Troubleshoot and fix

How to fix Nearby sharing not working on Windows 10

You just wanted to share a file with another device, but Nearby sharing isn't working? Here's how you can troubleshoot and fix any problem.

Fix Nearby sharing when is not working on Windows 10

Nearby sharing on Windows 10 is a feature that became available with version 1803 (April 2018 Update), and it allows you to quickly transfer files and links wirelessly using Bluetooth and a network connection.

The feature is very straightforward. If you want to send a file or link to another device, you just invoke the Share experience (right-click on file or clicking the share button on Microsoft Edge), and select the device you want to send the piece of content to. Then the receiving device gets a notification to accept or deny the transfer. If the user accepts the transfer the file will download in the Downloads folder, or the link will open with Microsoft Edge. The only caveat with Nearby sharing is that it may not always work as expected, as a result of software and hardware compatibility, connection quality limitations, and more.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to understand Nearby sharing and how to fix the feature when it’s not working sending files to nearby devices on Windows 10.

How to check if Windows 10 version 1803 is installed on your PC

Nearby sharing is available with Windows 10 version 1803 (April 2018 Update), as such the feature only works with devices running this version or later version.

In order to check if both devices are running at least version 1803 use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on About.

  4. Under “Windows Specifications,” check the version number.

    Windows 10 version number
    Windows 10 version number

If Windows Specifications shows 1803 or later, then Nearby sharing should be available on your computer.

On Windows 10, there’s more than one way to check the version you’re running, you can check this guide to learn more.

How to check if your PC has Bluetooth with Low Energy (LE) support

In order for Nearby sharing to work, both devices require Bluetooth version 4.0 with Low Energy support. Otherwise, the feature may not even appear in the Settings app.

You can check if your Bluetooth adapter includes support for Low Energy (LE) using these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for “Device Manager,” click the top result to open the experience.

  3. Expand the Bluetooth category.

  4. Right-click the name of the Bluetooth radio, and select Properties.

    Device Manager Bluetooth settings
    Device Manager Bluetooth settings
  5. Click on Details.

  6. Use the drop-down menu and select Bluetooth radio supports Low Energy Central Role.

    Bluetooth LE support check
    Bluetooth LE support check

If the value of the property is set to true, then your device includes Low Energy support and it’s a 4.0 or later adapter.

In the case that you don’t have a compatible adapter, you can purchase a very inexpensive Bluetooth USB adapter on Amazon, such as Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0.

How to enable Nearby sharing on Windows 10

The file and link sharing feature should be enabled by default and configured to share content with any device, but if it’s not setup correctly, you can use these steps to enable and properly configure both devices:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Shared experiences.

  4. Under “Nearby sharing,” turn on the toggle switch.

  5. Use the drop-down menu and select the Everyone nearby option. Otherwise, you’ll be limited to share files only with your devices.

    Enable Nearby sharing on Windows 10
    Enable Nearby sharing on Windows 10

Using the above steps, you’ll be enabling Nearby sharing on your device and allowing transfers to any nearby device. (You can also turn on this feature using these steps.) 

How to enable Bluetooth on Windows 10

Although enabling Nearby sharing should also enable your Bluetooth adapter automatically, you can check and enable Bluetooth using these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Devices.

  3. Click on Bluetooth & other devices.

  4. Turn on the Bluetooth toggle switch.

    Enable Bluetooth on Windows 10
    Enable Bluetooth on Windows 10

After completing the steps, make sure that Nearby sharing is enabled on your device, and then try to share a file again.

How to speed up Nearby sharing transfers on Windows 10

If you’re noticing that files are being sent very slowly, then it could indicate that you’re sending the file over Bluetooth.

While Nearby sharing uses Bluetooth to find and transfer files and links, the feature also uses your network connection to send files more quickly due to the fact of the Bluetooth low transfers speeds.

If you want to transfer files fast, both devices not only have to be using a Bluetooth adapter, but they also need to be connected in the same network and their connection profile have to be set to Private.

In order to check if the devices are connected to the same network and their network profile is set to Private, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Network & Internet.

  3. Click on Wi-Fi (or Ethernet).

    Windows 10 network adapter settings
    Windows 10 network adapter settings
  4. Select the connection.

  5. Under “Network profile,” select the Private option.

    Windows 10 set network profile to Private
    Windows 10 set network profile to Private
  6. Under “Properties,” check the first three parts (octets) of the IPv4 address. If both devices have the same network number (for example, 10.1.2.xxx), then you’re both in the same network.

    Check IPv4 on Windows 10 using Settings
    Check IPv4 on Windows 10 using Settings

Once you’ve confirmed that both devices are in the same network, and that their profile is to set Private, Nearby sharing should now connect with the receiving device using Bluetooth and transfer the file using the Wi-Fi or Ethernet network connection.

How to discover close by devices using Nearby sharing

As the name implies, this is a feature that works when devices are nearby. If you’re not able to see the computer that you’re trying to share file with, move them closer together. They must be in range of Bluetooth connectivity, which usually is less than 20 feet. If the devices are far apart, Nearby sharing will not work.

Although Windows 10’s Nearby sharing is supposed to make file sharing super easy, as you can see, there are some configuration, and software and hardware caveats. However, this guide outlines pretty much all the troubleshooting steps and recommendations to fix Nearby sharing when is not working on Windows 10.

If Nearby sharing still doesn’t work, remember that you can submit your questions in the Pureinfotech forums.