How to setup an Android Emulator on Windows

Android Jul 15, 2023

Are you looking for a convenient way to test your Flutter or Android applications on your Windows computer? Setting up an Android emulator can be a practical solution. An emulator is a virtual Android device that runs on your computer, allowing you to simulate the experience of using a real device. In this tutorial, we will go through the process of setting up an Android emulator on Windows using Android Studio, a popular tool for Android and Flutter development.  

1. Download Android Studio

To start we have to download Android Studio, you can to this by clicking on the hyperlink, or navigating to this site:

Once you are on the website you can press the green button saying "Download Android Studio Flamingo". For you the version can be different, Android Studio uses animals for their version names.


Once you click on the green button, a prompt will appear asking you to agree with the terms and conditions. Simply check the box to confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions. Then, click the green button to start the download.


2. Install Android Studio

After the download is finished, you will find the Android Studio installer in your downloads folder. Double-click on the installer file to open it.


On the first screen of the installer, click "Next" to proceed.


On the next screen make sure that the checkbox for for "Android Virtual Device" is checked and click "Next".


Next, you will need to choose an installation location. It is generally recommended to stick with the default path. If you are reinstalling Android Studio, make sure to clear the directory from the default path by deleting its contents. Then, click "Next".


The option to create shortcuts is a matter of personal preference. You can decide whether or not to create shortcuts and click "Next" accordingly.


The installation process will now begin. Wait for it to complete, and then click "Next".


Now we have successfully installed Android Studio. To proceed with setting up an Android emulator, check the box that says "Start Android Studio" and click "Finish".


3. Setup the emulator

After opening Android Studio, you will see a screen where you can take the following steps. Click on "More Actions" and then select "Virtual Device Manager" to open the Device Manager.


In case you have reinstalled Android Studio, your screen might appear slightly different. In such a scenario, click on the three dots located on the right side and choose "Virtual Device Manager" to access the Device Manager.


Once you are in the Device Manager, click on the "CREATE DEVICE" button. I already created some emulators, so do not worry if your device list is empty.


In this screen we can select the hardware. We want to go with "Phone" and I personally selected the "Pixel 6." However, feel free to choose any device that you want. Once you have made your decision, click "Next".


Next, you will have the option to select the system image you want to use. I recommend choosing the latest image available in the "Recommended" tab. This ensures that your project will work on the most up-to-date version of Android. Click the installer icon to install the latest image.


Wait for the installer to finish, and then click "Finish."


Now you can select the image you installed and click "Next."


On the last screen, you will have the opportunity to customize a few options.

  • Firstly, you can choose the startup orientation for your emulator. I personally prefer portrait mode, but you can switch it to landscape if you prefer.
  • For the "Emulated Performance", select "Hardware - GLES 2.0" whenever possible. This setting ensures that the emulator uses your graphics card, providing optimal performance.
  • Lastly you can select the "Enable Device Frame" option to have your emulator resemble the frame of a mobile phone.

We will keep the "SHOW ADVANCED SETTINGS" unchanged. In these options, you can tweak settings like how much RAM is used. I usually find that the default settings work well for performance, but feel free to adjust them if necessary. Finally, click "Finish" to finish setting up the emulator.


4. Open the emulator

Once you have set up your emulator, it should appear in the "Device Manager" screen. Simply click the Play icon to launch the emulator.


The initial loading of your emulator will take some time. Once it finishes loading, you will be greeted with the screen of the emulator, and you can start using it right away.


If you are looking for an alternative method to open your Android emulator more quickly, I recommend checking out my related post:

How to quickly start your Android Emulator
Tired of opening Android Studio every time to just start your emulator? So was I, with that in mind I created a simple script that will start my emulator in a matter of seconds. This script is written for Windows machines, but I am sure that other operating systems have similar approaches.


Setting up an Android emulator on Windows is a straightforward process that can be done using Android Studio. By following the steps outlined above, you can download and install Android Studio, set up the emulator, and launch it to test your Flutter and Android applications. Android Studio provides a user-friendly interface and allows you to customize various settings to optimize the performance of your emulator.