Problem connecting my Google Nexus 4 to Windows 8.1

My Google Nexus 4 has been playing up lately: taking ages to connect to WiFi and burning up battery extra quickly. Time for another factory reset, I thought, so plugged it into my PC to backup my ebooks, music files and photographs only to discover that it no longer showed up in Windows Explorer.

It turns out that a recent Windows 8.1 update has prevented many Android users from connecting their devices.

I found the solution on this post on Stack Overflow: Windows 8.1 Device Manager now showing ACER Device rather than Android Device for Google Nexus 7.

As far as I recall, this is roughly what I did:

  1. In Windows Device Manager click on View > Show hidden devices.
  2. Locate the ACER Composite ADB Interface uninstall all instances of it.
  3. Reboot PC.
  4. Plug in Android phone.
  5. Return to Device Manager and open ‘ACER Composite ADB Interface and select ‘Update Driver…‘.
  6. Select ‘Browse my computer for driver software‘.
  7. Select ‘Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer‘.
  8. From the list select ‘MTP USB Device‘.
  9. Click Next.
  10. Unplug Android phone.
  11. Reboot PC.
  12. Plug in Android phone.
  13. Windows 8.1 showed the phone in Windows Explorer.
Nexus 4 listed as a device in Windows Explorer.
Nexus 4 listed as a device in Windows Explorer.

For some reason I had to do this twice. It may have been because I had ‘USB Debugging’ activated in Settings > Developer Options, and I unticked it the second time.

Anyway, I can now connect my Nexus 4 to my PC. Panic over.


Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

45 thoughts on “Problem connecting my Google Nexus 4 to Windows 8.1”

  1. Thank you so much for the answer. There are so many postings but none offer such simple solution like yours. It works on the first attempt.
    The only difference I had was on your answer No.8 “MTP USB Device” which was not showing up in the selection. I chose “USB Composite Device” which works like magic.

  2. Thank you so much!! I’ve tried many methods after looking through lots of websites and this has been the first to work. I only had to get to step 9 and my Nexus 4 was working well with my laptop. So grateful for this, thank you again! 😀

      1. As per your instructions.

        I tried your method uninstalling ACER Composite ADB Interface”, i could not find my mobile Nexus 4 in Windows 8.1.

        Once i uninstall and reboot the system could not find serial no.5 of your (Return to Device Manager and open ‘ACER Composite ADB Interface) could not able to find driver.

        reply me to solve this solution

        1. Same problem happened to me. However I solved it.
          For me step 5 is like below:

          Step 5: Return to Device Manager and open ‘ADB Interface’ and select ‘Update Driver…‘.

  3. Thanks, problem solved. Having this problem for months, Google through so many sites, go to give you credit for for posting the solution.

  4. Thanks a lot for the simplest possible solution. Worked the first time and within minutes I had my beloved Nexus 4 online. Take care…

  5. Thanks very much for this advice.
    Actually worked straight away after stage 4, without going any further.
    Maybe as I’m on Windows 8.1?
    Thanks again!

  6. Millions of thanks to you man. You are a lifesaver. It worked first time for me too and that too without the restart 🙂

  7. I don’t know what to uninstall… I have to Acer ADB Interfaces…

    1) ACER ADB Interface
    2) ACER Composite ADB Interface
    3) Andriod Composite ADB Interface

    Which one’s should I delete.. It’s kind of vague… instances…

  8. Thank you So much for making such an easy solution to this nexus connect problem. You are a God in relation to this solution! U biggest fan

    Bless you

  9. hi gareth, i cannot find ACER Composite ADB Interface in my windows 8.1.even after clicking on show hidden devices in the view. what should i do now

  10. i don’t understand about your number 2. i can’t ‘find ACER Composite ADB Interface’ on my pc so what can i do for the next step ? please help me. i have this problem almost 4 months

  11. Thank you very much Gareth. I have been facing this problem for a long time, tried all methods to solve this problem but was not able to do it but Now i am able to access my nexus phone in my PC. All credit goes to you. thank you once again.

  12. Thanks Gareth, brilliant! After numerous attempts with different solutions, all failing, you simple, easy to follow method worked 1st time.
    I can now transfer all my precious photos of my lovely granddaughters to my laptop. You are a star sir!

  13. Thanks a ton! When my Nexus 4 was unable to detect on my PC, I used the USB Debugging under developer settings to fix it. Now, my phone wasn’t detecting even after enabling USB debugging. Had to post a message because appreciation was needed!

  14. Just fixed my problem!
    FYI: Not a Nexus 4 Device, an Android one device which is the same problem with yours. Just update driver to MTP, Voila! It works!

    Thanks! 🙂

  15. Hi Guys, when i connect my phone to the PC it gets detected without any problem, but when i go to the Whatsapp Images folder it doesn’t show me the preview of the image until i copy it to the PC. Is there a way i can preview those images without copying to PC. Images are in jpg format.

  16. You saved my life! thank you so much. Any thoughts on windows 10? Im excited for it and ready to see something new, Microsoft’s products have been very exciting as of late and im ready to switch my phone to windows mobile as well.

  17. I just went through this with a Nexus 4 on Win8.1.

    A shorter way is to simply uninstall the device (and delete the driver when prompted under 8.1).

    Then re-plug the phone in and it will go through a device discovery and the phone then appears in MS-Explorer.

  18. Thanks so much!! Worked like a charm! I’ll be coming back to your page as your interests are, well, interesting! Pax RF

  19. Thanks a bunch! My devices weren’t exactly as listed, so I had to do some trial and error to find the right one – but I finally got the Nexus 4 to MTP and it works like a charm.

    Thank you!

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