What to do when Windows does not recognize your Android device
Check the type of USB connection
The first step is to always check the type of USB connection on your Android device. On some Android devices, the file transfer is set – by default – while on others only the recharge. In these cases, you need to change the connection type: connect your Android device directly to Windows via a compatible USB cable.
Once connected, look for the USB symbol in the phone notification bar: our device, by default, reports “USB charging”. Click on it and select “File Transfer”. If not, Windows won’t recognize Android files and folders if you try to access them. Click on “Always” if you want to make this setting permanent, otherwise click on “Only once”.
Try a different cable
In some cases, Windows not recognizing the device may be due to the use of a damaged cable.
So if you have another USB cable handy, give it a try. We always recommend that you use the cable that came with your device as it is more likely to work properly. Also, the transfer rates may be higher. If your cable is damaged you can always buy a new one.
Use the Windows hardware and device troubleshooter
The Windows Hardware and Device Troubleshooter also work well to diagnose problems caused by Windows not recognizing the device. There are two ways to access this tool. First, go to “Settings -> Update & Security -> Troubleshoot”. Scroll down in the right pane until you find “Hardware and Devices”. This option may not be listed on newer versions of Windows 10. If not, do the following:
- Open the Start menu and type cmd. Select “Command Prompt”. If you have any problems, click on the “Run as administrator” link under the command prompt.
- Type msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and press Enter. At this point, you will be able to view the hardware and device troubleshooter. Click Next for instructions that will help you find any problems.
Connect a different device
Connecting a different device helps you rule out any problems with the computer’s USB ports. For example, if another device is working correctly, then you can deduce that the USB port is having trouble working. If the port doesn’t work, try another USB port.
Also, if you have another computer, you can try connecting your Android device to it. This step only helps you to rule out a possible software or port issue to your Android device.
Uninstall any Android connection software or tool
Some Android devices prefer you to use their specific software or connection tools. This is really good if you are transferring data from an old device to a new one. However, the fact that you no longer use that device or brand may prevent Windows from recognizing the new Android device.
Then, uninstall the Android connection tools you no longer use. If the tool is still useful for your device, visit the manufacturer’s website to check for updates. Go to “Settings -> Apps -> Apps and Features”. Select the connection software and press Uninstall.
Update the drivers
If Windows doesn’t recognize Android devices, check if it’s just a driver issue. Windows usually try to install drivers automatically. However, the operating system may not recognize the device if the driver is incorrect or out of date.
Right-click on the Start menu and select “Device Manager”. Expand “Portable Devices” and right-click on your Android device (if it appears). Click “Update Driver” and follow the instructions to update the driver. You may need to disconnect and reconnect the device to see if this method worked.
Reset your Android device
The restoration of the Android device to factory settings is the final suggestion that we feel we can give you to help you solve the problem.
Windows may not recognize the Android device because, for example, there is a problem with an app, or because a system update was not successful, or, again, because there is a settings conflict.
Also, if you recently installed a new app and then you have connection problems, you may want to try uninstalling the app first. Try checking your device on another Windows computer to avoid resetting it unnecessarily. If the problem persists, recovery may be your only option.
Back up your files and data, then go to “Settings -> System”. Tap “Restart and Reset”. The steps we are explaining to you in our guide were performed on a Samsung device. If you have a device from a different manufacturer, the steps may be slightly different.
Check the manufacturer’s website if you don’t see any recovery options. At this point, click on “Factory data reset”. Follow the instructions to reset your device. Before re-entering anything on the device, first, check that Windows recognizes your Android device. Meanwhile, if you need to transfer files between Android and Windows, you can do it over the network since you don’t need any cables.