Panic: Cannot Find AVD System Path. Please Define android_sdk_root

Do you know that Google Play has millions of apps available? Whether free or paid apps, your Android mobile is blessed to access more apps on Play Store compared to iPhones. One reason is that it’s very easy to make apps on Android and it costs you almost nothing. However, one of the daunting errors that developers encounter when trying out new apps is this: “Panic: Cannot Find AVD System Path. Please Define android_sdk_root.”

If you have been building, testing, and launching several Android apps without a problem, you still need to know what this error is. Unless you know the reason why such a panicking error occurs, you must know the cause of this problem and its solution. These and more are discussed in the following sections.

Developing Apps for Android

While App Store has around 1.8 million apps, Google Play Store has more with 2.5 million available apps. This is based on the Statista survey released on May 2020. This means that Android users have more choices than iPhone users. Why?

Android is a free and open-source system and almost all tools are available for everyone. Although it’s not that easy to develop apps, especially if you are not inclined into programming and stuff like that, you’re provided with everything you need. Google itself offers free tools that you can download. With so many developers and experts in the Android community, getting help isn’t impossible.

With innovations and new app development, errors and roadblocks are inevitable. One of the hot topics among Android developers is on the Android Virtual Development System. Let’s give you a bit of a backgrounder about how you can develop apps on Android, first. Of course, details on how to develop apps are reserved for developers and are out of scope of this article.

Android Studio

Google developed the Android Software Development Kit (Android SDK) to give a platform for Android fans to develop different Android apps. It consists of different development tools packed into an installable package. You can install it on your computer along with the Android Studio IDE.

Once you have these, you can simply start a new project from your Android Studio and do as you please. If you are done building your app, you can try it out. And, in Android development, you need an Android device to test out. With Android Studio, you have the option to install an emulator or Android Virtual Device (AVD). Hence, you don’t need to connect your Android phone, instead, do a simulation using the AVD.

It’s good, fantastic. You can launch your AVD and run the program that you have written. Unfortunately, some developers won’t succeed all the time. A great number of developers, especially newbies, are stuck with this error:

Emulator: Panic: Cannot Find AVD System Path. Please Define android_sdk_root

Not only does the emulator feel panic, but you are, too. It seems like a very serious problem, but it’s actually just a simple issue with a very easy solution.

The Reason

Three reasons that have transpired from forums and investigations on this problem. The first is the system image of the device that you want to simulate. If you are keen enough, when you encounter this error, you can see from the Available Devices dropdown that your chosen device has “(Missing system image)” note right next to it.

The second reason is you might need to update your emulator. If you install AVD straight from Android Studio, you’ll probably get an auto-updated emulator. But, if you install AVD outside the studio, you need to check if your virtual device is updated.

Lastly, the location of your SDK. If you made updates or if you have messed with the files in your SDK, chances are, it won’t find the AVD system path. You must re-establish it by following the steps laid out in the next section.

Proven Solutions

There have been several apps that have been developed using Android Studio. Hence, don’t panic when you are stuck with this problem. Again, the Android community has experts that can help you with this matter. But, how about if you try the following proven and tested solutions we have here?

Trying Other Virtual Devices

Some users encounter this problem when they select devices that have “(Missing system image)” appended into the device’s name. Although the system image may not directly affect the specific error that we are discussing, you can do a check and use other devices or create a new AVD.

Open your Android Studio and go to Tools>AVD Manager>Create Virtual Device. Follow instructions and you will have a new AVD. If the error persists, go with the succeeding solutions.

Manually Delete/Move of the Android Studio

Locate your Visual Studio and other Android-related programs. Create a new folder and name it with something that won’t give you any problem. Move the .android folder into the previously created folder, then navigate to the AVD subfolder. Open all .ini files and replace the old path with the new path that points to the emulator.

Outdated Emulator

The AVD in the Android Studio is your emulator. You can choose your preferred emulator for as long as you can configure it to run Android programs smoothly. However, you need to check for updates manually if you install your emulator outside the Android Studio.

To check updates of your AVD, launch the Android Studio and go to Files>Settings (On Mac it’s under Preferences). Click the Appearance and Behavior>System Settings>Updates. To automatically get updates without manual intervention, ensure that the Automatically check for updates field is checked. Otherwise, you need to search for updates every time you encounter this problem.

Define Environmental Variables

Go to the Control Panel of your computer if you’re using Windows. Then, to the System and Security>System>Advanced system settings. It’ll open a popup window, then, go the Advanced tab>Environment Variables. Change both ANDROID_HOME and ANDROID_SDK_ROOT path to where your SDK is found. Example, “C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Android\sdk.”

If you can’t find these variables, just add them via the New button. Restart your computer so that changes will take effect. You must know that this part is critical and may render some problems when you don’t set it correctly.

The Final Say

The Android OS is versatile; hence, Android app development becomes extensive. And the common ranting of developers is on the “Panic: Cannot Find AVD System Path. Please Define android_sdk_root.” It’s an error that might be associated with outdated SDK or AVD, inconsistent AVD path, and a missing system image. The latter won’t actually be directly associated with this problem, but sometimes it displays the error when the device has a missing system image.

Rechecking the path or location of the emulator allows you to run your new Android app smoothly. Comprehensive procedures and explanations have been presented in this article. Now it’s time for you do to your part. Get out of this messy error for all time by trying out the solutions we offered here.


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