Please read the whole guide once before trying. This will help in making the process easy as most of the parts are covered in detail.
Disadvantages of USB v/s Wi-Fi
1. The phone should be near to the system = you being near the system too ---- This is avoided. All you need that the PC and device to be connected to the Wi-FI network
2. Cluttering of wires ---- Avoided
3. Drivers may have to be installed ---- No drivers needs to be installed
4. In a whole way, its not very productive ---- Oh very productive
Advantages - the only one is that files transfer speed is high ---- Yes. USB has a upper hand here. Wi-Fi transfer speed is low when compared. But the difference is just a few minutes. We can live with that
So excited to start using the Wi-Fi method? Then make sure you meet the requirements.
1. Wi-Fi router - PC should be connected to this either through LAN/ Wi-Fi
2. Install ES File Explorer in your Android device (you can try other file explorers like FX File Explorer, Solid Explorer, Astro File manager). The methodology for other apps are quite similar. I will take ES File Explorer as example as I have found it to be simple and fast.
3. Windows PC with 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 (I have not tested in Windows 8 personally)
4. Administrative access for Windows PC
Step 1. Install ES File Explorer
Step 2. Find IP Address, make static IP and find system name [optional]
a. Start -> Run (or press Windows key + R)
b. Type "ncpa.cpl" (without quotes) and press enter
c. You will see the Network Connections now
d. Identify the one which is connected to the Wi-Fi router. It will be either the LAN adapter or Wireless adapter. In my case it is the Wireless adapter.
e. Double click on the connection
f. Click on details and here note down the IPv4 Address. Also make not of IPv4 Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS Server.
ii. If you are going by IP address method then it is better yet to make the IP address as static [thank you kjplasma for the tip].
An static IP address means that your system will be having the same IP address all the time and will not be changed anytime later by the router. To set static IP address:
a. Go to Network Connections
b. Double click on the connection
c. Click on properties
d. Double click on - Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and fill up the IP address as you have noted them down above.
e. Click on OK for all dialogue boxes.
iii. You can even make note of the system name by checking the properties of “My Computer”. To do this:
a. Go to Start - Right click on My Computer [Shortcut -> Windows + Pause/Break]
b. You can find the computer name under "Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings"
If your going by this method then it is not necessary to note down or change the IP address. However I feel that tracking your system through IP address in ES File Explorer is much more efficient and fool proof. Either the system name or IP address its okay.
Step 3.a. Windows 2000 PC
ii. On top right corner tap on "Local" - select LAN
iii. Tap on "New"
iv. Here you can either scan for your system or Click on Server
v. Here in server field type the IP address (that is IPv4 Address) or the system name
vi. Type in the Username and Password which you use to access your Windows PC
vii. Give a name under "Display as" for easy identification
viii. Tap on OK.
ix. Now you will see an laptop with globe icon. Tap on it and you will see all your files/folder of the system there.
Step 3.b. Windows XP PC:
ii. Share the drives or folder you want to access [Refer the Reference Note 1 below to know how to share a folder]
iii. Open ES File Explorer in your device
iv. On top right corner tap on "Local" - select LAN
v. Tap on "New"
vi. Here you can either scan for your system or Click on Server
vii. Here in server field type the IP address (that is IPv4 Address) or the system name
viii. Type in the Username and Password which you use to access your Windows PC
ix. Give a name under "Display as" for easy identification
x. Tap on OK.
xi. Now you will see an laptop with globe icon. Tap on it and you will see all your shared files/folder of the system there.
Step 3.c. Windows Vista/7/8 PC:
ii. Open ES File Explorer in your device
iii. On top right corner tap on "Local" - select LAN
iv. Tap on "New"
v. Here you can either scan for your system or Click on Server
vi. Here in server field type the IP address (that is IPv4 Address) or the system name
vii. Type in the Username and Password which you use to access your Windows PC
viii. Give a name under "Display as" for easy identification
ix. Tap on OK.
x. Now you will see an laptop with globe icon. Tap on it and you will see all your shared files/folder of the system there.
Note: If you are using blank password for logging into windows then follow the steps below:
a. Run - gpedit.msc to access Group Policies
b. Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options
c. Find -> Account: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console logon only
d. Double click on it and select "disable"
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4. Reference Note 1 - How to share folders:
On Windows XP:
a. Right click on the folder you want to share
b. Go to the sharing tab
c. Click the "If you understand the risk but still want to share the folder, click here"
d. Under "Network Sharing and Security" tick on "Share this folder on the network" and also on "Allow network users to change my files"
e. Click OK
On Windows Vista/7/8:
a. Right click on the folder you want to share
b. Go to the sharing tab
c. Click on "Advanced Sharing"
d. In the next dialog box tick on "Share the folder"
e. Click on "Permissions" and tick on all the checkboxes under allow.
f. Click OK to all the dialog boxes
1 - The "Login Error"
You might get a login error at times. It happens highly when you use the computer name instead of the IP address and sometimes the error pops up even when using the IP address. You can try the below troubleshooting steps:
a. Delete the connection entry
b. Make a new entry and use the IP address this time
c. If the problem still persists, then try opening it 5-6 times repeatedly by ignoring the error.
d. If the problem still persist, then delete the connection, exit ES File Explorer completely and create a new connection again by using the IP address. This time it should work.
I feel this is a bug in the app. Hope it will be fixed in future.
Note - I was using ES File Explorer before FX File Explorer came to play store. Later after trying FX File Explorer, it had not given any error at all and hence its much more reliable. But for that you will have to pay as the app is out of beta.
2 - Wrong Username/Password even when entering the correct one
This usually happens if you put the system name instead of the IP address in the app. What you can do delete the entry and then close the app and reopen it and try a new connection with the IP address itself as this will solve the issue.
6. Useful tips:
1: You can increase the transfer speed by moving near to the router. The closer you are to the router the higher speed you gain.
2: You can even make shortcut of the folder in the network and place them on the home screen of the app. Do to that on ES File Explorer simply long press on the folder and choose "Add to server list".
7. Other Notes:
1: Please note that no internet connection is required to make this possible. Everything is done through the local network. Take out the idea from your mind that Wi-Fi is only for internet.
2: There are various other apps like KiesAir, AirDroid. But that will require you to be near the PC and access the files through a WebUI. But the guide which I have laid out here works from PC to device directly. You can sit at your living room, kitchen or bedroom or where you like within the Wi-Fi network and you are good to go.
Hope you find this guide useful. Please leave feedback and do post here for queries. Thanks!
Thank you Sun90, Bala_Gamer for heads up and others who responded for making this guide even better.
PS. Too bad that FX File Explorer network module is being made as a paid add-on. This was expected as the app is not of beta. Still it an awesome file explorer. Worth buying those add-ons.
-Changed app from FX File Explorer to ES File Explorer
-Made the guide even more detailed
-Added more screen shots
-A step closer to Noob-Proof guide