How-To Geek

How to Test Drive Google Android on Your PC Without Buying a Phone

Would you like to test drive the latest version of Google’s Android OS without buying a new mobile device?  Here’s how you can run Android on your PC for free with the Android SDK Emulator.

Android is the latest mobile OS to take the world by storm, but everyone doesn’t have access to the latest mobile devices.  Thankfully, there’s an easy way to run Android on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.  Google provides an Android emulator with their SDK, which is designed to let developers test their apps on Android before running them on handsets.  We can use this to test drive Android on our computer, here’s how to do it.

Getting Started

The Android Emulator requires Java to run, so if you don’t already have Java installed on your computer, download it from the link below and install as normal.


Note: When installing Java, make sure not to install any crapware it tries to sneak in like the worthless Yahoo toolbar.


Then, download the Android SDK from Google (link below), and make sure to select the correct version for your computer.  Once it’s downloaded, unzip the files as normal.


In Windows, run the SDK Setup.exe program to get started running Android on your PC.


The SDK will check Google’s servers for available packages.


If you see an SSL error message, click the Settings tab on the left in the SDK and AVD Manager window that opened in the background.  Here, uncheck the Force https box, click Ok, and then reopen the setup.


Now, the Package Installer will open.  You can choose what you want to install, and then click Install to begin installing the Android emulator on your computer.


By default, all of the SDK platforms, samples, and APIs will be selected for install.  This can take quite a while to download, as several versions of Android are currently available.  If you only want to play around with Android, choose the version you want.  You’ll want the SDK Platform Android your.version.  Then click the Reject bullet on all the other entries, and click Install.  We wanted to try out the latest Android 2.2 as well as the older 1.5, so we downloaded both of them.


Once you’ve started installing, you’ll see a window showing the download and installation progress.  This may take a few minutes, depending on your Internet speed.


You’ll have some little Androids in your taskbar, but unfortunately they don’t show the download progress.


Setup an Android Emulator

Once the download is completed, you can setup an emulator to test drive Android on your computer.  Select the Virtual Devices from the left menu, and then click the New button on the right.


Enter a name for your virtualized Android, and select the version of Android you want to use from the drop-down menu.  This will only show the version you installed previously, so you may only see one version listed depending on your selection.


Enter a size under the SD Card entry; this is a virtual SD card that’s actually an IMG file that Android will use to store your settings and files in.  Then, select a screen size from the skin options.  The default is a standard, Nexus One-type display, while the others are different sizes including even a BlackBerry-style device.


Click Create AVD when you’re finished.


The program may appear to freeze while it is creating the AVD, so just wait until you see the confirmation window.


You’re now ready to run Android on your PC!  Select your new virtual Android, and click Start on the right.


You can choose to scale the display if you’ve chosen a larger screen size than your monitor will fit, and then select Launch.


Android will now begin to load in your emulator.  Several command prompt windows may open, and then you’ll see the emulator itself.  Notice that the default, large screen size will display a keypad and virtual buttons on the right side of the emulated device.


Android may take several minutes to load, especially on your first run.  After a while, the boot screen will switch to an Android boot animation.


Finally, you’ll be presented with your new Android home screen!  Use your mouse as you would normally, though remember that you don’t need to double-click to open apps.


You can open pre-installed apps from the launcher menu, though unfortunately these emulator images do not include the Android Marketplace.


View your favorite websites in the browser, and they will render just as they would on an Android device.  Note that you can enter text using the on screen keyboard in the emulator, or with your standard keyboard.  Since this is an emulator, you may notice some lag in entering text.


You can also install Apps that are directly available online.


Default apps such as Email work great, and you can even see most of the device settings in Android.


Click and hold on the home screen to change the background or try out widgets.


You’ll even see the nifty Android Lock screen if you leave your virtual machine alone for a few minutes.  Just click the arrow and drag it to the other side of the screen to unlock.


You can always repeat the steps later to create a new Android virtual machine.  Here we’ve created an Android 1.5 virtual machine with the QVGA screen size.


We did experience a few crashes in our tests, and the emulator felt somewhat sluggish, but in all, it’s fun to try  out a new mobile OS without spending money on a new phone.


Launch Android Virtual Machines Later

Anytime you want to launch your Android virtual machines in the emulator, just run the SDK Setup.exe as before, and select them from the Virtual Devices list.  Alternately, you can launch an emulator directly from the command line.  To do this, browse to your Android SDK folder and open the Tools folder.  Press the Shift key and right-click, and then select Open Command Window Here.


Now enter the following in the Command Prompt, substituting the name of your Android virtual machine for your_device:

emulator @your_device


Create a Shortcut For Your Android

Alternately, right-click on the Emulator.exe in the SDK Tools folder, and select Create Shortcut.


This shortcut would actually only run the emulator in Command Prompt and not load an actual virtual device.  We’ll need to change the properties to do this, so right-click and select Properties.


Select the Shortcut tab, and then scroll to the end of the Target box.  Enter the name of your virtual Android as before, as @your_Android after the emulator.exe, and then click Ok.


Now you can launch your Android directly from your Desktop or Start menu.



Whether you’re a developer who wants to write the next greatest app for Android or are simply are curious about Android and would like to try it out without buying a new phone, the Android Emulator is a great way to get started for free.  It is also a great way to try out new versions of Android if you have an older device. We were disappointed that the Android Marketplace wasn’t included. but check back in the next couple days and we’ll show you how to run it in the emulator!

Also, don’t forget; if you’re using an aging Windows Mobile phone, you might be able to turn it into an Android phone.  Check out our tutorial on how to Run Android on Your Windows Mobile Phone.


Download the Android SDK

Download Java for your computer

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 07/14/10

Comments (184)

  1. Greg Toland

    Turned my monitor on its side but the Android emulation screen did not automatically reorientate – what sort of emulation is this??!!

  2. Matthew Guay

    @Greg – It doesn’t make phone calls, or take pictures, or get GPS coordinates either. If only… ;)

  3. Navjot

    Gave me this error when trying to start emulator:
    emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual device name: ‘Nexus’
    emulator: could not find virtual device named ‘Nexus’

  4. Dantv

    Lost respect for Google with Andrioid. What a bunch of copy cats. How about coming up with something new, like Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, instead of copying Apple. And its not a very good copy at that.

  5. Doctor

    Hey dude can’t you download APps?

  6. Matthew Guay

    @Doctor – You can download apps directly from the internet and install them, but this emulator doesn’t have the market. Check back in a few days, though; we’ve got a cool upcoming post that’ll show you how to try out Android Market apps in the emulator!

  7. Navjot

    got it, the .android folder must be in the following directory:

  8. Matthew Guay

    @Navjot – Yes, it is. An easy way to access it is to enter %userprofile%/.android in the Explorer address bar.

  9. Doctor

    @ Matt Thanks Dude I’ll be checking in :D

  10. Ugo

    Great tool! Is there the same for Iphone, with possibility to run an app on it?

    Thanks! Ugo

  11. Doctor

    yeah dude it’s working amazly but I can’t seem to set up my Shortcut >.< Help?

  12. Matthew Guay

    @Ugo – You can run an iPhone emulator on Macs, but not on Windows or Linux. It doesn’t have the App Store, though, so you can only use it to test apps you wrote yourself.

    @Doctor – What seems to be the problem? Did you try the directions above?

  13. nathan

    i’ve been trying to figure out how android will handle multiple calendars from a single google account. but i can’t seem to find the “calendar” app. am i missing something?

  14. Austin

    Do any hacks exist to get marketplace running in here? I want to test drive android.

  15. Matthew Guay

    @Austin – We’ve got one … hang on, we’ll have it posted soon :)

  16. Doctor

    @Dude I don’t know what happen But whatever I did I FIXed it myself lol :D personally I think it’s because of my name ^-^

  17. hasi

    works like a charm

  18. Austin

    @Matthew Guay Cool, thanks

  19. insanelyapple

    Its hard to download anything; i have problems with speed, max 10kb/s and its stop downloading after about 30mb

  20. Jessen

    Cool program. However, the speed of this emulator don’t quite perform like a real phone. For user experience wise, this might be useless but for preview wise, this emu is good enough. :)

  21. RT

    I too would love to get Market going (under froyo) along with Flash. What’s the point of an emulator when so few apps can be tested on it (this is aimed at Google).

    Also, the emulator is extremely slow on the PC I use the most; a P4 Hyperthread 3.06 with 2GB ram and a SATA 1 card with 750gb WDC Caviar Green. So slow that it can take ten minutes just to type in a URL. I did fix the ‘boot’ slowness by launching without animation.

  22. Omar

    I’ll give it a try…

  23. Vince

    I couldn’t access webpages with the emulator when I got it running. Any tips? It seemed like the emulator didn’t know it had an internet connection. I am on a Mac.

  24. Vince

    Nevermind, a quick restart of the emulator seemed to do the trick!

  25. Si

    epic post thanks!

  26. Moderator

    I have to admire you for takiing the time to post all that,its like a whole web site with info,but something i knew and something i learned from it,so thank you for doing this. So thanks for taking your time,and thanks for theacing me some also. Can i be of assistens so just ask,but it looks like all can manage on their own.
    Best Regards

  27. awsomeish!!!

    @Matthew Guay it doesnt work it gives this error
    emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual device name: ‘my_avd’
    emulator: could not find virtual device named ‘my_avd’ any article of how to fix this coming up

  28. Alejandro

    is there a way to make the emulator faster? it’s really laggy for me ):

  29. Taylor

    i got a error loading preference in the last command screen the pops up when you start it, any one know the reason why?

  30. Libro

    Turning off animations, speed is fine.

  31. Bob Rathbone

    Excellent article – many thanks.
    I am running a product called AviatorCalc on the emulator. I downloaded version 3.4.2 and ran it and it largely worked although there were some problems. I downloaded a new version 3.5 of AviatorCalc but it still shows version 3.4.2. I have tried wiping the user data, restarting the Android SDK, deleting the midlets and swearing at it but still version 3.4.2 starts up.
    Any ideas?

  32. rich

    LMAO @ Greg Toland.. What a moron.

  33. varun

    itz excellent work dude…its gr8 for ppl lik me who luvs android….keep it up

  34. DCBoy

    Im getting the same msg as awsomeish…. IDK I used to use X86 w/ virtual box as my emulator…. it got kinda annoying to keep booting as a live cd…. so im trying to switch to the Android SDK… ive tried a few fixes already:
    *tried ruining as administrator…
    *increasing memory allocated to 8000MiB
    *adding all available virtual components…
    *Changing Name of device in case of conflicts
    *using earlier versions of the firmware (i.e going from 2.2 to 1.5)
    *restarting the SDK
    *restarting my computer

    Nothing has worked so far any suggestions????

    PS. im running Vista Business w/ 4GB RAM…and an AMD processor…..

  35. DCBoy

    Never Mind Figured it out… The emulator uses JAVA API…while windows is trying to use C++

    Just use the ANDROID_SDK_HOME command


  36. saph

    can you text using this????

  37. Hamid

    in during installiation andriod , it give below error to me :
    XML verification failed for
    Error: White spaces are required between publicId and systemId.
    what should i do ?

  38. rene

    the android screen keeps freezing before i can do anythin.

    Any thoughts ?


  39. rene

    recreated the AVD now it works.

    Thnx nice work

  40. beamer


    I’m running the emulator on Win 7 and it starts up fine and the applications work but it suddenly seems to have a mind of its own and starts opening google search by itself and typing in a equals sign. The only way of describing it is like there’s a ghost working inside it!

    Any thoughts on how I can get it to work properly so i can use the emulator? I’ve tried reinstalling everything already.

  41. AndroidGold

    This might also be a good way to see how apps might render in a tablet or any device with an extra-large screen.

  42. Shahrzad

    in during installiation andriod , it give below error to me :
    XML verification failed for…..sitory.xml.
    Error: White spaces are required between publicId and systemId.
    what should i do ?

  43. T.K

    Hi Doctor, thank you for effort.


  44. Tasty

    how can i download apps and put them into the emulator??

  45. rao

    hay man WTF is happening….it is stucked in the boot screen for half hour y the fkin home screen is nt showing? any ! tell me plzzz…

  46. Codymann

    hey!! can someone please help me out and tell me how to fix the error:

    emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual device name: ‘my_avd’
    emulator: could not find virtual device named ‘my_avd’

    i dont know what to do!!!!

    please email me at

  47. john

    My question is, how to disable or hide keyboard after entering data into the edittext field in android emulator? I mean, after typing data into the edittext field, when clicking on outside of edittext field the keyboard has to be disappear.
    Kindly provide answer for this.
    Thanks in advance.

  48. Gerry

    I tried to install the Android SDK, in Windows 7(64bit), after installing both Java and the JDK, but the Android SDK, keeps on insisting that the JDK is not installed. I tried to re-install the JDK, but the JDK install program says that the JDK is already installed. Does the SDK not work in Win7/64 bit?

  49. lmao

    LMAO @Dantv, what a moron.

  50. BBear309


    I ran into the exact same problem. Don’t use the installer. Use the zip. It’ll work just fine. :)

  51. HI

    WOW! This is great! so easy to use! I have a mac and the instructions are for windows, but I had no trouble figuring it out and I am 10 years old! Thanks!!!!!!!!

  52. Murdhie

    Nice work my friend. Always impressed with the know how of you guys and your willingness to share.
    I have a small problem. I have just set up for the first time and While the virtual phone screen has loaded there is no keypad emulator. Any ideas? Many thanks.

  53. Murdhie

    Scratch my last question. I thought I would be clever and change the resolution to match my HD2. It didn’t fit on my pc screen. Guess that’s what caused the problem.

  54. MIKEY

    I get a message “Error Loading Preferences” in the console screen, and then never get past the ANDROID animation. Recreated AVD does not fix. Any thoughts?

  55. JWAYNE


    I just wonder if I could use a web cam with this emulator?
    As of now the camera function does not allow me to use a usb connected web camera?
    Any help please

  56. nik

    apps installation from pc is possible in this emulator ?

  57. Eejit

    Is it possible to store files on the virtual SD card? If so, how do you access it?

  58. kostascas


    my android device stops in the boot screen with the boot animation!
    What’s wrong????

  59. MIKEY

    kostascas, same problem with mine.

  60. kostascas

    I left it the hole night and when i woke up it was still loading!!!

  61. Guy

    Me too MIKEY,

    ‘Error Loading Preferences’ leaves me with a blank console screen and blinking cursor_ _ _

    I only want to type a single command ‘adb reboot download’ cause I don’t have 3x button reboot on my later model. FRUSTRATION!

    Sure the emulator is great but I want to load THIS GOOD STUFF!

  62. zashley

    i unable to rub virtual sd card

  63. sarah

    Is this still necessary now that the android market is web accessible? (I really hope not as this is way beyond my ability…)

  64. Duce

    I have the same prblem as Codyman.

    “emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual device name: ‘my_avd’
    emulator: could not find virtual device named ‘my_avd’ ”

    i dont know what to do!!!!
    can anyone help me?

  65. Pena jr

    “””””” Taylor i got a error loading preference in the last command screen the pops up when you start it, any one know the reason why? “”””””

    i have the same problem, can u help me ?

    can anyone help me?

  66. rk

    Can someone help me? Whenever I try to download an app through the browser, it says that there is no SD card and downloading cannot function. How can I configure it to use a USB thumbdrive as a SD card?
    Pls help. Thanks.

  67. morph

    lameasses….instead of complaining about the problems you are having with a freaking emulator, why don’t you consider BUYING an Android phone like the latest Nexus S or the upcoming Motorola Atrix, Xoom or HTC Thunderbolt?

  68. Anthony

    Can someone please help me!! I ran into a brick wall when i run my app in the android emulator and try to load my images. It keeps giving me the error “Cannot download image, Check internet connection”. I’ve been boggled for 3 days now, asked several forums for assistance and have received no response. If you know what my issu may be, please reply. Thanks Anthony

  69. Mark

    This is cool, but did I miss something because during install, it says (ACCESS DENIED) and “nothing installed”. Do I need to register with Android first or something? ~ Thanks.

  70. Tom

    Has the “error loading preference” error ever been fixed ? I am getting the same error & the darn thing won’t get past the animated “ANDROID” screen.


  71. sally

    Will google skymap app for android work on my pc with the emulator? That’s the only one I want.

  72. lotratf

    I also have the Error Loading Preferences…

    Most of the time i cant get past the Android… screen before the emulator crashes.

  73. Agnes

    I desperately need this to work (and the market on it, as per you other post) as I have a device where Market used to but now can not download anything (in spite of factory resets and firmware flashing…)
    I have tried many things… but getting an android on my PC to get my .apk seems like best bet!
    I had already setup Android SDK and VAD manager in C:\android-sdk-windows
    I have installed SDK Platform Android 2.3.3 as well as Android SDK tols rev 10 and platform tools rev 3.
    I have succesfully followed all the steps above, and do get an error message when I launch the virtual device: “ERROR: unknown virtual device name: ‘phone’
    emulator: could not find virtual device named ‘phone’
    Then, as suggested by Navjot, I moved my .android to c:/users and then to c:/users/agnes.
    Now I still get an error message:
    “The Android SDK and AVD manager failed to save its settings (file not dfound) at d:\settings\.android\androidtool.cfg
    So.. I copied my .android folder there too (sic) and now… well, I still get the error message but the emulator starts anyhow!
    So… I hope I will be OK, or should I need to fix this (and how?)
    Thanks A LOTTTS

  74. yuk yuk

    i can get it to work and im 9 lol lol lol lol

  75. neel shah

    damn cool thnx

  76. john

    emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual device name: ‘evo’
    emulator: could not find virtual device named ‘evo’

    thats all that happens when i try to load it

  77. Dobson Kidd

    It only shows a grey screen :S Whats Wrong

  78. DaVille

    Hey, Dantv, you are a complete and utter moron. Android isnt ANYTHING like Apple firmware. Ive owned an iPhone, an Android and a Windows Phone and to be honest, i flashed my Windows firmware to Android because while Windows is very user friendly, it is terribly plain, doesnt allow much customization and doesnt have anything on Android when it comes to applications. Before deciding that Android isnt anything but a mere copy of the iPhone, you should own one.

  79. Cazzi

    Got it going, and it’s great I have an iPod touch and iPhone, been contemplating getting a BB, but that would just be boring!!! I’m definitely getting rid of the apple junk.. waiting for my HTC Legend to arrive… can’t wait time to go Android!!!! :) great tut, very concise!

  80. alex

    for the ones getting this error

    emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual device name: ‘name’
    emulator: could not find virtual device named ‘name’

    do the following, create an user environmental variable, named “ANDROID_SDK_HOME” and set the value of it to the path of your virtual android phone.. in my case it was “C:\users\setup\.Android\avd”

  81. alex

    To create an environment variable go to My Computer -> properties -> advance system settings -> environment variables -> new

    thats in win 7, but should find it in the computer properties in any version of windows

  82. Eric


    Thanks a million for outlining that process. It fixed the issues I’ve been putting up with for the past 48 hours. Apparently having my hard drive partitioned to C and D drives may have been part of the problem. Imagine if Google actually gave us insight into how to do this…

    Anyway – thanks again – this is the definitive fix for emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual device name issue!!


  83. CG

    doesnt work on windows xp

  84. Greg

    Fortunately I had no problems achieving results and yes it works well with my phone apps. Good work and job well done.

  85. ben

    ok i tried out pocket empires on my emulator and there is already an account and i dont know the password how do i get rid of it

  86. blah

    @Dantv… okay did you know that windows phone 7 sucks…. the only thing good about it is the xbox live portion.. THATS ALL… windows mobile 6.5 was the only good one out there cuz u could actually go about running cab files from other websites…. android is the replacement for windows mobile.. o and btw honeycomb was the only thing i seen that looked anything like a linux interface… Soo with all that said i have one other thing to go abouts with… u can download your apps via the web browser just like windows mobile the only thing android didn’t have was a good file explorer and i have yet to actually have a stable enough version of android 3 to even know if anything like that is in there…

  87. paradox

    halo all of you, please go to the store and buy new mobile phone or any tablet pc that running android. That easy right?

  88. Kuma

    hi, emulator doesn´t start, a window folashes short and than nothing.

    plz help!

  89. Droid

    hey, when i started the emulator. it started and then the pop ups came up about java, they looked like the run program in windows. One of them said “error loading preferences”. what does that mean? is it going to affect the emulator?

  90. Droid

    By the way, how long is it supposed to take for the glowing ANDROID word at start up take. It has been 20 minutes now and it is still loading

  91. priyan

    thanks for the initial help

  92. NewInAndroid

    I got an Android book (as gift) and I started to learn about it. I downloaded all I neede from Google.
    Firstly, the Android installer didn’t find my JDK 1.6.
    I clicked on Previous and Next buttons a few times and the problem solved. The Installer found the JDK.
    Then I created the greatest application in the world, “Hello World”.
    I tried yesterday to install and run it on the emulator and I failed. Today I’m a bit luckier. The emulator says “Success!” and “Starting intent. But it have been starting my application for 15 minutes and nothing happened.
    Is somewhere on internet a real good emulator, something faster ? Because the Google emulator really sucks. :(

  93. Fandis

    I also faced “Error loading preferences” console window, but just a brief moment. And then the device show up but always blank.
    Then… I opened Android SDK manager, go to virtual devices, select the only AVD that’s there. And then Delete…
    After that I clicked new and create a new AVD.
    The “Error Loading Preferences” window still appear briefly, but then the Emulator showed up with the “android _” text. And then the glowing “Android” showed up, and after about one minute, the emulator is up and running well.
    Hope this helps someone. :D

  94. Trigga

    cant seem to get the internet running any hints on that?

  95. M@rk

    The boot screen switches to the Android boot animation. And doesn’t go beyond that.. Any suggestion on how to proceed. It gives no error at all. Just the android logo shows up along with the keypad.

  96. justin

    how do you load your email account? i tried to install words with friends and it says i dont have an android phone for my gmail account. how do i get around this?

  97. EPGAH

    I have a lot of Android apps on my “real” Android tablet, but becasue it’s the SAMSUNG G-Tablet, some of them don’t work. How do I copy files from the REAL Android to the Emulator Android?

  98. sunejax

    its taking hours to load (that’s what i think)it shows the android animation flashing on the screen for hours but of no use it never get loaded.

  99. SKSahu

    This is the most awesome thing i’ve ever seen in PC…
    Works perfectly…
    & has saved me lot of money…
    I was going to buy a new phone just for development purpose…I’ve older Android2.1 SE mini pro…
    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
    THANX ALOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  100. sasikumar

    when i open browser and connect gmail or yahoo it is not connecting ,my pc is behind proxy .should i configure proxy somewhere?

  101. godwin

    having the same problems stuck on the android animation screen.. but almost 20mins already….
    using the 3.1

    pc specs video 480gtx
    i7 920
    6gb ram….

  102. liuliu

    From what Fandis said I can infer that “error loading perference” is not a big trouble, and we can just wait a few minites to see what’s going on.

  103. jon

    I installed the whole thing but i cant install any android apps from the app store. can anyone tell me how i can install android apps?????

  104. Brian

    For me, the Android SDK would only install with the 32 bit Java SDK, not the 64 bit. Just a heads up.

  105. tulasi

    i want multiple choice questions and answers in android

  106. Thomas


    Is there a solution to make an android application for mobile available for PC user via a web portal and this java application ? I want to avoid the web visitor to install Android SDK

    Thank you

  107. hazza



  108. david

    build and ran ‘hello world’ on windows 7.
    now trying to put this on a windows XP box:
    using installer_r11-windows.exe and (latest) , helios

    everything fine…until

    [2011-06-27 07:45:47 – HelloWorld14] Automatic Target Mode: Preferred
    AVD ‘my_avd’ is not available. Launching new emulator.
    [2011-06-27 07:45:47 – HelloWorld14] Launching a new emulator with
    Virtual Device ‘my_avd’
    [2011-06-27 07:45:49 – Emulator] emulator: ERROR: unknown virtual
    device name: ‘my_avd’
    [2011-06-27 07:45:49 – Emulator] emulator: could not find virtual
    device named ‘my_avd’

    tried a few things:

    building avd ‘in’ eclipse
    building avd outside of eclipse
    setting ANDROID_SDK_HOME to
    C:/Program Files/Android/android-sdk
    then tried
    C:/Program Files/Android/android-sdk/tools
    (and… per suggestions from earlier posts…setting to any and every of the following directories..)
    C:/documents and settings/username
    C:/documents and settings/username/.android
    C:/documents and settings/username/.android/avd/my_avd.avd
    (also to avert the ‘blanks-in-directory-name-issue’ i copied to C:\ and set c:\ in the ANDROID_SDK_HOME to it)

    I have also tried moving the .android (coping) directory to
    (Location where it is placed on my windows 7 box)
    C:\Documents and settings\
    C:\…sdk tools

    even to the tools directory from which i manually ran the emulator and any directory at all that might be labeled under username

    I have searched (via set) the command to find anyother directory the emulator might be looking for. (past posts have indicated this…)

    it appears to be putting it in the correct place …. no place to set a link to (that i can think of …from examining posts regarding NTFS junction)

    I also noticed issues with a virtual disk assigned (this has been described as disk ‘S’ in some cases) – no evidence of this but i have also tried to set the emulator to look for an ‘s’ directory for the same above mentioned directory locations.

    I have set paths to the .android locations under username (not just mine but administration, anywhere..)

    I have also verified the avd from the manual tools – it exists and looks fine

    I have examined the config created by the avd – does not appear to have anything askew.

    I get the ‘not find virtual device’ from the tool directory as well as from eclipse

    Tried package updates ,
    going under AVD / SDK manager – accepting any and all tool upgades

    I have it running successfully on windows 7 , but not on windows XP
    (where i am working).
    I have verified the versions per android tool that the created avd is
    set to the level created in the project.

  109. chathu

    I downloaded and run this utility software in my desktop. If i change its folder then i should again download Android OS?

  110. Ros

    I did everything but when I press the “launch” button, I get an error, how could I solve it?

    invalid command-line parameter: and.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

    thanks in advance

  111. HHoltman

    There seems to be a problem with the sdk tools revision 12, see

  112. Khaja


    How can i solve this error?

    [2011-07-07 20:14:51 – Emulator] invalid command-line parameter: Files.
    [2011-07-07 20:14:51 – Emulator] Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    [2011-07-07 20:14:51 – Emulator] please use -help for more information

    I did all the steps mentioned by above users , but still it doesnt work for me.

    Thanks in Advance

  113. stevex59

    for your problem, just copy/paste the android folder on C: (or another directory without space) and run it from there and it will run ;-)

  114. Xander

    invalid command-line parameter: and.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  115. MicroEyes

    @stevex59… yes ur trick worked for me… Thankx

  116. Mallika

    I can’t access the android folder by entering “%userprofile%/.android” or anything else! I searched the crap out of my PC and another laptop.. found nothing. What’s the problem? :O
    (Yes, even the ‘show hidden files/folders’ has been enabled. Please help. :|

  117. Kyle

    did not work for me

  118. Kyle

    invalid command-line parameter: Files.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  119. Pawan

    Hi it is tellin that c:\users….\emulator.exe is not a valid Win 32 application. What is this ?

  120. Pawan

    ERROR msg: …emulator.exe is not a valid Win32 application.

    Please anyone suggest me the solution plz.

  121. Gaurav Agarwal

    I works, thanks great.

  122. Kit

    I want to run/play Words With Friends on this virtual android, but none of the sites with Free download/install are letting me do this. What’s the catch? You said easy to download apps online.

  123. prakash

    hello everyone , i have installed latest java 6 in my machine , still when i run the setup it says ” Java SE development tool not found” can anyone help me out of this ? thanx in advance

  124. me

    I click my avd and then it laods and just has a box that says :
    invalid command-line parameter: Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  125. Norris Breeeze

    I get message Java SE Dev Kit (JDK) not found. I install Java SE and now it says it is not installed. What’s up with that?

  126. Thomas

    I am getting the following error while starting the emulator. Can any please help me out.

    invalid command-line parameter: and.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  127. solehno

    Thanks, I get what I need, i’ll try

  128. Patrick

    I get message Java SE Dev Kit (JDK) not found. I install Java SE and now it says it is not installed. What’s up with that?

  129. Kath

    Total newb here – I’m a linux bunny stuck on a Windows machine. I followed the intructions to the letter, but when I try to run my virtual machine “Annedroid” I get the following error:

    invalid command-line parameter: Files.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

    I tried restarting the emulator but that did nothing. Help!

  130. jazib

    Well I tried this
    open notepad copy the data in Inverted commas without commas and save the file as “anything.bat” where @foo is the name of my Virtual Android Device
    Created a batch file and it worked like a charm.

    “@echo on



    cd Program Files

    cd android-sdk-windows

    cd tools

    emulator.exe @foo”

  131. Kit

    Well, after re-installing this a number of times, I finally found a much EASIER Android emulator that works like a charm! Check out YouWave. So much simpler. Downloads quickly, works faster and no problem adding apps to it. No more SDK/JavaJDK/NIGHTMARES clogging up my computer !!!

  132. ARJUN

    how could i install, which i manually downloaded.

  133. Kit

    Don’t bother with this crap.

    Just go to

    They have a much faster, uncomplicated Android emulator. It doesn’t hog computer space like this one and is 10 times more efficient!!

  134. ARJUN

    wer does d storage folder helds?

  135. question

    running into this error when trying to launch, I’ve seen it a few times in this thread, but I didnt notice any answers (or at least ones that made sense)
    invalid command-line parameter: Files.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  136. odin836

    Just run the SDK by opening the comand prompt and typing:

    C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\tools>emulator @VirtualAndroid

    Note: VirtualAndroid is the name of the emulator created during the setup

  137. mehrzad

    its easy to fix eror of @foo just copy android folder and past it into c: or e: or d: with out any space

  138. e5621

    i want to know how to axcess the sd card on the computer cuz i need some stuff off of it and if its possible how to use a flash drive as a sd card

  139. Kapil

    can somebody tell, why this emulator is so slow as it is being run on PC (my processor is Core2Duo), please HELP if someone knows how to boost it up ! Please ! Thanks. :)

  140. the_ray

    Is anyone else having problems getting this emulator to access the internet? I’ve tried my ethernet and wireless, neither works. I’ve tried versions 1.5 to 2.2, I’ve added GSM Modem Support to my avd, I’ve added it to my firewall, and even turned my firewall off. It will not get online at all.

  141. e5621

    @ the_ray what you need to do is turn off the computer then back on connect to the internet before you get on the emulator then when you do then get on the emu and it should work

  142. the_ray

    Thanks, e5621, but I did that, and it still didn’t work. Thanks for helping, though.

  143. mohit

    thanks man ur trick worked

  144. jb

    i need just to see how a simple html/css page renders in android. is there anyway to do this without installing the entire SDK? maybe a simple web-based emulator?

  145. king kalan

    Amazing really. Android emulation on the pc. I read a lot of the comments posted here. A lot of amazed, some instructing. But there was some that was absolutely hilarious. The ones complaining about lag, its too slow. IT’S AN EMULATOR. Your trying to run two different operating systems simultaneously. Even old operating systems have a hard time being emulated on a pc. I run a N64 emu on my system. And every once in a while it lags. This emu however wasnt designed for you to send txts or check your email. It was designed for developers to create apps for a non emulated system. If you don’t like it, unistall it. And then forget it. Now that I’m done blasting off some steam. When do we get to download a PC OS Live disc that is Android powered. I have tons of unallocated HDDs that I would love to put an Android OS on.

  146. Chaitu

    Hi, i installed it, its dloading the DK’s nw. I just had a question, can I run whatsapp from my pc through the emulator?

  147. ito

    hey i keep getting

    invalid command-line parameter: Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

    what should i do

  148. flsm

    invalid command-line parameter: de.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  149. Mateus

    Hey, just imput in prompt, emulator.exe “and here you input the same name that you put in name of the virtual machine” @machine for example

  150. carcker

    keep getting error:
    invalid command-line parameter: and.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

    wtf am i doing wrong?

  151. carcker

    sry it wont let me enter text into prompt box.

  152. Toni

    i just installed the emulator on windows XP. getting an error message…

    invalid command-line parameter: Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  153. gillian0468

    did everything it says re installing and after i press the start key i get “invalid command-line parameter: and.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information”

  154. Joe Smith

    To all of those unable to launch their AVD, it is because the launcher puts a “/” forward slash instead of a backslash “\” in the line “C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.” (between tools and emulator-arm). This is just a BUG but you can easily fix it by launching the emulator manually from the command-line prompt. Just choose Run… from the start menu, type “cmd” to open a command-line prompt, change directory to the tools directory by typing “cd c:\program files\android\android-sdk\tools” and then run the emulator by typing “emulator-arm @devicename” where is the name you gave your AVD that you created. For example, I called my AVD “test” and so I just typed “emulator-arm @test”. I made it relatively small (256 MB).

    In case you are having other problems installing and running the SDK, you *MUST* make sure you run it as administrator. Right click on SDK manager and choose Properties… then Compatibility, then check “Run this program as administrator”. This will allow is to load properly and do everything. I also made sure to select ALL the packages and install EVERYTHING you possibly can download.

    By the way, it works perfectly on my Windows 7 machine. Took a while at the beginning to load, but it is pretty cool. I can browse the web no problem. You can set your device to have a keyboard, trackball (which you activate with F6), or other hardware. You can go to the android market in the phone’s browser by going to “”. I was able to find Angry Birds, managed to Sign In to my Google account when asked during the Instal, it goes very slowly! However it said no device associated with account. Therefore, I am trying to figure out a way to set the device to have a Market App or association as a real device. Will keep you posted!

  155. moe

    I installed java SE kit…but asndroid sdk doesnt detect java !!!

  156. Brad

    I can run the emulator just fine. I wanted to test out the new Adobe Dreamweaver 5.5 with jquery mobile starters template and see how seamless the two work together. I setup my site and root directory, opened the template html file, changed nothing in the code, configured the application settings to target the android SDK, click on “build and emulate”, and it simply doesn’t work. It opens the emulator and then tells me to check the log file in my workspace. All it says in the log is that it was unable to load the application and doesn’t give me any more details than what the error screen provided.

  157. Brad

    @ Moe,

    When trying to install the SDK, that error message will come up every time no matter what you do. Simply click on “back” then click “install” again and it works. It only does it in Windows, go figure.

  158. Brad

    Nevermind, got it working somehow. The application image needs to be set at a certain pixel size I’m guessing. I deleted the path to the app icon I wanted to use and didn’t provide a link to one at all. Then I chose “build and emulate” then it loaded just fine. Craziness!

  159. abhi

    when starting i get the following error……plz help

    invalid command-line parameter: Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information

  160. This is why it sucks

    n case you guys don’t understand why this is so slow, android is a userland running in a VM, on top of a modified linux kernel, which is also running on top of your linux/mac/windows.

    it’s an operating system running inside an operating system running on another operating system.

    Yo dog, I heard you like operating systems so I…ah, screw it.

  161. puru


  162. Vishal

    invalid command-line parameter: Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information
    How to get rifd of this

  163. Vishal

    invalid command-line parameter: Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information
    How to get rid of this

  164. Bong

    Thanks Joe Smith for explaining in details. I can now launch the android.

    Those getting below error message, try Joe Smith’s method

    “invalid command-line parameter: Files\Android\android-sdk\tools/emulator-arm.exe.
    Hint: use ‘@foo’ to launch a virtual device named ‘foo’.
    please use -help for more information”

  165. Grrx0rDroid

    Same problem with the emu as with the actual tablet – no way to register a device that hasn’t been added to the official HCL by Google/Android. So I’m back to square one trying to obtain apps from the Android Store for sideloading to my Android-powered tablet. This was a waste of half a day :\

  166. Ty

    Thanks Joe Smith

    I used your advice and it worked
    I also created a batch file and saved it on desk top to start my virtual device
    here it is if any one is interested very simple

    @echo off
    cd c:\program files\android\android-sdk\tools
    emulator-arm @android

    “your virtual device name where i have android”

    paste this into word, or notepad and save with “.bat” extension

  167. Sreehari

    How can i store data on the sd card to view on android … Pls tell me buddy

  168. Tempen

    Hello for some reason my ”starting andriod emulator” wont open it self, it pops to 100% loading.. and then it never starts, it stands like some error thing

    PANIC: Could not open: C:\Users\myname\.android/avd/Virtualandriod.ini

    Please respond or someone els that know whats the problem

  169. Neeraj

    I was also facing the same problem ,but thanks to Joe Smith.
    Android is working on my pc nw

  170. Ryan

    I tried Joe Smith’s method. I also am having issues with the

    PANIC: Could not open: C:\Users\myname\.android/avd/Virtualandriod.ini

  171. anant

    how can i download apps on android sdk

  172. BULLY

    Hi. I think something is wrong with this software. How can THIS MANY people have problems with it? And this is just getting it installed, let alone “using” it! When this many people don’t understand, it’s a reflection of the software. When I 1st came to this page I was astonished at how many people were “stuck”, ect, but sure enough, I’m stuck, too. @JOE SMITH, the only part of what you explained worked for me was the part when you said to run the “prompt command” and type COMMAND. Well, for some reason COMMAND was already there.

    Aside from that, not a single thing has worked for me with this “software” for the past 2 days. I have pulled up & read countless web pages & explanations on how to install this, including Google”s own page. This is crazy! I’m no closer to installing this than I was when I started. And I am exhausted. This software is horrible. Are the phones this user-friendly or are people exhausted when they finish using them?

    Okay. I have a truckload of garbage I have to delete off my computer. It’s called Android SDK, Eclipse, and so on. I’m really sad & disappointed; I thought Android was the hot thing. But it’s just hot sh!t.

  173. Lalo

    Can you use PingChat on the Android emulator?, I did installed it from the market on my 1.5 emulator but when I open PingChat it shows this error then closes: “An error ocurred while setting up PingChat! for the first time. Please make sure you have a data connection and relaunch the app.” I verified and I can browse, check email and even IM on Live Messenger, just seems that this app does not detect the internet on the emulator.

    Please help!

  174. safeer

    Indeed ingenious ! ! ! !

    thanx !!

  175. safeer


  176. Mind Freek

    This feature is mind blowing it Worked for me…

  177. buythiscomputer

    Thank you !

    It’s good to be able to check Email through Android on PC when connected on very slow EDGE internet connection !

    But why is this SDK so slow to launch ? Is it for everybody ?


  178. Rohit R

    Thank’s “How to geek”
    This is awesum to see google android os on pc with buy any smart phone. I have launched my android on pc. its too gud..
    thank again

  179. Anonymoose

    Hello. Excuse if I sound “noobish” but I can’t seem to install a free Android app into the emulator. I would like some help, please. Thank you.

  180. Suhas

    how can i install api in same emulator?.
    i had develop some interface apps. for Android, how can i installed on emulator ?
    i need to test some soft on emulator. so how can i installed the same in emulator?

  181. its just all the same

    hmmm… read some comments and some of ’em are useless. LOL! im and android phone user and i find it really good, the iPhone and the Android have lots in common but they also have differences and can.t be described as a copy-cat of the iPhone. it depends on the “USER” on how they use their mobile phone, whether iPhone or Android. having this emulator will greatly help or give more understanding about the Android OS. and thi is just an EMULATOR my friends, its not a working phone application on your computer and its not something that can make your screen to a touchscreen. but i highly recommend it to everyone to use this emulator. good job to its developers and programmers!

  182. PAS

    the same for me..
    I installed PingChat from the market on my iOne [android] but when I open PingChat it shows this error then closes: “An error ocurred while setting up PingChat! for the first time. Please make sure you have a data connection and relaunch the app.”
    I dont know what to do…A LITTLE HELP PLEASE!

  183. R Star

    Really amazing Bro!

  184. nexus

    i use api key for 2.3.3 android version but it’s stuck on bootscreen need help

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