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How to: Take Screens Shots without Rooting your Motorola Droid

Some of you caught on to the fact that I was taking screenshots on my newly updated 2.1 Droid the other day for both the ultimate live wallpaper guide and our digg quick app review without being rooted.  (Say what?)  And it’s true, there is a way to take screenshots on your Motorola Droid without actually having root access and that method is through the Android SDK.

It’s probably time I let the secret out and walk you through a tutorial on it.  This may be rough, but will my best attempt at taking you through the successful installation of the Android SDK to get you all screen capping in no time!

Follow the entire process after the jump

Instructions…

1.  First thing we need to do is download both the Android SDK which is compatible with your operating system and the Java SDK.

2.  Once they have finished downloading, go ahead and install the Java SDK.

3.  Then unzip the Android SDK into a folder you will remember later.

4.  While those steps are finishing up, go into your Droid app settings and check the box for “USB Debugging.”  (Settings>Applications>Development>USB Debugging)

5.  Head back to the folder where you unzipped the Android SDK, look for the “SDKSetup.exe” and run it.

6.  When the setup opens, you will be prompted with “Choose packages to install” at which point you can choose which APIs and other software you want to install.  The most important package you need to install is likely at the bottom and should be titled “USB driver package.”  Make sure to “accept” that.  At this point you can also start unselecting unwanted packages, but should probably keep the 2.1 and 2.0.1 APIs.

7.  Click “install” and allow for whichever APIs you’ve selected and the USB driver to download and install.

8.  Once everything has finished, go ahead and connect your Droid to your PC via USB cable.

9.  If for some reason your Droid is not recognized by your computer, you now have the USB drivers ready for installation in the Android SDK folder you unzipped earlier (called usb_driver).  Please move forward with USB driver installation at this time if you need to.  The rest of you can go forward to step 10.

10.  In your Android SDK folder, open the folder titled “tools” and look for “ddms.bat”.

11.  Open “ddms.bat” and wait for your phone to connect.  You’ll know it’s connected when the “Log” starts becoming populated with info.

12.  On your Droid, navigate to whichever screen you wish to take a screen shot of.

13.  Choose “Device” and “Screen Capture” in DDMS.

13.  DDMS will take a screen shot and let you preview it.

14.  Click “Save” or any other option you wish and you have officially taken your first screen shot!  BAM!

And feel free to share any of your fabulous screenies.  I’d love to see how everyone rolls with a screen shot of your desktops.  Enjoy!

  • rachel

    i tookk a screen shot pic by accident when phone was stuck n i need to take more f all this bs

  • Ant

    NOTE:  USB Driver Package is not compatible with Linux.  Hope that informs other Linux users before you download the sdks.

  • C&C

    I have been doing it by accident since I got my Droid x and my Girlfriend has on her LG Vortex. There HAS to be a way without downloading all the extra crap. If anyone knows how please fill us in. THANKS!

  • Mneighbo

    I only have android-sdk_r10-windows.zip available to download.

  • Mneighbo

    I only have android-sdk_r10-windows.zip available to download.

  • http://mrtramuel.wordpress.com/ Mr.TramueL

    Thank you. Took a little time installing, but afterward the steps as outlined were pretty simple. Here are a few I took of my HomeScreens. The link is to Windows Live (Access is Open)
    http://cid-47a0dc0c0989d1cc.photos.live.com/self.aspx/HomeScreen^5s^6^_DroidX/HMSC1^_Doc2.png

  • John Rogers

    This is way outdated…

  • Stabiner

    the sdk application doesn't work as it says in the instructions

    “Failed to fetch URL https://dl-ssl.google.com/andr…, reason: HTTPS SSL error. You might want to force download through HTTP in the settings.”

    I hit close after that and the list of packages to install is not populated with USB driver package or anything for that matter.

    Is there an update to this walkthrough?

  • Stabiner

    the sdk application doesn’t work as it says in the instructions

    “Failed to fetch URL https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/repository.xml, reason: HTTPS SSL error. You might want to force download through HTTP in the settings.”

    I hit close after that and the list of packages to install is not populated with USB driver package or anything for that matter.

    Is there an update to this walkthrough?

  • Guy

    Is there seriously no way to easily take a screen shot on the droid without using a computer?

  • Hateandcontempt

    SDK.exe IS SDK Manager, you need to install updated Moto drivers to make use of it. SDK Man wil load the prompt window, THEN (with proper drivers) will skip to the option install window… :)

  • Paddyhunt03

    before or after i unzip the setup sdk.exe file is not there

  • LuisAngel714

    i cant find the setup exe. all i see is sdk manager and i open it and a command prompt comes out.

  • Ryan

    It's showing up as a blank screen to me:

    http://yfrog.com/n2screencapkp

    Android 2.1, Samsung moment

  • Jackd356

    Everything installed fine but no device is listed when ddms opens. Anyone else have this problem and a solution.

  • Jackd356

    Everything installed fine but no device is listed when ddms opens. Anyone else have this problem and a solution.

    • Rob_P

      Hi ,

      I was able to get this to work finally. I’ve been suspicious that the USB driver was the issue even after selecting it during the Android SDK process. I went to the Motorola site and downloaded a program that updates the USB Drivers for Windows. Link below:

      http://www.motorola.com/consumers/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=bda09ec8009a0210VgnVCM1000008806b00aRCRD

      I used the “Clean and Reinstall” option.

      Also, I’m not sure if it made a difference but besides checking the “USB Debugging”, I also checked “Allow mock locations”. I also checked the “Unknown sources” in the previous menu where “Development” is.

      Hope this helps.

  • Blasttoid

    i cant seem to find the SDKSetup.exe can anyone help me :P

  • Dei

    Droid 2 – nothing ever appears in the Dalvik Debug Monitor. My phone is not rooted, and I really want to take screenshots without rooting. =( Are there any special steps required for this for Froyo/Droid2 that may be missing from this tutorial?

  • Dei

    Droid 2 – nothing ever appears in the Dalvik Debug Monitor. My phone is not rooted, and I really want to take screenshots without rooting. =( Are there any special steps required for this for Froyo/Droid2 that may be missing from this tutorial?

  • Ryan

    The Dalvik Debug Monitor comes up but my Droid isnt listed. There are no divices listed and its plugged in. help?

  • Mikeishere97

    got all the way to 11 but my log is not filling up like u said if u can think of anything i may have missed please let me know u can email me at mikeishere97@gmail.com thanks

  • trombone dixie

    i can't get ddms.bat to open up. it starts to open a command window then disappears and nothing happens after that. any ideas?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Troy-Hibbert/1011798109 Troy Hibbert

      Right click and hit run as Admin (if windows vista and up.)

  • Projectshadow316

    Failed to fetch URL https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/re…, reason: HTTPS SSL error. You might want to force download through HTTP in the settings.

    Every time I try to run the Android SDK, I get that message. WTF?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Troy-Hibbert/1011798109 Troy Hibbert

      Go to settings, and check the box that says “Force https://… Sources to be Fetched using http://…” That will fix the problem

  • http://www.filecabinetkey.net/file-cabinet-key-storage File Cabinet Key Storage

    Great! Thank for information, I'm looking for it for a long time,

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Kramer/1206232397 Jack Kramer

    YOu guys know how to workk with android better than anybody else,
    your the best, the best.

  • f1r3r41n

    I'm getting an odd error upon opening the SDK set up file, any help?

    Failed to fetch URL https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/re…, reason: HTTPS SSL error. You might want to force download through HTTP in the settings.

  • f1r3r41n

    I'm getting an odd error upon opening the SDK set up file, any help?

    Failed to fetch URL https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/re…, reason: HTTPS SSL error. You might want to force download through HTTP in the settings.

    • http://twitter.com/B1GR3DG4M3R Michael Holland

      to fix that i went to the Android SDK and AVD Manager screen, and on the left part go to settings, then check the box that says Force [with an HTTP here]

  • Jonathan

    I can only get to step 6…once I open the SDK setup file it says that it failed to fetch some URL :-( Help?

    jonathan_seymour@Hotmail.com

  • Tim1757

    hey i've opened ddms.bat but it's not connecting for some reason please help

    • Rob_P

      I realize your post is old but I felt I should still reply. This was driving me crazy too.

      Hi ,

      I was able to get this to work finally. I’ve been suspicious that the USB driver was the issue even after selecting it during the Android SDK process. I went to the Motorola site and downloaded a program that updates the USB Drivers for Windows. Link below:

      http://www.motorola.com/consumers/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=bda09ec8009a0210VgnVCM1000008806b00aRCRD

      I used the “Clean and Reinstall” option.

      Also, I’m not sure if it made a difference but besides checking the “USB Debugging”, I also checked “Allow mock locations”. I also checked the “Unknown sources” in the previous menu where “Development” is.

      Hope this helps.

  • fwdkiller

    i like this idea its pretty cool

  • droidaholic

    or u can download home++ and hit the camera button and it takes snapshots of the screen

  • beverlya21

    Thanks for the info! I did get an error when trying to retrieve from https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/repository/re… during the AndroidSDK installation. However, I was able to force it through the Settings (actual checkbox to force this download is located there).

  • Trug

    Which Java one do you download for mac?

    • MattDemers

      As long as it's the SDK, you're fine.

  • fyrhtu

    Ok, I;m sure it's been asked before in the comments somewhere, but I can't seem to find it, so… that black notification bar, and the wireless/battery/signal meters… where is that coming from? They look excellent and I'd love to grab them for my droid.

    • IMA_210

      Looks like Kellex is running the Smoked Glass-esque theme from within Rom Manager. You can get Rom Manager in the Market. There is a free version and of course the paid version to help out a great dev.

      • fyrhtu

        Ah; excellent, thanks!

      • kellex

        Indeed I was. Loved it too. Now i'm on 5.0.5.7. :)

        • IMA_210

          5.0.5.7??? Whawhat? I didnt get a notification about that one! You beat me to it. Did you try 5.0.5.6? Did I do something wrong or was it vanilla stock for you as well? I immediately went back to 5.0.5.4 Will have a look at 5.0.5.7 if it is not vanilla stock.

  • http://twitter.com/Mrwirez Mrwirez

    It is easier to root your phone and use the shoot me app.. Seriously…

    • kellex

      Yes. :)

  • droidboy24

    I know this is off subject but i still have not got my 2.1 up date wtf…..

    • Tom

      Count that as a blessing and root your phone. Then get the new CyanogenMod. It is better than stock, easily

      • droidboy24

        i think i will

    • http://www.facebook.com/tony.lippert Tony Lippert

      I think you just need to hold in there…my wife got hers today..of course I manually installed…

  • Steve-O

    Doesn't HOME++ take screenshots without rooting? At least I thought it did…?

    • kellex

      Only of homescreens. THis process will let you take a screenie of anything.

      • Steve-O

        OhOk, good to know, thanks Kellex!

    • isey78

      God bless root :D

  • http://twitter.com/MrCapcomSama MrCapcom

    Yea i knew about this before and once u set it up its not that bad but I think if you know that much to do this you can root your phone and use a app. Thanks for the guide though

  • http://www.myspace.com/abrielband Tim-o-tato

    That looks like more trouble then it's worth for the average user such as myself :-P
    Thanks though!

    • emanuelC

      Word.

    • kellex

      Its definitely a pretty large process. Once you get it done though, it's so easy from there forward.

      • Michael_NM

        Since I was one of the curious folks, I have to say thanks for the detailed instructions! You're making Droid a Geico competitor now-so easy a caveman…

        You've heard it before, you'll hear it again, and I'll tell you now: You Da man!

    • MattDemers

      Yeah, it's a long “installation” process, but I've just made the DDMS a shortcut on my desktop; whenever I need to take screenshots, I can just connect my Milestone and be off.

      • kellex

        Great tip Matt.

        • domdomdroid

          Got an even better tip kellex if you dont want to use your computer.
          Download Home++ –> Lanuch It –> Preferences –>Graphics –> Check the Screen Shot On Camera Key Box.

          ** Bam you can take screen captures now**

          • http://manta.com ZHT

            That only works for taking screen shots of the home screen not while in apps and using apps. . . just FYI

          • trav_day

            worked in apps for me

          • trav_day

            also just worked while watching a youtube video, and this all on my G1

      • http://www.twitter.com/dailydroidapp AndroFan

        Bingo. This is exactly what I did…installed it then made DDMS a shortcut titled “Android Screen Capture” and placed it on my dekstop. Voila, 2 click screen caps.