How To Set Up ADB/USB Drivers for Android Devices (Updated 07/15/14)

So most people won’t have to use ADB (Android Debug Bridge) ever, but if you want to learn how or want to get a little more technical with your Android phone, here’s how to get it set up.

I. Setting Up The SDK

1. Head to the Android SDK site.

Android SDK

2. Click on Get the SDK for an Existing IDE > Download the Stand Alone SDK for Windows.

3. Check that you agree to the terms and click Download the Stand Alone SDK for Windows.

4. Save it to your Desktop.

5. Double click the exe file you just downloaded and follow the prompts.

6. When asked to Choose the Install Location, make sure it is c:\android-sdk\ in the text field before hitting Next.

7. Continue until it installs and then check the box that says Start SDK Manager and hit Finish.

8. When it opens, check off Tools (and make sure it selects everything underneath it) then hit Install X Packages.

9. Accept the any licenses it asks you to and let it continue until it installs everything (might take a while).

10. Open File Explorer and go to  C: > android-sdk > platform-tools.

11. Hold shift on your keyboard and right-click in a blank spot inside the platform-tools folder and select Open Command Window Here.

12. Plug your device in via USB cable and wait for it to install drivers.

13. Type the following into the command prompt window (hitting enter at the end of every line):

adb devices

You should see a serial number pop up, it’s the serial number of your phone. This means you are all set!

If you do NOT see a serial number, then we need to reinstall the drivers manually in Section II below.

II. If Drivers Won’t Install Automatically, Use These Installers Below to Do It Manually

1. A program called PDANet (used normally to allow you to wired tether your phone’s internet to your computer) can be used to install the ADB drivers for a lot of phones. Download it and follow it’s instructions to install it then go back to step 8 in Section I above and see if that gets you the serial number (if you do, you are all done). If not, then use one of the device specific programs below in step 2.


2. Download your phone’s driver’s below then goto your Device Manager on your computer, look for the phone and click on it. Then click Properties > Update Driver > Browse > Let me pick > Computer > Have Disk > Browse > Then select the driver you downloaded below:

Universal ADB Drivers (by Koush)

Universal Motorola Drivers (unzip the file once you download it, and run the program inside to install the drivers)(Updated 09.27.10)

If using a Samsung device, try downloading Samsung Kies and installing that then plugging in your device and trying again.

III. (Optional) Reinstall Drivers (If they did not install properly in Section I or II)

1. Download USBDeview


2. While the phone is still plugged in, open USBDeview and sort by manufacturer. Find all the HTC drivers and delete them all.

3. Once all have been deleted, unplug the phone from the USB cable and plug it back in.

4. The correct drivers should reinstall automatically (check the drivers as they are installing, one should say ADB Device driver).

5. To check, goto Devices (or Device Manager for older versions of Windows) in your Start menu then click on the “Android Phone”. Click on the Hardware tab, and check the list of drivers for ADB Interface under Type.

IV. (Optional) Install Fastboot

1. Download fastboot.exe and save it to your computer.

Fastboot (UPDATED 03.23.13)

2. Unzip it, then copy the fastboot.exe file into the platform-tools folder of your Android SDK.

3. Now, you can type fastboot commands in command prompt in the same place you typed adb commands.

V. Some Common ADB/Fastboot Commands

ADB Commands

adb devices – lists which devices are currently attached to your computer
adb install <packagename.apk> – lets you install an Android application on your phone
adb remount – Remounts your system in write mode – this lets you alter system files on your phone using ADB
adb push <localfile> <location on your phone> – lets you upload files to your phones filesystem
adb pull <location on your phone> <localfile> – lets you download files off your phones filesystem
adb logcat – starts dumping debugging information from your handset to the console – useful for debugging your apps
adb shell <command> – drops you into a basic linux command shell on your phone with no parameters, or lets you run commands directly

adb devices – lists which devices are currently attached to your computer

adb install <packagename.apk> – lets you install an Android application on your phone

adb remount – Remounts your system in write mode – this lets you alter system files on your phone using ADB

adb push <localfile> <location on your phone> – lets you upload files to your phones filesystem

adb pull <location on your phone> <localfile> – lets you download files off your phones filesystem

adb logcat – starts dumping debugging information from your handset to the console – useful for debugging your apps

adb shell <command> – drops you into a basic linux command shell on your phone with no parameters, or lets you run commands directly

Fastboot Commands

fastboot devices – lists which devices in fastboot mode are currently attached to your computer

fastboot boot <filename> – boots a rom stored on your pc specified by the filename

fastboot flash <partition> <filename> – flashes a rom stored on your PC, partition can be one of {boot, recovery, system, userdata}

fastboot update zip <zip filename> – updates the phone with a ROM stored on the PC.

If you liked this, please share it. It's greatly appreciated!

David opened a cell phone store on his college campus and started as a personal tech blog back in 2009 along side. He gets an unnatural excitement out of showing others new things about their tech that they might not have known. Reach out to him on the following social networks and say hi.
  • Stefan

    Thanks for the latest SDK version

    • Alberto

      I download the usbdeview and when i run as administrator

      all i get is Andriod devise and wen i unistall it , it still doesnt install

  • giovanny55

    Hi unlockr
    just a stupid question from a newbiee is this adb driver help solve the problem from some hero roms that consistantly when youre using a application the phone reboots to the htc screen.

    thanks for your help

    • TheUnlockr

      Hello Giovanny55,

      ADB is for sending and controlling stuff on the phone. It can’t make your phone run better.
      You just need to download the Maxisma ROM from the Downloads section, install it and also make sure to do the How To Speed Up Your Hero ROM and you should get rid of that.

  • JKshowman

    first of all THANKS, and what about eclipse ddms and etc? i need help with avd, i dont know why, but i put all the ffiles in the right place (system32 etc) but it just wont work!!!!!!!

  • jerzy

    hello unlockr,

    first of thanks.i been trying to get this working for sometime and thanks to you i finally have.this site is my favorite site for all android help.thanks

  • james

    hey i did this and install the drive but doe not work still i type in the adb device and nothing shows up it just says list of serial or nothing please help thanks

    • TheUnlockr

      Hello James,

      Do the rest of the procedure, use USBDeview uninstall the drivers and replug in.

  • james

    i tried that but when i select it to be uninstalled or even disscnet with that program it does nothing…

    • TheUnlockr

      Hello James

      You need to run the program as administrator, right click it before opening it (I do it in the video)

  • hvrobel

    Tried the same as James and it didn’t work and I ran as administrator too. No driver. I tried several times and uninstalled all the HTC and Android devices. Any help would be awesome.

  • Pingback: How To: Downgrade Your HTC Hero So It Can Be Rooted | The Unlockr()

  • hvrobel

    Wow! Ok so I figured out how to do this after trying just about everything I can think of for 2 days.

    This is to help anyone who is ready to end their existence.

    1. I’m running Vista Ultimate 64 bit on both my computers (Yes I tried it all on both!)
    2. I have a 32B Sapphire/MyTouch rooted and I’m running Cyanogen’s latest ROM. (If you don’t know what this is you shouldn’t be using this tutorial anyhow.)
    3. I used this tutorial exactly as shown in the video. Tried using USBDeview to uninstall the drivers and still wouldn’t recognize the drivers for my phone. Windows asks for the driver. So I went to the file in the C;/AndroidSDK for usb drivers. Windows tells you that it’s not there and can’t install it.
    4. Found a forum online telling me to edit the registry delete some files. (Think this process is for XP 64 bit operating systems. Either way it didn’t work.)

    This worked.
    1. Make sure first that you turn on USB Debugging on your phone by going to Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging. (Leave phone unplugged from computer)
    2. Use USBDeview right-click to run as administrator. Delete anything labeled Android or HTC.
    3. Next you want to go to this link:
    Download the driver and extract to a location you’ll remember.
    4. The instructions in the link above are kind of vague so this should help for anyone as NOOB as me.

    You want to type “cmd” into your start search bar to bring up the command prompt right-click the cmd program and run as admin.
    5. You need to run Vista in Test Mode (Don’t ask… Pis*es me off too!) right where the the cursor is at the Command Prompt. No need to use cd.. or c:/ type this : “bcdedit /set testsigning on” (without parenthesis of course)
    6. Reboot your computer should have test mode in each corner when it restarts.
    7. Plug in your phone and when prompted let windows search for the driver. When it can’t find it install the driver manually from the file you downloaded and extracted the driver to.
    8. It will give you a brand new red window that tells you how windows doesn’t recognize it. Install it anyhow.
    9. Cha-Ching! Installed! Now do the reverse from the cmd prompt to get your computer out of test mode. And then reboot

    Thanks Unlockr this site has the best tutorials for Android on the Web! Keep up the good work.

    • TheUnlockr

      Hello hvrobel,

      Ha thanks, I appreciate it. I will definitely try :)

      And thanks for this, I’ll add it to the reported issues so others can find it easily. Great addition!

  • Andrew

    Hey Unlockr, im using Windows XP, and when i “run” cmd. I get command prompt. Good so far, but then when i press enter it does not double space and i cannot type in cd/ and stuff to get my abd. so yeah plz message me back T_T. i needs abd

    • TheUnlockr

      Hello Andrew,

      The / need to be \ sorry. Try it now.

  • Andrew

    i mean adb

  • mz_lattee

    “I get a message state windows system 32 is either not designed to run on windows or it contains an error. Try installing the program again using the original installation media or contact your ststem administrator or the software vendor for support” I got all to show ready but the most important one the dream composite abd interface. Any help would be great!

  • @the_real_newman

    I am running XP and when i go to USBDeview and try to run as administrator i dont have that option. I tried selecting the first option but I have 1 HTC driver.dont know how to run as admin, please help. Thanks in advance!

    • TheUnlockr


      If you have XP you don’t need to run as admin if you dont have the option just continue from there.

  • @the_real_newman

    ^^^nevermind i figured it out

  • Julie

    I keep getting the same error for my USB : Code 10: Device Cannot Start. I’ve updated the driver using the location of the usbdriver in the SDK directory. My assumption is that there is something conflicting with the device that’s not letting it start, but I cant figure out what. (I have Project64 & GBA Emulators installed on my laptop as well, maybe that’s it?) In the device manager, there is the yellow exclamation mark. I’ve uninstalled using USBDeview, and my phone is on USB Debugging as well.

    Viewing in USBDeview mode, the serial number of my HTC device & all its informations shows when I click properties. My only problem is that it will not start. This is pretty funny to me, because the only reason I have downloaded Android SDK is so that I can take screenshots of my phone & possibly develop themes for it. Someone please help me!

    I’m using Windows Vista 32bit and I have a Tmobile G1, rooted, running CM4.2.3

  • dcdave63

    You should make sure that you add in the instructions that people need to go into Settings > Applications > Development and select USB Debugging, other wise, this will not work, and no matter how many times you uninstall and reinstall the drivers, it wont take.

  • Barry

    I tried the instructions above and I keep getting this error:

    adb server is out of date. Killing…
    ADB server didn’t ACK
    * failed to start daemon *

  • nik

    hello unlockr i was wondering if this step was necissary to root the sprint htc hero and get custom ROM?

    • TheUnlockr



  • al

    I was wondering if you could help me out i have tried to get adb to work but as the drivers are installing the one that says adb does not install what should i do?

    • Eric

      i have the same issue. and therefore the device is not recognized in the cmd

  • al

    when i search for it i get newdev.exe-bad image also a window pops up saying htc dream composite adb interface driver not intended for this platform