How to use the USB cable to transfer photos from the Samsung Galaxy S II to Windows XP

I recently posted a very unhappy article about my Samsung Galaxy S II phone, and how I could not use the USB cable to upload photos from the phone to my pc. Well… now I know how to do it and I thought I’d share.  😀

Before I begin, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the girl at Virgin Mobile who took my call, and walked me through the process with understanding and patience. It took a while so… thank you!

Now, the very first thing you have to do is make sure the Galaxy S II’s USB cord is NOT connected to your pc. If it is, none of the following steps, or screenshots will make any sense. More importantly, the process will not work because there is a strict sequence of events that must happen before you plug in the USB cable. I’m serious. UNPLUG IT!

Step 1. Turn on your Galaxy SII and swipe the screen to unlock it. [I did warn you this would be basic].

Step 2. Tap the ‘Applications’ icon on the main screen

Step 3. Inside the ‘Applications’ menu, tap the ‘Settings’ icon

Step 4. You should now be looking at the Settings menu. Right at the top there should be a category called ‘Wireless and Network’. I have circled it in yellow.

galaxy 1

For some reason known only to Samsung, the name of the category is in very small type and easy to miss.

Under ‘Wireless and Network’ you will see options starting with ‘Wi-Fi’, and ending with ‘More’.  I have circled this in red. Tap ‘More’.

Step 5. Under the  ‘More’ menu you will see a new set of options, including ‘USB utilities’. Tap ‘USB utilities’.

Step 6. Under ‘USB utilities’ you will see just one option – ‘USB mass storage’.

Beneath that you will see an icon telling you to ‘Connect Storage to pc’.

Tap the ‘Connect Storage to pc’ icon as shown below.

galaxy 3

Step 7. Finally, you will see ‘USB utilities – Connect USB cable to use mass storage’.

galaxy 4

At last you can CONNECT THE CABLE!!!!

Once you connect the USB cable from the phone to the pc,  you will hear your pc make a noise to alert you to the fact you have connected a new device.

On the phone, you will see a new screen.

galaxy 5

Step 8. Tap the ‘Turn on USB storage’ icon and then tap the ‘OK’ icon as shown below.

galaxy 6

Step 9. From this point onwards, you will have to follow the Windows Wizard to transfer the photos to the folder of your choice.  These should be fairly easy to follow, however if anyone needs help I can send you the screenshots by email.

Step 10. When you have finished transferring your photos, you will see the following screen on your phone.

galaxy 7

To unmount [or eject] your phone from the pc, look on the taskbar of your pc for the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon [as shown in the following screenshot].

safely remove hardware 1

Step 11. Right click the icon and follow the Windows prompts.

When you see the following Windows message you are ready to go back to the phone for the last step.

safely remove hardware 2

Step 12. On your phone you can now tap the ‘Turn OFF USB storage’ icon as shown in the first graphic under Step 10. And finally, disconnect the USB cable.

Phew. We’re done. The whole process is a bit convoluted but once you get used to it it’s bearable. Just.



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

212 responses to “How to use the USB cable to transfer photos from the Samsung Galaxy S II to Windows XP

  • sue

    Even after so many years I have to thank you for this information today. My recently bought old phone isn’t exactly the same but near enough that I could work it out your instructions were so clear,
    If only I’d found it before I mucked up all my old photos by trying drag and drop but I should never assume I know what I’m doing. Too old to change bad habits I guess 😉


    • acflory

      OH! I’m glad I could help. To be honest I was just paying it forward as thanks for the people who helped me. And no, learning and experimenting is not a bad habit! Don’t stop, even if things don’t always turn out the right way. I intend to make mistakes until I’m in my 90s, at least! lol


      • Sue Chappin

        So pleased to now know what I’m doing thanks to you.
        I doubt I will stop the ‘try it and see’ habit. Solves a lot of things but in the technology area it can have unexpected results, unlike baking or decorating most of which can be covered up.
        Next trick is to find out how to change the files I seem to have ‘converted’. by drag and drop. A rainy day job. At least I’ve found out how to bring them in back in view on the phone. Onwards and hopefully, upwards. You never know!


  • Kawhi Lau

    try with this TunesGo, transfer photos from Samsung Galaxy Android phones to your computer is so easy


  • Niels Morten Hjortsvang

    Thank you Meeks! Your instructions on Samsung to pc worked like a charm! You were hard to find, I read/watched 15 not-helpful articles before I found you. You are right, the magic key is *not* plugging in the usb until the phone says that it is ready. The other articles don’t mention this, or try to put some utility between you and the phone. Regards, Niels Morten


    • acflory

      lol – thanks Niels! Yes, as unbelievable as it seems, something that simple can make the difference between success and failure.
      In fact, that was the reason I wrote the post in the first place, because I too spent countless, fruitless hours looking for answers. Sadly, most ‘experts’ assume that everyone will know the small things when obviously, we don’t.
      Thanks so much for replying. You’ve made my day. 🙂


  • babl

    Reblogged this on Instaumber and commented:
    I plan to reblog your post in my blog Since you have enabled reblogging on your post, I am assuming that you are allowing others to reblog this post. However, if you have any objection to reblogging your post, please let us know as soon as possible. Thank you.


  • Grim Vill

    Thanks Meeks, works perfectly on my old GT-I900. Just what I needed. Thanks again, cheers.


  • Fred McSherry

    How do I transfer my photographs from my Samsung Galaxy Core Prime cell phone to my HP computer with Windows 10 for storage and future use such as an attachment to an e-mail


    • acflory

      Hi Fred. I’m afraid I’m not a proper techie and can only help with hardware I’m familiar with. Don’t have either the Core Prime or Windows 10 so can’t help. Sorry. 😦


  • Anonymous

    It worked perfectly. Thanks so much


  • Melina Arrow

    I do not have a USB utilities icon in the ‘more’ section in settings. Mine is called ‘more settings’ with no usb options. I have a Samsung galaxy S2 as well and cant get my pictures to register. Is there another way?


    • acflory

      Sounds as if you have an S2 running a different version of Android. These instructions only work for Icecream Sandwich and JellyBean.

      I think KitKat is the very latest version but it won’t run on the S2.

      If your version is earlier than Icecream Sandwich it might pay to take the phone in to a Samsung service centre and ask to have Android updated.

      It is possible to upgrade Android yourself but when I tried I messed everything up and had to get a professional to fix my mistakes.

      Good luck and please let me know how you go.


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