|As long as the micro SD is formatted in the phone you should be able to save pics to it but usually you have to go into the phone settings and make sure they're being saved to the card and not the phone's internal memory.|
I had some problems trying to copy some pics from an LG chocolate with a damaged card slot a few years ago. I couldn't do it even with their software and finally found out I couldn't copy anything from the phone's internal memory. The only copying it allowed was from a memory card. That may be why your PC shows no phone when the SD card is removed.
Also, depending on the model, your phone may need a proprietary USB cable in order to connect properly.