I went through the dilligence of backing up the DRM keys - first time flashing down to 4.4.4 was somewhat painless, although in the .ftf i was using (I think it was an unbranded CE), i was getting CONSTANT process errors.
I've since flashed it back and forth (mistakenly flashed a forward .ftf build - 6.01 experiental) and now when I try to flash back to 4.4.4 (successful flash), upon boot, it attempts to put me through the language selection prompt, but I get a "google partner setup has stopped" that appears to freeze the device, and it reboots. constant boot loop - no ability to root as i don't have any system stability.
I'm trying to try different 4.4.4 versions in attempt to workaround this, but if anyone has insight it would be GREATLY appreciated.
thanks in advance!
EDIT: RESOLVED - in flashtool, I checked the boxes to wipe data and user data when flashing new FTFs and that resolved the consistent crashing issues.