If that doesn’t work, you might need to search for an updated driver. I’d also suggest you not using Microsoft’s Windows Update to load drivers for anything. Always go back to the manufacturer’s site and pick up the driver there. That’s the only way you’ll be guaranteed to get a driver designed for your device. Microsoft’s Windows Update site seems to guess and is wrong more often than not and will load the wrong driver for the hardware. If that’s the case, I’d suggest you re-install the driver that came with your device.

        If you’ve already done that, it could be that the hardware is defective. Sometimes drivers won’t stay loaded if there’s a problem with the chips on the device. If it is a dongle, I’d suggest that you might package it back up and return it for a replacement. If you’re using a motherboard built-in Bluetooth hardware, then I might suggest getting a USB dongle to replace that and try it with that. The benefit to using USB over motherboard built-ins is that you can unplug and replug which will reset the drivers. You can’t easily do this with motherboard built-ins.

        I hope this helps.

  11. Avery said, on October 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you so very much.

    -Avery


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