How To setup ADB (Android Debug Bridge) UPDATED

ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge. It is part of the open source Android SDK that anyone can legally download direct from Google. Its a suite of tools that allows interaction between your computer and your Android handset and it used for development and de-bugging. For all those having issues with their Android handset and with specific applications this tool is a god-send as you can send your logcat directly to the developer for them to help fix it.


  • Downloading the Android SDK
  • Installing the Android SDK
  • Copying files to system32
  • Testing ADB



  • Unplug your handset from the computer if it is plugged in
  • Download the latest Android SDK to your computer. To make things easier, save it to your C: drive
  • Extract the android-sdk-windows folder to your C: drive, so it should look like C:/android-sdk-windows
  • Know what version of Android you are running on your handset: 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, etc

Installing ADB (Android Debug Bridge) to your computer

  • Go to your android-sdk-windows folder and inside double–click on SDK Setup.exe
  • A pop up window will appear asking you to Chose Packages to Install
  • Click on Cancel then click on Settings on the left hand pane. Tick the Force https://… Sources box
  • Click on Available Packages and tick the box

If you are uncertain as to what firmware version you have, then tick everything and click on Install Selected on the bottom right, Accept All then Install.

If you know what firmware version you have then tick the relevant files you need including the USB Driver Package. For example if you are running Android 1.6, tick:

  • SDK Platform Android 1.6, API 4, revision 2
  • Google APIs by Google Inc., Android API3, revision 3
  • USB Driver Package, revision 3

Click on Install Selected, Accept All then Install

  • Once the download and installation has finished, close the Android SDK window
  • Go back to the folder where the Android SDK is installed. Open the Tools folder
  • Hold down the CTRL button and select adb.exe and AdbWinApi.dll
  • Copy these files (CTRL+C or Right-click then Copy)
  • Open a new Explorer window (WIN+E or double click My Computer)
  • Go to c:/windows/sytem32 and Paste the files in that folder

Setting up ADB

People have reported issues with actually using ADB. I’ll just write up the easiest set here and shall leave out the advanced step unless its required. For those with I.T knowledge, basically set your System Environment Variable path to point towards your android-windows-sdk/tools folder.

  • Go to x:/windows/system32 (where x denotes the drive where Windows is installed)
  • Find cmd.exe, right-click on it and click on Copy
  • Open My Computer (Win+E)
  • Go to the folder where you put the Android SDK and open it
  • Open the Tools folder
  • Right click in an empty space, click on Paste. This will make a copy of the cmd.exe to the Tools folder

Testing ADB

Now that we have it installed, we need to test it to make sure it’s all fully functional. To do that plug in your handset and it should automatically start installing drivers for it, more specifically an ADB Interface Driver. To ensure it has been installed correctly…

  • Open the Control Panel then click on Device Manager
  • Under ADB Interface should be your newly installed driver: HTC Dream Composite ADB Interface. If it is not installed then proceed to the Troubleshooting section
  • Now open up a Command Prompt (WIN+R, type in cmd, press Enter or click on Start > Run and type in CMD. Press Enter)
  • Type in ADB Devices
  • You should see a device listed if it installed correctly.

If your device is not listed, the go back to your Android SDK/Tools folder. Inside should be the cmd.exe file that we copied over earlier. Double click on the cmd.exe and try the “adb devices” command once more. This should work.

Congratulations! You have now installed a fully functional ADB on your computer! From here on in, we can use this to push/pull files from your mobile phone as well as debugging issues and even taking screenshots.

  • I've tried installing the adb but it don't seem to recognize my device.

    in device manager there is a sub menu called android phone which leads to another sub menu called android composite ADB interface. There is also android phone in portable devices.

    Typing in adb devices in cmd will just return 'list Of devices attached' without any serial number of a phone.

    i have looked on many forums but can't find an solution, I have installed the driver which was downloaded via the sdk and debugging is enabled on my phone.


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  • Charles Ward

    I am sorry if this seems intrusive and parasitic but would it be possible to do the same for the HTC hero?

  • If somebody is interested in setting up ADB under Ubuntu (Linux) I just created a guide

  • James

    Great Article, many thanks. On Windows 7 64-bit – I had to place the files adb.exe and AdbWinApi.dll into c:windowssyswow64.
    Hope this helps someone.

    • Lzaguilar


  • Same issues with Win vista 64 and the pandigital novel.

  • anahnahnah

    I had huge problems with drivers ect. trying to get this to work. Download and install the Media Transfer Protocol Porting Kit from Microsoft:

    Once installed (requires validation), my Galaxy S was recognized.

    Hope this helps.

  • Mari

    my problem is like asrar’s.
    when I put ‘adb devices’, it only appears ‘list of devices attached’ in the next line, but it doesn’t have any numbers in it.
    besides, when I to put some of those ‘adb push’, it shows: ‘error: device not found’
    what should I do? PLEASE, HELP?

  • Zeeshan

    okay so i got the beta sofware approval for android developing from Google. The thing is when i connect my phone in debugg mode to the computer a pop up shows up of found new hardware and it attempts to find a software for ADB. only that it cant find it and i have no idea what to do next

  • Biketcher

    Much props to you, sir!!! After quite a few unsuccessful attempts at getting my device connected and my Android Debug Bridge functioning correctly, I found your write-up. Thanks to you, I have succeeded in my endeavours.

  • Biketcher

    Much props to you, sir!!! After quite a few unsuccessful attempts at getting my device connected and my Android Debug Bridge functioning correctly, I found your write-up. Thanks to you, I have succeeded in my endeavours.