Android 101: Copy files to your storage card in Windows

For as easy as Android can make your life, the simple task of getting photos, video and music from your computer to your phone isn't quite as straightforward as it should be. We're going to put an end to that right now. After the break: How to get your storage card to show up on your computer. No rooting. No extra programs. Just a few simple steps.

Let's get right to it. Using the cable that came with your phone, plug one end into your phone, and the other into an available USB port on your computer. If it's your first time connecting, Windows should automatically download a driver.

With that out of the way, you're just a couple of taps away on your phone from bringing this one home. On your device, pull down your notification bar and tap on USB connected. You'll then be asked if you want to "Mount" your SD card and copy files between your phone and computer. Choose "Mount."

Android storage card mounting

Android storage card mounting

That's it. Your storage card should now appear as one of your options under "My computer" or however else you're used to navigating through Windows. In the example below, the storage card shows up as the "F" drive.

You can now freely copy files to and from your storage card.

DON'T SKIP THIS STEP: When you're done, you going to be tempted to yank the cable. But let's do things the right way. It's important to make sure you don't mess up any of your files. First you'll need to unmount or eject the storage card from your computer. In Windows 7, find it in your list of drives, right-click and choose "Eject."

Then go back to your phone. Pull down the notifications bar again, and choose "Turn off USB storage." You'll get a warning telling you to make sure you've "unmounted on the USB host," which you just did by ejecting it from your computer. So, choose "Turn off," and we're done.

USB storage card

USB storage card

For you Mac folks (and let's face it, this is probably old hat to you), just remember to properly unmount the storage card before you turn off USB storage on your phone. Otherwise, everything's largely the same.

  • Great info! Now, can I put iTunes TV shows on this phone? Or will the whole DRM dispute kill me?
  • thats a negative. i was able to convert an .avi to 3gp and play it, but the quality was aweful. if you have windows, try orb
  • This is sweet, I will try this tonight...thanks
  • I don't get it..... THIS is actually more confusing to people than having to use new programs for the first time? This is just like using a USB flash drive. I got the hang of it without needing to see instructions or anything. It was natural and like almost every device, you plug it in and copy/paste what you want instead of having to install a program that does it for you.
  • Agreed. I would have simply said: "Pull down the shade, select USB Connected, Mount. Go to your PC and move files around just like you do with a thumb drive/usb drive. When finished, go back to the phone, pull the shade down again, select Turn off USB storage and hit the unmount button (you don't have to select "eject" from your PC. That happens when you unmount the phone). See, two sentences. But then the post wouldn't get too many hits with just two sentences on a how to :-)
  • Okay...great article...I had figured that out when I first got my Droid. But I do have a question about this process. One time, I think I unplugged my phone without ejecting the disk. :-( Now whenever, I plug in the USB it asks if I want to continue or scan the disc for errors....I have clicked scan but it doesn't work...I just have to click continue without scanning everytime and everything works okay. Suggestions? Please Thanks :-)
  • Or better yet, use Songbird to sync your media.
  • Are you serious? Do we really need a tutorial for this?
  • Perhaps YOU don't, and neither do I, but maybe there are some people who do.
  • Android 101? This is closer to Remedial Computing.
  • i Recommend the auto mounting app from the market, it saves you a bit of time on plug-in. And i never have chosen to unmount, none of my files have corrupted. so i'm ok with just yanking it out.
  • For Mac users of Cyberduck (or other ftp apps) there is also a great little free Android app called SwiFTP - it starts a server on your Android, which then allows drag & drop of files to & from your Android over wifi (not bluetooth) It takes a couple of clicks on either end and no mucking around with USB cables and dismounting. Mvh
  • DoubleTwist FTW
  • "the simple task of getting photos, video and music from your computer to your phone isn't quite as straightforward as it should be." Allow me to express my disagreement. It is extremely straightforward. I clicked on read the rest of this story because I was sure that intro meant there was more to this process than I knew about. Nope.
  • ok so i knew about this much on transfering media to a device but what i dont know is how to put videos on my droid. i dont want to have to buy a DVD ripper software just so i can have movies on my phone. see apple makes it easy with iTunes. so where is androids "itunes"? just wondering if someone could help on how to put movies on the droid. thanks
  • How does iTunes make it any easier to get one of your DVD's on to an iPhone without ripping it first? If you buy a movie from itunes, sure, it's easy to transfer. But you mention getting your own DVD's on to your device, and itunes does not rip dvd's.
  • I use DVD43 and Handbrake ( DVD43 decodes and Handbrake rips it. Unlike a lot of others I've tried, Handbrake gives you full screen videos.
  • iTunes is quite annoying. Doesn't allow people from my region to buy anything.
  • Do we really need instructions for this in this day and age? I read the headline and thought there was something revolutionary or some super-simplified-1-click-method. I guess ee are all at different levels in our computer knowledge but damn.
  • thats why its listed as a 101... and what is ee??? oh wait, maybe it was supposed to be "we" -_-
  • Check out iSyncr in the app market. It has a built in tutorial for all this stuff, as well as imports your playlists from iTunes
  • WTF? you had to tell people how to do this? Android makes copying data from your computer to your phone one of the easiest things in the world, yet people are so conditioned to this idea of "syncing" (ala: itunes) that they've forgotten how to use removal storage. This is just dumb.
  • Geez! What a bunch of bitchy people. What I want to know is, where are my two extra desktops?
  • My father got an HTC Droid Eris from VZW a few weeks after I got mine and ad to be told step by step how to do this. Not everyone is as computer literate as the rest of us are. Everyone needs to stop being little bitches about it.
  • My experience was not so simple. I followed all these steps and the SD card will not show up on my computer. It keeps saying USB connected along with an annoying stuttering droid jingle over and over again. When I select mount from the drop down it continues doing this, but I get a couple of messages. First it says "turn off USB storage," followed by "preparing SD card," but it never finishes. When I first got the Droid, turned off the phone and removed the card without unmounting it from the phone. I tried to just use the SD card reader from the front of my phone to add files, but It didn't find it then either. I'm not sure if removing it without unmounting it created this problem or not.
  • I also could not find the sd card. I was able to download 1GB of audiobooks, etc onto the phone itself. I finally did figure out how to format then mount the SD card. Now I cannot find the 1GB of downloads on the phone! ONLY the SD card will show up now. ideas?
  • Here's my problem...when I first connected my cable that came with my phone (one end into your phone, and the other into an available USB port on your computer, it din't automatically download the driver the first time connecting. So now I don't know what to do. I can't do the other steps... Any ideas?????
  • I have been everywhere ...looking for a diagram of where this $%&*&%&&%& SD card goes....under the battery...right? BUT WHERE? Sorry .. didn't mean to yell ...SO frustaggravated. Please help. TY
  • Erm...forgive me but, how did all those super clever people for whom this info is all so pedestrian - arrive at this post¿ These guys don't need anything, they just think it and their super duper 486 mmx (whoops) brains just transfer their wishes to the cloud faster than a Barracuda SATA zillion TB drive. Now, if I could just put one foot in front of the other I might just make it in this world. Peace...
    I'm out¡
  • ok On my device, when I do the pull down your notification bar and tap on USB connected. I dont not get this option "You'll then be asked if you want to "Mount" your SD card and copy files between your phone and computer. Choose "Mount"," what next?