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March 5, 2012

ADB Installation guide

One of the most important tool on Android, which confuses novice users, is ADB. This tool
is especially required while modding or rooting. Today we will have a look at installing

What is ADB
Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is a command line tool which comes as part of the Android SDK.  It allows to control and interaction with the Android device. It is a very powerful tool, which can be used to perform many advanced operations and is essential for rooting. For more details check the ADB page on Android developers.

Overview of steps
  • Download JDK and Android SDK
  • Install JDK
  • Install Android SDK
  • Install SDK Platform tools
  • Change the path variable
  • Install USB drivers
  • Enable USB debugging
  • Checking ADB and confirming proper installation

Downloading JDK and Android SDK
ADB is a part of Android SDK which requires JDK to function. So download the appropriate version for your OS. This guide will assume that you are using Windows.

JDK: Download the latest version from Oracle.

SDK: Download the latest zip version from Android developers.

Install JDK and Android SDK
Install JDK with the default options. Now, extract Android SDK which you have downloaded (I am using the current latest r16) to C:\android-sdk-windows.

Downloading SDK platform tools 
ADB no longer comes directly as part of SDK, but now comes with SDK platform tools. So the first step after extracting SDK is to download the SDK platform tools.
Go to C:\android-sdk-windows and run SDK Manager.exe. 

Check Android SDK Platform-tools and uncheck everything else and then Click install. After the installation finishes go to the platform-tools inside the SDK folder. You will find ADB there.

Changing the path variable
This step is not really required, but is convenient. After setting the path variable, you can run ADB from anywhere. If the only reason you are using ADB is for rooting, and do not expect to have much use of it in the future, skip this step.

If you are running Windows 7 right click on "My Computer", select properties and then go
to the advanced tab and select Environment variables. Go to path in the System Variables, click edit and then paste the following:


If you extracted Android SDK to another path, change the path accordingly and click OK.

IMP: Do NOT delete anything, unless you really know what you are doing. If uncomfortable, make a system restore point and then proceed.

Installing USB drivers
You will require either the USB drivers shipped by your device manufacturer or Google USB driver package. For ex. Motorola users will need to install Motorola's USB and PC charging drivers. For some devices like Nexus, run Android SDK Manager again and install Google USB Driver package.

Download and install as appropriate for your device.

Enable USB Debugging
ADB will work only if you have enabled USB debugging. This option will be there in the Settings, like Applications\Development. The location might be different depending upon Android versions. For ex. in my EOS ICS custom rom it appears in Settings\Developer options.

Enable USB debugging, wherever it appears on your version of Android and then connect the device to the PC via USB; A new hardware installation will take place.

Note: In rare circumstances you may get MTP install error (for ex. while using Windows XP). In that case first uninstall USB driver, download MTP driver from Microsoft, install USB drivers again, restart and then  connect the device back to the PC.

Checking ADB
If you have not set the path variable then do the following (will work even if you have):

Go to Run and type cmd.exe
cd C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools
adb devices

If everything went fine, you will get an alphanumeric string as output. Congratulations, you have finished installing ADB and are now ready to explore this powerful tool!

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention this only works for ICS, otherwise you get an error when putting in a command: "adb: unable to connect for backup"

    Thanks anyways!