Emulating an Android phone directly from windows (or other supported operating systems)

I have read about emulating an Android from windows here: http://developer.android.com/guide/developing/tools/.html and here are the basic knowledge written as a guide.

Download the Android SDK

You can download the Android SDK from here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html Do that and unpack it to your disc.

Open CMD window with current directory set to “tools”

We need a CMD prompt with current directory set to the “tools” directory inside the Android SDK

  • Finding the emulator.exe.
    Click the start button of windows
  • In the search field enter "emulator.exe"
  • When the "emulator.exe" appears right click on it and click "Open the location"
  • Now you click the full address of the explorer which opened. It is probertly something like this:
  • Copy that full address to the clipboard
  • Open a CMD prompt
    Press the [Windows-key]+[R] or enter "cmd" in the windows search textarea of the windows startmenu
  • In the CMD window enter: "cd " + right click and paste the path from above

Setup an "AVD" – Android Virtual Device

Before we can run the emulator we need to have defined an Android Virtual Device. There are a tool in the SDK which will help us do that.

The command you should use looks like this:

android create avd -n <name> -t <targetID> [-<option> <value>] …

Then <name> is well a name which you use in future when runne the AVD.

The <targetID> is used to select which hardware and OS version should be used for your virtual device. You can get at list of the currently available targets on your SDK by typing this command:

android list targets

For now lets try a simple AVD – in the references below you can find a link to the complete documentation of the AVD.

To create an Android 2.1 based AVD called “Android2.1” type this command:

android create avd -n Android2.1 -t android-7

Running the emulator

After having created an AVD we can run it from the command window. To run the AVD we created called “Android2.1” simply enter this command:

emulator –avd Android2.1

To start of with the emulator will “boot” – that may take a while, but you should see something like this:

The emulator booting

Here are some more screenshoots:

The home screenThe settings panelVisiting the m.cnn.com website

Adding a SD card

One thing which I did not thing about but was quickly aware of was the need for a SD Card in the emulator. No problem! You simply change the command to:

android create avd -n Android_2G_SDCard -c 2000M -t android-7

It may take a while to create – but when done you have a new AVD profile called “Android_2G_SDCard” which is based on Android 2.1 and has a SD card with 2GB memory.


You can install apps on the AVD. I tried simply by locating “APK” files on a website containing Android Apps. Using the browser I visited http://www.androidfreeware.org/ and located an APK file – downloaded it and installed the app as seen below.

An application has been downloaded and is ready to install The game which I downloaded and installed worked fine. Even with sound :-)


I find the emulator included in the SDK very usefull! It is relatively straightforward and I guess that you can get a taste of the Android OS for free using this emulator. People who have not yet bought a smartphone have all the chances here to try out the interface – and even download some of the apps availiable for free. For an app developer it is probertly also a very usefull tool! Well done Google!!!



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