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installing TWRP and rooting Asus Zenpad 10 (Z300m)

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By justshaun, Junior Member on 26th May 2017, 08:24 PM
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Flashing TWRP and Rooting the Asus Zenpad 10 (Z300M)

CREDIT: Diplomatic, JustShaun, and Flukester69 all made this possible. But really if anybody needs an applause, it's Diplomatic. If you wish to thank him you can do so here.

IMPORTANT! READ BEFORE CONTINUING!
Nobody here is responsible if you mess up your tablet! This is your decision and yours alone! Yes, this will void your Warranty! The below is based on the success of our own testing. We suggest reading this multiple times if necessary, before attempting. Ask questions if you are unsure, I'm sure someone will try and help.


Things you'll need:

- Windows computer / possibly Linux if you are savvy enough.
- Z300m with Android 7 (check if there's updates, if so, reboot tablet when done.)
- USB Cable (the one that came with it, or one you are sure works)
- MediaTek VCOM Preloader Drivers (I will explain further below) (Win10 installed drivers work too)
- Z300m Scatter File
- TWRP 3.1.1 image
- SP Flash Tool 5.1532
- SP Flash Tool 5.1548 or later (latest is 5.1720 at the time of this writing)
- Magisk Manager (Beta 13 works)

or

- TWRP 3.1.1 Recoveryasboot

Create a temp folder on your desktop and throw all the above downloads in there.

MTK Driver Install - Pre-Flashing Procedure:
Turn your tablet OFF and plug it in to your computer, Windows should recognize the device and download the drivers. You should be able to manually search through device manager (Turn on Hidden devices might be necessary). When the drivers have been downloaded feel free to unplug the tablet again.

You'll want to make sure the drivers are installed properly. A quick way to test,
  1. Open Device Manager by either searching for it or running 'devmgmt.msc'
  2. Turn on hidden devices.
  3. Expand the 'Ports (COM & LPT) section
  4. If the drivers are installed properly you should see 'MediaTek PreLoader USB VCOM Port (COM*)'

Good enough, if that worked. If not, check your device manager and figure out your driver issue.

Backing Up:
  1. Open the SPFL (latest) dir and open option.ini in any text editor, you'll want to change "[ReadBack] ShowByScatter=false" from false to true and save your changes.
  2. Load into flash_tool.exe.
  3. Change the download-agent from MTK_AllInOne_DA.bin to DA_PL.bin - This is located under the SPFL dir.
  4. Add the Scatter-loading file which should have been downloaded previously.
  5. Head into the Readback tab and you should see 'Preloader, pgpt, proinfo ect...'. Check all of these boxes and click Read Back
  6. Make sure the tablet is turned off and then plug it into your computer. Bar goes red, yellow and then done. Green Checkmark.
  7. It's safe to unplug the USB from the tablet now and you can close the Flash Tool

Flashing TWRP:
It's up to you to backup your tablet. You should, but the tablet technically should reset if anything fails. Another choice that is up to you alone.

Again, Make sure your tablet is powered off and NO USB plugged in. This is basically the same procedure as backing up, except you're using the Download tab instead of Readback.
  1. Extract SP-Flash-Tool-v5.1532.00 and Launch flash_tool.exe.
  2. Change the download-agent from MTK_AllInOne_DA.bin to DA_PL.bin - This is located under the SP-Flash-Tool-v5.1532.00 dir.
  3. Add the Scatter-loading file which should have been downloaded previously.
  4. Look down the list you see Recovery line, click on the right side, point it to the TWRP.img you downloaded. (Make sure this line is only checked.)
  5. Click the Download button and THEN plug in the USB cable to your tablet. Bar goes red, yellow and then done. Green Checkmark.
  6. It's safe to unplug the USB from the tablet now and you can close the Flash Tool

Alternative method that does not require SP Flash Tool, scatter file, etc.
  1. Unlock the bootloader: Download the Asus unlock tool for your tablet here and run it. (It's an APK from ASUS. When done you reboot tablet, you will see a message Your Device Cannot be Trusted..., you're unlocked.)
  2. Download twrp-recoveryasboot-3.1.1-0-z300m.img.
  3. Make sure you have fastboot/adb installed on your PC. Put your tablet in fastboot mode by holding Volume Up and Power, then selecting Fastboot Mode from the menu, and connect to PC.
  4. Run this command to do a tethered boot of TWRP
    fastboot boot twrp-recoveryasboot-3.1.1-0-z300m.img
  5. This will boot but will not install TWRP. You may be able to do whatever you need in this environment. But it is recommended to install TWRP to your flash ROM, and proceed from there.
  6. To flash TWRP from TWRP, go to Install -> Install Image. Select the twrp-3.1.1-0-z300m.img file you downloaded earlier (not the twrp-recoveryasboot*.img file). Select Recovery, then swipe to flash.
  7. Reboot to Recovery

[TWRP first launch]
  1. Now press and hold both the Volume Up and Power button at the same time. Tablet will show a list so let go of the buttons.
  2. Use the Up volume now to select Recovery and press Down volume to select. Tablet should reboot into TWRP. (takes 10-15 seconds)
  3. A dialogue will show in TWRP stating that there is a chance Recovery will be restored (the Asus one) so slide across to keep TWRP.
    Mounting /system in read/write mode could be potentially hazardous, this is patched at your own risk.

***NOTE: You will need to boot into the recovery immediately after flashing, failing to do so will result in the Android OS reflashing its stock recovery. If you are concerned about which recovery is installed I would suggest using 'adb reboot recovery' to minimize risk.


[ROOTING]
  1. Put the Magisk flash file on a working micro sdcard and pop it in your device. (this won't get deleted and can be accessed by TWRP)
  2. Don't reboot yet, we need to flash Root (you should have Magisk img/zip on your micro sd inserted in tablet)
  3. Assuming you are familiar with TWRP, Install the Magisk Manager.
  4. When this is done, reboot your tablet to System with TWRP.

We've tried to make this guide as helpful as possible, read this thread and the Z380 thread as there may be new things learned, past experiences of others that could help you.

Enjoy your Rooted Tablet!
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27th May 2017, 02:01 AM |#2  
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Thanks! Any chance of instructions for us using Linux?

Maybe we'll get LineageOS for this soon!
27th May 2017, 04:19 PM |#3  
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New TWRP Images Nov. 4, 2017
Up-to-date kernel and TWRP/Android source, recovery image backup, accidental flashing to boot will not brick your tablet. Source code on my Z380M thread.
28th May 2017, 12:05 AM |#4  
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Good job ! It's more than anyone else has managed to do so far
28th May 2017, 02:37 PM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justshaun

In order to navigate through TWRP you will need to attach the OTG cable and mouse to your tablet, it doesn't currently have any touchscreen functionality. Reboot into the system and make sure to patch your OS.

After looking at kernel logs and old source code, it seems like the touchscreen driver is intentionally disabled from working in recovery mode. If we had updated kernel sources, this could be fixed easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QwertyChouskie

Thanks! Any chance of instructions for us using Linux?

Try the Linux flavor of SP Flash Tool?
4th June 2017, 04:53 PM |#6  
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Wow this is quite the process and twrp with no touch screen? Plz post your success to raise confidence of others like me. Last f'ng tablet I ever buy from Asus. Let's also not forget you will be stuck on this release forever afterwards.

Sent from my P00C using Tapatalk
4th June 2017, 10:29 PM |#7  
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how do you unroot tablet after this process?
5th June 2017, 10:25 PM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flukester69

Wow this is quite the process and twrp with no touch screen? Plz post your success to raise confidence of others like me. Last f'ng tablet I ever buy from Asus. Let's also not forget you will be stuck on this release forever afterwards.

You can try the Asus unlock tool to be able to flash with fastboot and not worry about SP Flash Tool. At least one person got it work on the Z380M. And you can always unroot/restore original boot & system images to be able to upgrade the firmware. Also, it's kind of unfair to rate a company poorly for not supporting your hacks, especially since this tablet is basically unbrickable AFAIK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MihaiA7X

how do you unroot tablet after this process?

Restore the original boot image if you only have systemless root. And also the system image if you've modified it.
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7th June 2017, 04:20 AM |#9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diplomatic

You can try the Asus unlock tool to be able to flash with fastboot and not worry about SP Flash Tool. At least one person got it work on the Z380M. And you can always unroot/restore original boot & system images to be able to upgrade the firmware. Also, it's kind of unfair to rate a company poorly for not supporting your hacks, especially since this tablet is basically unbrickable AFAIK.

I'll give it a try at some point man, not sure about the unbrickable part, $hit happens. Do you have a reference for the guy with the 380 that flashed via fastboot? that would be the preferable method for me really.

---------- Post added at 10:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:01 PM ----------

What is Magisk? Is it really needed? If TWRP is installed with the Flashtools can I not just flash SuperSU with TWRP? If you could clarify?

When I tried the command to flash recovery I got the following...

Code:
C:\adb>fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
target reported max download size of 134217728 bytes
sending 'recovery' (13958 KB)...
OKAY [  0.445s]
writing 'recovery'...
FAILED (remote: download for partition 'recovery' is not allowed
)
finished. total time: 0.452s
7th June 2017, 05:29 AM |#10  
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What I meant by unbrickable was that you can use SP Flash Tool to talk directly with the SoC. That gives you low-level access to the flash ROM without depending on any software on it. So for example, if your bootloader or partition table is messed up, something that would brick most devices, you can flash those in without needing to get into the bootloader. I'm not 100% sure this is possible, but I'm pretty confident it is.

This is the post where the guy unlocked the bootloader. But I'm not sure he used fastboot to flash. TBH, FlashTool is not that complicated. Most of that stuff in the guide has to do with backing up your flash memory. If you wanna skip that part, that's up to you. You can just go ahead and use Flash Tool 5.1532 with the scatter file and the right download-agent to flash the recovery. BTW, you can follow that thread as well. Whatever applies to the Zenpad Z380M usually applies to the Z300M too.

Magisk is another root manager like SuperSU. SuperSU seems to have compatibility problems with this tablet. (I have not tried either.)
7th June 2017, 06:02 AM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diplomatic

What I meant by unbrickable was that you can use SP Flash Tool to talk directly with the SoC. That gives you low-level access to the flash ROM without depending on any software on it. So for example, if your bootloader or partition table is messed up, something that would brick most devices, you can flash those in without needing to get into the bootloader. I'm not 100% sure this is possible, but I'm pretty confident it is.

This is the post where the guy unlocked the bootloader. But I'm not sure he used fastboot to flash. TBH, FlashTool is not that complicated. Most of that stuff in the guide has to do with backing up your flash memory. If you wanna skip that part, that's up to you. You can just go ahead and use Flash Tool 5.1532 with the scatter file and the right download-agent to flash the recovery. BTW, you can follow that thread as well. Whatever applies to the Zenpad Z380M usually applies to the Z300M too.

Magisk is another root manager like SuperSU. SuperSU seems to have compatibility problems with this tablet. (I have not tried either.)

Thanks for clearing that up... Ok I can use the 5.1532, I get that part but I don't get this part...

Quote:

6. Make sure the tablet is turned off and then plug it into your computer

then

Quote:

Click download at the top and plug in your tablet while it's still off. Assuming all goes well, the 'Download Flash' section at the bottom should be sitting on 100% and you should have a lovely green tick on your screen.

So when I press Download button in flash tool, the tablet needs to be OFF? Like powered off completely? Because nothing happens other than seeing the untrusted device (cuz it's unlocked) and the battery charging display.
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