[GUIDE] TF300T Unlock/Root/Flash for Factory JB Devices on 4.1.X (newbie friendly)

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By andoryuu3, Junior Member on 11th December 2012, 09:26 AM
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Having recently purchased a TF300T with intent to customize the hell out of it, I ran into a big problem. There wasn't one definitive guide for my general case, some of the steps I read weren't completely clear, and I often had to put pieces together from multiple guides to get where I wanted. Halfway through the process it occurred to me that sharing my experience in form of a guide could give the community something I wish that I had when I began. So enough with the intro, let's visualize the process before we begin.

This guide is for new owners of TF300T devices that have Jelly Bean 4.1.X preflashed from the factory.

Originally Posted by joelalmeidaptg

If your tablet has 4.2.1 Android version from Asus, DO NOT FLASH A RECOVERY THAT WAS ACTUALLY MADE FOR 4.1 TABLETS! You will end up on a PERMANENT BRICK with no solution until now. You won't be able to use fastboot ever again. You won't be able to flash anything ever again. You will be stuck with a bricked tablet!

If you are looking for a Recovery for a 4.2.1 bootloader (and a complete guide for updating), read this thread: Don't do it with any other tutorial: they are for 4.1 bootloaders!

For those curious...
My TF300T was one of the Champagne Gold models purchased from Groupon with a serial that begins with C9. I recall seeing a user with a Champagne Gold from Amazon that still had ICS. If you're still on ICS, this guide isn't for you-- Read up on NVflash and decide if you want to take advantage of it BEFORE you upgrade to JB.


Here's an overview of what we will be doing:

  1. Unlock the TF300T
  2. Backup apps, app data and files (Recommended, Optional)
  3. Install ClockworkMod Recovery (soon to be replaced with TWRP; I gave in)
  4. Root the TF300T (Optional)
  5. Backup your stock Asus ROM (Recommended, Optional)
  6. Flash a Custom ROM
  7. Backup your working Custom ROM (Optional)


Additional information you should know:

  • This guide has been made with the total android noob in mind. Having only owned an android tablet for a week, I too am an android noob. On the flipside, I'm no noob to hardware and software exploits and modifications. I've tried to make this friendly for any type of noob, but there are a few instances where I expect basic menu and Windows 7 navigation skills.
  • ClockworkMod Recovery doesn't appear to have a "Shutdown" function, nor does it display current battery level-- for this reason, the recommendation and warning to have a battery charged to at least 60% is extremely heavy. The worst thing that can happen to any device is usually an incomplete flash. Don't let it happen to you-- start charging your TF300T NOW.
  • I have seen reports that "Fastboot" doesn't work properly on Windows 7 64-bit. This guide addresses that issue, as I also encountered it. If you don't know what "Fastboot" is, in the words of an admirable comedian, "You gonna learn today". Don't worry about it for now!
  • Your device came with JB-- you didn't miss the bus for NVflash. In your case, the bus never came.
  • I am not responsible for any damages caused to (but not limited to) yourself or your device.
  • Even if you think you're pretty good at figuring this stuff out, stick to the directions as close as possible.
  • If you love tweaks, you're going to love your custom ROMs.

Let's get started!


Unlocking Your TF300T

WARNING: Unlocking your TF300T will void your warranty. If your device breaks or fails under normal use, don't expect Asus to pick up the tab! Be aware that once unlocked, it cannot be relocked.

There are two ways you can go about this-- Either download the official Asus unlock utility for Windows or download the .apk and install from your tablet (Asus utility still working! I successfully unlocked mine on JB 4.1.1). I chose to download the .apk and install directly on my tablet, therefore this is the method I will cover.

To download the .apk file, scan the QR Code below with Barcode Scanner (free; on Play store) and open the URL to the Asus Support page for the TF300T. Alternatively, if you are viewing this thread on your TF300T, you may simply tap the code below.

On the Asus Support page, select "Android" as your OS. The page will reload and present you with a list. Click on "Utilities", then after it has loaded, download the Unlock Device App. When it is done downloading, a notification will pop up in the lower right corner. Click on it to install the Unlock tool. You'll also be able to open the app immediately after the install completes-- open it now.

After scrolling to the bottom of the End User Licence Agreement, select the checkbox indicating that you agree to those terms. You should now have access to the slider that will unlock your tablet. Stay connected to your wifi and unlock when ready. The unlock will not work without access to the internet.

If I recall correctly, your tablet should reboot. Just let it do what it wants. After it's done doing it's thing, take this opportunity to make backups! when you and your tablet are ready, we'll continue on to the next step.


Setting Up The Android SDK and Installing ClockworkMod Recovery

Perhaps this was the most frustrating part of my experience-- Installing the Android SDK went fine when I could actually find the .exe download. After that it was a matter of getting the drivers for Fastboot working properly. I was able to narrow it down to a problem for users of Windows 7 64-bit.

From your PC, go HERE, scroll down and click on "Download For Other Platforms". Scroll down more and under the "SDK Tools Only" downloads, you should find a download that looks like: "installer_r##-windows.exe" where "##" is the revision number. Download this .exe and assuming Windows is installed on C:\, install it to either "C:\tools\android-sdk" or "C:\android-sdk". If Windows is not installed to drive letter C, replace the drive letter with the correct letter for your system. Do the same when following the command prompt examples that follow.

Open the Android SDK Manager. Search for "SDK Manager" in the start menu and you should find a result with the same name and a little android icon. Once it's open, you'll be presented with a list. Check the box next to the "Tools" folder, then expand the "Extras" folder and check the box next to "Google USB Driver". In the lower right corner, click "Install packages...", agree to all when ready and begin your downloads.

In the settings application of your tablet, go to the "Developer options" tab near the bottom. Ensure that the switch in the top right corner is in the "ON" position, then under the "Debugging" header, enable "Android debugging". Read the following carefully before you continue: Shut down your tablet and connect your USB cable. Hold the power and volume down buttons at the same time. Keep holding until you see a menu. The menu will consist of a few items, among them there is "RCK", a USB icon, an Android icon, and a "Wipe Data" icon. Tap volume down until the USB icon is selected, then press volume up. Cross your fingers and hope drivers install automatically.

They probably won't, so have windows look in the \android-sdk\extras\ folder. It should say the drivers installed successfully. Either way, open the start menu, and right click on "Computer". Click "Manage", then in the left hand pane of the new window, click "Device Manager". The "Other Devices" section may be already expanded in the center pane. If it is, look to see if "Fastboot" appears in that section with a yellow exclamation mark.

If it isn't there, you shouldn't be worried-- check for a section called "Android Phone" or "Portable Devices". Look for a device called "Android ADB Interface" or "Fastboot". It shouldn't have a yellow exclamation mark next to it.

In the event you have the device appearing with a yellow exclamation mark next to it, go HERE and download PdaNet. This was my remedy for this error. Unplug your TF300T from your computer and install PdaNet following instructions. During the install a warning will appear to install unsigned drivers. Install the driver anyway, and let the installation finish. You can now plug your TF300T back in, and it should be recognized automatically. Just in case, hold the volume down and power buttons again until your tablet restarts and you see your hidden menu again. Once again, tap volume down until the USB icon is selected, then press volume up again to select it. Check the Device Manager again and you should find the "Android Phone" section at the top. Within it, you'll find a device called "Android ADB Interface".

Now that we have your tablet and computer set up nicely, we can finally install ClockworkMod (CWM) Recovery. Go to THIS thread and download the attachment called "recovery-jb.img" (thanks XpLoDWilD!). It is VERY important that you download "recovery-jb.img" as this is the version for users with Jelly Bean bootloader!

Rename the file you just downloaded to "recovery.img" and place it in \android-sdk\platform-tools . In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and search for "cmd". You should see a result called "cmd.exe". Right click that result and click "Run as Administrator". Now type the following commands into the new command prompt window in order to flash CWM Recovery:

cd C:\tools\android-sdk\platform-tools\
fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery recovery.img
DON'T unplug your tablet!! Don't close the window either! Wait for the command prompt to finish what it's doing, then you can type the final command:

fastboot -i 0x0B05 reboot
Your tablet will reboot. Once it has fully rebooted, shut it down and hold volume down and power again to access our tablet's hidden menu. This time, instead of selecting the USB icon, select "RCK" and press volume up. If I'm not mistaken, "RCK" stands for "ReCovery Kernel". ClockworkMod Recovery should load up. If it doesn't, then you were not successful in flashing CWM. If it does, then you can go to the Backup and Restore menu and create a backup.

I was overconfident when I went through all this, and I didn't make a backup-- for me, I wasn't able to get my SD card detected (64GB fat32), but even in this case you should be able to make a backup to your "Internal SD card". Unfortunately, you are on your own for this step. Make sure that you transfer this backup to your PC after creating it. You may need to disable Developer options in your TF300T's settings before you can transfer files over again.

In THIS post, XpLoDWilD gives instructions on how to Root your tablet. If I'm not mistaken, this applies to users who are using a ROM that does not already have root. If you care about Root right now, you can go ahead and flash his attached .zip file using CWM to your TF300T.

When I did this, I selected the .zip file with CWM and then went back to the main menu to select reboot. CWM then prompted me that it needed to fix permissions in order to keep Root. I tried it both ways-- first I let it fix permissions, then used a Play store app to check for root. Test came up negative, so I tried again without allowing it to fix permissions. Negative again. I tried again, allowing it to fix permissions again and then left it alone. If you are successful in rooting your TF300T, you can use Titanium Backup to backup your device later. However I used an app that did not require root that worked fine. The choice is yours.


Flashing a custom ROM

Now it's time to find a custom ROM to flash. For my guide I will cover Baked TF300T Blackbean #6-- Based on CyanogenMod10, and quite a nice upgrade from the stock ROM. The only downside I found is the Asus App Backup application is not included and cannot be installed. I'm unsure why this is the case-- I have even attempted to install it via CWM with no success. If you need this app or the App Locker app, I suggest you choose a non-CM10 ROM. You are on your own in deciding an alternative, but I have heard great things about CleanROM and I seem to recall reading that these incompatible Asus apps work on it. Don't take my word for it-- do your own research to make sure!

It should also be noted that ROMs like Blackbean #6 have some potentially dangerous settings that can make a power user salivate profusely.

Originally Posted by Spiderman's Dad

With great power comes great responsibility

Okay, so it was his uncle, whatever. But either way, if you're going to install this ROM (or any other with overclock tweaks), BE CAREFUL when selecting different settings for CPU speed and overclocking. I used to overclock my PC as a hobby and pushed a 1.8GHz CPU to 2.77GHz on air cooling.. The thing I learned in the process is if you don't have the proper settings, your computer becomes unstable and weird things start happening. Data corruption, clicking the Start Menu does something crazy and unusual, PC crashes randomly, etc... Some of these errors are due to insufficient cooling-- a problem you cannot remedy when working with a portable device.

Assuming you are new to this tablet like I am, use this rule of thumb when dealing with foreign and potentially dangerous things: DON'T TOUCH IT until you understand it. Then when you understand it, understand it again. Then when you feel you've understood it twice, take baby steps. It's like jumping up a cement set of stairs-- you're definitely not going to try to jump five steps in your first attempt, unless you want to risk smashing your face and bloodying yourself up. Take it one step at a time-- make sure you can land on your feet before deciding to go further.

There's a lot of other options Blackbean #6 has that the average user can still appreciate, so ignore those overclocking/CPU stuff and focus on the other tweaks. Nova Launcher is included and is pretty sweet. I upgraded to Nova Launcher Prime and feel it's worth the extra $4, but I'll leave that for you to decide. There are more options than merely Nova Launcher alone, and not all of them have a price tag.

Without further adieu, let's download the Blackbean #6 ROM and Gapps. Head over to THIS official release thread for the downloads. The names of the files you want are:

Put them into a folder called "bb6" and copy the folder over to your TF300T. If your SD card is working in CWM (from CWM, go to the "mount" menu and try to mount SD card), copy the folder to your SD card.

NOW is the time to do any final backups before your fresh ROM install! I recommend "App Backup & Restore" on the Play store. If your tablet is rooted, you can also use Titanium Backup. Both will work fine, though generally speaking people seem to prefer Titanium Backup. People also seem to prefer TWRP over CWM, but I personally find the design unappealing. More importantly, I could only find a proper guide on installing CWM on a factory flashed JB TF300T.

Once you've made your backups, don't do anything until these backups are safely transferred to your PC! Don't forget to backup your music, movies and photos...

Now that you're 100% confident you've made all the backups you need and your battery is well charged and ready to go, let's flash your custom ROM! Shutdown and enter our hidden menu you should be very familiar with by now. Boot into CWM (with RCK icon from hidden menu selected, press volume up), then press volume up/down to navigate.

Select "install zip from sdcard" and tap power. If you placed your "bb6" folder on your SD card, tap the power button once more. If it says "Can't mount /sdcard/" in the bottom left corner, then select "choose zip from internal sdcard" and tap power. Earlier you should have put your ROM and Gapps in a folder called "bb6". If you can't find this folder in either the SD card or internal SD card locations, GO BACK, reboot, and make sure you put the folder on your TF300T or your SD card. You should also make sure that the ROM and the Gapps file are inside that folder as well. Do NOT unzip them! They are just fine as they are. We are NOT flashing the ROM and Gapps yet, we are merely making sure they are there before you wipe your tablet. If the files are there, go back to CWM's main menu.

Select "wipe data/factory reset" and tap the power button. Confirm that you want to wipe, wait for it to finish.
Now select "wipe cache partition" and press the power button. Confirm that you want to wipe, wait for it to finish.
Go back to the main menu and select "advanced" and tap power, then select "wipe dalvik cache" and tap power. Confirm that you want to wipe, wait for it to finish.

Don't worry! Your ROM and Gapps should still be in your bb6 folder. Navigate to "install zip from sdcard" again, and let's make the magic happen. We are going to install the ROM first, then install Gapps. Only after both the ROM and Gapps are installed will we reboot our tablet.

So select the ROM first, confirm that you want to install, wait for it to finish. This one will take a long time compared to the Gapps. Just be patient and wait, even though it looks like it's not doing anything.
Then select the Gapps, confirm that you want to install, wait for it to finish.

Finally, reboot your tablet and cross your fingers. You should be greeted with the sweet victory of the startup animation. Go through the first time setup routine, and make sure the tablet works. From here you can optionally backup your custom ROM, but I recommend getting your settings the way you like them before you backup.

Give yourself a pat on the back--you survived! Hope this guide helped someone out-- I was able to sort through my problems fine, but I felt it important to share my experience. I know I couldn't have been the first to hop through these hoops anyway.

Congrats on your custom ROM Transformer Pad. Enjoy your tablet.

P.S. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? If you have any of the three, feel free to share! If it's a suggestion, please PM me and I'll see about making edits to my guide. All are appreciated, and especially anything that clears up any uncertainties I've expressed.

Special thanks (individuals and groups I owe credit for my process):

Drgravy, Team Baked, and everyone who wrote code that was used in the Blackbean ROMs. Blackbean #6 is my first custom ROM, and so far it's been great!! Keep up the awesome work!

XpLoDWilD, for CWM Recovery + Root on TF300T. These files and instructions were the major keys in making my endeavor a success

I also want to send out a big thank you to every other individual and team who has released a custom ROM for the TF300T-- admirable work, and far more than I could ever do. Thanks for giving us options and making us excited to have a customized tablet!

(....And many more! Currently in finals week (yikes) and can't recall everything right now-- will add more as I remember)
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12th December 2012, 01:12 PM |#2  
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It's a shame that such a well written guide has so little thanks. Have mine.

Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T using xda app-developers app
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12th December 2012, 06:14 PM |#3  
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Very nice. hopefully this helps people just getting the tf300.

note, if you want to install TWRP recovery instead, your command will change accordingly, just make sure you type in the exact file name you want to flash. so if your recovery file is named twrp.blob:

fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery twrp.blob
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12th December 2012, 09:35 PM |#4  
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Your guide helped me a lot. I had problems only with root. Flashed 4 times, but always got "no root acces". Finally, I downloaded root package from here and it works well
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13th December 2012, 01:08 AM |#5  
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is there any way around that "unknown error..." when i try to use the unlock app yet?

I keep trying but the same error message keeps coming up
13th December 2012, 01:41 AM |#6  
Tamaskan's Avatar
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Originally Posted by sq1ne

is there any way around that "unknown error..." when i try to use the unlock app yet?

I keep trying but the same error message keeps coming up

Is your tf300 new? first hand? or have u ever sent it to asus for repair before?
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13th December 2012, 02:50 AM |#7  
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Well written, well thought out instructions. Many, many thanks!! I'm still having some trouble though. I get stuck once I download the unlock app, open it, agree to the EULA, then another warning appears that is a black screen white text and a yellow triangle. Nothing happens after that. There are no buttons to agree, no checkboxes, nothing happens. Any advice?

*UPDATE* Figured it out. Be sure to sent the font in settings->display->font size to small, then you will see it. The large font pushes the agree button off the bottom of the screen.
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13th December 2012, 06:37 AM |#8  
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It would be great if CWM in this OP were replaced with TWRP. Many are having issues with CWM. Me being one of them. I flashed TWRP with fastboot and no more problems!

I agree with the post above. Sad that such a well written post has so little thanks.
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13th December 2012, 04:22 PM |#9  
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thnx for this amazing guide, but I am still unsure of this guide will work for me.

I am from Holland (Europe)

specs from my ASUS Transformer TF300T:

Android 4.1.1
Kernel 3.1.10 ([email protected])
Buildnr JR003C.WW_epad-
Pad EC Version PAD-EC20T-0216

My question is...will this guide also work for me? ...since I have JB 4.1.1 & build

I am also worried about the fact that this guide in for an american(?) transformer I do I need other files then the files mentioned?

I would love to have ROOT and install a custom rom and remove bloatware etc.

thnx for the help in advance!
13th December 2012, 05:22 PM |#10  
thrutheeyes's Avatar
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Flag Milton Keynes
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Thank you so much, perfect for so many people here.

Can you edit it with TWRP? I would use this right now but as above poster said there have been issues with CWM so don't want to try it.

P.s. i got mine from groupon too
13th December 2012, 08:45 PM |#11  
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Originally Posted by Tamaskan

Is your tf300 new? first hand? or have u ever sent it to asus for repair before?

bought mine brand new just this past Black Friday.
updated to .18 firmware

I don't want to have to send it in.
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