Install ADB for Windows and Enable USB Debugging

Edited by Jay, Maria Quinney

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Probably the biggest thing that sets Android-powered mobile devices apart from the competition is the level of customization they can undergo. With each Android version that releases, more options and tweaks can be done to help users maximize their device's performance and personalization. Although there is a great deal that can be edited using the settings app, it doesn't cover all bases. To really get in there and fine tune the device, users have to use what is known as Android Debug Bridge. ADB is a command line utility that allows developers and users to communicate with the device to perform various tasks such as debugging applications and making changes to numerous functions.

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In this VisiHow tutorial, we'll walk through the steps of installing ADB on a PC running Windows 7, as well as enabling developer options and USB debugging on Android 7 (Nougat) and Android 8 (Oreo).

**Important**

Take extra precaution whenever making edits to your device via the command line tool. Only Enable USB debugging and developer options if you're comfortable with the command line prompt and more advanced settings.

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Enable USB Debugging (Oreo)

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Before turning on USB debugging, we need access to developer options.

  1. 1
    On the home screen, tap or swipe upward from the triangle to access the app drawer.
    Enable-usb-debug-oreo-01.png
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  2. 2
    Once inside the app drawer, tap the "Settings" icon.
    Enable-usb-debug-oreo-02.png
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  3. 3
    Inside Settings, scroll down and tap "System".
    Enable-usb-debug-oreo-03.png
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  4. 4
    From the System screen, tap "About phone".
    Enable-usb-debug-oreo-04.png
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  5. 5
    On the About phone screen, tap "Build number" seven times. If you tap seven times correctly, a message will appear saying, "You are now a developer!".
    Enable-usb-debug-oreo-05.png
    If you miss tap and don't get to seven, a message will prompt you on how many taps are left to open the device's developer settings.
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  6. 6
    Next, head back to the System screen and tap, "Developer options".
    Enable-usb-debug-oreo-06.png
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  7. 7
    On the Developer options screen, scroll down and toggle the switch next to "USB debugging". A pop-up message will appear warning that USB debugging is for development purposes. Tap "OK" to enable it.
    Enable-usb-debug-oreo-07.png
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Enable USB Debugging (Nougat)

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To enable USB debugging, developer mode needs to be enabled.

  1. 1
    From the home screen, swipe up or down to get to the app drawer.
    Enable-usb-debug-nougat-01.png
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  2. 2
    Inside the app drawer, tap "Settings".
    Enable-usb-debug-nougat-02.png
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  3. 3
    From the SETTINGS screen, tap "About phone".
    Enable-usb-debug-nougat-03.png
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  4. 4
    On the ABOUT PHONE screen, tap "Software information".
    Enable-usb-debug-nougat-04.png
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  5. 5
    While on the ABOUT PHONE screen, tap "Build number" seven times. After the seventh tap, a message will appear that reads, "Developer mode has been enabled".
    Enable-usb-debug-nougat-05.png
    If you miss any of the seven taps, a message will pop-up telling you how many are remaining.
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  6. 6
    With Developer mode now enabled, head back to the main SETTINGS screen and tap, "Developer options".
    Enable-usb-debug-nougat-06.png
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  7. 7
    Inside DEVELOPER OPTIONS, tap the toggle switch next to "USB debugging". When the message box appears informing you that this option is intended for development purposes, tap "OK".
    Enable-usb-debug-nougat-07.png
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Install Android Debug Bridge (ADB) on Windows

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Now that you've enabled USB debugging, it's time to download and install ADB on your Windows machine.

  1. 1
    Open a web browser and visit the following link. When prompted, click "OK" to download the zip file.
    Install-adb-windows-01.png
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  • 2
    Once the file is finished downloading, open the folder your browser saves downloaded files.
    Install-adb-windows-02.png
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  • 3
    Locate the zip file inside your downloads folder and copy it to the clipboard.
    Install-adb-windows-03.png
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  • 4
    With the zip file copied, paste it to another folder. For our example, we created a directory on the desktop.
    Install-adb-windows-04.png
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  • 5
    When the zip file is pasted into your new folder, right-click it and extract its contents.
    Install-adb-windows-05.png
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  • 6
    Connect your device to your PC with the USB data/charging cable. While in the same folder you just extracted the zip file, hold the Shift key + right-click, and click "Open command window here".
    Install-adb-windows-06.png
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  • 7
    On your phone or tablet you'll see a message box asking to allow USB debugging for your PC. Click "OK", and "always allow from this computer" if you will be using it again in the future.
    Install-adb-windows-07.png
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  • 8
    Go to the command window that you just opened and type: "adb devices" (without the quotations marks) and hit the Enter key.
    Install-adb-windows-09.png
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  • 9
    If everything worked correctly, you would see your phone or tablet's serial number under the list of devices attached.
    Install-adb-windows-10 1.png
    Your PC is not set up to communicate with your device via the ADB tool.
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  • 10
    If you don't see your phone or tablet's serial number under the list of devices attached, you're probably missing the right driver. Continue with the following steps to install/update the ADB interface driver.
    Install-adb-windows-11.png
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  • 11
    Go back to your browser and visit this link. Click "OK" to download the zip file to your downloads folder.
    Install-adb-windows-12.png
    You'll want to extract the zip file to another folder on your PC.
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  • 12
    Next, go to the Start menu and search for, "device manager". When the link populates near the top, click it to continue.
    Install-adb-windows-13.png
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  • 13
    Inside the Device manager, locate and expand "Other devices", then right-click on ADB interface and select "Update Driver Software...".
    Install-adb-windows-14.png
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  • 14
    In the next window click "Browse my computer for driver software".
    Install-adb-windows-15.png
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  • 15
    Now, browse to the location that you extracted the USB driver zip file contents in step 11, then click "Next". Your PC will now install the USB driver, and you'll see a message saying the installation was successful once it's complete.
    Install-adb-windows-16.png
    Go back to step 6 and try again.
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  • If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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    Recent edits by: Jay

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