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3,713 posts
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By Swiftks, Retired Forum Moderator on 5th July 2011, 06:25 AM
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So you’re a N00B with a brand new Android device, and you have no idea what all this sbf, adb, bootloader talk is all about; you just want to know how to do cool stuff with your new phone and be as cool as all of us Senior Members

Well here’s a Atrix N00B Guide just for you that will hopefully be a good jumping off point for you to start exploring and getting into the world of themeing, ROMing, flashing, etc. Most of this stuff was pulled from various XDA forums, and is easy enough to find, if you just take the time to search for it, but being the nice N00B friend that I am, I thought I’d try and compile most of it one place. So here goes…

*If you can’t figure something out or need help with whatever your particular problem may be, before you go cluttering up the forums with your problem and you get blasted by Senior Members like me use the SEARCH bar at the top of each section and/or thread. I promise you, you are not the first person to have your problem, and more times than not, your problem has been answered more than once. People HATE seeing questions that were just answered one or two pages previously. SO USE THE FREAKING SEARCH BUTTON!!!

*NOTE: Most of the following links are going to be for U.S. AT&T based phones only. Sorry, but that’s what I have and that’s what I know. Most of you BELL & other international guys should find some of this useful though, and most of the links below also have a international build version now.

Lets start with some basic terminology & general understanding:

What is Root / Rooting?

Put simply, Rooting your device allows you, and/or rooted apps, to access parts of the Linux based Android software that is your OS, and that you would otherwise not be able to access. These tasks can be as simple and beneficial as backing up your system setting, or as complicated as installing custom ROMs, Kernels, etc. (more on this later).

What is a Motorola .SBF file?

SBF stands for Single Binary File, and contains a firmware image that can be installed on your device. i.e. they are more of less what you are installing on your device when you do a OTA (over the air) update; except an actual .sbf file that you download and flash on your own will most of the time not only contain the updated info. in the OTA, but also all the other “stock” info. that came with the device. That’s why when you flash a .sbf file it will return you to a stock/retail device.

What is ADB?

ADB = Android Debug Bridge. So what this basically is, is a command/terminal based interface you can run from your PC, to interact with your device and its file structure. You can PUSH (install) programs, apps, .apk files, etc. to your device, move things around, set permissions, etc. One of the primary things to remember when trying to use adb, is that you need to enable debugging on your device. In fact it’s a good idea to enable this, and leave it that way… forever! This setting can be found on your device under Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging

Here is a list of helpful adb commands:

What is a ROM?

A rom is like a custom firmware image that is made by a Developer either entirely from scratch, or based off of the official firmware package. Some ROMs contain simple changes like changing icons and adding extra options to things, other more complicated ROMs can change the entire Android experience. Which one you will want to flash, will be entirely up to you. Read carefully, and make sure you understand what you are getting into before you flash.

What is a Kernel?

As a rule of thumb, if you have to ask, you probably shouldn’t be messing with this anyway. But hey, best for you to at least know what it is. A kernel is the heart of the device's OS. In simplest terms it’s a connection between your apps and your device’s hardware; i.e. the processor, RAM, etc. A custom kernel can dramatically change the way your device’s hardware performs… for the better and/or the worse.

What is a Bootloader?

The bootloader is a program code that is executed before the device OS starts up, and that instructs that device to boot “normally”. The bootloader can come locked or unlocked from the manufacture. A unlocked bootloader will allow you to install custom ROMs & Kernels (as well as some other neat things) on your device.

What is a odexed and de-odexed framework, and what is the difference between the two?

Just read this:

What is CWM Recovery (ClockWorkMod Recovery)?

CWM is a custom recovery program that allows you to backup / restore a full or partial system backup of your device. It also allows you to install flashable .zip files; which is one of the primary installation methods for custom ROMs. It also provides other neat features such as cache wiping, battery reset, and other processes. Long story short, if you are thinking about flashing custom ROMs or just want a really good backup program, incase you FUBAR your device, you need to install this.

What is Fastboot?

Again, just read these for description & helpful Commands: [Thanks briggie108]

What is all this CM7 stuff about?

CM7 stands for CyanogenMod v7. It's a very popular ROM, b/c of its built-in options, great enchantments and total removal of manufacture software; i.e. all that MotoBlur stuff on your device is gone. It is a stripped down fast and well designed ROM with a custom kernel, that allows for easy flashing of great custom themes (just check out the General Theme Section for Android on XDA). Only a small selection of Android devices have a "official" release of CM7, however almost all Android devices have a "un-official" port for it. The Atrix 4G port is currently in its pre-beta stage and is being worked on by the Atrix Dev-Team.

More info. on CM7 can be found here:
And here:

The #1 rule of CyanogenMod is that you do not ask for timetables!!! You have been warned. If you choose to ignore my warning, ask away and prepare to be blasted until you cry.

Information on the current status of the Atrix 4G port of CM7, as well as a list of current bugs, can be found here:

CM7.1 Beta for the Atrix is Available Now!!!
Information, install instructions, etc. can be found here:

CM7 Nightlies Now Available for the Atrix (a.k.a. Olympus)
*Note: Nightly builds may be unstable, and are unsuppoted by the Dev Team.

Nightly change log can be found here:

The current version of CM7 for the Atrix does not yet support the following:
- Webtop
- Fingerprint Scanner
- Pocket Detector
- Horizontal HDMI Mirroring


Theme Chooser Themes for CM7 (200+):

*Please make sure to search the thread before you post an already answered question. Also, if you have the $ available, please consider a $donation$ to the Atrix Dev Team for their continued hard work (remember, this is still beta, they're still working hard at it).


Here are some How To Guides that may be helpful to new Atrix 4G owners that have just got thier phone & have the most recent firmware = 4.5.91 (Android 2.3.4). Read each How TO carefully and completely before attempting. If you are unsure of what to do, or how to do it, ask a question first. I will try a put this is a order that somewhat makes sense.


WARNING: If you are on Android 2.3.4 (4.5.91) w/ a unlocked bootloader, do NOT flash back to a earlier sbf version. DOING SO WITH BRICK YOUR DEVICE!!! Use CWM Fruitcake described below instead.

SBF Hints, Tricks & Guidelines:

- Always make sure to flash with a full battery! The last thing you want to do is run out of juice in the middle of a sbf flash; that's a great way to brick your device.

- As a general rule of thumb before flashing a sbf file to your device, you should always download the sbf file to a file path on your computer with the least possible spaces (i.e. the shorter the file path to the sbf file the better). So just download it to the root drive of your computer, such as C:\.

- Also, because these sbf files are so long, this sometimes causes problems with RSD Lite (the program you use to flash the sbf to your device). So, I would suggest you change the file name to something short, like OLYFR.sbf. It doesn’t so much matter what you name the sbf file, just so long as it’s short, does not contain any spaces in the name and you do not change the .sbf file extension. This will help prevent errors when trying to flash (no, I don’t know why, it just does).

- If you are running Windows on your PC, open RSD Lite as a Administrator. Also, when you open RSD Lite, Instead of browsing for the sbf file via the normal “…” button in the program, just drag the sbf file onto the file path bar in RSD Lite. Sometimes, the sbf file will not load when you select it via the browser button in RSD Lite (again I have no idea why).

- Once your sbf file begins to flash to your device, be patient… the device will re-boot at least a couple times in the flash process. Do not get jumpy and disconnect your device until RSD Lite says you are 100% done! Doing so can cause your device to BRICK! If for some reason you have waited for an inordinate amount of time, and it does not say finished, then ask for help on the thread, before unplugging. The same goes for pulling the battery. DO NOT DO THAT!!! Pulling your battery during a sbf flash, is one sure fire way to brick your device. Only pull the battery as a last resort and only after you have asked for help.

- RSD Lite has been updated to v5.3.1, here is the download link:


1) Have the correct Motorola drivers installed for your PC (i.e. x32-bit or x64-bit).

2) Download RSD Lite (Links above) & install on your PC.

3) Choose a sbf file to download and flash from Motorola Atrix Firmware Super Thread:
If you are currently running firmware 4.5.91, I suggest that you only flash back to this firmware version. Flashing back to a eariler sbf/firmware version may have unintended consequences, the most serious of which is bricking your device.
*Note: U.S. AT&T users should only flash AT&T sbfs, internationl users should only flash their particular sbf versions.

4) Read the above sbf hints, trick, etc. to help prevent RSD Lite problems/errors.

5) Open RSD Lite and load the sbf file that you downloaded.

6) Put your device in RSD Protocol Mode by powering OFF, and upon powering back ON, hold both the power button and the volume UP button. Device should now say "Entering RSD Protocol Mode."

7) Connect your device to your computer via the usb cable, and select your device by clicking/highlighting it in RSD Lite.

8) Select START in RSD Lite and let the sbf flash process fully complete before disconnecting the device from the PC. There will be several reboots and the process make take 5 - 10 minutes to complete a FULL sbf flash.

9) If you have any errors or problems as a question, prefably in the Q&A section.

*Note: After unlocking your bootloader and installing a CWM (*see below), you have the option to flash stock sbf files named "Fruitcakes" that do not require RSD Lite to flash (see information below).


WARNING: If you are on Android 2.3.4 (4.5.91) w/ a unlocked bootloader, do NOT flash back to a earlier sbf version. DOING SO WITH BRICK YOUR DEVICE!!!

Try the automated scrpit in this thread:
Try the original unlock method in the Main Pudding Thread:
*Use the instructions on this page for this method:]

Directions are in the respective OP


One Click Root For Motorola Phones Running Android 2.3.4:

Alternative Root Methods:

Follow the instructions in this post:
These Instructions:

*Note: Many of the ROMs you may wish to install, after your boot loader is unlocked, will also include a ROOT package. Check the indiviual ROM OP to make sure though.


CWM Options:

With 2.3.4, you now have 2 different options available for CWM Recovery. You should have a unlocked bootloader, be rooted and be on Android 2.3.4 (firmware version 4.5.91), before attempting to flash any of these. Each is described below.

Option 1: RomRacer's CWM

- This CWM is extremely stable & has multiple features, such as the ability to choose whether to backup the webtop portion of your device, or not. It supports both ext-sd (micro sd card) and internal sd (internal storage). You can also choose from a variety of colors & supports both U.S AT&T and International users. This CWM will also be the official CWM of CM7 ported by the Atrix Dev Team.
- I personally prefer this CWM as it also works with ROM Manager (app from the market - *see details below).

*Note: If you do not have any CWM Recovery installed yet, you can use the fastboot commands in the OP (use the non .zip version to install via fastboot), or you can install via ROM Manager with the below instructions.

*Note: If you already have a different version of CWM Recovery installed, and want to switch to RomRacer's, then first check to see if a file labeled "" @ /system/etc/. If the file is there, delete it, before proceeding with the install of RomRacer's version.

Install Instructions to Use RomRacer's CWM w/ ROM Manager APP:

1) Download the ".zip" file of your color choice (make sure you choose the right version AT&T or international), and place the .zip file on the sd-card (internal storage).

2) Download ROM Manager from the Market (paid or free, it doesn't matter) and install app.

3) Open ROM Manager and select "Flash ClockworkMod Recovery," making sure to select the right device (i.e. Atrix 4G). This will flash the current version of CWM to your device, which will also work (see details/limitations discussed below).

4) Now, choose "Install ROM from SD Card", and choose the .zip file that you saved on your internal storage. You should not need to delete any of the cache options. ROM Manager will reboot the device into CWM and flash the .zip automatically, and then reboot again.

5) You should now have RomRacer's custom CWM installed over the ROM Manager version. You can now select Reboot into Recovery from ROM Manager, and it should boot into CWM Recovery.

Option 2: ROM Manager's Stock CWM

- For install instructions, see steps 1-3 under the RomRacer's CWM.
- Allows for easy CWM updating, as well as ROM updates that are posted by the developer on ROM Manager's servers.
- Current build much better, and allows for both internal & external sd installs/backups.


If you have a unlocked boot loader and CWM Recovery installed, and you wish to go back to "stock" you now have a wonderful alternative called Fruitcake. The fruitcake files are essentially stock sbf files that bypass the need to use RSD Lite; they flash via CWM just like any other .zip file that you flash. This is very welcome as it eliminates the need for RSD Lite and the problems associated with it.
You can find your Fruitcake here:

WHAT DO I DO IF MY DEVICE WILL NOT FULLY BOOT??? (i.e. Boot Loop or Soft Brick):

- If you have a bootloop/softbirck after atempting to unlock your bootloader:
a) If you flashed the unlock .sbf, are you sure you booted into fastboot and issued the "fastboot oem unlock" command.
b) If you happen to have a 2.3.4 ROM saved on you device, or a, try booting into Android Recovery and reflashing. Make sure to wipe dalvik cache, cache partition, and format data first though.
c) If you can boot into fastboot, you can fastboot flash the "stock" 2.3.4 Gingerbread .img/system files by following the instructions on this page:
*Note: The .img files to install via fastboot are located under "Download Gingerbread Stock Images" on the download page.

- If you have bootloop/softbrick after attempting to flash a ROM or Kernel:
a) Did you download the correct version of the ROM or Kernel for your device (i.e. US AT&T vs International).
b) If you're installing a new kernel, did you flash back to the stock kernel first, before trying to flash the different kernel.
c) Are you sure you wiped the dalvik cache, cache partition & formated the data (i.e. The Big Three) before installing the ROM. For a kernel install, just wipe dalvik cache & chace partition.
*Note: If you are using the stock ROM Manager CWM version, then you need to fastboot wipe for fomating data, as this feature does not yet work on ROM Manager. Fastboot command: "fastboot -w".
d) Try re-flashing ROM, after making sure you did the above 3 correctly... still not working, you can hopefully still:
1) Flash a Fruitcake in CWM to give you a clean install. Make sure to wipe "the big 3" first.
2) Can't get into Android Recovery/CWM, try flashing the stock Gingerbread .img files via fastboot. Instructions here:

The 2.3.4 (4.5.91 Firmware) Section:

Updated ROMs, Kernels, etc. for 2.3.4 (firmware 4.5.91) --- UPDATED 8/14/2011

So with the official release of Gingerbread 2.3.4, a host of new ROMs & Kernels have been released for the Atrix, along with various fixes and mods for those ROMs & Kernels. I'll try and cover the most common ones below, as always if you feel something needs to be added, just let me know.

*Note: Before flashing any of these make sure that you:

1) Have a unlocked boot loader:

2) Have CWM installed

3) Understand Fastboot/moto-fastboot commands

ROMs & Kernels:

Before installing any ROM or Kernel I suggest you do the following to help prevent error, boot-loops, etc. Also, it's a good idea to flash a new ROM or Kernel on a fully charged device:

1) Download which ever ROM or Kernel you plan on flashing and have the .zip on your device ready to flash.
2) Backup your apps (not system data), contacts, etc. Also consider making a CWM backup of your device, just in case.
3) Boot into CWM Recovery
4) Wipe Dalvik Cache (under advanced in CWM)
5) Wipe Cache Partition
6) Wipe data/factory reset
6a) If you're using ROM Manager/CWM you will need to reboot the device after step 5, and upon reboot enter fastboot mode and enter the command: "fastboot -w" or "moto-fastboot -w" if you prefer using moto-fastboot. Then type "fastboot reboot" and upon reboot make sure to enter Android Recovery again, so that you can flash the ROM/Kernel.
7) Install .zip from SD Card (choose the .zip you wish to install)
8) If you installing a radio, theme, kernel, etc. on top of a ROM, I would suggest redoing the whole wipe process again between flashes.
9) Reboot the Device
- If you get a boot loop, try entering Android recovery and re-wiping the chace and data, and perhaps try reflashing the ROM/Kernel. Or if you made a CWM backup, you can always restore that.


Stock Gingerbread 2.3.4 (Thanks KennethPenn):
*Note: This is useful if you need to return to stock Gingerbread. Both CWM & Fastboot install available.

Home Base ROM (by Seanzscreams):

This is a "stock" Android base ROM, with multiple versions ranging from almost stock with only a few tweaks, to a stock feel with multiple mods, extras, etc.

ASOP Atrix ROM (by Stinebd):

ASOP = Android Open Source Project - - in other words, it's supposed to make your device as close to a stock Google Android device as possible (i.e. like a Nexus device).

*Note: since this rom is essentially a stock Android experience, many of the Atrix's stock features will not work; like the fingerprint scanner, webtop, etc.

Alien ROM & Theme (by KennethPenn):
*Note: The ROM is separate from the theme, which can be applied afterwards if you wish.

This is a very stable ROM, however there are a few issues with the Theme portion. The Kernel is stock 2.3.4.

Ninja ROM (by SamCripp):

Super fast ROM, with Faux123's Kernel included.

Cherry Pie & Pie Crust (by Navalynt):

Includes optional themes and has a separate international build version.

Aura ROM (by Diviance):

Includes Faux's Kernel
3 versions to choose from (de-bloat, de-bloat w/ accounts, & w/ all bloat)

DarkSide ROM (by Nottach):

Includes Faux's Kernel
Multiple Mods available to add to ROM
Theme incorporates many apps

HoneyComb ROM/Theme (by Seanzscreams):

Based off of Alien ROM w/ a Honey Comb Theme. Different versions are available for different kernel choices.

iBlur ROM (by Marko!):

Like the look of the iPhone... but hate the iPhone. Give this ROM a try then.

StarWars Rom/Theme (by Seanzscreams):

Ying / Yang ROM (by Shady_lanem):

Nice black/white ROM, with all the latest tweaks, mods, etc.


Faux's Kernel (over-clocked @ 1.45 GHz):

- Froyo version, Gingerbread version & CM7 version, each w/ multiple versions avaliable; a enchanced stock kernel @ 1 GHz that allows undervolting, profiles, etc. Also a OC kernel @ 1.3 GHz & 1.45 GHz.
- Make sure you pick the right kernel; i.e. if you are on CM7, use a CM7 kernel, if you are using a Gingerbread based ROM, use the Gingerbread kerenl.
- The overclocked 1.45 GHz kernel may cause heat issues with your battery, thus causing random reboots... suggest undervolting.

Kholk's EternityProject Kernel (over-clocked @ 1.5 GHz):

- Current build based off of Faux's kernel.
- Kernel may cause heat issues with your battery, thus causing random reboots... suggest undervolting.

Clemsyn's Kernel (over-clocked @ 1.4 GHz):

- Based off of Faux's Kernel, but includes additonal optimizations.
- AT&T and CM7 versions available @ either 1.0 GHz or 1.4 GHz.
- B/C of memory timings, this kernel may not work on your device (like mine), and you will not be able to fully boot. Make sure you have a backup kernel to flash incase this happens to you.


V6 SuperCharger Script

My Instructions Here:

Battery Jumping Fix:
*Note: Charge battery to 100% (overnight) & wipe battery stats in CWM (under advanced) before flashing this.

WEBTOP on 2.3.4:

Native Tethering MOD for 2.3.4 (included in the above ROMs):

All Atrix 4G AT&T Radios:

2.3.4 Ported Boot Animations:


How To Recover From A Soft Brick:

The Same Thing As This Thread (Posted in the Dev Section), Without All The Fluff:

Theming the Atrix 4G: tools, processes, locations, etc.:

How To Port A Theme:

How To Theme Gingerblur / Compiling & De-compiling a Framework (This is what got me started):
XDA Thread Here:
How To Here:

List of ROOT APPS available & working on the Atrix:

A Whole Bunch of Icon Sets (for when you're ready to start customizing):

Widget Locker Themes:

How to Manually Deodex Any Atrix ROM:

Invaluable Resource:
Last edited by Swiftks; 16th May 2012 at 05:48 AM.
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5th July 2011, 06:48 AM |#2  
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Thumbs up Terrific Info!
Great job as usual Swiftks!! It's always nice having everything in one place. Sometimes searching XDA can be frustrating with the amount of search results. This should help everyone, not just the noobs.
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5th July 2011, 07:03 AM |#3  
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Good work.. Only way to be useful is its stickied so it isn't lost

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5th July 2011, 07:25 AM |#4  
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Great post/thread, someone should sticky this... Maybe it will help reducing all the generic questions...
5th July 2011, 12:07 PM |#5  
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Might want to add asking for cm7/miui

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5th July 2011, 12:35 PM |#6  
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Nice thread, just what i needed, i am new to the Atrix and i need all the help i can get. Cheers Dude
5th July 2011, 02:35 PM |#7  
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What a great thread. I am well versed in rooting and flashing my nexus one, even did some minor development for it. But this is a very useful summary for the atrix, and not everything is the same between devices. For example I had no idea what an sbf file was.
5th July 2011, 03:18 PM |#8  
Swiftks's Avatar
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I'm glad this is helping some of you. I thought of a few more details I can add to the OP when I get home today... also, I'll see about trying to get stickyfied.

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5th July 2011, 03:18 PM |#9  
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Originally Posted by Swiftks

What is Root / Rooting?

Put simply, Rooting your device allows you, and/or rooted apps, to access parts of the Linux based Android software that is your OS, and that you would otherwise not be able to access. These tasks can be as simple and beneficial as backing up your system setting, or as complicated as installing custom ROMs, Kernels, etc. (more on this later).

You have made a great post that will help a lot of new people out. For rooting it would be helpful to add that all rooting does is give you the equivalent of the Administrator account, like in Windows.

For your fastboot/bootloader section. I always point new people to this:

Your link is pretty good. I like the one I posted as well. It is a little advanced, but it also has some added fluff for newbies.

Also some advice while flashing in general. Never ever do a battery pull unless you are absolutely 100% sure something went wrong and the phone is frozen. Some mods take a while to install, or the progress bar might not be coded in correctly. I have made some personal mods where the progress bar screwed up. After a couple minutes of freaking out, all of a sudden cwm goes "Ding, done!" so yeah patience is key.
Last edited by briggie108; 5th July 2011 at 03:23 PM. Reason: grammar.
5th July 2011, 04:22 PM |#10  
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I second that it should be stickied....
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