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Android Development
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Working with Emulator Disk Images

The emulator uses mountable disk images stored on your development machine to simulate flash (or similar) partitions on an actual device. For example, it uses disk image containing an emulator-specific kernel, the Android system, a ramdisk image, and writeable images for user data and simulated SD card.

To run properly, the emulator requires access to a specific set of disk image files. By default, the Emulator always looks for the disk images in the private storage area of the AVD in use. If no images exist there when the Emulator is launched, it creates the images in the AVD directory based on default versions stored in the SDK.

Note: The default storage location for AVDs is in ~/.android/avd on OS X and Linux, C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\.android\ on Windows XP, and C:\Users\<user>\.android\ on Windows Vista.

To let you use alternate or custom versions of the image files, the emulator provides startup options that override the default locations and filenames of the image files. When you use the options, the emulator searches for the image file under the image name or location that you specify; if it can not locate the image, it reverts to using the default names and location.

The emulator uses three types of image files: default image files, runtime image files, and temporary image files. The sections below describe how to override the location/name of each type of file.

Android Development
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