Android

Using a Nexus 4 in x64 Windows Land

I’ve had a horrible morning.

I’ve been dealing with shitty, unpolished crappy software all damned morning.

All because people that are too intelligent aren’t stepping back from what they are doing and running a “real world” acceptance test.

I’m now the owner of a Nexus 4. The phone is blazingly fast, has fantastic battery life and is largely free of bloat. Today I decided to try and put a few mp3s on my phone. So, I connected my phone to my desktop running Windows 7×64.

Problem 1 – No drivers

I can accept that every now and then, a device will not interface with my desktop pc. Usually the device vendors have tested this out and provided a CD or a link to download the drivers. Unfortunately, between LG and Google, no one bothered to test this out. Some intense googling should send you to theĀ Google USB driver download page. Unfortunately these are x86 drivers only.

Yeah you heard me. x86 only. Let’s just have a think about that. 3 years ago, in 2010, Microsoft announced that 50% of all Windows 7 were in 64 bit land. Which way would that number have gone in the 3 years since 2010? Yet Google only bundles 32 bit drivers for their USB drivers.

Luckily for all of us 64 bit users out there, some one else (not Google or any of the huge corporations behind this phone) has compiled the drivers for 64 bit Windows. You can download them here.

Problem 2 – Device not showing in My Computer

It took me a while to get to the bottom of this, but it is because of the protocol that the phone has been setup to use – Media Transfer Protocol.

In order to use this on Windows, you need to have Windows Media Player installed. You might laugh and think that everyone has Media Player installed, but actually many European Windows installs don’t.

To download Windows Media player you need to go to this MS download page in x86 Internet Explorer. I’m not joking. It must be x86 Windows Explorer so that Microsoft can verify that your version of Windows is genuine before letting you have the download. Going to the page in anything but x86 Windows Explorer will give you a whole host of pain when trying to validate your install.

Edit:

Incredibly, you may still get issues connecting the device to your computer after all of the above. If so, you will need to force Windows to use Microsoft’s generic driver, and not Google’s driver.

To do so:

  1. Locate the device in Device Manager. Right click and select “Update driver”.
  2. Click “Browse my computer for driver software”
  3. Click “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
  4. In the dialogue that shows up, select “MTP USB Device”
  5. This will install the generic MTP driver that will let the device be used in Windows for file transfers etc. It’s worth noting that in with this driver, the phone will not be visible over adb.

Conclusion

Whilst its great that this phone is vanilla Android and is largely free of bloat, I couldn’t gift the phone to anyone non technical. To expect a normal everyday user to go through any of the above is utterly ridiculous.

3 thoughts on “Using a Nexus 4 in x64 Windows Land

  1. just use google play music to sync tracks, initially far more time consuming but as you add tunes to your library the desktop service keeps your music up to date with little interaction.

  2. Hi Ed,

    Thank you for posting out this list. Definitely helped me get started. two quick comments though:
    First, it seems that Google’s Adb universal usb driver now includes 64bit version (perhaps thanks to your post :-))
    Second, one more hurdle that worth for people to be aware of: Once I installed the driver and adb was able to recognize my device, it marked it as ‘unauthorized’. I had to disable USB debugging on the device and enable it again for the device to ask me to enable access from my PC.

    Thanks,
    Jacky

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