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[Beginners Guide] Unlock & Custom ROM your TF300

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By berndblb, Inactive Recognized Contributor on 22nd March 2015, 05:55 PM
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I have been asked to port my "Beginners Guide" from the TF700 forum for the TF300. Since both tablets are very similar, that was not too hard to do
If I have missed to update a link specific for the TF300, do let me know please.

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


These instructions assume that you are on the latest Asus bootloader: 10.6.1.27.5
To determine 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-10.6.1.27.5-20130801" or similar.
  • US or WW, JP, CN is your SKU or region
  • 10.6.1.27.5 is your bootloader version
  • 20130801 is the build date (and immaterial in most cases).


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 TF300 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

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)
  • Go to Asus website: https://www.asus.com/support/Downloa...4yoz5WzBrW/32/
  • Choose "Android" for OS and look for the "Utilities" on the resulting page.
  • Download the Asus Unlock Tool v7 (not v8! It says v7 is for ICS but it'll work fine on JB - see below)
  • The tool downloads as a .rar file which is an archive you have to decompress. 7zip is a free and very good Windows tool that will do it for you
  • On your tablet, in Settings > Security check "Unknown Sources"
  • Copy the .apk you extracted from the .rar archive 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

This can be a 5 Minute operation that goes without a hitch or a very frustrating experience with lots of error messages. There is no definite rhyme or reason for this. For some people it works like a charm, for others it works after 15, 25 or 55 attempts, for some never.... This problem is widely discussed on several forums. Google it if you hit that roadblock.
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

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 and 10 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
Or - even better - here's a quick command line toggle to achieve the same (thank you @Jack_Hardin):
[QUOTE=Jack_Hardin;70577527]If you're running W10, you can disable Device Driver Signing without following the procedure in the linked video, but by (more simply) right-clicking on the Start button, selecting Command Prompt (Admin) and then typing:
Code:
BCDEDIT /set nointegritychecks ON
Doing the same with OFF at the end of the string, as easy to guess as it looks, will reenable them.


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/

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: 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..)
  • 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.
Click me: Attachment 3070087
  • 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 drivers I linked to above. 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://dl.twrp.me/tf300t/
  • Download the latest version of TWRP.

    FYI ONLY: If, for whatever reason, you 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.
  • Rename the file to twrp.blob and place it into the same directory as your fastboot.exe. Note: More recent versions of TWRP download with an .img extension. Leave the extensions as is, rename the first part to watever is easy to type
  • Again check the connection with
Code:
fastboot devices
If you get the connection, in the command window type:
Code:
fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery twrp.blob
or
Code:
fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery twrp.img
This will flash the recovery to the recovery partition
If it is successful type:
Code:
fastboot reboot
and let the tablet boot up normally.
You may get a dialog in TWRP offering to root the stock rom. 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.

To create your Nandroid (a full system backup) touch "Backup", leave the default selection as they are and swipe the button to create a nandroid 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: http://forum.xda-developers.com/tran...0t/development

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
.


FREE ADVICE
There are alternative methods to flash a recovery 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 - mostly - and if you have root. But I would not recommend them.

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!


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.


Hit the 'Thanks' button and rate the thread 5 stars if this helped you
The Following 38 Users Say Thank You to berndblb For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift berndblb Ad-Free
22nd March 2015, 05:56 PM |#2  
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22nd March 2015, 05:56 PM |#3  
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Mine
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23rd March 2015, 10:05 AM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbdags

@stamatis could we sticky this please.

Brilliant post Bernd

Can we make that happen here to @stamatis

Thx Josh
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23rd March 2015, 10:59 PM |#5  
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Nice one Bernd!
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7th April 2015, 06:36 PM |#6  
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boot sequence
Hi,

Is normal to see three TUX and some phrases at the power on ?
Can I hide it ?

tnkx
Nicola
7th April 2015, 08:30 PM |#7  
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You mean the penguins?
That's normal I'd you're running a Rom that uses _that's preinit scripts. You can't hide them - why would you?
28th April 2015, 10:56 PM |#8  
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thank you SO much
I love you!

Wow, I've never had so much trouble rooting a device before! And days ago, I rooted my T700 without any problems. So, I guess I should have expected the hubby's TF300T to be problematic! Recoveries didn't work, I tried multiple ones. Eventually, I had a recovery that didn't recognize any partitions. I used fastboot to erase them all and put the stock ROM back on--wouldn't boot up. This thread was an immense help! I've moved the other recoveries and ROMs into my non-working folder!

Thanks again!

Lynne
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9th May 2015, 02:57 AM |#9  
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Awesome
What a well written guide! I have a decent understanding of fastboot and adb (although minimal experience), and I perfectly understood every step.
My advice to all newbies like me.... Read stuff ALL of the way through (and understand it), BEFORE stepping off in it.
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25th May 2015, 04:42 PM |#10  
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ok im a bit lost... i have rooted both Nexus 7s, nook hd and hd+, a tf101, and a few tv boxes.. so im not sure why this is hanging up... im trying to root and install the TWRP recovery on a tf300... followed the instructions and even have the char string that means... every thing should be good to go.... have checked that the twrp is in the dir of adb... but when i try to push the twrp.blob to the tf300, it just give me.. this error..

c:\adb>fastboot devices
015d14febf64041b fastboot

c:\adb>fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery twrp.blob
sending 'recovery' (6800 KB)...
FAILED (command write failed (Invalid argument))
finished. total time: 0.002s

so.. at this point i not sure what else to trouble shoot... the tablet is in fastboot mode.. adb sees the tablet.. at least that is what the char string confirms.... so any help would be very much appreciated.. just a bit lost on this...

chris
25th May 2015, 04:52 PM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scuzzo

ok im a bit lost... i have rooted both Nexus 7s, nook hd and hd+, a tf101, and a few tv boxes.. so im not sure why this is hanging up... im trying to root and install the TWRP recovery on a tf300... followed the instructions and even have the char string that means... every thing should be good to go.... have checked that the twrp is in the dir of adb... but when i try to push the twrp.blob to the tf300, it just give me.. this error..

c:\adb>fastboot devices
015d14febf64041b fastboot

c:\adb>fastboot -i 0x0B05 flash recovery twrp.blob
sending 'recovery' (6800 KB)...
FAILED (command write failed (Invalid argument))
finished. total time: 0.002s

so.. at this point i not sure what else to trouble shoot... the tablet is in fastboot mode.. adb sees the tablet.. at least that is what the char string confirms.... so any help would be very much appreciated.. just a bit lost on this...

chris

The bootloader is unlocked yes ?

What is your bootloader version ?

Try a different USB port ?

Thx Josh
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