Usually, it’s a simple matter of connecting your Android device to an available USB port in Windows and you’re connected. Windows automatically recognizes the device. However, there are times when Windows won’t recognize Android devices for various reasons. Typically, it’s a simple issue to resolve, though it may take a few troubleshooting steps.
Note: this issue should not prevent you from receiving Android notifications on your Windows desktop.
Check USB Connection Type
The first step is to always check the USB connection type on your Android device. While some Android systems default to File Transfer or something similar, many default to charging only. 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 your phone’s notification tray. By default, mine says “USB charging.”
Tap this and select “File Transfer.” Otherwise, Windows won’t recognize Android files and folders if you try to access them. If this is a one-time thing, tap “Just Once,” or tap “Always” to make this your default option.
Try a Different Cable
If you’re not using the cable that came with your Android device, the problem may be the cable. This is especially true if you’ve never used it before. It’s also possible the cable itself is damaged.
If you have another USB cable on hand, try it. It’s usually best to use the cable that came with your device, as it’s the most likely to work correctly. Plus, transfer speeds may be faster.
Use Windows Hardware and Device Troubleshooter
The Windows Hardware and Device troubleshooter works well for diagnosing issues when Windows won’t recognize Android devices. 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.”
For newer versions of Windows 10, this option may not be listed. If it’s not, do the following instead:
1. Open the Start menu and type
cmd. Select “Command Prompt.” If you have issues, click the “Run as administrator” link under Command prompt.
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and press Enter. This brings up the Hardware and Device troubleshooting tool. Press Next to go through the prompts to find any possible issues.
Connect a Different Device
This may sound silly, but connecting a different device helps rule out any issues with your computer’s USB ports. If another device works fine, you know the port itself is working. If the port isn’t working, try another USB port, if you have one.
Also, if you have another computer to try, connect your Android device to it. This step is only to rule out a possible software or port issue with your Android device.
Uninstall Any Android Connection Software or Tools
Some Android devices prefer you to use their specific connection software or tools. This is especially true if you’re transferring data from an old device to a new one. However, if you’re no longer using that device or brand, it could be preventing Windows from recognizing the new Android device.
Uninstall any Android connection tools that you’re no longer using. If the tool is still relevant to your device, visit the manufacturer’s website to check for updates.
Go to “Settings -> Apps -> Apps & features.” Select the connection software and press Uninstall.
If Windows won’t recognize Android devices, check to see if it’s just a driver issue. Windows usually tries to install drivers automatically. However, if the driver isn’t right or up to date, it may seem like Windows isn’t recognizing your device.
Right-click the Start menu and select “Device Manager.”
Expand “Portable Devices” and right-click your Android device (if it shows up). Click “Update driver” and follow the prompts to update the driver. You may need to disconnect and reconnect your device to see if this method worked.
Reset Your Android Device
As a final troubleshooting tip, you may need to reset your Android device to factory settings. An issue with an app, a system update gone wrong, or even a settings conflict could be causing the connection issue. If you’ve recently installed a new app before the trouble began, try uninstalling that app first.
Try to check your device on another Windows computer to avoid unnecessarily resetting your device. If there’s still a problem, a reset may be the only option.
Back up your files and data and then go to “Settings -> System.”
Tap “Restart & reset.” These steps are being performed on an LG device. Your manufacturer and carrier may have slightly different steps. Please check your manufacturer’s website if you don’t see any reset options.
Tap “Factory data reset.”
Follow the prompts to reset your device.
Before you put anything back on your device, check to see if Windows recognizes your Android device.
Meanwhile, if you need to transfer files between Android and Windows, you can do it over network, as it doesn’t require a cable.