How to Install Android SDK / ADB on Windows

If you are just about to install a custom ROM, unlock the bootloader of your Android device, or root the same and need the Android SDK installed on your Windows running computer, then you should first complete this tutorial. During the next lines I will try to teach you what ADB means, when you need to use it and also how to easily install the Android Software Developer Kit on any Windows based PC. This guide will work on all the versions of Windows (XP, Vista, 7, or 8), so you have nothing to worry about. Also, a similar procedure will be explained for those who have a Mac OS X / Linux device, so don’t use this method unless you want to install ADB on Windows.

The Android Software Developer Kit, simply named as Android SDK, or ADB is what all the advance users of Android should have installed on their Windows running computers. In fact this tool stands behind each developer who is working in developing and testing new apps for improving, updating or unchaining different version of the Android OS. Basically, you are dealing with some codes that will be inserted in the command prompt window and through which you will be able to interact and access the system and in built programs from your handset.

Eclipse is being the language in which the codes are written, so if you want to learn more about this concept you can search through the web as there are a lot of tutorial explained about the same. Now, the Android SDK contains the platform tools and the ADB drivers and by using this step by step guide you will learn how to install the mentioned tools on your Windows based computer.

So, as mentioned Android SDK is being used for developing new apps; but that’s not all. By using the ADB commands you can perform several operations, like updating to custom ROMs, unlocking the bootloader, rooting or apply customization and optimization tasks for improving the performances of you Android smartphone or tablet. As you can see having and knowing how to use ADB is extremely important especially if you want to take your device to a new level. And since we have noticed that there are many users who are having troubles while trying to install the Android SDK on their computers, we have developed this step by step guide.

But, before beginning the proper operations there should be applied some pre requisites. You have the same explained and detailed during the next list of tasks, so take your time and read the preparation procedures. Then, you can safely take care of the installation process.

  • The Android SDK has some basic system requirement; before going any further check them by using the link from here.
  • Also, on your computer you will have to download JDK, the Java Development Kit; use the link from here.
  • Now, if you are looking forward in developing new apps for the Android OS, then, you need to download the Eclipse IDE (use the link from here) and the ADT plug-in which can be downloaded from here.
  • Install Eclipse on your PC, run the same and then go to “Window -> Android SDK -> AVD Manager”. By completing this you will be able to stay up to date with all the platforms.
  • Of course if you don’t want to use Android SDK for developing and testing apps, you can skip the Eclipse IDE section.

You can start the installation procedure now. Again, remember that this tutorial is being suitable only for those who have a Windows running computer. If you want to install Android SDK / ADB on a Mac OS X / Linux device use a proper guide (check through our how to section for the same).

How to Install Android SDK / ADB on Windows

  1. In order to get used with the Android SDK, first it is recommended to download the little edition; don’t worry you can anytime get the one suitable with the advance users.
  2. So, download the starter package from here and save the file on the desktop.
  3. Extract the file and place it to the root of the C driver. You should get something like “C:\ android-sdk-windows”.
  4. Go to the mentioned folder (C:\ android-sdk-windows) and open SDK manager.
  5. From there select “Android SDK Platform-tools, revision 6” along with anything else you want and start the installation procedure.
  6. Then, go to path “Available Packages -> Third party Add-ons -> Google Inc. add-ons -> check Google USB Driver package, revision 4? and install this too.
  7. You can close the manager now.
  8. Up next, on your computer click on “Start / Windows button -> Control Panel -> System proprieties”.
  9. Choose “Advance System settings” followed by “Environment Variables”.
  10. Now we will set down the variables; in order to do so, scroll down until you see “Path” – click on the same.
  11. Into the Value field, on the end of the line add the following “;C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools;C:\android-sdk-windows\tools”.
  12. Click “OK” and exit.
  13. Now, take your Android based device and enable the USB debugging option on it: “Settings-> Applications-> Development”.
  14. Connect your handset with the computer by using its USB cable.
  15. Install the proper drivers for your phone / tablet.
  16. Open command prompt on your computer (“Start -> run -> cmd”).
  17. On the cmd window type “adb devices”.
  18. Your device should now be listed in cmd meaning that you are done.

In case you are not getting the expected results, then something wrong might had happened. Anyway, try to do the following in order to resolve the issues:

  • Right click on the “My computer” icon and then open the Device manager.
  • A yellow exclamation mark should be near the Unknown Device group.
  • Right click on ADB and select “Update Driver Software -> Browse -> Let me pick”.
  • Click on “Have disk -> browse”.
  • Head to path “C:\android-sdk-windows\extras\google\usb_driver and choose android_winusb.inf.” and click on the Android ADB Interface.
  • Ignore the warnings if such is displayed.
  • When the installation procedure is over, re-open the cmd on your computer, type “adb devices” once more; this time everything should be working as expected.

So, there you have it; now you know how to install Android SDK / ADB on your Windows running computer. You can now install a custom ROM on your device, root or unlock its bootloader, or why not you can even develop a new app for the Android OS. Use the comments area from below for sharing your impressions and thoughts with us.

  • TwoStep

    Or…you can install:
    ADT Bundle:
    Universal ADB Driver:

    And all of these steps are done for you :)
    I would highly recommend this approach for beginners, as seems to be the target audience for this guide.

    • Arsalan Shah

      Is it just me, or are both the links same?

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  • Luis

    I’ stuck right before loading the drivers, please help

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  • X

    10.) Path from System or User variables ??? Ok I think it is system variable ????????????
    SDK Manager doesn’t work… adb devices doesn’t work. Typical for Bugclipse.

  • mausam

    i find no Android SDK Platform-tools, revision 6

  • Pavan Kishore M

    Its not working… I don’t find anything as unknown devices in device manager and yet cmd prompt is not working…

    • Pavan Kishore M

      Well now it is…but I’m not seeing any devices in adb devices…a dos window is just pooping and disappearing..

  • Samyak

    i followed all the above steps
    and the cmd window show that bootloader is unlocked
    but my phone is not booting
    it show sony logo and color animation
    its been a hour can you suggest something??

  • raj

    how do i update ADB version?

  • Yardboy

    If the phone is bricked – stuck in boot loop, only goes to recovery mode – and I cannot do step 13 above, am I dead in the water?

    • steve

      Nope. What phone do you have? Just flash stock. If you can go into recovery, you can flash stock

      • Yardboy

        It was an HTC One M7. We were unable to even bring up the device when connected to a computer – couldn’t see it connected as a drive, couldn’t get a new ROM into it, so couldn’t even flash it (no removable SD). Ended up just doing a replacement with insurance plan. I appreciate the follow-up.

  • Raja Osama

    I thing this is it im not using sdk but i have adb and fast boot when ever i type adb device it shows nothing empty .but i thing know with ur help i can do it sdk is such a big big sofware.
    Will the fastboot gonna work alsoo looking for ur reply
    Rip english sorry for inconvenience

  • calum mahony

    in cmd window it says abd not reconised as internal or external command what do i do. the command was (abd sideload update.bin).

  • ola

    Thank You So Much for writing and posting this (Y)
    it has been two days since i do nothing except trying to connect my Huawei Device and root it till i was on the verge of going crazy !!!
    it does Not work unless after trying your instructions !
    So, Thank You will *Never* be enough :”)