When I launch Droid Explorer, I get an error message that states Unable to locate the Android SDK tools, please reinstall the application.

Unable to locate android SDK tools

I installed the Android SDK tools from the SDK Download Page.

Note: I am the lead developer of Droid Explorer. I am posting this question as I get a lot of bug reports for this issue. I am trying out using Android Enthusiasts as somewhat of a support Q&A for Droid Explorer. I will monitor any question tagged with .

  • In Windows, the Android Studio installer installs Studio in the Program Files Folder, however, the sdk ends up here: C:\Users[username]\AppData\Local\Android\sdk
    – bgmCoder
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 20:57
  • @bgmCoder DroidExplorer does not look for Android Studio, it looks for the SDK. If it is and it is able to find the path to it (stored in the registry) it will use that path. If it cannot find the path, the user needs to select the sdk location. Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 23:15
  • I see that - but most people in Windows will install the Android Studio and not realize that the sdk gets installed somewhere else.
    – bgmCoder
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 2:29
  • I don't get why the command line sdk is not accepted, i don't want to download 2 gb of useless stuff just for the benefit of seeing my phone via adb on explorer Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 17:41
  • @Magnetic_dud You don't need 2gb of all the SDK. But there is more than just the base SDK that is needed because there are tools that are used. These tools are not installed with the base SDK. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


Droid Explorer, at its root, depends heavily on the Android SDK. It communicates with your devices via ADB.

When Droid Explorer launches, it does some system checks to make sure the tools that it needs are accessible. These mainly include adb and aapt. There are some other tools that it uses, but these are the main ones that it needs to communicate.

There are 2 types of errors that can happen with the SDK not found:

Registry Error

If you see the following error message:

Unable to locate the SDK Version in 'HKLM\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DroidExplorer\InstallPath'. Try reinstalling the application.

When you first install Droid Explorer, it will ask you for the location of your Android SDK. This value is stored in the Registry.





Under this location, you will see a value called SdkPath. This needs to be the location of the root of your Android SDK.

  • Make sure Droid Explorer is closed.
  • Open Registry Editor
    • WIN+R
    • Type regedit
    • Press Enter
  • Navigate to the location explained above
  • Set the value of SdkPath to be the path to your sdk: My location is d:\android\android-sdk\.
  • Close the Registry Editor.
  • Launch Droid Explorer

If you still are getting a registry SDK error after following these instructions, Ask a Question and add the tag.

File System Error

If you see the following error message:

Unable to locate the SDK tools. Try reinstalling the application.

This error usually happens when you install the Android SDK, but do not run the SDK Manager and add the required packages to the SDK.

As a rule of thumb, you should follow Step 1, at a minimum, for what packages should be added to the SDK.


1. Get the latest SDK tools

As a minimum when setting up the Android SDK, you should download the latest tools and Android platform:

  • Open the Tools directory and select:

    • Android SDK Tools Android SDK
    • Platform-tools
    • Android SDK Build-tools (highest version)
  • Open the first Android X.X folder (the latest version) and select:

    • SDK Platform
    • A system image for the emulator, such as ARM EABI v7a System Image

Your SDK Manager should look something like this: SDK Manager

If you still are getting a file system SDK error after following these instructions, Ask a Question and add the tag.

Extra information about how Droid Explorer looks for these tools:

It will look in 3 places for each tool that it needs to use.

  • [SdkPath]/tools/
  • [SdkPath]/platform-tools/
  • [SdkPath]/build-tools/[latest-version]/

Older versions of Droid explorer looked in [SdkPath]/platforms/[latest-version]/tools/ but this path is no longer valid in the SDK.

  • In Windows, the Android Studio Setup Wizard installed the sdk to this directoy: C:\Users[username]\AppData\Local\Android\sdk and this was acceptable to Droid Explorer. But I had to run the Android Wizard first.
    – bgmCoder
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 20:55
  • For me, DroidExplorer crashes every time I run it. I have to reboot the computer before I can run it again. The registry includes the sdkpath key and the correct value. And the sdk manager includes the tools above.
    – bgmCoder
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 2:38
  • @bgmCoder can you open an issue on de.codeplex.com and include the log information from C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\DroidExplorer\logs Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 4:09

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