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How to Use USB to Transfer Files between a Computer and an Android Tablet

There are plenty of reasons why you would want to copy a file between a computer and an Android tablet, many of which are legal. For example, you can copy pictures and videos, music and audio files, and even vCards that help you build contacts for the tablet’s address book. And you can just copy random files when you’re on a caffeine high and nothing is on TV.

Follow these steps to copy a file or two between a computer and an Android tablet:

  1. Connect the Android tablet to the computer by using the USB cable.

  2. On a PC, if the AutoPlay dialog box appears, choose the option Open Folder/Device to View Files.

    When the AutoPlay dialog box doesn’t appear, you can view files manually: Open the Computer window, and then open the tablet’s icon, found at the bottom of that window. Open the Storage icon to view files.

    The tablet’s folder window that you see looks like any other folder in Windows. The difference is that the files and folders in that window are on your Android tablet, not on the computer.

    On a Macintosh, the Android File Transfer program should start, appearing on the screen.

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  3. Open the source and destination folder windows.

    Open the folder that contains the files you want to copy. The folder can be found on the computer or on the tablet. Then open the folder on the computer or tablet where you want the file copied. Have both folder windows, computer and phone, visible on the screen.

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  4. Drag the file icon(s) from one folder to another to copy.

    Dragging the file copies it, either from tablet to computer or from computer to tablet.

    If you want to be specific, drag the file to the tablet’s download folder or to the root folder.

    On the PC, drag icons from the phone’s storage to the My Documents, My Pictures, or My Videos folder, as appropriate. You can also drag directly to the desktop and decide later where to store the file.

    The same file dragging technique can be used for transferring files from a Macintosh. You need to drag the icon(s) to the Android File Transfer window, which works just like any folder window in the Finder.

  5. Close the folder windows and disconnect the USB cable when you’re done.

Though this manual technique works, the best way to transfer media to the tablet is to use a media program, such as Windows Media Player. You can also synchronize pictures and videos in the same way, by using a media program on the computer.

  • When your Android tablet has a MicroSD card installed, Windows displays two AutoPlay dialog boxes. Each dialog box represents a different storage source — internal storage as well as the MicroSD card.

  • On a Macintosh using Android File Transfer, each storage device appears as a toolbar button, such as Tablet and Card.

  • Files you’ve downloaded on the tablet are stored in the Download folder.

  • Pictures and videos on the tablet are stored in the DCIM/Camera folder, which is found on both internal storage and the MicroSD card.

  • Music on the tablet is stored in the Music folder, organized by artist.

  • The best way to synchronize music is to use a music jukebox program on your computer.

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