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The BEST Method to Keep Root When A New Update Comes Around

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By mattlgroff, Inactive Recognized Developer on 24th March 2013, 05:12 AM
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I would like to thank Hashcode and xlightwaverx for their work on making this type of update method possible. Without Hashcode, Motorola devices wouldn't be nearly as fun to play with as they are today.

We will need to definite a few terms, because this is not going to be the most user-friendly way of upgrading your Motorola Android device.

OMAP - The brand of the manufacturer Texas Instruments for a select set of processors. This is used in the older generation of Motorola devices referred to in this guide and includes: DROID Bionic XT875, DROID 3, DROID 4 XT894, DROID RAZR XT912, and DROID Xyboard (aka XOOM 2).

Snapdragon- The brand of the manufacturer Qualcomm for a select set of processors. I will be referring to this for these devices: Photon Q 4G LTE, Atrix HD MB886, DROID RAZR HD XT926, DROID RAZR M XT907, RAZR HD XT925, and RAZR M XT905/201M.

Safestrap - A custom recovery for rooted, but locked bootloader devices by Hashcode. You can download it from here. It has variants for both OMAP and Snapdragon devices. This is used to 'flash' custom ROMs and other 'flashable' zip files.

Flash - A generic term for installing something to the device. You will see this used like so: "Flash ____ ROM using Safestrap" which just means to install the ROM's zip file to the device, using Safestrap by Hashcode.

Fastboot - A 'mode' for Motorola Android devices (and some other Android devices) for 'flashing' firmware files. Getting into this mode will vary by device, but generally you must select it from the Boot Menu. To get to the Boot Menu, the phone must be completely turned off. Then:
  • Hold down both Volume keys and the Power key until the Boot Menu comes up on the screen.
  • Use the Volume Down key to scroll down the list, and select the 'AP Fastboot' or 'Fastboot' mode from the list, the name varies by device.
  • To leave Fastboot, hold down the power button for a second or two. At any time your device is stuck or forzen in any mode and you cannot perform a Battery Pull, you can use the button combination of Power + Volume Down keys for 8-10 seconds and the device will power off.

Moto-Fastboot - For OMAP devices, you must use the Motorola version of Fastboot called 'Moto-fastboot'. I have renamed it for this guide's sake to 'fastboot'. The only difference between this and regular 'Fastboot' is the executable will flash large files in parts rather than in one time. This is required for OMAP based Motorola devices.

Firmware - Sometimes called 'SBF' files because of the format used prior to Motorola Android devices with a 4G LTE radio in them, these are generally .XML.ZIP files which contain the software of your device. The "Firmware Team" finds these files and uploads them to a website maintained by Skrilax_CZ. Having this firmware in the hands of normal users lets us repair devices and return them to complete factory settings, or even upgrade them completely in some cases.

Path - This is a computer term relating to what your Command Line or Terminal application will see when you type in a command. I will not be assisting with setting up your Path mainly because its Operating System specific.
You can find a Windows guide for setting up the Path here, by tucstwo of DroidRzr.com.

Now that these are defined, lets move to some required Downloads.
Fastboot - for OMAP
Fastboot - for Snapdragon


It should be obvious, but you only need the download for your device type. See the definitions if you don't know your device type.

The goal of this guide is to show you how to upgrade your rooted Motorola Android device to the latest update without breaking your ability to downgrade, and without breaking your root. Hopefully it won't be too difficult.

Some things must be true for this to work on your device:
  • Your device is rooted and has Safestrap installed.
  • Your device's new OTA Update has Firmware availiable for that new update.

If these are both the case, then you are in luck. This same process should work similarly for both OMAP and Snapdragon based Motorola Android devices.
  1. Download the new firmware. Every time a new firmware is released, it goes on the Droid-Developers SBF website.
  2. Extract the firmware .xml.zip to a folder, we can call this the folder whatever we like. You need two things from this folder:
    • boot.img
    • radio.img OR NON-HLOS.bin
  3. Once you have those, you will then need to find a Stock ROM, or any ROM based off of the new OTA Update version. A Stock ROM is a .zip usually created by someone like Hashcode using a System Pull from a device and turning it into a flashable .zip for people to use as a backup.
  4. With the Stock ROM, the boot.img, and the radio.img (or NON-HLOS.bin) collected, put the Stock ROM .zip onto your external storage. If you don't have external storage, internal should be fine too. Move the boot.img and radio.img (or NON-HLOS.bin) to the folder where your fastboot is located. These will then be in your Path if fastboot already is.
  5. I had previously mentioned you need to be rooted and to have Safestrap installed, if you haven't done them you MUST do them now or the rest of this process will not work.
  6. Boot your phone into Fastboot mode. I explained how in the definitions.
  7. Using your computer's Command Line or Terminal application with the proper Path setup for fastboot.

    Enter the following commands for OMAP devices:
    Code:
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
    fastboot flash radio radio.img
    Enter the following commands for Snapdragon devices:
    Code:
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
    fastboot flash modem NON-HLOS.bin
    fastboot erase modemst1
    fastboot erase modemst2
  8. Now reboot your device, and enter Safestrap. Depending on which version of Safestrap these instructions may be a little different but the outcome will be the same.
  9. Flash the Stock ROM from your external or internal storage, from where-ever you have placed it from the previous steps. Note that you may need to enable another ROM SLOT for being able to flash any .zip files.
  10. Once the Stock ROM is flashed, reboot into your brand new OTA Updated phone which is rooted (assuming the Stock ROM was, 99% of the time they are) and you have retained the ability to flash back to an earlier firmware. Congrats!
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24th March 2013, 05:24 AM |#2  
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Re: The BEST Method to Keep Root When A New Update Comes Around
So this mean 4.2 is coming soon lol

Sent from my MB886 using xda premium
24th March 2013, 05:30 AM |#3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sickkside13

So this mean 4.2 is coming soon lol

Sent from my MB886 using xda premium

I have no idea, you'd have to check Motorola update tables.
24th March 2013, 05:43 AM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sickkside13

So this mean 4.2 is coming soon lol

Sent from my MB886 using xda premium

How did you even come to that conclusion?

Thanks for the guide Matt
3rd April 2013, 12:39 AM |#5  
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Re: The BEST Method to Keep Root When A New Update Comes Around
Is it possible to change the xml and system image to use a already rooted 4.1.2 system instead and flash with rsd? just curious if it would work.

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3rd April 2013, 12:55 AM |#6  
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Re: The BEST Method to Keep Root When A New Update Comes Around
Quote:
Originally Posted by xrxregenxrx

Is it possible to change the xml and system image to use a already rooted 4.1.2 system instead and flash with rsd? just curious if it would work.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using xda app-developers app

Nope cause of the signature check I'm assuming

Sent from my MB886 using xda app-developers app
3rd April 2013, 01:08 AM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EcHoFiiVe

Nope cause of the signature check I'm assuming

Sent from my MB886 using xda app-developers app

+1
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