[HOW-TO] Root / Install a ROM / Unroot / Revert to Stock (A KFFB Supplement)
This how-to originally started out as a part of the Kindle Fire For Beginners
(KFFB) guide, but evolved into this supplemental guide. Because of its origin, this guide assumes the reader is already familiar with KFFB, so reading it is a mandatory prerequisite. Users who post questions in this thread already covered in KFFB will be directed to go back and read it again.
My motives for writing this guide are very much in line with the reasons why I wrote KFFB. I'm hoping users will take the time to learn what they are doing and why they are doing it instead of crossing their fingers and hitting a button on an automated program. While I understand this is the more tedious route to their destination, the knowledge gained here can be used to get back on track when things go wrong or methods inevitably change over time.
The first post in this series details the process of rooting and installing a ROM on a stock device. The two share many of the same preliminary steps, so it makes sense to go over both at the same time.
Again, please read Kindle Fire For Beginners
before continuing. The conventions introduced in KFFB (e.g. having KFU installed in "C:\kfu") will continue to be used here. Make sure the battery is fully charged. A drained battery is not something you'll ever want to encounter and especially not while in the middle of this process. Create a new folder "C:\kfu\software" on your hard drive. Downloaded software to be installed on the Kindle Fire will be moved there.
Download and install WinMD5Free
to some place on your Computer. The developers for most of the software you'll download for the Kindle Fire will provide an MD5 checksum. The checksum is used to verify the integrity of downloaded file, so you can be sure that you haven't gotten a bad download or a corrupted file. Tell WinMD5Free what file you want to check and compare the calculated checksum with the one provided by the developer. If the two match, you can be confident about installing it on your Kindle Fire.
For all required software listed in this document...
- Extract (unzip) the files from the compressed archive (unless otherwise noted)
- Verify the MD5 checksums if they have been provided
- Move them to the C:\kfu\software folder
As with any other how-to guide, it's always a good idea to just read through the document first to get a basic idea of the process involved. Once you are comfortable with the concepts, then go back through and actually perform the steps required.
Getting to fastboot mode
The first step to modifying the Kindle Fire is to get the device into fastboot mode. The easiest and safest way to do this on a stock device is to use a factory cable
. The factory cable is safe because it does not require the bootmode to be changed on the device. If something unexpected happens, you'll be able to disconnect the factory cable and reboot straight back into the stock software.
If you choose not to use a factory cable and change the bootmode to get into fastboot mode, you'll be taking a small gamble that you'll be able to issue fastboot commands to the device and change the bootmode back to normal. If you cannot change the bootmode back for some reason (e.g. your device drivers for fastboot mode fail to recognize the device), the device will be stuck in fastboot mode until you find a way to do so. In nearly every case, if you are able to issue the adb commands to get into fastboot mode, you should be able to send the fastboot commands necessary to get out of it. This is just a fair warning out of an abundance of caution... make sure you've done everything to ensure the ADB device drivers have been installed properly.
If you have a factory cable, you can turn the Kindle Fire off and connect the cable to the device, then the computer. The Kindle Fire will power up and put you directly into fastboot mode. You can then skip the rest of this section and go directly to flashing a recovery and bootloader. Otherwise...
1) Boot up the Kindle Fire normally and connect a USB cable to the device and computer.
2) Copy pokey9000's fbmode program into a user writeable location on the Kindle Fire...
adb push C:\kfu\software\fbmode /data/local/tmp/
3) Change the permissions on the fbmode program so it can be executed (run) on the device...
adb shell chmod 755 /data/local/tmp/fbmode
4) Execute (run) the fbmode program to change the bootmode to fastboot...
adb shell /data/local/tmp/fbmode
5) Reboot the device...
Note: In case you are wondering why the "adb shell idme bootmode 4002" command previously discussed in KFFB was not used here, that command requires root privileges not available in the stock configuration. Without root privileges, the above workaround is required.
Installing a recovery and custom bootloader
TeamWin Recovery Project (TWRP) recovery
Note: Do not extract the contents of the FIREFIREFIRE bootloader zip file. It will be flashed as-is with TWRP recovery.
1) Install the TWRP recovery...
fastboot -i 0x1949 flash recovery C:\kfu\software\openrecovery-twrp-126.96.36.199-blaze.img
2) Set the bootmode to recovery (5001)...
fastboot -i 0x1949 oem idme bootmode 5001
3) Reboot the device into TWRP recovery. If you used a factory cable to get into fastboot mode, turn off the device by holding down the power button for about 20 seconds. Replace the factory cable with a generic USB cable and the device will start up again automatically. Otherwise...
fastboot -i 0x1949 reboot
4) Copy the FIREFIREFIRE bootloader zip file to the /sdcard directory on the Kindle Fire...
adb push C:\kfu\software\fff-u-boot_v1.4a.zip /sdcard/
5) From the main menu of TWRP, press the "Install" button to flash the FFF bootloader onto the bootloader partition. Navigate to the /sdcard directory on the left (should be the default the first time you use TWRP) and select the file from the list on the right. Then simply "Swipe to Confirm Flash" to install.
6) Optional: Make a nandroid backup of the stock software. From the main menu of TWRP, press the "Backup" button and then "Swipe to Back Up" to create a snapshot of the stock system. If you change your mind later about rooting or have second thoughts about the ROM, just "Restore" the backup and return to the stock configuration.
Rooting the stock software
Users interested in flashing a custom ROM may elect to skip this section. Rooting the stock software is not a requirement to flash a custom ROM because the custom ROM will completely overwrite the stock software. However, if you are undecided on the question of rooted stock vs. custom ROM, root the stock software first and try that out for a while. The option to flash a custom ROM will still be available at a later time.
The following method of rooting the Kindle Fire stock software has been tested on 6.3.x and 6.2.x systems. Skip step #5 when rooting 6.2.x systems because the root checker does not exist in those versions.
Superuser by ChainsDD
Note: Two separate files will be needed from the contents of this zip file: the su binary from the system\bin folder and the Superuser.apk file from system\app folder.
This section assumes the device is already booted into TWRP recovery.
1) Remount the /system partition in read/write mode...
adb shell mount system
2) Copy the su binary onto the device...
adb push C:\kfu\software\su /system/xbin/
3) Change the owner of the su binary to root...
adb shell chown root:root /system/xbin/su
4) Set permissions for the su binary to run as root...
adb shell chmod 6755 /system/xbin/su
5) Disable the root checker by renaming the check_rooted executable...
adb shell mv /system/bin/check_rooted /system/bin/check_rooted.bak
6) Change the bootmode back to normal...
adb shell idme bootmode 4000
7) Reboot the system...
8) Once the Kindle Fire has rebooted into the system, install the Superuser app...
adb install C:\kfu\software\Superuser.apk
Congratulations! You have gained root privileges on the stock Kindle Fire software!
Installing a custom ROM
It should go without saying, but users who intend on staying with a rooted stock device need to skip this section. Flashing a custom ROM will overwrite the stock software and leave no trace of the original Kindle Fire interface.
Any ROM you choose to install. Check the KF Development List as a starting point.
Note: Do not extract the contents of the ROM archive. The recovery program will need the actual zip file to install.
This section assumes the device is already booted into TWRP recovery.
1) Carefully read the ROM thread for specific directions and warnings provided by the developer when flashing any new ROM.
2) Copy the custom ROM zip file to the /sdcard directory on the Kindle Fire...
adb push C:\kfu\software\ROM.zip /sdcard/
You must replace the "ROM.zip" part of the above command to the actual name ROM's zip file you've downloaded.
3) From the main menu of TWRP, "Wipe -> Factory Reset" to remove the existing files in the data and cache partitions that could interfere with the operation of the new system software. A "Factory Reset" will delete any installed apps, software/network settings, etc. It will not touch the /sdcard directory that contains music, eBooks, and files of that nature.
4) From the main menu of TWRP, "Install" to flash the ROM onto your device. Navigate to the /sdcard directory on the left (should be the default the first time you use TWRP) and select the file from the list on the right. Then simply "Swipe to Confirm Flash" to install.
5) From the main menu of TWRP, "Reboot -> System" to boot into the newly flash ROM.
Congratulations! You have completely replaced the stock Kindle Fire software with a custom ROM!
The zip files pushed onto the /sdcard during installation are only necessary during the installation process and do not need to take up space on the device after completing the install. Use a file manager or mount the storage device on the host computer to delete the files and reclaim the used space.
I've got some other topics in mind, but like I did with the KFFB, I'll see how users respond to this post before I continue. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions. I may not respond to everything, but I will keep the helpful comments in mind if/when I decide to expand this how-to guide. Thanks for reading.
jcase - For providing the basis for this guide and lending his expertise in rooting devices
pokey9000 - For his work on FFF and providing the fbmode exploit
TeamWin and Dees_Troy - For providing the TWRP recovery and continuing its development
ChainsDD - For the Superuser package