How to Connect a Garmin GPS to a Laptop (7 Steps)

by Kefa Olang
Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

A computer allows you to transfer content to your Garmin GPS, so connecting the device to a laptop is essential for both registering your device and installing the latest software and maps. This ensures that your GPS contains updated information such as streets and traffic updates, as well as improving the device's overall performance. When you connect your Garmin GPS to a computer, it's detected as a removal drive, which helps to upload or sync files quickly and safely.

Step 1

Connect one end of the USB data cable to the mini USB port on the Garmin GPS, then connect the other end to an open USB port on your laptop.

Step 2

Wait for the image of a device connected to a computer to appear on the GPS's screen. This image symbolizes a USB mass storage mode connection. It also means the computer is detecting the GPS as a removal drive.

Step 3

Click the "Start" button and click "Computer" to launch Windows Explorer. Locate your GPS's removal disk and double-click to view its contents.

Step 4

Visit the Garmin myDashboard page and follow the guided prompts to set up your GPS to install software and map updates (see link in Resources).

Step 5

Select the "Register Now" link from "myDashboard" to register your Garmin GPS if this is the first time you're using it with your computer.

Step 6

Click the "Update Now" link under "Software Updates" in myDashboard to install the latest software for your Garmin GPS.

Select the "Update Now" link under "Map Updates" in myDashboard to install the latest maps.


  • Do not connect the Garmin GPS to the computer using a USB hub because some hubs are incapable of powering the GPS. Always connect the GPS directly to the computer using a USB cable.


  • Disconnect the USB cable if the computer isn't detecting the Garmin GPS, then turn off the GPS. Restart your computer to reset USB ports, then reconnect the GPS.
  • Use the Windows Update tool located in the Start menu or Control Panel to access Windows system updates such as drivers and software that can improve the connection between your Garmin GPS and the computer.


Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Kefa Olang has been writing articles online since April 2009. He has been published in the "Celebration of Young Poets" and has an associate degree in communication and media arts from Dutchess Community College, and a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and mass communication from the State University of New York, Oswego.

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