How to put a bluetooth on/off tile in Windows 8.1 on tablet

There are now a glut of tablets that run Windows 8.1 that are getting more and more affordable. Toshiba, Lenovo and Asus are in on the act, packing quad core Baytrail Atom procecssors in with 2-4GB of ram and 32+GB SSDs. These tablets, ranging from 8 to 10 inches, are pretty versatile, albeit the Metro interface needs some serious tweaking to make it function well on a tablet.

If you’ve come, like me, from either an Android or IOS ecosystem on a tablet (I’ve used iPads, Transformer Pads, Nexus 7s, and a Nook HD+), there are some baffling omissions right out of the box, and the biggest of these is the lack of a bluetooth on/off toggle button or live tile. I always toggle my BT off when I’m not using a connected device to preserve battery life, it makes sense, so having to:

swipe for charms->select settings->change PC settings->PC & devices->Bluetooth->BT on/off

is about 5 steps too many in my book. There is however a relative easy way to implement this missing functionality.

You can create a desktop shortcut that points directly to the Bluetooth settings section of the Metro settings. Firstly hold down a finger on the desktop until the menu pops up, then select New-> Shortcut. Then paste the following in the destination box:

%windir%\explorer.exe %localappdata%\Packages\windows.immersivecontrolpanel_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Indexed\Settings\en-UK\AAA_SettingsPagePCSystemBluetooth.settingcontent-ms

BT toggle

BT live tile, for all to see

The part in bold should tie in directly with which language you selected when you set up your Windows 8.1 device. You can check the language by swiping charms->settings->keyboard, since most commonly you would have chosen a keyboard layout in line with the language settings on the device. Most likely it will be either UK or US, and if the shortcut you make with one doesn’t work, try the other.

Once you have made the shortcut, you can simply pin it to Start, and it will appear as a live tile that you can tap to take you to the settings page and turn BT on/off. Okay, it’s still a two step process but that’s a heck of a lot quicker.

You can see from the photo to the left there is a BT live tile on the Lenovo Miix 2 8 I currently have. There are some other steps that I felt necessary to take to make the device properly “tablet like” but those are detailed in another post here.

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  • Bravin Neff

    Thanks for the tip. That worked very well and I have applied it to all my 8.1 computers.

  • R. Carver

    Thanks for the tip. It was exactly what I have been searching for. I have been to several forums and websites looking specifically for this fix with no luck, until now. Several forums state that what you have done couldn’t be done. Thank you for sharing with the community.

    MD in Nashville, TN

    Windows 8.1 laptop

  • John

    Can’t believe you have to go through this bollocks to make a short cut. Just shows how incredibly shit windows 8.1 is. I’m just gonna wait for windows 10. I’ve been with windows 8.1 for over two years and I’m still convinced some things it does are actually random. I thought I’d get used to it, but no. sorry for the language, but I’m so fed up with this OS

  • John

    Oh and just wondering how you discovered this. This isn’t something you’d stumble over… I’m not exactly a GenY nerdy type and if it was left to me it would have remained undiscovered as mankind landed on Neptune…

  • Alex

    I spent absolutely ages trawling the net for a solution, which I eventually found on about page 4 of a forum thread on more or less the right topic 🙂

    Thought I’d write it up as an actual blog post that might be easier to find…

  • Wais

    Hi Alex. I tried this and I didn’t get the same icon or it didn’t bring me to the same location. Instead of bringing me straight to the Bluetooth settings page, it brought me to the PC Settings page (so I still need to click into PC Devices>Bluetooth). I’m using Windows 8.1 on a desktop and not sure if that makes a difference. Did the code change since your posting or?

    I do agree it’s lame to have to create a work-around to do something so simple. Thanks for the post!

  • Bungeecork

    Same as Wais – it worked the first time but from then on it only took me to the PC Settings page.

    An app waiting to be written.

    Thanks.

  • jennabd

    oh you’re awesome! been looking for this solution for months

  • dotem

    Same as Wais – this code takes me only to the “PC Settings”.
    Any idea why?