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.

PDANet

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

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.

  • Sfmcduff

    I followed your instructions and downloaded AndroidSDK to my C:drive. However, when I plugged in my Galaxy Windows could not find the driver in the AndroidSDK directory. I checked under Device Manager and it is recognizing the Samsung Andorid USB Device but there is no driver. Was the driver suppose to download in the tools directory and if so what was the name of the file?

  • Sfmcduff

    I opened the SDK manager and downloaded the USB Driver for Windows to my AndroidSDK directory. I tried to add the driver to my Samsung Android USB device under Device Manager and it still does not find the driver. What gives????? This is so beyond frustrating for something that should be so simple. The USB debugging checked. Could there be other settings on my phone that could be creating the problem. I am assuming that the USB device is OK since it is showing up under the Device Manager.

  • Nwill87

    OMG! i have done everything rite at least twice when cmd abd no device serial number help motorola xt701 unlocked

  • Omarrangel80

    everything goes well until i type adb devices.. its says its not recognized as an internal or external command

  • Matt

    once i download the sdk the icon doesnt look like a stack of books, instead it has teh internet explorer icon and when i right click there is no option to extract…???

    • Abc

      lol u have to have win-rar to extact a file duh

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  • Be

    I’m having the same problems with two different Android.
    First the Samsung Captivate and now the Nexus 1.
    I can get as far as device and it show the device ID.
    None of the command work, ie. if I do adb remount I get: remount failed: Operation not permitted

  • derrick

    i am not getting a serial number, mine just says attachments listed

  • http://twitter.com/markg Mark Goodson

    I’ve followed this to the letter. When I reconnect the phone all of the drivers install except ADB. I then point it to the location where the driver is… and Windows can’t find the driver. Am losing the will to live. Have been through this loop several times now. Any help appreciated.

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  • Mr Pnutt

    Dear Mr. Unlockr; I rooted my G1 and now I’m trying to setup the ADB/USB drives. I have the debug box checked off I connected the USB Cable and I was wondering am I supposed to mount the SD card via USB? I’m using Windoows7/64 and the link that u setup that goes to My Digital Life says to extract the into a folder; now my ? is do I type the info that they have. Thx in Advance.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DAS4KPVUYBD227IWM66XIYHL7I thabest

    I have the AndroidSDK strter kit but how do I download the platform I want plus since I rooted my G1 can I run Android 2.2? thx in Advance.

  • http://theunlockr.com TheUnlockr

    You need to download a custom ROM and do our How To Load a Custom ROM procedure for your phone.

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  • udusilm

    about windows 7 instructions: HTC has released HTC sync ver 3 and its working fine with win7 64bit. just tested!

  • Vincsilver

    The “adb files” download link given upster is down.
    To get adb with r08 release : launch SDK manager and apply the available packages.
    After than the manager has downloaded every packages, it’ll start the deamon.
    Now go on a prompt command
    insert : cd C:path_of_your_installation_of_AndroidSDKplatform-tools
    insert : adb shell (or adb devices)
    –> It’s work !

    20101208 Vincent.

  • Vincsilver

    The “adb files” download link given upster is down.
    To get adb with r08 release : launch SDK manager and apply the available packages.
    After than the manager has downloaded every packages, it’ll start the deamon.
    Now go on a prompt command
    insert : cd C:path_of_your_installation_of_AndroidSDKplatform-tools
    insert : adb shell (or adb devices)
    –> It’s work !

    20101208 Vincent.

  • Vincsilver

    The “adb files” download link given upster is down.
    To get adb with r08 release : launch SDK manager and apply the available packages.
    After than the manager has downloaded every packages, it’ll start the deamon.
    Now go on a prompt command
    insert : cd C:path_of_your_installation_of_AndroidSDKplatform-tools
    insert : adb shell (or adb devices)
    –> It’s work !

    20101208 Vincent.

  • http://theunlockr.com TheUnlockr

    The link is NOT down. It works just fine, but thanks for the alternative method to install the ADB files if people need it!

    • Vincsilver

      Ok, link works today.
      Yesterday : MegaUpload said “Link is not available”
      Strange..

    • Vincsilver

      Ok, link works today.
      Yesterday : MegaUpload said “Link is not available”
      Strange..