How to take screenshots on your Nexus One

Monkey around with your Nexus One long enough, and pretty soon the need to take a screen shot of your device pops up. “No Problem” you think as you head to the app store to download a screenshot app. You then find out that none of the screenshot apps work without rooting your phone, and you’re not ready to do that yet. So what do you do? Taking screenshots on your Nexus One will work, it just requires a bit of elbow grease to set up, but once setup, it’s easy as pie.

Step one in this process is downloading the Android SDK:

For some reason they no longer include the USB driver you need, and they force you to manually update the Android SDK via the command line and download roughly a GB of other files, but since you just want to take screenshots, you don’t need those. Thankfully, I downloaded the SDK before they made you do this, and you can get the USB driver here: Nexus One USB Driver

Now you’ll want to head over and download the Java JDK:

After you click the Download button, it brings you to a page to select what OS you want to download for, click Windows or Windows x64 if you’re rocking a 64bit version of Windows.

Now that you have both development kits downloaded, extract the Android SDK to a folder on your desktop.

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Once thats done (a grueling 5 second process), go ahead and install the Java JDK.

Once the JDK installs, it’s going to open a webpage and ask you to register, you can just close that as it’s not required to register.

Now it’s time to setup your Nexus One to make sure it’s ready to play nice with the software you just installed on your PC:

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  1. Press your Home button
  2. Press your Menu button
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap Applications
  5. Tap Development
  6. Tap the box to check USB debugging

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Now that your N1 is setup to work nicely with your PC, grab the USB cable that came with your phone and connect your phone to your PC. Windows will try and install the correct drivers for your phone:

And it will eventually it tell you it didn’t work:

But don’t worry, go into your Control Panel and then Device Manager, you should see an unknown device, this is your Nexus One.

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Right click on it and select update driver software. Then select Browse my computer for driver software and point to where you downloaded the N1 USB driver:

Now click Next and make sure you click Install.

You should see something like this:

And you’re ready to go. Head over to your Android SDK folder and get in the tools folder, then double click ddms.bat

Once you do that, a blank CMD window will pop up and just hang there, this is normal. After a few seconds (maybe 10) you will see a new window pop up:

Now click on your phone under where it says Name, and you should now see something like this:

The text that appears in your log will be constantly updating as thats basically what your phone is doing in real time. At this point you’re ready for screenshots! Just press CTRL+S and you’re in business:

At this point, you can save your image as is or copy it and then paste it into your favorite image editor. You can also rotate the image and click refresh to grab an updated screenshot from your phone.

So now whenever you want to grab a screenshot off your N1 you just do the following:

  1. Connect your Nexus One to your PC
  2. Run ddms.bat
  3. Click your phone
  4. Press CTRL+S
  5. Do what you want with your image

It’s really that easy. To bad that getting there is quite the process. However with the help of this guide, I’d like to think that you’ll be up and running and grabbing screenshots in no time.

An original article by Scott Young

» See more articles by Chris Moor


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  • epool86

    thanks so much to made it easier for me, i no longer need to download hundreds of MB and wait few hours, just for the sake of screen capture only.

  • Scott Young

    Thanks :)

    That’s why I made it because I figured out you don’t have to waste the time downloading all those files ;)

  • http://- Xuggs

    The driver does not seem to install on a Windows 7 x64 edition

  • http://- Xuggs

    Nevermind the last comment.. i managed to download the driver from another place and it worked fine. The zip file you have attached is corrupt.

  • Gordonf

    Scott will this work with an HTC legend with 2.1?

  • Scott Young

    yep as long as you have the USB drivers for the legend

  • Taffman

    Tried this for my HTC Desire but the N1 drivers would not install, not recognised by my PC. Anyone have a copy of hte Desire USB Drivers ?

  • Taffman
  • Spyro

    What would you need for an EVO?
    i am already having trouble installing the htc usb driver on xp sp3.

  • http://Www.Nerd-Supreme.de Jagermo

    If you have an HTC Device, you might want to get the HTC Sync program for your phone, it normaly also contains the drivers for usb

  • Jeremy

    I’m sorry, but try rooting your device and get screenshot apps that’s available on the market. I’m using “screenshot” by Giksoft. http://www.geeksofts.com/index.php?idlng=1

  • http://www.louis.dk Louis Tim Larsen

    Whats wrong with the app called ShootMe?

  • Mielle

    I tried doing this and, for some reason, after I click on the ddms.bat file, the CMD window flashes for a split second, but the other window pictured above never appears. I am using Windows 7. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • http:://voippix.info clive darr

    i had same problem but after running ddms from a command line command promt window it now works fine

  • http://www.pore-cleanser.info Pore Cleanser

    you can always tell the quality of USB cables by looking at the thickness of the cable. thicker usb cables have higher quality ~”,

  • Rajat

    hi,
    i tried to download the usb drivers, by it says the driver does nt exist, could you plz send me the link to driver again

  • gordo

    I use the Galaxy S Captivate and downloaded the app from the market called “Shoot Me” and it works. No need to root your device.

  • http://www.tech2crave.com tech2crave

    Thanks for the guide.

    It helped a lot

  • aizaz malik

    my mp5 android mk3566 1080pro is not turning on manually

  • nexus one user

    why the f is this so hard?