[GUIDE]How not to brick your device

Dark Wraith

Senior Member
Feb 18, 2013
Everyday I see posts about people Bricking( Soft bricking/Hard Bricking) their Xperia S, Ion,AcroS or any other Xperia.Most of the times it is because people know that they have to flash or root or to unlock bootloader but do not have a clear information about what it actually means

I am creating this thread in order to tell you what the terminologies actually mean and how to avoid these bricks

First things you should know:

What is Android??

Android is basically a linux based kernel Operating System for your phones(We probably have heard it a gazillion times)

What it actually means?

Android is an operating system for phones built on a linux kernel. Linux is nothing but a clone of Unix Operating System which is another operating system like Windows. One main feature of Linux is that it is open source unlike windows.
Example of Linux kernel based OS for computer includes Ubuntu

What is kernel?

Kernel is nothing but a bridge between your hardware and Software

What it actually means?

Kernel controls your software according to your systems hardware.So on a computer if you press a key(eg:a) on keyboard. Kernel tells the OS that the key a has been pressed and to interpret it accordingly.So on a phone if you touch the home button,The kernel tells your OS that home button has been pressed and to take action accordingly.

So now comes the question.What if you flash an incompatible kernel?
Simple. Think of your computer having nothing but the monitor and without any working hardware.(I have a keyboard with a defective 'm' key,irritates the hell out of me)...Same happens to your phone. Even the booting process needs the kernel and hence you get the dreaded Soft-Brick...

What is bootloader?

Bootloader is a partition on your device that tells the phone with OS to load

What it actually means?

In Windows you see C:,D: etc..one of them contain your windows folder. In linux,it is different in name,not the concept. In linux based OS like Ubuntu, the partitions are /boot,/home,/root,/system,/recovery.....just like c:,d:,e: etc....
in android stock, you will have /boot,/system,/root.../boot is nothing but the bootloader...and in our sony phones this /boot aka bootloader is locked

What does bootloader contain?

bootloader as the name suggests tells your phone which os to boot..in our case it is the stock rom or custom or whatever os u have on the phone. Pretty self explanatory.

What is Flashmode and fastboot?

Flashmode as the name suggests is a mode which allows you to flash stuff(ROM's,kernel etc) on your phone

Fastboot mode: fastboot mode is another mode on your phone that allows you to flash stuff as well as debug it

What it actually means?

Flashmode: Pretty self explanatory
fastboot: It is used by both flashtool as well as ADB. fastboot allows you to test your kernel or whatever you are flashing..
command: fastboot boot boot.img
This command will boot boot.img(containing kernel/recovery or both and ramdisk) on your phone but wont flash it i.e. a test run. If boot.img doesnt boot,you can just disconnect and restart
command: fastboot flash boot boot.img
This command will flash the boot.img on your phone and then start it with the new boot.img.
Now fastboot wont work with a locked bootloader.So you cannot flash anything on your phone that requires a fastboot flash if your bootloader or /boot partition on your phone is locked

What is flashtool?

Flashtool is a tool developed and maintained by Androxyde, Bin4ry ,Doomlord. This tool lets you do a lot of things to your phone but its main usage is to flash stock Roms, kernels or anything that comes in an ftf package on your phone

What it means to you?

If anything goes wrong. The first thing you would need is this tool to revert back to Stock ROM. So keep this tool ready in case you are entering into the world of flashing custom firmware

What all can go wrong?

Frankly a lot of things(including power cuts,battery going dead)..

What you can avoid?

First thing,read read and read...A custom ROM would have a list of compatible devices..Go through the post and see if your device is listed. If your device
is listed and compatible then you can proceed. Flashing an incompatible ROM will result in a soft brick or hard,depending upon what you are flashing

>Next check if ROM requires a locked bootloader or unlocked(Important)

>Next if you are planning on unlocking bootloader, its better to flash CWM first on your phone and then flash ROM through CWM

What is CWM?

CWM aka Clockworkmod is a custom recovery that allows you to do a host of stuff including flashing of ROMs or zip packages

What it means to you?

Every phone has a recovery partition just like i told in the partition section. However, Latest Sony phones including Xperia S,ION,Acro S do not have one. Now most phones have a stock recovery system which allows users to reset their phones if something goes wrong. But, just like Custom ROMs, We have Custom Recoveries like CWM aka ClockworkMod developed by Koush that has many more options like flashing packages,taking a backup.
So basically CWM would be used by you to take a backup of your current system first and then flash the ROM. Now if anything goes wrong and you get a softbrick, you can just go to CWM and restore your backup and voila!!your phone will be back to normal again

Key Points:
1. CWM needs root
2. Recovery partition is not included in Sony.So, CWM is incorporated into the kernel itself by the kernel developer. What this means to us is that we would need an unlocked bootloader for installing CWM as we would have to flash the CWM included kernel to the boot partition

>Next, Always double check the requirements of the ROM you are going to install(Important)

Ohh before i forget...What is this ROOT everyone talks about?

ROOT is nothing but administrative access to sensitive parts of your OS

What it means to you?

It is nothing but getting admin rights to your system,in our case its our phones. you wont have root access on your phones by default. one major reason for this is safety. So that people don't delete a system file by mistake and what not
With root you can do everything with your phone. Thanks to our devs, we have loads of methods available to root your phone. Good place to search would be the search button

Why are we talking about root??

Because it might be a prerequisite for your custom ROM or a part of another prerequisite for installing your ROM.
>Now double check requirements again. And don't skip any step
>Once you have met all the requirements. Lets start flashing.
Ok now what can go wrong. First low battery..phone went dead while flashing..solution: Please charge it atleast while you finish the other requirements
Laptop crashes(Very Bad luck)..Solution: Always prefer to have the ROM installed through CWM and a backup ready. If you are lucky enough, you will be able to boot into CWM to restore backup and start again.
If you are flashing through any other method, then dont worry, have flashtool ready and your stock firmware..(Check firmware before installing if its for your phone:Very Important)
Check Exclude TA partition in flashtool unless absolutely necessary
Note: If your phone is bricked, it is always better to flash your kernel first(personal opinion), Once that is done, you can easily flash the full firmware

And please wipe cache and dalvik cache after flashing a ROM through CWM: Half the people wont perform this step and then try to find solutions for the bootloop. You can do this either through the CWM or ADB. For ADB method, just search the forum

One last thing and very very important. For Phones running stock firmware with unlocked bootloader or custom FW based on stock kernel with unlocked bootloader. Don't do an OTA update as this will hardbrick your device. Better download an stock FTF of that firmware version and flash it via flashtools

If still your phone bricks then there is a very nice thread here http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1849170 by Toledo_JAB on bricked phone recovery

In the next post i will add some more information like TA partition backup, some more info about Android..etc.....

In case i have forgotten anything or have given the wrong info, please let me know so that i can add/edit the OP
Last edited:

Dark Wraith

Senior Member
Feb 18, 2013
just PM a mod with a kind message (mod names can be found above the threads in a section)
( i dont realy know how but thats what people talk of so i assume asking a mod is the only way to pin a thread

not to hard to miss ;D

Sent From The ACP HQ
Haha.. I'll ask if people read the thread mate and benefit from it..till now no such enthusiasm so we'll see
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