The definitive guide on hacking the Nexus 4, part 1: How to install ADB drivers for the Nexus 4 on Windows 8


The definitive guide on hacking the Nexus 4, part 1

This is part 1 of an 8 part series of articles that we’re releasing this week on the Nexus 4. The remaining articles will be released in the next few days.

The primary reason why someone would want or need to install Windows drivers for the Nexus 4 is to root the device and install a custom ROM. If you’re not interested in such endeavours, installing the drivers is not really necessary. The installation of the Nexus 4 Windows drivers can be very simple to very troublesome depending on your system configurations and the drivers that are already installed. There are many different ways to install these drivers, but the following is the method that we have found to be the most successful and trouble free. This guide may seem extraordinarily long for such a simple task, but it’s the only way to minimize the risk of driver issues. If you’re feeling luckily, you can skip this guide and try to install the drivers in a more direct approach.

tldr; Installing Windows 8 drivers for the Nexus 4 is a pain.

Some parts of this guide should work on Windows 7, Windows XP, etc. but we only tested these methods using Windows 8. We tested these steps on a newly formatted PC running Windows 8 that has never had any Android devices connected to it. If you have attempted to install Android drivers prior to this, your results may differ a bit from ours, but it should still work. There are similar procedures if you’re using Mac OS X, but we don’t have any OS X devices to test on, soo… to the legal disclaimer!

Legal disclaimer: We are not responsible for any damage or loss to your device or computer system. Therefore, should you decide to follow these steps, you do so at your own risk and peril and agree to hold us harmless from any damage or loss you may experience. Should you disagree with the foregoing, please do not read any further.

What is ADB?

The Nexus 4 drivers are often referred to as “ADB drivers” on the internet. If you’re curious, ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge. ADB is included in the standard Android System Development Kit (SDK). Essentially, it allows for your computer to interact with your Android phone by command line (e.g. it looks like DOS) . Once ADB is installed, it will initiate an ADB server and an ADB client which will be used to communicate with your Android phone. Google explains ADB on their development webpage here.

Step-by-step guide on how to install ADB drivers for the Nexus 4 on Windows 8

1) Do not connect your phone to your PC unless specified. If it is currently connected, please disconnect your phone now.

2) Install the latest version of the Nexus Root Toolkit (currently, v.1.6.3, but the latest version can be found here). You can install it at the default location.

3) During the installation process, you should see the window below. Select “Nexus 4 (LG E960) and your current Android build. Therefore, if you’re running Android 4.2.2, select “OCCAM-MAKO: Android *.*.* -Any Build”. If you’re running Android 4.2.1, select that build.


4) If you installed v.1.6.2, you may get the following window asking you if you’d like to upgrade to the Nexus Root Toolkit v.1.6.3. If you see this, click “OK”. Version 1.6.3 adds support for Android 4.2.2.


5) If you clicked “OK”, it may ask you to reselect your device and Android build. Make the same selection as you did in step 3.

6) You may also see the following window. If you do, click “Cancel” as we won’t be using TWRP recovery.


7) You should now see the following window. The Root Toolkit is succesfully installed.


8) In order to prevent possible drivers conflicts, let’s uninstall any related drivers already installed in Windows. We’ll start by clicking on ”Full Driver Installation Guide – Automatic + Manual” in the Nexus Root Toolkit. You should now see the following screen with some step by step instructions.


9) Before we connect your phone to your PC, we need to enable USB debugging (sometimes called “Android Debugging” in CyanogenMod) as mentioned in the step by step guide above. Starting in Jelly Bean, Google decided to hide the USB Debugging option. To enable the hidden menu, on your Nexus 4, go into “Settings” then “About Phone” then tap on the last item called “Build Number” approximately 7 times until you see the following message: “You are now a developer!” (as shown below).


10) Go back once and you should see a new menu called “{ } Developer Options”.


11) Select “Developer Options” and click on “USB debugging” to enable it.


12) If you see the following pop up appear, click “OK”.


13) Connect your Nexus 4 to your PC. A notification should appear on your phone notifying you that you are currently in USB debugging mode. Launch “Device Manager” via the control panel or push Windows Key + R and type in “devmgmt.msc”. You should now see something like below. In our example, there is an exclamation point next to the “Nexus 4″ as there aren’t any drivers installed. However, if you see anything that references “Samsung”, “LG”, “Android”, “ADB”, etc., right click and uninstall it.


14) You have now uninstalled any old drivers for the Nexus 4 via the device manager. Now, disconnect your Nexus 4 from your PC. To make sure that you didn’t miss any, click “Launch USBDeview” in the “Full Driver Configuration Guide”.


15) You should now see this window. Follow the instructions and uninstall any devices related to Android, ADB, Samsung, LG, Google USB devices, especially any devices with Vendor ID “18d1″ (i.e. Google) or “04e8″. To uninstall a device, right click select “Uninstall Selected Devices”. In our example below, we have 4 difference devices to uninstall. Once done, close USBDeview then reboot your computer.


16) Once your computer is rebooted, launch the “Nexus Root Toolkit”, select “Full Driver Installation Guide – Automatic + Manual” again and proceed to “Step 2″, as seen below. There are 3 different driver solutions and based on your computer’s configuration (e.g. 32 bit vs 64 bit, Windows XP vs Windows 8, etc), the program will give you a recommendation of which driver to install. As we are using a 64 bit version of Windows 8, the software has recommended Driver Solution #3.


17) In our example, we click on “Raw Drivers” for Driver Solution #3 (you should select whichever solution was recommended for you), which brings us to this screen. We click “OK”.


18) We get a warning that since we’re using Windows 8, we need to enter into “Test Mode” in order to install unsigned drivers. If you’re using an operating system other than Windows 8, follow the instructions provided for in the program. Don’t try to follow these steps. 


19) In order to enter into “Test Mode” to install the unsigned drivers, in Windows 8, push Windows Key + C and select “Settings”, as shown below (left). Afterwards, select “Change PC Settings” (right)



20) Select “General” then scroll down till you see”Advanced start-up” and click “Restart now”.


21) You should now see this screen. Click on “Troubleshoot”.

22) Click “Advanced Options”.win2

23) Click “Start-up Settings”.win3

24) Click “Restart”.win4

25) Push “7″ on your keyboard to disable driver signature enforcement.win5

26) Your computer should now start in “Test Mode”. Once it does, go back into Device Manager and see if there are any devices that looks like the Nexus 4. If you don’t see anything resembling your phone, connect the phone to the PC. You should see something like below. Right click and select “Update Driver Software…” next to the device that looks most like your phone.


27) Click “Browse my computer for driver software”.


28) Navigate to the following directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\WugFresh Development\data\Drivers and push Next (assuming it recommended Driver Solution #3)


29) Click “Install this driver software anyway”


30) Once the driver installation has been complete, you should see something like this. The drivers are  successfully installed!


31) If you open up device manager again, you should see something like this. It looks like the drivers are installed properly, but how do we know for sure?


32) To ensure that the drivers are working properly, go back to the “Full Driver Configuration Guide”, connect your phone to your PC (if not already) and click “Full Driver Test” in Step 3. You should see a bunch of commands start appearing on your PC. Your phone may reboot a few times. At the end, if the test was successful, you should see a “Success!” dialog box appear within a minute or so. If nothing happens, try to reconnect the USB cable to see if the software continues. If the test fails or if you have any issues, uninstall all of the relevant drivers and try again.


That’s it! You have successfully (and painstakingly) installed Windows 8 drivers for your Nexus 4! You can uninstall the Root Toolkit if you like. Credits go to various XDA members and to WugFresh for creating the Toolkit! In part 2, we’ll discuss how to root, unlock and install a custom recovery.


  • thedonj77

    I have been looking everywhere for a guide such as this with links, pictures and even explanations. This 8 part guide is essential for me as I am a long time android lover but new to rooting. Thank you for this and I will be looking forward to reading each and every article. Bookmarking site NOW!!

    • Hippowise

      Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it. I just posted part 4, but I’ll be working on putting up the remaining articles within the next week. If you have any specific questions or if you require any clarifications, please let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you and update the articles.

  • midnight_munchies

    Big props for this! Followed it step by step, and it worked!

  • thedonj77

    I just had the time to do this and it worked flawlessly……Thanks so much, now it’s time to root :)

    • Hippowise

      Good luck on rooting! It’s not too bad :)

  • Android Root Guy

    Very detailed, and well done. Nice work.

  • Josef Izchaki

    Thank you so much!! without this guide i would never ever do this!!

  • Amit Johar

    Thanks. Successfully rooted. Other webpages don’t explain so thoroughly

  • fransheco

    Hello dears, i tried this over than ten times but it didn’t work with me .. i did every thing but i face a problem with MTP driver i can not find it any where plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help. Thanks

  • Arthur

    Many thanks t you for taking the time of explaining it so easily and untechnical. Great post man.

  • Héctor

    Does this work for nexus 7? Thank you.

    • Hippowise

      The toolkit software is different, but the principle is the same.

  • confusedone

    Question, if this process was completed with a prior nexus do i have to do this again with a new nexus?

    • Hippowise


  • Victor Chan

    Hi I tried several times and it still doesn’t found my ADB Device… (But, it is in my device manager) I tried to remove, reinstall drivers and everything that the guide told me to do… Help please!

    • Drakanor

      Same here. Can’t get my Nexus 4 connected through USB debugging….

  • firesprite

    божественно! все работает! спасибо!

  • Dennis

    Thanks so much. I didn’ know that i have to install the drivers again in the device manager. I didn’t find it anywhere else. It just told me “no adb device found” and i didn’t know why. Then I read this and followed the steps, especially from step 26 to 32, and it worked. So glad man :D Thanks so much :D *__*

  • Faiz Ansari