Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Jabra BT250 with Windows XP - a thing of beauty

I recently bought the Jabra BT250 Bluetooth headset from Amazon; it’s a superb wireless headset designed for your Bluetooth-enabled cellphone. Last weekend, we finally made our pilgrimage to the first Fry’s in the midwest (it’s in Downers Grove). I picked up a D-Link DBT-120 USB Bluetooth Adapter for my Thinkpad, brought it home, plugged it in, and presto! Well, almost.

Turns out I was able to get the Motorola software to pair with my v600 phone, but while it could discover the Jabra headset, it couldn’t stay connected.

I ran into two issues: one, SP2 for WinXP tries to control your Bluetooth connections, so it was preventing the “right” drivers from loading when I plugged in the USB dongle. Two, had I read the instructions that came with the D-Link adapter, I would’ve seen that they wanted me to install their software before connecting the adapter. (I’m guessing that the percentage of Fry’s shoppers who read instruction manuals is in the single digits.)

I removed the adapter from the USB port, uninstalled it from the Device Manager, and started over. I installed the software that D-Link provides, and followed this link that addresses the SP2 issues. Sure enough, the D-Link software enables a far wider variety of Bluetooth connectivity options than WindowsXP does out of the box.

I was able to configure the Bluetooth connection to establish a headset connection, which allows XP to “see” the headset when connected. Now, I can tell Skype to use the headset for all audio, giving me a wireless headset for all of my Skype VoIP calls. (I’d pause here to acknowledge the magic of DSL, 802.11b wifi, 2.4 ghz Bluetooth connectivity and a Jabra headset all working together to give me person-to-person calling to anwywhere in the world. But I’ll assume you’re either as excited by this as I am and don’t need me to spell it out, or you’ve already stopped reading. In either case, I don’t need to spell out the obvious.)

Moral of the story? Don’t assume that the “generic” support in WinXP is sufficient to get you where you want to go. In this case, it took installing the third-party software to enable the full range of Bluetooth compatibility needed to achieve wireless-headset-with-PC functionality.

(Interestingly, Jabra’s tech support tells me in an e-mail that this isn’t supported. No matter — it’s working for me.)

Now I still don’t know why noone is making a Bluetooth base station to plug into my corded phone, so that I can use the wireless headset for my land-line calls. Anyone know of such a device?


  1. You have way too mmmmuuuuuuuuuucccccchhhhhh time on your hands. Quite the set-up you have.

  2. Hi. Read your notes, and Im glad to say that it worked for me on a Acer Bluetooth Dongle. Great.. i too can Skype away and make a coffee at the same time.


  3. Hi!
    I been reading your post and it looks pretty interesting.
    The thing is that I work in the Jabra's support desk for the UK and we already knew how to set this up. I think it was just a missunderstanding with the agent or something.
    We usually offer the following steps:

    1.) Don't plug in the Bluetooth dongle or adapter yet.
    2.) If you have any Bluetooth software other than the Windows drivers installed, go to Add/Remove Programs and uninstall them.
    3.) Reboot
    4.) Install the WIDCOMM Bluetooth software. When it instructs you to plug in the Bluetooth adapter click OK, do NOT plug in the adapter, and click Cancel instead.
    5.) When the installation is complete, plug in the adapter and let Windows install the driver.
    6.) At this point there will be two Bluetooth icons in the system tray; one is blue and white and is installed with the Windows driver. The other is blue and red and is installed with the WIDCOMM driver.
    7.) Open the Device Manager, locate the 'Generic Bluetooth Radio' (you may find your manufacturer’s Bluetooth Adapter under “Bluetooth Radios” instead), right-click on it and select 'Update Driver'.
    8.) In the next dialog select 'Don't search, but select the driver to install'.
    9.) Select 'Show compatible hardware' and select your manufacturer's driver instead of the the 'Generic Bluetooth Radio' driver.
    10.) Click Next until the driver installation is completed.

    You can install the software from the link below. Be sure to follow the instructions in the text file very closely.

    The WIDCOMM system tray icon should be blue and white and ready to use.

    You should be able to follow the instructions from there to get Bluetooth up and running.
    Once you have entered “My Bluetooth Places” you will need to place the headset in Pairing mode and then perform a search for it. Please Pair as required.
    When you try to connect you should hear a series or tones in the headset, tap the Multi-Function Button once to stop this. You have now confirmed the connection.
    Please verify that in Sounds and Audio Devices, in the Audio Tab, you should have Bluetooth Audio selected for both Playback and Recording.

    Best Regards


  4. Cheers Mariano. I have been trying to get my Jabra 250 to work as a PC headset, now it is working fine. The user guide seems to think you only want to use the Jabra with a mobile phone.

  5. Where can I get the WIDCOMM Bluetooth software from?