How to Access Phone Files from a Windows Computer

Welcome to my guide on how to access files on your phone from your Windows computer! I used a Samsung Galaxy S7 and a Motorola Moto G1 for the demonstration pictures. Please note that each device is different so the options on your phone may not be exactly the same as the ones on mine.

What you need: your phone (of course!), a USB data cable (either Micro-USB or USB type-C depending on which phone you have), and a Windows computer with a free USB port. Got everything? Let’s get started!

  1. Plug the USB cable into your Windows computer.

  2. Plug the other end of the USB cable into your phone.

  3. Unlock the phone by swiping up from the lock screen. You may be prompted to enter a PIN, a passcode, or use your fingerprint.

What happens next depends on which phone you have and, to a degree, what Android version you are on.

  • For Samsung phones, you should see a message asking you if you want the computer to access your data. It will look similar to this: DSC_0473 .
    Tap “Allow” and you can move onto the next step.

  • For non-Samsung devices, pull down from the notification tray and you should see a similar notification to the one below. DSC_0475
    Tap the notification. Once you tap the notification, a number of options will pop up. It will look similar to this: DSC_0476 .
    MTP is what you want so if the MTP option is not checked, go ahead and check it. Depending on your device and Android version, you may not see the exact same options. In fact, you may see upwards of four different options. Choose the option that will allow you to transfer files. It will say something like “Allow file transfer”, “File transfer” , “Media device”, or “MTP”. Once the option is selected, you can move onto the next step.

  1. Open the File Explorer on your Windows computer and click on the “This PC” tab on the left side of the display.

  2. Click the little iPod/Phone icon that displays your phone model. It will look like this:

    That’s it! You can now access the files on your phone.

Congratulations! You are now a professional at accessing your phone files from your Windows computer :wink: . I hope this guide has helped you!


@mb2x This is great, thanks for taking the time to put this together!


Thank you :wink: .

I just tried (unsuccessfully) to connect a Moto Z Play to a Windows 7 PC. The computer didn’t acknowledge the phone, nor did the phone acknowledge the computer. Nothing blinked. Any ideas?

Dis the phone start charging? Is the cable capable of data transfer? Maybe try another cable. Also try another USB port.

This phone uses USB-C. I have tried several different cables. I had the Motorola device drivers installed on the computer. But, since nothing was happening, I uninstalled them, then rebooted the computer. I connected the phone and expected to get a prompt to install the device drivers. But, nothing happens. Even on my laptop (Win n7), connecting the phone does not get any response on either device. Go figure.

I am assuming that it doesn’t charge either, correct?

@beachb is your phone running Oreo?

Edited to add: I see it is. Moto Z Play not working after Oreo update

Did this failure to connect happen after the update? There are many complaints on the internet about phones being unable to connect to Windows computers by USB on Oreo.

One I’ve seen suggestions turning on USB debugging, then connecting the phone to the computer, and then enabling access through the notification, but I haven’t had a chance to try that myself.

There is this article:

Its for the X4, but it may also affect other models.
I have a Discord contact that updated his Moto Z to Oreo and he has this issue.

1 Like

Apparently they missed that bug :wink: .

Just installed the Oreo update today. Tried connecting to my laptop minutes ago. No joy. Maybe the fix alluded to in @SpeedingCheetah’s post will help. I’ll try that and/or USB debugging when I get back from my travels. Thanks!

The official fix has yet to be released.

A work around is in that article.

"It’s been discovered that the culprit is tied to Screen Lock. Completely disabling Screen Lock (setting it to ‘None’), then rebooting the phone will restore all USB connectivity. However, re-enabling Screen Lock will immediately disable it once again. "

I have connected my Moto4 again… I still can not get the windows to allow me to get data from it. The Google photo makes moving photos from my phone to my computer extremely difficult… I have to tag each one, post it into facebook, then download it from there. The process of refiling the photos in any meaningful titled date or label is practically impossible. If this has been fixed, I would like to know. I have purchased a specific stick to have a central file , other than cloud, but seems I can’t include my moto4 pics. I love the camera and use it while traveling, yet if I can’t copy the pictures, I may be forced to change.

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