Busybox is installed in /system/bin successfully already, but I still can't call it as instructed in Using cut or sed in Android busybox:

C:\Users\Acer\Downloads\adb>adb shell whence sed

C:\Users\Acer\Downloads\adb>adb shell whence busybox

'busybox' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

1 Answer 1


The mistake here is that you're trying to run Busybox by issuing busybox in your Windows terminal. This way, Windows searches for a program called busybox in its PATH, but doesn't find it, since it resides inside the /system/bin directory of your Android device.

To run any command residing on your Android device, you need to preface the actual command with adb shell, so adb shell busybox, in your case.

  • Do you know why we need Busybox at all? Android is Linux, why can't I use grep?
    – Ooker
    Mar 25, 2017 at 6:32
  • @Ooker Android is not Linux, even if it inherits a great deal of characteristics. Toolbox, Busybox and later Toybox were used as lightweight binaries, compared to the size of the standard binaries.
    – Grimoire
    Mar 25, 2017 at 11:21
  • I see. As what I see about Toybox, it is included in Marshmallow, and has grep. Why do Busybox still be needed to install?
    – Ooker
    Mar 26, 2017 at 5:44
  • @Ooker The story behind Toybox, is that it was started as a toolset with a less strict license than the GPL. Still, compared to Busybox, Toybox is quite young and thus missing a part of the features of its brother (look here for a to-do list by its main developer).
    – Grimoire
    Mar 26, 2017 at 16:38
  • 1
    @Ooker Google is not the developer of Toybox. They just included it from Marshmallow onwards. Besides, <rant>Google is too much focused on their Play Services and data mining to care about Android</rant>. I should also mention that comments are not for chatting, and redirect you to Toybox's site for more info.
    – Grimoire
    Mar 26, 2017 at 19:56

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