Through USB, I can readily browse my Android's file hierarchy using my PC.
How can I browse files on my PC using my Android 4.4 device?
The "ES File Explorer" app doesn't appear to facilitate this.

Specifically what I'd like to do is use my Android (in conjunction with VLC for Android) to watch video files that are stored on my PC.

I can do this over my wifi network, but it just seems so darn silly to use wifi when the USB is plugged in. Silly enough to warrant asking the question, anyway.

Just in case it matters, the desired files are actually on a network drive.
Phone > USB > PC₁ > Network Drive > PC₂

Thanks for any advice!

  • When connected via USB, phone goes into MTP mode. Only when you disconnect it will your phone recognize the new file additions on its internal/sd card storage. Nothing you can do about it. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 7:51
  • Also watching video on your phone using media stored on a computer via USB sounds weird. You might as well watch it on your monitor. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 7:52
  • Well, it was worth a shot anyhow. Did some reading on this protocol (thanks!), though I can't say I appreciate its nuances. Asking Android to treat a USB connection exactly like a LAN connection seems like an entirely trivial request. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 8:30

1 Answer 1


It is matter of "master" and "slave". The master can see what is inside the slave but not the countrary. When you plug your phone to the PC, the PC is the master and the phone is the slave. Consequently you cannot explore what is inside your PC with your phone.

  • Ah, sure. This makes sense to me. Guess I wouldn't gain much if they were like network peers, but I just assumed it would be possible via USB. Thanks for clarifying. Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 7:20

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