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Beginners Guide to root and flashing a custom ROM on the TF700T

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By berndblb, Recognized Contributor on 21st March 2014, 08:08 AM
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Last edit: Jan 2, 2018
The information here can be found in many places on the web and several forums. But when I started flashing custom ROMs about two years ago, I got frustrated many times because I found that information to be scattered, fragmented and in many cases outdated.

I hope this guide will make it a little easier for those users who wish to unleash the potential of this tablet but have no idea where to start. This is meant to be for inexperienced users who may be flashing for the first time.
If you find information I provide here to be incorrect or outdated, please do chime in!

And the standard disclaimer: I am not responsible if you misunderstand instructions I give here, if my instructions are wrong, if you forget to charge the battery and the tablet dies halfway through a flash or if your house goes up in flames.
YOU DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK


First things first:
Backup everything on your tablet you care about to an external microSD or your PC. Don't worry about your apps. You can always install them from the Play Store.
This is just common sense. It is not inherently risky to flash custom ROMs. But something can wrong at any time and you have to be careful. If you are, this is a safe procedure.

Basically the process of flashing a custom ROM on the TF700 involves three steps:
1) Unlock the bootloader using Asus' Unlock tool
2) Install a custom recovery on the tablet
3) Flash a custom ROM of your choice using said custom recovery
Rooting is optional
To install a custom ROM it is not necessary to root the tablet. You do have to unlock the bootloader and install a custom recovery no matter what, but in my opinion rooting is an unnecessary step since any custom ROM you flash will be rooted anyway.

But if you want to root the TF700 on stock firmware there are three ways to go about it:
Up to firmware version 10.6.1.14.8 you could use a tool called Motochopper to root the TF700. Asus plugged the hole Motochopper exploited in the last firmware update.
For firmware version 10.6.1.14.10 there is Kingo Android Root (only works on Windows AFAIK).
And then there is Towelroot, a one-click-root exploit. It's an apk, so no PC necessary. Only Towelroot v1 works for the TF700 and it's hard to find. My dog ate the copy I had..


Unlocking the bootloader
Your tablet should be fully charged at this point!
  • Make sure "USB debugging" is checked in Settings > Developer Options (if you don't see it, go to About Tablet and tap 7 times on Build Number)
  • Download the Asus Unlock Tool v7 from here: https://www.androidfilehost.com/?fid=817550096634776735
  • On your tablet, in Settings > Security check "Unknown Sources"
  • Copy the .apk to your tablet.
  • Find the apk in your tablet's file browser, tap it and let it install
  • Open the app and follow the instructions. You will loose your warranty as soon as you click "I agree".
Quote:

Update 2/15: Google added another wrinkle: It now checks even sideloaded apps and refuses to install them if they are considered not secure. The Unlock tool seems to fail their test. v8 does not install at all anymore. v7 will install if you allow "less secure apps" in your Google account settings. On the web - not your Google account on the tablet
July 2015: And another wrinkel... It seems to be pretty consistent now that the Unlock Tool hangs on the Google account password step. I suspect something changed on the Google side. It probably doesn't allow the tool to check/compare the password anymore. There have been quite a few security changes lately and the unlock tool never gets updated so I suspect that Google now is blocking access by the tool to it's servers.
The work-around is easy enough: Delete the Google account from the tablet (Settings > Accounts), then run the tool again. If that doesn't do it, do a factory reset from Settings, reboot and during the initial setup establish a WiFi connection but skip the google account setup, then run the tool

If you get an unspecified "network error" you could be in for some major headaches. Many tablet's serial number and/or the mac address of the mainboard seem to be registered incorrectly in Asus database. This problem is widely discussed on several forums, just google: "cannot unlock TF700" or similar and read the threads. Too many variables to discuss this here...

To check if you are unlocked, boot the tablet and read the tiny script. It should say:
The device is unlocked.


Installing a custom recovery on your tablet

To determine if you need to update your bootloader read post #3

I highly recommend you choose TWRP as your custom recovery. If you want CWM, you are on your own.
To push TWRP to your tablet you need to set up "Fastboot" between your tablet and your PC. Fastboot is a protocol that enables you low level access to your tablet.
Practice/Background
Power down your tablet and disconnect it from the dock
Push and hold the Volume Down key (left side of the rocker) and the Power key until you feel the tablet vibrate twice. Let go when you see the tiny script. Read it and it tells you that your tablet is now in fastboot mode and you will see three icons (I assume again you are on a JB 4.2 bootloader. In older bootloaders you had 4 icons and had to select the USB icon to get into fastboot mode):

RCK - (which should be flashing) is your recovery (the stock recovery at this point, but once TWRP is installed this is one way to get into it)
Android - is your system, selecting it boots you back to into your ROM.
Wipe Data - stay away! Especially with custom software installed never, ever use this option!
To toggle between the three icons use Volume Down, to select one use Volume Up. Try it but do not push Volume Up when the 'Wipe data' icon is flashing!
Installing ADB and fastboot plus the necessary drivers

For a working ADB/fastboot connection from PC to tablet you need:
a) Asus device drivers – if you connect the tablet to your PC and it's recognized as a portable device you should be ok. If not, download the Asus Sync Utility from their support/downloads site and install it to get the drivers, then uninstall the program from your PC if you don't want it. The drivers will stay.
b) Fastboot and ADB drivers which will be installed if you run the tool below.

Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10:
Download and run this cool little tool [TOOL] [WINDOWS] ADB, Fastboot and Drivers - 15 seconds ADB Installer v1.1 - xda-developers (don't forget to hit the Thanks button)
The tool installs the adb and fastboot.exe to a folder on your C:\ drive (look for adb) and the corresponding drivers. Takes about 15 seconds.
On Windows 8.+ you need to turn off the driver verification feature. Here's a great video on how to do it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afrvSGiMAtk


Win XP (and all other Win versions if the above does not work for some reason)
I recommend the "ADB Install Tool" mentioned above or the 'Minimal ADB Fastboot Tool': [TOOL]Minimal ADB and Fastboot [7-18-13] - xda-developers
Either works fine.
If you need the drivers, get them here and install manually in Device Manager:[ADB/FB/APX Driver] Universal Naked Driver 0.72 (We dont need no stinking HTC Sync) - xda-developers
Win7 and Win8 users seem to have the best luck wth the drivers sbdags provided here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2646279
It's fine if you want to use his Recovery Install Tool from that thread. But I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with basic fastboot commands! There are lots of tuturials all over the web.

Linux:Check out this site https://code.google.com/p/adb-fastboot-install/
iOS:[GUIDE] Set up ADB and Fastboot on a Mac easily (With Screenshots!) - xda-developers or:
http://htc-one.****************/how-t...c-one-0151178/

TROUBLE WITH ADB FASTBOOT DRIVERS? SALVATION IS NEAR!! (May 2017 edit)

And it is called FWUL (F-orget(?) Windows Use Linux) a great Arch Linux distro that you can boot off a USB stick or CD with simple adb fastboot all setup for you. Follow the instructions, set your boot sequence to boot from USB or SD drive first and disable Secure Boot in your BIOS Security settings. I have fought with Windows driver problems as long as I have been using Android devices and some stuff I never got to work. With this baby I was able to connect to 4 different Android devices with no problems at all. A beauty! https://forum.xda-developers.com/and...ssues-t3526755


The fun begins
Fastboot does not play well with USB 3.0, so use a USB 2.0 port for this. And no hubs and such....
  • Boot the tablet into fastboot mode and connect it to your computer via the original USB cable
  • In Windows Explorer navigate to the folder that contains your adb.exe and fastboot.exe
  • Win 7/8/10: Inside that folder Shift + right click and select "Open command window here".
  • For Win XP click here
    select 'Run' from the Start menu, type
    Code:
    cmd
    and hit Enter. In the resulting command prompt type
    Code:
    cd C:\adb\    (or whatever the path to your fastboot folder is..)

    If all of the above fails follow these instructions: https://www.michaelcrump.net/power-t...d-prompt-here/
  • In the command window on your PC type:
    Code:
    fastboot devices
  • If that command returns a string of numbers and letters, you are good as gold.
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  • If it returns: "No devices found", fastboot is not working - yet - and you have to troubleshoot.
Getting the correct drivers working can be the hardest part of this exercise. If your computer does not "see" the tablet in fastboot, try to uninstall the existing driver (if any) in Device Manager and manually install the Google Universal Naked Drivers. And if Windows does not cooperate at all, PM me and I can hook you up with a Puppy Linux live CD with fastboot/adb set up already.

Let's assume everything is good:
  • On your computer go here: https://twrp.me/devices/asustransfor...ityTF700T.html
  • Download the latest version of TWRP. Version 2.8.0 or later is ready for KitKat and Lollipop custom roms as well as backward compatible with JB ROMs.

    FYI ONLY: If you for whatever reason want to format your data partition:
    Formatting /data starting with TWRP 2.7.x and later takes a lot longer than in previous versions (up to 90 minutes). LET IT FINISH. DO NOT INTERRUPT THE FORMATTING.
    Formatting data is only necessary in cases of data corruption.
  • Place the TWRP file into the same directory as your fastboot.exe.
  • Again check the connection with
Code:
fastboot devices
If you get the connection, in the command window type:
Code:
fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery <name-of-file>
This will flash the recovery to the recovery partition
Example:
If the file is named TWRP_2.8.6.2_TF700_recovery.img, the fastboot command is:
Code:
fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery TWRP_2.8.6.2_TF700_recovery.img
You can rename the file to something easier to type, but file name and fastboot command have to match.
So if you renamed the file to twrp.img:
Code:
fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery twrp.img

If your recovery comes as a blob:
Code:
fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery twrp.blob
If it is successful type:
Code:
fastboot reboot
and let the tablet boot up normally.
Booting back into the (not rooted) stock rom you may get a dialog from TWRP asking you if you want to root.
You can accept or cancel it - doesn't matter. I assume you are going to install a custom rom and they are rooted anyway.


Create a nandroid
Your almost there! You are now on the stock ROM with a custom recovery installed.
Power the tablet down and boot into the bootloader menu with Volume Down and Power buttons.
With RCK flashing, push Volume Up and you should boot into TWRP. Familiarize yourself with the many options of the touch based interface without executing anything yet. TWRP is very user friendly. You basically cannot do anything of consequence "by accident", so don't be shy.

Touch "Backup", leave the default selection as they are and swipe the button to create a nandroid (a backup) of your current system.
This is a very healthy habit to develop: You always want to have a nandroid of your last working system squared away so that you can do a simple restore if you flash something that does not work, or something goes wrong during a flash. With a working recovery and a good nandroid you are minutes away from a working system if you soft brick your tablet.
Hint:
It's a good idea to have at least one good nandroid on external media. Sooner or later you will format your data partition and if you're like me, you may forget to backup your nandroids in the heat of the moment..


Installing a custom ROM
From here on out it's as easy as downloading the installation file of your custom ROM, booting into TWRP, choosing "Install" and navigating to the zip of the ROM you want to flash.
If you see a "signed" in the zip file name (best_rom_ever_signed.zip), make sure you check "verify zip signature" under the "Install" menu. Some devs sign their ROM zips - a better way to ensure file integrity than md5 sum.
Whatever you decide to flash: READ THE OP of the corresponding thread and make sure you have the correct bootloader and the required recovery installed! I can't stress this enough! If you are not sure, DO NOT FLASH!
Look for the ROMs in the Development section of the XDA forum for this tablet: Transformer TF700 Android Development - xda-developers or check out post #2. There's a description of the most popular roms for this tablet.

It is mandatory to do a Factory Wipe in TWRP before installing a custom ROM or going from one ROM base to another (a so called clean install).
If you choose 'Wipe' in TWRP, all you have to do is swipe the button - 'Factory Wipe' is the default selection under the 'Wipe' menu. You will loose your apps, but it will not wipe your /data/media/ folder where your files, pictures, etc live.
If you do this right before flashing the custom ROM, make sure you have the zip file of your custom ROM on your microSD - not on your internal SD where it may get wiped....




Once you installed a custom recovery NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES - AND I REPEAT: NEVER! - use the 'Wipe Data' option from the bootloader menu or the "Factory Reset" option in Settings > Backup&Restore.
In your custom recovery you have the option to wipe, backup and restore every partition on your tablet selectively or collectively. Any wiping, any backup and any restore of the system, data, recovery or boot partitions MUST be done in your recovery (or in fastboot)!
You can safely use Titanium Backup or Asus Backup for apps and settings, but that's it. For everything else use your recovery
.


Hit the 'Thanks' button and rate the thread 5 stars if this helped you
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21st March 2014, 08:47 AM |#2  
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ROMs for the TF700
Quote:

Update June 2017:
Time moves on and this tablet is till alive....
Most of the roms below are ancient by now. One dev, the legendary timduru, is still working for this tablet and currently supporting Nougatella, Android 7.1.2 for this tablet.
Skip to here if you are thinking about a current rom: https://forum.xda-developers.com/sho...&postcount=346

KatKiss-KatshMallow by timduru (MM on the TF700 - who would have thought?) is still under intermittent but active development and it is a beauty. Multi-window support anyone?
http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...t/rom-t3282166

CROMi-X is based on the latest Asus firmware (JB 4.2.1) for this tablet with many, many tweaks and improvements, but since there have been no further Asus updates, development on this rom has stopped. This rom would give you the most Asus-like experience on this tablet.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2425383
And here is the recent incarnation of this rom: CROMi-X Resurrected: http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...weaks-t3273515
@LetMeKnow still releases a new teak here and there, so keep following the thread.

Development on all of the following roms has stopped. The devs have moved on to other devices

CROMBi-KK is based on CM11 and tweaked for this tablet but a little buggy. The later LP based roms from the same team are definitely better.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2672751

CyanogenMod is build from the ground up, CM10.x emulating JB 4.3, CM11 emulating KitKat (JB 4.4). CM was not build with a transformer (keyboard) in mind, but the dev has ironed out most of those bugs.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1957660

ZOMBi-X: From the same team that developed CROMi-X and CROMBi-KK. Based on OMNI rom with multi-window support.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...t/rom-t2857931

ZOMBi-POP The (almost last) project from the CROMI/CROMBi/ZOMBi team. It's Omni based Lollipop for the TF700
http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...t/rom-t3006593
A note: This rom will run with data formatted to ext4, which is the OEM default. But it benefits from /data on F2FS, the new file system developed by Samsung, more than any other rom before it. Changing the file system for /data to F2FS has become very easy since the TWRP team build support for it into their recovery. I wrote a guide for converting your data partition to F2FS here:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...p-2-8-t3073471

That same team took one final stab at a 6.0 rom for this tablet: http://forum.xda-developers.com/show...postcount=3719
But I would call this definitely an unfinished product with a doubtful future.

CM12 I don't run CM roms - try it for yourself
http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...-12-0-t3006624

OmniROM by lj50036 who's on the ZOMBi team
http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...f700t-t3056438

There are quite a few more variants, check them out in the XDA Development forum and don't forget to make a nandroid before flashing anything new

AND IF YOU LIKE YOUR NEW ROM, SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION AND DONATE TO THE DEVELOPER!


Alternative methods to install TWRP

Edit February 2015
In this section I originally explained how to flash TWRP to your device using apps like GooManager (currently not supported anyway), TWRP Manager or Flashify from the Play Store which do it right from your tablet. These apps "save you the trouble" of getting ADB and fastboot set up and working on your PC. These methods still exist and they do work sometimes (and if you have root), but I will not recommend or promote them any longer.
Why?
Because I'v read too many stories about these apps failing, even flashing to the wrong partition - you name it.

If you are not willing to invest the time to learn the basics about ADB and fastboot (google "adb fastboot xda tutorial") and install the necessary drivers on your PC, you should not be flashing anything to your tablet!
GET ADB AND FASTBOOT WORKING!


I have spent quite a few hours helping users who got themselves into a situation where the only thing they could access on their tablet was recovery, but they did not know anything about adb/fastboot and did not set it up when the tablet was still working. To get it to work with a soft bricked tablet is much, much harder!!
Sooner or later you will do something stupid (I have done it and so will you) and ADB/fastboot may save your bacon IF you had it working when you didn't really need it.
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21st March 2014, 08:48 AM |#3  
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HOW TO UPDATE YOUR BOOTLOADER

The last official Asus firmware update to JB 4.2.1 brought us to the 10.6.1.14.10 bootloader - and it will be the last one we ever get since there will not be any Asus firmware updates anymore.
If you are on an older bootloader and want to run a KK or Lollipop ROM, you should update your bootloader to this version.

Determining which bootloader you currently have

From an "Off" state, boot the tablet with Volume Down and Power into the bootloader menu. Read the small script in the upper left. You'll see
US_epad-10.6.1.14.10-20130801" or similar.
  • US or WW, JP, CN is your SKU or region
  • 10.6.1.14.10 is your bootloader version
  • 20130801 is the build date (and immaterial in most cases).

Updating your bootloader

Still on stock with stock recovery:
Just OTA update to the last Asus firmware or flash it manually.

Custom ROM with custom recovery
Either:
1. Flash Asus stock firmware in your custom recovery
Download the official Asus firmware, unzip it once, flash that second zip in TWRP or CWM.
The distinct disadvantage of this method is that you will loose your custom ROM and your custom recovery and you will have to reflash them, but it works to get you onto the latest bootloader - or the latest stock rom if you desire to return to stock
Or:
2. Flash only the bootloader in recovery
This is what I would recommend you do.
Go here for a collection of flashable bootloader/recovery packages: http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...-twrp-t2867157
If all you need is the latest US bootloader, go to post #3.
The packages (bootloader + recovery) will replace not only your bootloader, but also your current recovery with whatever the TWRP version in the package is.To flash a KK or Lollipop ROM afterwards you need TWRP 2.8.+.
If you choose a bootloader package with an older recovery, you need to flash the latest TWRP version after you flashed the above bootloader package. In between you have to reboot (do not skip this step!)
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21st March 2014, 08:53 AM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbdags

@moderator could we sticky this please.

Brilliant post Bernd

Damn -you beat me to post 3! LOL

But thanks - almost everything I know about Android I learned following your lead.
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21st March 2014, 09:11 AM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berndblb

Damn -you beat me to post 3! LOL

But thanks - almost everything I know about Android I learned following your lead.

Yes after I posted I wondered if I was jumping the gun.... Maybe a mod can sort it for you? Sorry!

Mod edit: I deleted your previous post to give the third post to OP. I will copy paste it here.

@stamatis could we sticky this please.

Brilliant post Bernd
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21st March 2014, 09:17 AM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbdags

Yes after I posted I wondered if I was jumping the gun.... Maybe a mod can sort it for you? Sorry!

No problem. You "jumping the gun" is an honor to me.
Thanks
21st March 2014, 09:38 AM |#7  
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Well written and very informative post. Thread stuck.
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26th March 2014, 02:31 AM |#8  
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Unhappy please help
Yes i am a total noob goober..I want to unlock root and flash my tf700 ..I have watched plenty of youtube vids and read how to do it, enough to where i think i am comfortable. Well I downloaded the file from asus website to unlock the M8 and it wont open on the tablet. It says file not supported. So i tried to download it on my computer and transfer it over, well my computer cant install the drivers for my tablet..urgghh.. So I saw an older article saying it would work if we downloaded the M7 file, Well that downloaded and worked I was able to open and go through the prompts, I signed away and clicked ok.. Yet another error...Which I read might happen, but I tried 20 or so times and still nothing. Am i way over my head in this, It sounds so simple to do...Any help or am i a lost cause?
Thanks
26th March 2014, 03:54 AM |#9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackc3

Yes i am a total noob goober..I want to unlock root and flash my tf700 ..I have watched plenty of youtube vids and read how to do it, enough to where i think i am comfortable. Well I downloaded the file from asus website to unlock the M8 and it wont open on the tablet. It says file not supported.

I think you mean v8, v7 for the Asus Unlock tool?
You have to extract it. On the tablet you can use the app ES File Explorer from the Play Store. It downloads as a .rar file, the result has to be an apk
Quote:

So i tried to download it on my computer and transfer it over, well my computer cant install the drivers for my tablet..urgghh..

You have to get the drivers working - no excuses
Without working drivers you cannot push a recovery to your tablet. What Windows version do you have?
Try installing the Asus PC Sync Utility, try the Google Naked Drivers, try the ones attached to this post (note: I have not tested these myself) - you will have to find the correct combination for your PC yourself.
Here are a few links that may be helpful.
http://www.addictivetips.com/windows...windows-vista/
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show...2670645&page=3
Quote:

So I saw an older article saying it would work if we downloaded the M7 file, Well that downloaded and worked I was able to open and go through the prompts, I signed away and clicked ok.. Yet another error...Which I read might happen, but I tried 20 or so times and still nothing. Am i way over my head in this, It sounds so simple to do...Any help or am i a lost cause?
Thanks

No. You just got started!
Here are a couple of different approaches if you cannot unlock:
http://www.transformerforums.com/for...xperience.html
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show...08&postcount=6
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26th March 2014, 04:32 AM |#10  
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Thanks for the guide,

everything went smooth until this step:
fastboot -i 0x05B0 flash recovery twrp.blob

Now my cmd just hangs there (been like 10 mins), not sure if i should restart tablet or cmd? Tablet still in fastboot screen. Thanks.
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26th March 2014, 04:40 AM |#11  
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What do you get with this command:
fastboot devices

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