How to Install USB Driver for Android


Want to access your Android device from a computer?

Maybe to transfer some files, execute commands, tethering, root your device or backup your important data?

You will need to learn how to install USB drivers for Android on your computer so that your PC recognizes your Android smartphone or tablet PC. A driver is a software that communicates with the handset to retrieve the information that an application needs to carry out your requests. A driver acts as a bridge between the two, making it possible for them work hand-in-hand.

It’s important to have the proper drivers installed when connecting your Android smartphone or tablet via USB to your computer. Without drivers—or when they are not installed properly—the computer won’t be able to detect your device. You simply wouldn’t be able to transfer data such as music, pictures, documents and other files between your PC and your Android device. It’s possible that you will also not be able to root your Android device.

Sometimes Windows-based operating systems can detect and install drivers for Android automatically when you plug in the Android device. But sometimes that fails.

To install a USB driver for Android, you will need…

  • An Android phone or tablet
  • A PC or Mac
  • USB cable
  • Access to the Internet
  • Basic computing knowledge


Method 1: Installing USB Drivers Using PdaNet

You can install a USB driver for Android using the PdaNet tool, an approach that works just fine for most Android gadgets and supports the majority of Microsoft-based operating systems. In a nutshell, PdaNet is a cool application that makes it possible for you to tether Internet connectivity to your PC using your Android phone. When you’re installing this tool, it installs with all the necessary drivers for your Android phone. This creates a platform for you to leverage on while accomplishing advanced tasks with your phone—including, but not limited to—rooting.

To install USB drivers for Android, you need to download the most recent version of PdaNet. Here is the procedure:

  1. Disconnect Android from PC

    Make sure that your Android gadget is disconnected from your PC.

  2. Install PdaNet

    Open the download PdaNet setup files and install the application. Click on the exe file and click Run or Yes on the screen that pops up.

    pdanet exe

  3. Follow Wizard Instructions

    Follow the directions and click Next as prompted. Eventually, you’ll get to a window that tells you about installing drivers for your phone.

    pdanet wizard

  4. Start Fresh

    If installing functional drivers for your phone failed before, this setup will provide you with the option to get rid of the useless drivers and reinstall new ones using PdaNet. When prompted to do so, click Yes. Sometimes, you may be required to overwrite your previous driver installations. Do allow this.

  5. Select Device

    Now the screen will be more or less the same as given below. You’ll be asked to select your device. If your Android gadget isn’t included in the list, select the Others option, then click Ok.

    phone selection

  6. Permit Publisher

    At this stage, you’ll probably get a scary dialogue box raising questions about the validity of the software publisher. Not a big deal, be sure to ignore any such warning and continue with the installation process by choosing Install. If the warning comes up multiple times, be sure to follow the same course of action until you get through this step.

    install anyway

Now that you have learned how to install the USB drivers successfully that you need for your Android gadget, you get to choose the advanced actions you will carry out on your Android smartphone or tablet, including rooting, transferring files or even loading custom firmware.

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Checking the USB Driver Installation

  1. Open Command Window

    Open a command prompt window by simultaneously holding down the Windows + x keys on your keyboard, then clicking on Command Prompt or Command Prompt (Admin).  This method works in Windows 10, but there are a variety of ways to open a command window.

    command window

  2. Navigate to Directory

    Now navigate to the directory where the software was installed. If you installed the setup software as an administrator, the directory should be C:/Program Files/AppInventor/commands-for-AppInventor in a 32-bit system, or Program Files (x86) for a 64-bit system. Type the dir command and check that one of the files listed is adb.exe. If not, you are either in the wrong directory or the software did not install.

  3. Try it Out

    Plug your device into your computer’s USB slot and make sure that the phone shows USB connected. Type the command: adb devices. You should see the messages daemon not running, followed by daemon started successfully, and it should show your list of devices attached (I don’t have any at the moment) as shown in the screenshot below.

    adb devices

  4. Check Device List

    If there is a device in the list, like HT99TP800054 for instance, then the phone is connected and the computer can communicate with the Android device. If the list of devices is blank, you will need to install the existing drivers manually like we do in Method 3.

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Method 2: Installing Drivers Automatically

This method is nice because your computer finds the driver automatically for you. You just need to click on the driver file after it has fully downloaded and followed the directions from there. Allow it to install and then it’s recommended you restart your computer to complete the installation.

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Method 3: Installing Drivers Manually

Installing the drivers manually is a process that varies for almost every handset, but it is relatively simple. For example’s sake, we are going to use Samsung as our manufacturer. If your device came with a desk, place it in your CD-ROM drive and follow the directions.

  1. Visit the Manufacturer’s Website

    The link to Samsung’s website is this one: Samsung Downloads, but a quick Google search should lead you to yours if it’s different.

    download center

  2. Select Cell Phones

    It’s located under the Mobile section.

    cell phones

  3. Choose your Provider

    find carrier

  4. Locate your Model Number

    Like the picture on the website shows, the model number can be found on the back of your phone.

  5. Click the Get Downloads Button

    get downloads

  6. Select the Download (EXE) Button

    Click on Continue to agree to Terms and Conditions.

    downloads exe

  7. Download the File

    Click on the download file and select Yes to allow it to make changes to your computer. A wizard should appear to guide you through the installation.

  8. Choose Next

    Proceed through the wizard.

    driver wizard

  9. Specify your Language and Country

    Hit Next again.

  10. Click on Install

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Method 4: Install ADB and Fastboot Along with their Associated Drivers

Rather than downloading the entire ADT (Android Developer Tools) at a whopping 500MB, use this method that requires less than 10MB of storage space. Because it’s so much more lightweight, it takes only seconds to install usually. You will still need the proper Windows driver from Methods 1,2, or 3.

  1. Download the All-In-One Installer

    Download: ADB/Fastboot

  2. Run it as Administrator

  3. Type Y and Press Enter

    This permits the installation and sets the environment variables.

    install adb

  4. Repeat

    Repeat Step 3 to install system-wide, or type N to decline.

  5. Repeat

    This time, you are installing the drivers.

  6. Proceed

    The Device Driver Installation Wizard will appear. Click Next to continue. Wait until the wizard finishes doing its thing. This will only take a few seconds.

    device driver

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Method 5: Install the ADB and Fastboot Drivers Only

This is if you don’t necessarily care about the full installation of ADB/Fastboot at the moment; right now you are in this for the drivers. Here’s how you can install those drivers.

  1. Download File

    Download: ADB/Fastboot

  2. Run as Administrator

    Right-click the file and select Run as Administrator.

  3. Type N

    Type N to decline the installation of ADB/Fastboot. Entering N for no will skip this step.

    no adb

  4. Press Y

    Press Y (Yes) to install the drivers. The Device Driver Installation Wizard will start.

    driver wizard

  5. Click Next

    Click on the Install button. Wait until the wizard finishes doing its thing. It will notify you that The drivers were successfully installed.

    installation successful

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Method 6: Install Android Bootloader Interface Driver

If you are still facing issues with more traditional drivers, here’s a website for you.

  1. Go to Semantic.GS’s Website

    Download: Android Bootloader Interface Driver

    bootloader driver

  2. Scroll to Download Options

    If you already know exactly what type of OS you have, you can use the drop-down tool to select it. If you don’t know your operating system, and you are okay with Android Bootloader Interface and all other outdated drivers being updated, steer to the right.

    download options

  3. Click Download Button

    Click the appropriate Download button, based on what we discussed in Step 2.   

  4. Install Files

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Did this help open up the lines of communication between your Samsung Galaxy S6 and your computer? If you went with one the methods to download ADB/Fastboot, but you aren’t exactly sure what to do with it, here is more information about ADB and what to do with it.

If you are concerned about future updates for your driver, you might want to set Windows Update to install recommended updates automatically. If you are using a USB hub, try connecting your device more directly to one your computer’s USB ports. Now you can get busy transferring all sorts of data between devices!

Which method worked best for you? Did you experience any issues during or after? Send us your thoughts on all of these topics.

Featured Image Credit


Comments (9)

  1. Subuswami on

    Hey, I used my android phone to tether 4G LTE to my windows7 laptop using pdaNet+ Foxfi. My phone does not let me do the Wifi connection however, I am able to use the USB. I was wondering if I could do the same with my android tablet which has USB connection. Please let me know.

  2. Nancy on

    I have Pdanet+ , Foxfi, and the Foxfi key installed on my old LG 670 phone running 2.2 os. It worked perfectly on my Generic RCA tablet w 4.2.
    2 os.
    Here’s the problem:
    Upgraded to a Zte, Mdl#N800. It runs 4.1
    operating system. I downloaded the above to the new phone.
    Trying to activate it I get the error msg: “your not subscribed to the hot spot plan contact our carrier to subscribe.”. Then it shuts off the hot spot switch.
    Please tell me how to override this smarty phone so I can use my tablet. ( Dont say go back to using that ole dinosaur of a phone!!).
    pppppleeassee Advise!
    Thank You!!

  3. Yash Bhargava on

    I have Sony Xperia P, I had a custom rom but I wanted a diff one so i wiped everything from my phone including the internal storage so the other rom image also got deleted by mistake now I am unable to transfer anything to my phone as it does not show up in the computer so though I have TWRP on my phone I can’t flash other ROM as i can’t move it to the internal storage,and phone also doesnt respond to adb sideload ( don’t know why ??). So any help would be appreciated.

    • Samie on

      I believe TWRP and other custom recoveries have an option to mount storage now? Have you checked to see if that is supported?

  4. Jack on

    Hi guys. A thanks for getting my Moto E connected ok for a brief flicker of time. I just got this phone and am still learning it. Experience on my end:

    – ran your installer, plugged in the phone to USB port as directed. When I turned the phone on, got the taskbar popup “installing your drivers” (you know the words), and suddenly the phone showed up as a drive in file explorer.


    – phone has no Settings\Applications\Development area, there is “Apps” but it just has a couple downloaded things (Google Apps, Tango, etc), hence no area to turn on/off USB debugging (why is there there no \Applications folder in my phone? I see this talked about all over the place…)

    – I turned off the phone, drive disappeared (fine), turned it back on, it didn’t reappear as a drive. Unplugged the USB cable, powered down phone, back up, replugged, and still no reappearance as drive. Nothing I do now will make it show up as a drive again!! Ha ha ha. So goddamn typical of this trash.

    – adb.exe is nowhere to be found on computer.

    – Android still doesn’t show up in Device Manager as a device.

    So, apparently, the drivers installed / woke up long enough to let me copy a few music files, but now are back on strike and won’t recognize phone.

    I don’t get why Motorola and the rest of the geek-development world makes this stuff so complicated. We have better things to do with our time. (The stock Motorola Device Manager installer also refuses to install its own USB drivers over and over, it only installs the “Motorola Device Manager” (I see it in Programs). C’est le guerre. If you have a permanent antidote to driver psychosis here let me know. Cheers, jack

  5. Jack on

    Jack here again, just wrote on 2/4/2016 8:15am PST. Phone showed up as a drive again, woo hoo hoo. I just unlocked the thing and banged on it here and there and voila, drive. There’s your antidote. [BTW – cynical comments come from doing biz software devp for 22+ years… I’ve seen it all] . Thanks.

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