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Android How-To: Connecting To Your Computer

We’ve had a lot of questions recently finding about connecting Android tablets to computers. Not a surprise since Android by Google, is now the number one portable electronics operating system. At WorldStart, we always keep our readers updated on the latest and most popular tech, so we’ll be doing a multi-week series on how to use Android. If you don’t own an Android device yet, it’s still worth reading. Google gives away the source code to Android. That means it’s showing up on more devices every day.

Part 5: Connect To Your Computer

Sometimes you may need to connect your Android device to your computer in order to transfer files. Here’s how to do it: First,  plug a USB cable (usually included with the tablet) into the USB port of the tablet and then into an open USB port on your computer. Most tablets use a micro USB connector so you should have one end which is a very small connector and one end which is a standard USB connector.


Once you plug the tablet in, you’ll be prompted on screen to enable USB mass storage. This will make your memory card and internal memory accessible to your computer. Tap Turn on USB storage, then tap OK in response any prompt warning you that programs currently using the SD card may close.  Then choose to allow your computer to detect and install the mass storage drivers included with Windows.

Depending on if you have an add-on memory card in your tablet’s memory card slot (if it has one), one or two new drives will appear in Computer. The drive in the above photo letter G named TABLET is the main storage of your tablet. The drive letter F named Removable Disk is the removable 8GB expansion card I placed in my tablets micro SDHC slot. An easy way to know which is which, is to look at the total space under the drive letter. For example this tablet has 8 GB of built in storage but about 2.8 GB is used by the operating system and preloaded programs leaving 4.41 GB free.

When you double click on a drive letter (in the above example the G drive named TABLET) you’ll see a list of all of the files available. If your accessing your tablets main memory it’s a good idea to avoid deleting any file in the Android or .android_secure folders. If your tablet has a built in NAD flash card it may appear as external_sdcard. This is “external” to the tablets main memory but isn’t the actual removable external memory card. Some devices will show this while others will not so don’t be alarmed if your tablet does not show this directory.

From here you can drag and drop files and create new folders just like you would with any directory. Once you’ve copied over files you can unplug your tablet from your computer and launch the relevant android program to view the files. For example in the above photo I’ve copied 3 pictures to a new folder I named “vacation photos” on my add-on memory card drive F.

One of the most popular questions is how do you copy the pictures you take with your tablets camera. These can usually be found under the main memory of the tablet in the DCIM folder or one of the folders under the DCIM folder. If you’ve chosen to put your images on an external memory card you’ve added then the DCIM folder may appear under the external memory cards drive letter. Once you find the folder simply highlight the images you want to copy and drag them over to a folder on your computer. Be careful when deleting photos to make sure you really want to remove it as recovering photos from a tablet is very difficult if accidentally deleted.