I have been trying to get Droid Explorer (a windows app) working with my 2013 Moto X and am having trouble. A previous question was answered (I needed busybox!) but now I have a new one.

The file manager part of the app isn't getting root privileges for some reason. I also use JRummy's ROM Toolbox and it's root browser works fine. I just want to use mouse/keyboard for file managing :)

Droid Explorer Debug Console
[CommandRunner] Checking for adb.exe
[CommandRunner] adb.exe -s T065001AK4 shell busybox ls -lFa --color=never "/data/"
[CommandRunner] ls: can't open '/data/': Permission denied

edit: context :)

  • adb is not running as root. Try using su before ls. /data is read protected for users without permission.
    – GiantTree
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 23:11
  • @GiantTree he is using Droid Explorer, which handles all the commands. But your statement is correct, it looks like adb is not running as root. The problem is getting droid explorer to use root. My devices do not seem to have this problem. I will log a bug on this and look into what I can do to correct it. Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 3:29
  • 1
    I also want to add ben, when asking questions here, some context may be needed. If you create questions that are very vague, others may vote to close them as it would be unclear what you are asking. The answers, while initially will solve your problem, they may help others too. Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 3:31
  • In case it's related: android.stackexchange.com/questions/95874/… (by same OP)
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 4:16

1 Answer 1


After researching this, it comes down to this:

When Droid Explorer launches, it attempts to start ADB in root mode by running adb root. If adb cannot run as root, you will have limited access to some paths.

Found this question here, which is related: Why can't I get root access from shell?

Update: This should work with Rooted devices running Stock (or somewhat stock) ROMs

There is an app on Google Play called ADBD Insecure by Chainfire. This app lets you run adbd in root mode if your device is rooted when running the devices Stock ROM.

adbd Insecure lets you run adbd in root mode if your device is rooted. (Note that if you are running a custom kernel, it is likely that it already implements this functionality)

If you are running a stock (made by the phone manufacturer) kernel on your device, chances are adbd is running in "secure" mode, even if you are rooted. This app lets you run adbd in "insecure" mode, which gives you root access in "adb shell", allows access to system files and directories through "adb push/pull", and lets you run the "adb remount" command to make your /system partition writable.

enter image description here

Now, I run CyanogenMod 12 (this should also work with CM11), but I don't know if this can be accomplished with stock rooted ROMs.

These settings are for CyanogenMod
In order to allow ADB root access, I go in to Settings => Developer Options. There you will see Root Access:
Root Access

This needs to be set to either ADB only or Apps and ADB.

Adb only / Apps and ADB

If this is not set, Droid Explorer will not be able to launch as root. When it tries to get the folders and files of certain directories, it will be denied.

If you can, try running adb root from a Windows Console window and see what it returns. It may add some insight to if it is possible to have non-CyanogenMod devices run adb as root.

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    It works with CM 12! I wiped my Moto X and installed the latest official CM 12 nightly and I can access /data/data/ now. Hmm..... Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 4:32
  • @BenJokisch yes, the downside to this, "stock" builds don't allow adb to run as root. It actually states "adbd cannot run as root in production builds". A plus, I have put in code that will notify users of the inability to launch adb as root, and direct them to this question. Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 5:33
  • @BenJokisch I added some info about adbd insecure to my answer. That app should solve your adb root problem on NON-CM devices. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 1:13
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    Yep, confirmed working on my 2nd-gen Moto X (stock 4.4) with adbd insecure installed. Thanks buddy! Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 15:04

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