Why Won't My Computer Recognize My Kindle Fire?

By Andrew Aarons

Amazon’s Kindle reader began as a simple e-book reader, but it has slowly evolved. Amazon added Wi-Fi to the device first, and then it added email. Now, Kindle is a full-fledged, Android-powered tablet called the Kindle Fire. Like any tablet, you may encounter trouble connecting the device to your computer from time to time, causing the Fire to not be recognized.

Basic USB Connection Issues

Your Kindle Fire connects with your computer via a USB cable, and through that connection, you can load e-Books and manage the content on the device. Like any USB connection, the Kindle’s communication with your computer can be interrupted by software or hardware issues. Amazon recommends connecting the Kindle to a USB port on the back of your computer (which are typically higher-powered on a desktop) and then restarting the computer to see if the computer recognizes the device upon rebooting.

USB Port Problem

The communication issue may not be specific to your Kindle at all. Ensure that the USB port that you are connecting the device to is functional. You can check the functionality of a USB port by connecting any other device from your office to it -- a printer, a webcam, a different phone or tablet. If another device is automatically recognized in the port you were connecting the Kindle to, you know the port is working, although it may be that Windows only recognizes one device per port. Try the Kindle in every USB port. If it’s still not working, the issue isn’t with Windows.

USB Cable Problem

The mini USB cable that comes included with your Kindle may be the source of the problem. If the cable is broken, Windows won’t be able to recognize the device, as no information will be transmitted to your computer to tell it what you are plugging in. If your office has a second Kindle, try using its USB cable to see if yours is faulty. Alternatively, you can use any other mini USB cable; some smartphones use the same cable as the Kindle. If no cable works with the Kindle, the problem is with the Kindle or its software.

Restart the Kindle

Like most tablets and smartphones, the Kindle has a built-in reset function that clears its memory and reloads the operating system fresh -- kind of like rebooting a computer. Restarting your Kindle can address software issues that might stop your computer from recognizing the device. Press and hold the power button on the Kindle for 20 seconds until the device turns off completely, and then tap the power button to turn it back on. Reconnect it to your computer, which will hopefully recognize it as long as the USB cable and USB port are functional.