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Android phone not showing up on Windows PC: how to fix the error

Submitted on 04/18/2019

Connection through a USB port is one of the most popular ways of quick data exchange. Everyone will find gadgets with such kind of cable connector in their houses: smartwatches, players, Android phones and tablets which can be connected to a personal computer or a laptop. If the connection between them is incorrect, a familiar notification pops up: "USB device isn't recognized."

A user can solve this problem without having any special skills. Read this article, fix the error you have and if the guide won't help you, you can reach us via the feedback form.  

The reasons for problems with a USB port to occur

Any PC can surprise its owner with unpleasant news by refusing to interact with a phone, tablet, printer or any other equipment.

Why does a device recognition error occur:

Gadget malfunction

In order to check your smartphone or tablet status, you have to connect it to another computer. If a usb device is identified after the connection, it's better to perform PC diagnostics. The occurrence of such error indicates the functionality failure of your device. You have two options then: either to take it to the service center or to buy a new one.

If this failure occurs only from time to time, then blame it on a badly soldered USB connector. We suggest you not trying to repair it yourself, it's better to entrust your Android phone to certified professionals, who can be found in any large city easily enough.

A USB port, extension cable or a hub isn't suitable for work

After trying to connect a tablet or a phone to a faulty port or adapter without success, a user can assume that the problem is the gadget itself, when actually the error occurs for another reason.

How to fix the problem:

  1. insert a cable into the adjacent connector and see how your computer is going to react;
  2. if phone won't connect to PC, clean the port from dust and dirt;
  3. check the USB controller status through "Device Manager". Exclamation mark or a cross means the failure of the controller. Which can't always be repaired, so sometimes you have to spend money on replacing the motherboard;
  4. install another extension cord or cable. Not only Chinese products wear out quickly, but also products of well-known companies;
  5. get rid of the USB hub. Low-quality devices not only cause unstable operation of connected devices, but they can also affect your PC. The hub you're using can be completely incompatible with your computer and you might have no clue about it.

The lack of the necessary software

It happens that after you connect your smartphone via a USB cable, the phone not connecting to PC only charging and device recognition error still occurs. Alternatively, your old Windows version doesn't support modern gadgets.

The problem can be solved in the following ways:

  • Installation of the latest OS updates;
  • Installation of Media Transfer Protocol Porting Kit and a following relaunch of your computer. The distribution kit is adapted for Android 4.0 and above.

Device isn't recognized by Windows 10

Here's what you can do, if Windows doesn't detect the connected device:

1. open "Device Manager";

2. search for an unknown gadget in the connected equipment list;

3. if it appears as an unrecognized one in "Other devices", select "Update driver" in the context menu;

4. if an unknown device appears in the list of "Universal serial bus controllers", open the menu by right mouse button click. Select "Properties", "Driver", then "Roll Back Driver" or "Uninstall Device" (when rollback is inactive). Hardware configuration update can get rid of the error "usb device isn't recognized" in most cases;

5. in a "Power Management" tab check whether the mark allowing the device to be turned off in order to save power is enabled in the list of connections with the names having USB prefix;

6. remove unnecessary drivers from other devices.

7. Even if an Android phone / tablet is no longer in use, its software is stored on your computer anyway. A yellow icon next to the gadget name in "Device Management" can indicate that there is a possibility of any problems to occur with this gadget. Connection of similar hardware can cause software clash. Utility USBDeview will help you to uninstall outdated programs.

Wrong transfer mode in Android USB options

The latest smartphone models are set up for charging instead of sharing its files with a computer or laptop by default. By changing the USB connection type, you can quickly get rid of the error (though not always).

  1. Connect your Android phone to a PC,
  2. In the “Use USB for” menu, select "Transferring files".

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