Why is my Garmin mass storage or MTP device not communicating with Garmin Windows Applications?

  • Email this Answer
  • Print this Answer


If a Garmin mass storage or MTP device is not communicating with a Garmin Windows application, determine whether the device is being detected by the computer.

  1. Connect the Garmin device to the computer
  2. Click Start menu
  3. Click My Computer (Windows XP) or Computer (Windows Vista / 7)
    • For Windows 8, press the Windows key + X and choose File Explorer
  4. The Garmin device should be listed under Devices with Removable Storage or as a Portable Device

If the Garmin device is not displaying, verify:

  • The computer meets the system requirements for the application
  • The device is connected directly to the computer
    • Avoid connecting through USB hub, USB extension cables, keyboard, or monitor
    • On desktop computers, use the USB ports on the back of the computer (front ports can sometimes be USB hubs)
  • The cable being used is a data cable and not a power cable
    • Try a different USB cable if available
  • The USB port is working properly
    • Test the USB port with another USB device (if possible)
    • Try a different USB port on the computer
  • The computer has been restarted
  • Network or other drives are not impeding the detection of the Garmin Mass Storage device. Windows automatically assigns a drive letter to Mass Storage devices. If more than one device is assigned to the same letter drive, only one device will be seen. If Windows assigns the Garmin device a drive letter that is already in use, the Garmin device may not show up properly. Changing the drive letter may be necessary to resolve this issue. To change the drive letter, refer to the following Microsoft Support links:

If the Garmin device is displaying but the Garmin application will not detect the device, verify:

  • The Garmin application is current.
    • Most Garmin applications will automatically check for the latest version and prompt when an update is available.
    • The latest applications can also be manually downloaded from the Garmin website.
  • The GarminDevice.xml file is not corrupt or missing. If the GarminDevice.xml file is corrupt or missing from the device, the error message "Some devices were found. However, none have the necessary capabilities" may occur while running the Garmin application or a spinning blue circle (busy icon) if the device is not recognized when running the Garmin Communicator Plugin on the website. To resolve this issue:
    1. Connect the Garmin device to the computer
    2. Open (my)Computer or for Windows 8, press the Windows key + X and choose File Explorer
    3. Right-click on the Garmin drive
    4. Select Open
    5. Open the Garmin folder
    6. Cut and Paste the GarminDevice.xml file to the Desktop
    7. Open the Voice folder1
    8. Delete the voices files that are not needed
    9. Disconnect the Garmin device from the computer (safely remove hardware if needed)
    10. Allow the device to boot up to the main menu
    11. Reconnect the Garmin device to the computer
    12. Run the Garmin application again for device detection
  • Other USB devices are not connected
  • The application is not running in compatibility mode
    1. Right-click the Garmin application icon
    2. Select Properties
    3. Click the Compatibility tab
    4. Uncheck the option to "Run this program in compatibility mode for:"
      1. If the box is checked and unable to be unchecked, click the button: "Change settings for all users"
      2. Try un-checking the option again
    5. Click OK on all open Property windows
    6. Rerun the Garmin application to see if the device is detected
  • Third party software is not conflicting - Other applications may be blocking communication between the Garmin GPS device and the Garmin software application. This can cause a device to be seen by the computer but not the Garmin application. It is suggested to first try turning off security software, data backup applications, backup power applications, and any other communication software. If that does not resolve the communication issue:
    • Determine whether a program is interfering with the communication process. Open the Task Manager and temporarily shut down any program that could be impeding communication.
      1. Right-click on the clock (usually on the System tray at the bottom of the screen)
      2. Click on Start Task Manager
      3. Click on the Processes tab
      4. Click Show processes from all users
      5. Right-click on the process that could be causing the issue (HSMServiceEntry.exe, Kies.exe and all other Kies processes, mDNSResponder.exe and all other Bonjour processes, clickFree.exe, applemobiledeviceservice.exe, SacReminder.exe, etc.)
      6. Click on End Process Tree
      7. Click on Ok or End Process Tree again
      8. Disconnect the Garmin device from the computer
      9. Reconnect the Garmin device to the computer
      10. Run the Garmin application again to see if it will detect the Garmin device

The Garmin device should now be communicating properly with the Garmin Application . If it is not, contact Product Support by phone.

1In some devices, the Voice folder is on the root drive so the Garmin folder does not need to be opened to find the voice folder. A valid GarminDevice.xml file can be created with as little as 2MB of free space on a device. If unneeded Voice files have already been deleted, repeat the steps with the JPEG, MP3, and Vehicle folders.

Referenced Link:

Product Support: http://www.garmin.com/support

*Please provide your feedback to help us improve your experience.