Wi-Fi Direct: Windows Wireless File Transfer That’s Faster Than Bluetooth
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Wireless data sharing has made rapid strides over the past few years. Thanks to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC, data can be moved from one device to another with little effort

Windows 10 boasts of Wi-Fi Direct, a wireless connectivity system that helps to effortlessly hook devices up. Want to move data from PC to laptop? Easily done. Need to setup wireless printing? Connect your phone to your computer?

All this is quite simple thanks to Wi-Fi Direct. Here’s how to use Wi-Fi Direct on Windows 10 and transfer files wirelessly.

Introducing Wi-Fi Direct for PC: Wireless File Transfer

You can think of Wi-Fi Direct as a sort of Bluetooth over Wi-Fi. That is, it has the same “discover and send” functionality of Bluetooth, but the data is sent using wireless networking. As you might have guessed, this offers greater speed for your file transfer.

Bluetooth has been around since 1994, and although useful for transmitting audio and connecting devices it isn’t ideal for transferring larger files. Wi-Fi Direct has this problem covered and looks set to supplant Bluetooth in the next few years.

At this stage, Wi-Fi Direct isn’t yet as universal as Bluetooth.

However, when used successfully it is a very useful feature for transferring data between Windows 10 and other suitable hardware.

Check If Your Windows 10 PC Is Wi-Fi Direct Compatible

Using Wi-Fi Direct to send a file is faster and simpler than Bluetooth.

First, however, you’ll need to check that your device is Wi-Fi Direct-compatible. You can do this by pressing WIN+R, entering CMD to open the Command Prompt (which you should probably be using more than you are) then entering ipconfig /all.

Check for Wi-Fi Direct compatibility in Windows 10

If Wi-Fi Direct is available, you should see an entry labeled “Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter.”

Next, you’ll need to start transferring data over Wi-Fi Direct. However, this isn’t as obvious as you would expect…

How to Transfer Files From Android to Windows With Wi-Fi Direct

As you’ll need a third-party app to use Wi-Fi Direct, it’s important to choose the right option.

Feem is a software that has provided Wi-Fi Direct support to Windows PC and laptop users since the days of Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Feem is free to use, although it has various premium options. Wi-Fi Direct in Feem is free, as is live chat. However, you can pay to have iOS support, unlimited file transfers, and remove ads.

Using Feem to transfer data from Android to PC or laptop is straightforward.

  1. Set Android as a mobile hotspot in Settings > Network & Internet > Hotspot & tethering. Then connect your Windows computer to this network.
  2. Launch Feem on Android and on Windows too. You’ll notice that both devices are given unusual names by the app (e.g. Junior Raccoon) and a password. Keep a note of the password, as you’ll need it to establish the initial connection.
  3. Send a file from Android to Windows using Wi-Fi Direct, choose the destination device, and tap Send File. Browse for the file or files, then tap Send.

Moments later, the data will be sent to your PC. It’s as simple as that—and it works in reverse, too!

Download: Feem (for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone)

No Wi-Fi Direct? Transfer Files From Android to Windows PC With FTP

If your computer doesn’t support Wi-Fi Direct, don’t give up.

Several tools are available in Android that will let you remotely share data with Windows without Wi-Fi Direct.

ES File Explorer is a popular third-party file manager for Android. This comes with several file management features for local and network use. Among these is FTP, which provides a direct network connection between two devices.

Use ES File Explorer’s Network > FTP feature to display your Android device’s IP address.

Paste this into a file transfer program such as FileZilla to browse the contents. You can then effortlessly transfer files between the two devices.

So, try ES File Explorer if you want to transfer data from a mobile device to your laptop through Wi-Fi and don’t have Wi-Fi Direct.

Don’t Have Wi-Fi Direct? Transfer Files With Bluetooth!

If your devices don’t support Wi-Fi Direct and you don’t want to use FTP, the smart solution (in the absence of a USB cable) is Bluetooth.

This is particularly useful if you’re trying to use Wi-Fi Direct on Windows 7 or 8 and find that the feature isn’t there or it doesn’t work.

First ensure your computer is paired to a suitable Bluetooth device (phone, tablet, computer, etc.) before sending a file to it. The methodology for this is largely the same across devices and requires that both are set to “discoverable.”

Both devices will then search for one another and if successful connect following input of a confirmation code.

For more information, here’s a list of the ways you can transfer data between a PC and Android How to Transfer Files From Android to PC: 7 Methods How to Transfer Files From Android to PC: 7 Methods Want to learn how to transfer Android files to a PC or vice-versa? Here are several easy methods for moving data between devices. Read More .

If you’re not sure where the controls for Bluetooth can be found on your Windows 10 computer, open Settings > Devices.

With the second device in discoverable mode (check the documentation of your device) select Add Bluetooth or other device. Windows 10 will then poll for the discoverable device. Follow the on-screen instructions to add it.

With a successful pairing, switch to the Windows desktop and find the Bluetooth icon in the system tray/notification area. Left-click and select Send a file; you’ll be prompted to select the target device, then browse for the file.

No Wi-Fi Direct? Send a file with Bluetooth instead

On sending the file, the device receiving your data file will ask you to confirm that you wish to save the data. Agree to this, then wait for the transfer to complete.

Note that due to the shorter range of Bluetooth, the best results will be enjoyed by keeping both devices close together.

Data Transfer Speeds: Which Is Best?

You will probably notice while trying these two methods that Wi-Fi Direct is considerably quicker than Bluetooth. Indeed, recent tests have demonstrated that Bluetooth speed is like a tortoise in comparison.

While Wi-Fi Direct isn’t quicker than any cable data transfer (such as USB 2.0 or USB 3.0) it is certainly capable of transferring a 1.5 GB file inside 10 minutes; in contrast, Bluetooth takes almost 125 minutes to shift the same data.

Start Using Wi-Fi Direct in Windows 10 Today

Which option you choose will depend on the data you want to shift. A USB 3.0 cable with compatible hardware is the fastest option. Wi-Fi Direct is close behind, with Bluetooth coming third. Wi-Fi direct makes a good middle-ground option, but as it is not as widely available (or known) as Bluetooth, you might opt for a cable instead.

Perhaps the most important aspect of using Wi-Fi Direct in Windows 10 is its ease of use today. After all, early implementations of the technology were somewhat difficult to use.

Wi-Fi Direct is just one of the amazing wireless technologies in use in Windows 10. Want to know more? Here’s how to stream video from Windows to your TV What Is Miracast? How to Use Miracast for Wireless Media Streaming What Is Miracast? How to Use Miracast for Wireless Media Streaming HDMI may be the standard for connecting media devices, but it has a lot of downsides. Here's how to use Miracast instead. Read More using Miracast.

Explore more about: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Windows 10.

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  1. Pawan K
    March 26, 2016 at 7:57 am

    But I am unable to share anything between my Mi Note3 and Dell Laptop using Shaerit.
    Please help.

  2. Anonymous
    October 17, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    What is described in this article is not related to Wifi-Direct at all. This is a basic file sending operation that involves clients connected to the same network which is not the main feature of Wifi-Direct. Wifi-Direct is meant to send files on-the-fly without even the need of a WiFi access point; its process is pretty simple: Search for the client like you search for a wifi network and hit connect (no need for password, it's called Wifi-direct for a reason :p) then choose what files to send like you do with bluetooth on your mobile, that's it!
    Too many articles that I stumble upon doesn't give a correct description of this feature.

    • Jon
      January 13, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Actualy... this article does describe wifi direct properly, however as an article there is a requirement to the minimum of words allowable. It may be best to read an entire article before responding.

      As to my response to the article itself... having used wifi direct on android to android connections, I knew that third party software is needed. Please that wifi direct does NOT bypass password protection, probably because that would create a HUGE security risk that would allow anyone to place malicious software on nearly any device.

      Knowing that one DOES need to know the password of the device to pair to (unless the scanning of a QR code is used), and knowing that both devices need matching third party software, I thank the author for the name of a reputable cross platform app for this purpose.

      As for the question, in android Bluetooth is limited in file size as well as speed. Knowing that wifi direct does not have these limitations is the reason that I needed a cross platform app for this purpose. With the security inherent in wifi, packet sniffing is the only issue (possible with Bluetooth as well). While packet sniffing isn't terribly common place, it does happen so think before you send. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn't want your entire family to know, either don't do it at all or at least use a transfer cable. Generally wifi direct is a great way to eliminate the need for carrying cables with you. Again, thanks to the author.

  3. Jay
    May 2, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Wifi Direct is best if your PC supports.
    if not then install SuperBeam in both Phone and PC.

    Transfer via FTP = 500 kbps
    Transfer via Bluetooth = 500 kbps
    Transfer via SuperBeam = 8 mbps (16 times faster)
    WifiDirect = 12 mbps (Much more faster)

    Unlike Wifi Direct which can transfer data directly between 2 wifi enable devices, Superbeam needs Phone and PC on same network (i.e a Wifi Router). Hence speed is slow than WifiDirect but much more faster than Bluetooth and FTP.

    Untill I used this I was usinf FTP by ES file explorer. That was easiest and user friendly.

  4. Derek
    March 2, 2015 at 10:09 am

    You can start wifi direct on your android phone. I have a GS4. Then it will show up when looking for devices on Windows 8.1. As far a laptop to laptop... same thing. Look for the device you want in.... you guessed it... devices. Then transfer what you want.

  5. nbiancalani
    February 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I don't think you get the point here: these connections are internet-FREE. They are useful as long as you have NO internet, or if you need not to use it (e.g. if you don't want to consume your bandwidth). Bluetooth has pros and cons, as does Wi-Fi Direct. Improvement is what's really going to influence our preference towards one or the other method (if it really counts, in the end).

  6. Frank
    January 1, 2015 at 6:11 am

    I use Lenovo's ShareIt app, and love it! Cross platform compatible across my Apple, Windows, and Android devices. Super easy and fast! Transferring any types of files is a snap now.

  7. Wayne
    December 30, 2014 at 3:49 am

    I got the RAVPower filehub to transfer files from my camera to my mobilephone. And also media streaming on multiple devices.

  8. Rokas
    December 27, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I've got samsung tablet with wifi direct and it's awesome because you can not only send files but play music, watch videos, play multiplayer games, etc. anywhere any time, wothout real wifi

  9. ohad
    December 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I use ES file explorer function that turns my android into a FTP server. This is the best option i know. No third-apps strange GUI's, simply open it using native windows explorer. Very fast!

    • ReadandShare
      December 26, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      ohad - I use ES too! You can create a folder that shows your cloud files and assign it as a favorite for easy access.

      Once files are synced to the cloud, I can access them from any device using ES or FileSync or even from my WPS Office. To me, approving AirDroid one by one for each device every time I need to sync seems much more awkward by comparison.

  10. ReadandShare
    December 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Sad... spammers don't take any rest -- even on Christmas!

    But back to topic... each to his or her own, of course, but I've never liked using Air Droid -- how you gotta have the tablet right there because it needs to approve the connection each and every time... For me, I prefer syncing to cloud -- Box in this case -- but choices are almost limitless.

  11. Greg Marino
    December 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Blah...blah...blah...blah....blah!

    Got an Android?

    USE AIR DROID!

    End of story!

    • imadhy
      December 26, 2014 at 2:58 am

      And what if you don't have an access point ? ;)

    • Charles
      March 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      This article was highlighting how to transfer directly from a laptop to a phone or vice versa without access to a wireless network.

      If I want to directly use the wifi within my laptop and phone to transfer files quickly, as far as I know, there's no current options to do so.

    • ronL2k
      May 18, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      AirDroid requires an Internet connection, WiFi Direct requires only a WiFi network. Internet is unnecessary. One can also transfer files using an ES File Explorer FTP connection. Again, WiFi needed but not Internet.

  12. Fik of borg
    December 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Bluetooth transfer I get, but I don't see the need for this new WiFi Direct scheme. If you already have wifi on both devices, is not easier to use a simple public shared folder? This way you don't need any aditional software.

    • Julia
      February 26, 2015 at 3:49 am

      Some of us dont have a router or internet access. So wi direct is extremly useful.