I have found that many people are unaware how to use fastboot, which if you have ever owned an HTC phone or something from the Nexus line you know how important it can be.
About a year ago I got sick of answering questions about fastboot so I made a guide, but it was device specific. Not too bad but I was constantly giving the links to it for other phones... of course more questions just popped up.
So here i am making a comprehensive yet easy to follow (I hope) guide on how to set up and use fastboot. I will cover the basics for Windows and Liunx (sorry Apple users, just cant stand the product/company)
I plan to make a series of guides for XDA-University Thus far there is this guide and:
[Guide] How To Create Recovery Flashable .zips / update.zips
First a short explanation:
Fastboot, like ADB, is a tool to communicate from PC to Android phone. There are times when it is a must to use, and times when it is just helpful.
ADB is used within your recovery or within your OS, but when you are in bootloader mode and need to communicate with your phone then you need fastboot.
And you may ask why would i ever need this?
Well many reasons. Main one is knowledge, learning the ins and outs of fastboot, like learning ADB, can get you out of many jams.
And if you want to unlock your bootloader this is done through fastboot. Granted HTC's unlock is... well crap, but for a Nexus this is how its done.
One other reason I have to stress is learning for safety reasons, This is about the safest way possible to flash firmware to your phone (ie Radio, Hboot, Recovery)
Lastly you may want to know the limitations,
There are many of course, this isnt JTAG, it will not resurrect a hard brick, but it often save peoples phones from 'soft bricks' and lots of time when know how and when to use it.
Think of fastboot as the program that takes over when ADB cant be used, it works with firmware more than software.
So where do i get fastboot? There are a few ways but most often I would recommend getting it from the Android SDK as it is will be up to date.
or you can use THIS HANDY TOOL created by @shimp208
Then i will go over useful commands.
*Just a note, This guide is to always be considered under construction as I plan to continue to make additions such as more commands and pictures
I will continue to attempt to clarifiy when needed and add what I have missed. I have yet to drop any project or guide I have made on XDA and will help where I can
As always I encourage questions I may miss something or be vague, it is best to understand fully then not ask.