How To Set Up ADB/USB Drivers for Android Devices (Updated 12/13/11)

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. Download the Latest Android SDK from Google

Android SDK (Select the exe version)

2. Once downloaded, double click the exe file to open it. (MAKE SURE you change the directory that it is installing everything to to c:\android-sdk\)

3. Click on the SDK Manager and it will ask you to install packages. Select the following and leave all others unchecked:

Android SDK Tools
Android SDK Platform Tools
Google USB Driver Package, Revision XX (XX being the highest number available)

4. Then click continue and follow the on screen prompts until all of the packages are installed and it finishes.

5a. On your phone, click Settings > Applications > Development and make sure USB Debugging is on.

5b. If using Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), click on Settings > Developer Options and make sure USB Debugging is on.

6. Plug your phone into your computer via USB cable (it needs to be on). It should say installing drivers if using Windows.

7. Open Windows File Explorer and look for the android-sdk folder inside of the C drive. Then open the platform-tools folder inside that. Now, hold the shift key down on your keyboard and right click in any blank area inside that folder. This will give you the option to open a command window here. Select that and a command prompt will open saying c:\android-sdk\platform-tools\      *if using windows XP, this won’t work. So instead open command prompt first by going to Start > Run > then typing in cmd and hitting enter. Then type cd c:\android-sdk\platform-tools\ and hit enter, then continue.

8. 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 JUST WON’T AUTOMATICALLY INSTALL, DO IT MANUALLY HERE

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

Motorola Droid Drivers (unzip the file once you download it).

Motorola Milestone Drivers (follow the instructions on the page).

Motorola CLIQ Drivers (follow the instructions on the page).

Samsung Behold 2 Drivers (unzip the file, run the setup.exe) (If you have Windows 64Bit, you CANNOT install the Behold Drivers. Find someone with a 32Bit system to to any Behold 2 procedures involving ADB).

Samsung Galaxy Drivers (unzip the file, do NOT run setup.exe. Instead follow step 1 in Section II and install manually.)

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}

 

If this procedure helped you, please consider donating to the original developer or at least sending them a thank you.

Now that you are rooted, head here to learn some of the fun things you can do!

For all the devices we have rooting procedures for, head here.


Something Wrong? If you notice an issue with the procedure (broken link, steps out of date, etc.), use this form to let us know! Otherwise, if you just are having trouble with the procedure, reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

  • teddy

    thx for the tutorial unlockr, but iwant to ask u something.after i hit adb devices, i didnt get the serial number but i get the type of the phone samsung behold2(SGH-T939).did i do wrong? btw im running on window xp.

  • Pao

    Hi Unlockr,

    I followed your steps correctly and manually reinstalled drivers using USB deview program. It works perfectly but when I got in cmd screen it won’t show its serial number. It goes back to C: prompt “access is denied”. Here it is:

    C:\>AndroidSDK\tools>adb devices
    Access is denied.

    Btw, I’m running Microsoft Vista home basic. Your help is greatly appreacited. Thanks.

    • http://www.theunlockr.com TheUnlockr

      Pao,

      Why are there > in what you typed?

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  • Jonathan Healey

    Can someone rewrite this for me because im in Macbook Pro. and i would love to know how to do this…thanks.

  • http://esausilva.com JGeZau

    @Jonathan Healey – It’s basically the same process for a MacBook Pro, except that you do not have to install anything, just download the latest Android SDK, inside that folder there is a folder named “tools”, open a terminal window, browse to that folder, but instead of typing just “adb devices” type “./adb devices” and the serial number should pop up….and of course the obvious, have USB Debugging is on and yout phone plugged in. Have fun :)

  • nessa

    hey unlockr, what if the device’s serial number still doesn’t show up ?
    i have the behold 2

  • Raul

    Unlockr, problem with getting to the home screen on the G1 is that we can’t because we don’t have a data plan so its not possible to do this tutorial.

    • http://www.theunlockr.com TheUnlockr

      Raul,

      You don’t need to be at the home screen. It’ll connect with it at the touch to activate screen.

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  • kidd_pat

    will a serial # show up for the g1 ?
    and will i need to manually download a driver fr the my touch slide ?

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  • Alex

    I went throw driver installation in my old laptop which is running Windows XP SP2.
    I did install drivers for HTC myTouch 3G and Samsung Behold 2.
    Everything is working properly for both devices, no problem at all. Right now I am ready to root my phones.
    In the order to process and illuminate any kind of potential problem I did install .NET Framework 3.5 and latest JDK. Then I unpack Android SDK and find out it is not usb_drivers folder in there, under folder. When I execute Setup SDK under folder I got an error about HTTPS access which was easy to solve inside by selecting Force HTTPS under Settings section. After that it took a while to get packages and USB drivers for HTC. Anyway I did install as well drivers from the link for Behold 2.
    After all at all my phones I went to Application settings > Development and selected USB debugging and Stay awake. Connected one phone and waited for drivers installation and then for other one the same action.
    Command line execution showed proper information for both phones.
    Thank you guys for your advices and solutions.
    I can tell base on my installation experience – it is working for HTC myTouch 3G and Samsung Behold 2.

  • jtc442

    what am i doing wrong?? i cant get adb to install. keep getting errors saying not specified path not found and some others too when i go to the command prompt and type in the info.

    • cloud1129

      i cant seem to locate my cliq… i reinstalled the program a few times and no luck.. im a newbie im rooting phones… will someone tell what im doing wrong

  • Paul

    hay unlockr the behold 2 drivers link is broken..please fix it

  • Alex

    2Paul, link to driver for Samsung Behold 2 is still okay. It was working before and I did check 5 min ago. Firefox prompted to save ZIP file.
    2jtc442, are you in Android SDK folder? Check if you did install packages at Setup SDK application. If okay, then use CD at CMD to reach Android SDK folder and then tools.

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  • D

    Please help!!
    I’m pulling my hair put trying to figure out how to install all of the htc g1 drivers. I’m in the phone set up, and in order to adb all the drivers need to be activated? idk i’m really stuck. I’m running windows 7 32bit.

  • Duc

    I was setting up the ADB and I got stuck on the cmd part. I typed to the part “adb devices” and instead of a serial number pop up, it was a sentence “List of devices attached”.
    So I skip to Step 3 to check the USBDeview, but there was no HTC driver to delete.
    I don’t know what is wrong with my process, please help!

  • Geneo

    Folks
    I am an old guy 80 Retired Military just bought a Sprint HTC
    Had an old Pearl with ATT. I could turn it on and off accept calls.
    Well this Sprint is really something and my brain is trying to digest
    The features.
    Well I thought I would be cute and try to add to the phone and PC.
    Bought Radio Time so I could access all radio Stations on Sprint HTC.
    No luck in that department. They E-mailed the below file and I have no idea
    What to do to add it to my Sprint HTC.

    rt.201004.apk

    Geneo
    Jacksonville FL

    • TheUnlockr

      Geneo,

      An apk file is a program file for Android (the OS your phone is running, like how your computer is running Windows OS).
      Simply plug you phone in via USB cable to your computer, pull down the notification bar at the top and select the USB notification that came up. Then click mount.
      Now you should be able to transfer files to the sd card folder that just popped up on your computer when you hit mount.
      Transfer that .apk file to the sd card, then unplug the usb cable.
      Now goto the Market on your phone and search for ‘Linda’ (without the quotes). Download and install the Linda File Manager Free program.
      Once that is installed open it from your application list and click on sdcard then click on the .apk file you just saved to the card. If it gives you a warning click on the settings button and check Allow non market apps, then hit back and click on the apk again. Choose install. Once it is done installing, go back to your application list and it’ll be there.

  • Deepak

    damn!!!!
    all these rooting, adb processes etc are way too difficult for me atleast.
    loading iOS is kindda easy. :(

  • andy

    hey how come it doesnt get the serial number after i follow all the steps i have a g1 and im using windows xp
    no serial number shown