How to Connect an Android to the Computer

By Dan Stone

There are many wireless ways to connect an Android device to a computer, but all you need to do it wired is a USB cable. When connected to a computer through USB, Android devices behave like external hard drives; you can manage files through File Explorer. PCs do not need to install additional software to communicate with connected Android devices.

Connect With a USB Cable

If you connect your Android device to one of the computer's USB ports with a micro-USB to standard USB cable, the computer should automatically detect and configure the device. However, the process may take a few moments, if Windows needs to install drivers. Devices running Android prior to version 4.2 may need to enable USB Mass Storage to work with the computer. You can enable USB Mass Storage on Android 4.0-4.1.2 devices by opening "Settings," choosing "USB utilities" and selecting "Connect Storage to PC. Devices prior to Android 4.0 will pop a "USB Connected" message in the notifications area when connected via USB: Tap this option and select "Connect USB Storage."

Handling Special Situations

Some Android tablets use non-standard connection cables: typically the charger-oriented end serves as a USB-converter. Try performing a battery reset if the computer can't see the device. Android 4.2+ devices may lift USB Mass Storage limitations if you enable "Developer options" and turn on USB Debugging.