Android is by far the most used OS in the handheld and mobile devices market. Over the years, Android devices have penetrated the mobile market and there are a growing number of smartphones and tablets running Android OS. As such, there are also a large number of apps and tools specifically made for Android, which try and cater to the ever growing needs and demands of users. Of many such tools and programs, Droid Explorer is one which allows users better control over the management of unrestricted or rooted Android devices.
Why Use Droid Explorer?
An open source tool, Droid Explorer offers users a Windows Explorer like interface which greatly simplifies the process of management of an Android device. Droid Explorer is a state of the art suite of tools, which offers a very powerful feature – the ability to use a computer to access an Android phone. Apart from this basic feature, there are many other exciting features that the software suite provides, making the tool well worth trying out for all rooted Android users, especially testers and developers.
Prerequisites for using Droid Explorer
Before you get started with the many features and capabilities of Droid Explorer, there are some prerequisites for using the suite which need to be followed. These include:
- You will need a rooted Android phone, which has busybox installed on it
- You will need a PC running Windows XP or any later versions of Windows
- Your PC will need .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installed
- You will need to install Windows USB drivers and OEM drivers on your PC
- You will need to install Java Web Start and Java Runtime Environment on your PC for using some plugins of the suite
- You will need the Android SDK (although this will be automatically be installed by the Droid Explorer setup installer)
Let’s now take a look at how to install the Droid Explorer suite on your PC.
Download Droid Explorer:
Download Droid Explorer from: http://www.allpcsuite.com/download-droid-explorer/
Installing the Droid Explorer tool
Installing the Droid Explorer suite of tools on your PC is a relatively straightforward task. Here is the process laid out in a series of steps.
Step I: Download the Droid Explorer archive and extract the contents to a folder and then run the installer file.
Step II: The setup wizard will then guide you through the installation process. Upon completion, the installer wizard will also ask you the path for Android SDK on your PC. If you have the SDK already installed, you will need to provide the path, or alternatively, you can choose to allow the installer to set up Android SDK on its own. Once Android SDK has been located and configured, the setup is complete. Step III: To start using Droid Explorer, you will need to initialize the program on your PC, connect your Android device via USB and activate USB debugging feature on your phone to start using the tool.
Enabling USB Debugging on your Android Device
Before you are able to start using the Droid Explorer tool, you will first need to access Android developer settings on your device and enable USB debugging. Here’s how to do so:
Step I: Press the menu button on your Android device and make your way to the settings tabs.
Step II: Find the developer options menu, which is typically located at the bottom of Settings menu field.
Step III: Once you have located this, enable developer options and navigate to the debugging category and enable USB debugging for your device.
Connecting your PC to your Android Device
Once you have successfully enabled USB Debugging on your Android Device, you are ready to start using the features of Droid Explorer. Here’s how to go about it:
Step I: Connect your device to your PC using a USB data cable.
Step II: Launch Droid Explorer. You will see a “Select Device” screen come up.
Step III: Locate your Android Device and select it. If it so happens that you do not see your device listed, Droid Explorer offers you an option named “I don’t see my device” which can help you out with the issue.
Using Droid Explorer
Droid Explorer boasts of a plethora of features, which make it extremely simple to manage your Android device using your PC. Here are some of the things that you can do using the Droid Explorer tool:
The most basic feature of Droid Explorer is to manage files. Once you have connected your device successfully to your PC, the Droid Explorer tool will display a screen split into right and left halves. The right half will list all folders on your Android device, while the left half contains a description bar, listing directory content. Droid Explorer will also display SD card contents within the tool itself, without the need of having to mount as a mass storage device.
In order to copy files from your PC to your device or vice versa, you simply need to drag and drop content and the tool will take care of the rest. All options become visible when you simply click on a file within the tool. If you want to add Droid Explorer to your Windows Explorer menu, simply navigate to “Tools” and select the “Register” option. Following this step, every time you open up Windows Explorer, the Droid Explorer icon will be visible.
Installing and Uninstalling of Applications
Droid Explorer allows you to easily install and uninstall applications on your Android Device. Within the tool, you can simply double click on an APK file to install an app on your device. Droid Explorer also supports batch processing – allowing you to select multiple APK files and have them installed one after another.
For uninstalling an app, you will need to navigate to the “Data” tab and locate “App” in order to list all installed applications on your device. To uninstall any particular app, simply right click on the app icon and select uninstall from the menu.
Droid Explorer makes it incredibly easy to take device screenshots and store them on your PC. Simply click on the screenshot button in the menu and a preview of the shot in landscape mode will be shown to you. You can then move on to save the screenshot on your PC.
Recording Videos of Device Screen
Droid Explorer makes it possible to record video shots of tasks that you perform on your Android device. Simply click on the “Record” button and continue doing a task on your device of which you want a video. Once you complete your task, click on the record button once again and the video will start getting processed.
Droid Explorer is able to record a video by taking screenshots one after another and then stitching the together. During processing, you may see some delay in response, but this is not reflected in the final video. It is recommended that for best results, you slow yourself down when performing the task on your Android Device.
Installing Update Files
Droid Explorer makes updating of files and installing of patches extremely simple. All you have to do is to click on the “Update” button and select a valid update.zip file. Once this is located, Droid Explorer will install the update without any hassles at all.
Backing Up and Restoring Files
Droid Explorer allows you to easily create a backup of all files of your Android Device on your PC. Simply locate the backup option in the menu bar and on clicking the option, the program will automatically create a backup of your device. Restoring of files can also be done in the same manner within a matter of seconds.
Other useful features of Droid Explorer
Droid Explorer is not limited to just the basic features that we have listed above. Some other interesting things that you can do using this software suite include:
- The tool allows you to capture as well as save debugging logs.
- You can easily compress and decompress files with zip support built-in.
- The tool supports almost all types of Android Devices. However, in case you are using the latest Android version, it is best to check for compatibility before using the tool.
- You can send files to and from an Android device via Bluetooth or through email.
- The built-in command shell allows you control over how you want to structure data storage
While these are some of the more interesting things that you can do using the Droid Explorer tool, its capabilities are much more. You will need to install and start using the tool in order to be better acquainted with all the features of this powerful software suite.
While Droid Explorer is an absolute must for Android developers and testers, normal everyday users can also enjoy a number of benefits of using this tool. This free to use program is a full-fledged tool, which can be used as a file explorer, an advanced device root explorer as also as an application manager.