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iPhone 4 intermittently does not show up in PC  Windows Explorer "Computer" list

It is very handy, after attaching the iPhone 4 to the Toshiba by USB cable, when the iPhone 4 shows up as an external drive in the "computer" list in Windows Explorer on my Toshiba Satellite running Vista Home Premium.  That enables easy exchange of the pictures taken on the iPhone to the Computer, without having to email the pictures.  

Sometimes Vista recognises the iPhone as an external drive, and sometimes it does not.

 In either case, Device Manager under Imaging Devices, shows "USB 2.0 HD Camera" instead of iPhone.  

I have tried different USB cords, different USB slots, repairing iTunes 10.5, and uninstalling iPhone drivers and reinstalling.  

Also intermittently, sometimes iTunes reports "iPhone attached but cannot read information, unplug and reattach", or words to that effect. The strange thing is that the situations do not correlate.  When Windows Explorer does not list the iPhone, iTunes may pick it up with no problem.  I believe it also happens that sometimes  iTunes cannot read the iPhone but Windows Explorer lists it (difficult to check the facts since cannot reproduce problem at will).

Once or twice Vista also reports "installing driver" when iPhone attaches, but it always finds the driver.

Any thoughts short of reinstalling Vista.  Away from home for the next 2 weeks so have no disk to try a Vista repair.
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This is very common.  It's likely nothing to do with your computer, it usually has to do with your iPhone.  A complete backup and restore should fix the problem.

I've encountered it many times and that's what has worked for me on the 3G, 3GS, and 4.

It can help to use a real Apple cable as well, many third party cables aren't the right quality.

I suggest connecting your phone, once it connects successfully to iTunes, back it up, and do a factory reset, then restore the content you just backed up (your phone will be exactly as it was) but it should be recognized regularly after that.

If you've done a full reset and restore and it hasn't worked, you may need to check your services and ensure that all of the Apple Mobile, iPod Helper, etc. services are set to automatically start.  If they are started, restart each one.  Then try your phone again.


Thank you - I will give that a try and report back.


This "fix" will have to wait a while.  I cannot perform restore without laptop having  wifi access to internet.  At the moment I am on the road and using tethering with iPhone for internet access.  Sorry for the delay but I will not be able to attempt this (unless I go to a library or McDonalds for wifi) for about 12 days.

But I will not let it drop - I will attempt this when I get back home on Nov 14th and then report back - and award solution if it works.
Thanks again
No problem.  I've been there with this issue many times.  As a temporary solution, reboot your iPhone before each sync, it can help increase the connection percentage.


Seems OK for now - knock on wood!
Good to hear.  I've had this issue many times and it's a real pain and can happen with any phone and any computer.

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