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[GUIDE] Root and unbrick steps for ASUS ZenPad C 7.0 (P10Z - Z170C)

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By tralph3, Junior Member on 2nd October 2019, 04:14 AM
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Hi all! It took me a lot of time to finally being able to root this tablet. It's old, slow and practically unusable, but with some tricks it can be made much, much better. I'm going to explain what you need to do to root this tablet, and in case of brick (which happened to me many, many times) how to unbrick it. I even got to a point where I could not even boot into recovery mode, and only fastboot was working, that was scary, but I managed to get out. Every single file I will use will be bundled in a ZIP you can download, and I'll try to make sure this link stays up, because there's nothing more frustrating than wanting to make these things in the future only to find out the link is dead, along with all your hopes. Before we begin, a little disclaimer:

Code:
#You, and only you are responsible for everything that you do or happens to your tablet.
#If you screw up, I have a number of backups to help you recover, but if that's not enough don't point a finger at me.
#I will not be babysitting anybody to help restore their tablet or recover lost data.
#This process WILL wipe all of your data, do a backup before beggining.
#YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
1. ENABLING USB DEBUGGING

This is a very basic step, but it's needed if you want to even begin to do this. You'll need to go to "Settings -> About Phone". There, look for a line that says "Compilation Number" (or something like that) and tap it multiple times. You will see a message pop up saying "You are now a developer" (I wish it was that easy). Go back to the settings screen, you will see a new option appeared called "USB Debugging". Enable it, and make sure "Developer Options" are enabled too at the very top of the screen. Now, connect the tablet to your computer. You will see a message pop up asking for permission, tap "Always allow from this computer" and press "Allow".

That's it for this step.

2. SETTING UP ADB TOOLS AND MAKING SURE THEY WORK

Now that we have USB debugging enabled, and we have allowed our PC to access the tablet, we can begin setting up ADB. The required files are attached in the zip.

Extract the "platform-tools" folder and move it somewhere nice. Then open it, hold shift and right click in a white space and select the option "Open command window here". CMD will pop up, now type:

Code:
adb devices
It will probably say something about a server followed by a list of attached devices. If you see a serial number there, then great! ADB is working as it should. If not, make sure the tablet is connected, that USB Debugging is on, and if all else fails, try with another cable.

Now for the juicy part.

3. UNLOCKING THE BOOTLOADER

We will have to unlock the bootloader if we want to do anything here. Here's what to do. Type:

Code:
adb reboot fastboot
Wait until the tablet reboots into fastboot. Once there type:

Code:
fastboot oem unlock
fastboot oem unlock confirm
This should unlock the bootloader.

NOTE: This method of unlocking is reported to not work anymore, but I listed it anyway just in case, as it doesn't hurt to try. If this is not working for you, don't panic, it's normal, use the following code instead:

Code:
fastboot oem asus-go
fastboot oem asus-go confirm
This should work, and the bootloader should be unlocked now.

4. INSTALLING THE REQUIRED FIRMWARE

Now, your tablet may or may not have the required firmware for the procedure, but just in case we will flash one that's sure to work. If you followed along, you should be in fastboot mode right now. Type:

Code:
fastboot reboot
Your tablet should boot as normal, without any changes (unless the first bootloader unlock method worked for you, in which case it probably wiped all of your data). Now we can access ADB once again, so type:

Code:
adb reboot recovery
The tablet will reboot into recovery mode and you should see an image of wasted android with an open belly (if you don't see this it doesn't matter). You should see a list of options with blue text, you must use the volume keys to navigate this menu. If you don't see any options, press any volume key and they should appear. If instead of getting into recovery mode, the tablet just turned off, then go to the "Fixing recovery" section.

In this menu, you must select "Wipe data/factory reset". This will, obviously, wipe all of your data. Once that finishes, select the "Install update through ADB" option. Once that's done, make sure the "updated_firmware.zip" file is in the same directory as the "adb.exe" file, then type:

Code:
adb sideload updated_firmware.zip
This will install the firmware, it will take about 20 mins. Once finished, reboot the device. You may think it got bricked at this point, fear not, the first boot really takes this long (about 10 mins).

Once everything is done, the device should boot up and everything should be exactly as it was when you took it out of the box, meaning, it doesn't even remember your wifi password. Do a quick (but proper) set up and enable USB Debugging again, make sure to allow the PC again (and check the "always allow" box). Also, scroll down a bit more in the developer options section and look for one that says "Verify apps installed through USB" or something of that kind. Make sure it's unchecked. Now, we gotta install root.

5. ROOTING

The all holy root, finally here. Type this into the terminal:

Code:
adb reboot fastboot
You should be familiar with this process by now. Once in fastboot mode, type:

Code:
fastboot boot root.img
Once finished, reboot. You should boot up as a rooted user, hooray! Only one final step, we gotta give ourselves some means to control this new power, that's where the SuperSU app comes into play.

6. INSTALLING SUPERSU

Apparently, not every single SuperSU apk file works... but lucky for you, I managed to scout and bundle one that does, so use that one. Make sure the apk file is in the same folder as "adb.exe" (as with all of the previous files) and type:

Code:
adb install supersu-2-82.apk
Leave it a few mins, and you should see a "success!" message when it's finished. Open the SuperSU app and it will tell you that you need to update the binaries. Say yes to that, and when asked wether to do a "Normal" update or "TWRP" update, select normal. It should be successful and prompt you to reboot, do so.

That's about it, you now have root access in the ASUS ZenPad C 7.0.

NOTE: Every single attempt I made to make the SuperSU app a system app resulted in the app crashing and I needed to reinstall it again, do as you please.

Why would you even want to do this you might ask? Well, I personally used this to make a few tweaks with Kernel Auditor and L Speed, two apps that will let you customize the performance of the machine to its maximum... sacrificing battery of course. You can search online for the best configuration for you for these apps. With the right tweaks, it transforms from **** to usable, and you need root for all of this.

As a quick note, you might notice that the SuperSU pop up that prompts you wether to grant or deny root access to an app is delayed, that's just how life is with this machine, it's slow. As a tip, when an app is trying to acquire root access, go back to the home screen and open the SuperSU app, then go back to the app you were trying to give it access to, it should appear quicked that way. Sometimes it's so slow that the app says I don't have root, only to have the pop up appear 10 seconds later. Now... to a final chapter.

7. UNBRICKING

This would be the end of the story if nothing went wrong, you have a rooted tablet and you can now do whatever you want with it, but that's not how life is. **** happens, things can go wrong, and when they do, you better have a backup plan. I don't know how to get back your ex, but I know how you can unbrick your tablet if that should happen. Follow these steps if you want to recover this machine...

Code:
#This process will wipe all data, but you shouldn't care about that since you can't access it anyway.
So, if the tablet doesn't turn on and gets stuck at the boot up screen, what can we do? Well, let it sit at the boot up screen for a few mins, and then type in the terminal:

Code:
adb devices
If it's recognized, then type:

Code:
adb reboot recovery
If it's not recognized, press the power button and the volume down key until the tablet turns off. Once that happens, press the power button and the volume down key, when the logo appears, let go of the power button and keep the volume down key pressed, that should boot the tablet into recovery mode. If you got into recovery mode, skip to 7.2

7.1 FIXING RECOVERY MODE

Sometimes, (it happened to me), recovery mode is broken.... it just doesn't appear, no matter what you do you can't get into it. To fix this, we gotta flash it again. We gotta enter fastboot mode. One option is to boot up the device until it gets stucked and wait a few mins, then adb should be able to recognize it and you type:

Code:
adb reboot fastboot
If that's not the case, turn the tablet off and press power and volume up, that should get you to fastboot. Once there type:

Code:
fastboot devices
And the tablet should appear there, if it doesn't... well it better do. I don't really know what to do if it doesn't appear there, but there shouldn't be a reason for it not to. I guess you can try to enter fastboot once again, with the tabler connected from the beggining or something like that, let's just assume it does, and if it doesn't then I'm sorry to tell you that's homework you will have to do.

Once here, we must format the cache and the data partition, for that type the following:

Code:
fastboot format cache
fastboot format userdata
Now, we need to get the recovery files, grab them from the zip I gave you. The files in question are "recovery.bin" and "vrl.bin". We will start with vrl. Once the two formats are finished, type:

Code:
fastboot flash vrl vrl.bin
Followed by:

Code:
fastboot flash recovery recovery.bin
Once that's done, press the power button and volume down keys until the tablet turns off. Then, press them again until the logo appears, and when that happens let go of the power button, that should get you (finally) into recovery.

7.2 UNBRICKING (FOR REAL THIS TIME)

Well, now that everybody is on the same page, and we could get to recovery mode, it's time to repeat some steps really... Follow the procedure from step 4 onwards (from the part that tells you to go to recovery). So, wipe data and apply that damn zip with sideload, the tablet should work now.

That's all I have to offer guys. I'm not a developer, I'm just a guy with a bunch of free time on his hands, so I was able to gather all of this information and (most importantly) files so you can root and fix this god damn tablet. Until the next one!

FINAL NOTE: In the files I included, there's a TWRP.img file. This is the TWRP custom recovery. As far as I know, this version should work with this tablet, but I was unable to flash it and make it work. IF YOU WANT TO TRY THIS DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK, IT'S HIGHLY PROBABLE THAT THIS WILL RESULT IN BRICKING YOUR TABLET AND BREAKING THE STOCK RECOVERY, IN WICH CASE YOU WILL NEED TO FOLLOW THE STEPS STATED IN THIS GUIDE.

I couldn't upload the files as an attachment directly... sorry.

The "updated_firmware.zip" file is added as a separate download because it's a bigger file, and I prefer to let people decide if they even want it in the first place.

updated_firmware.zip
Everything else
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