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Keep Root and Ability to Downgrade


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#1 mattlgroff

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:19 PM

I would like to thank Hashcode and xlightwaverx for their work on making this type of update method possible. Without Hashcode, Motorola devices wouldn't be nearly as fun to play with as they are today.

We will need to definite a few terms, because this is not going to be the most user-friendly way of upgrading your Motorola Android device.

OMAP - The brand of the manufacturer Texas Instruments for a select set of processors. This is used in the older generation of Motorola devices referred to in this guide and includes: DROID Bionic XT875, DROID 3, DROID 4 XT894, DROID RAZR XT912, and DROID Xyboard (aka XOOM 2).

Snapdragon- The brand of the manufacturer Qualcomm for a select set of processors. I will be referring to this for these devices: Photon Q 4G LTE, Atrix HD MB886, DROID RAZR HD XT926, DROID RAZR M XT907, RAZR HD XT925, and RAZR M XT905/201M.

Safestrap - A custom recovery for rooted, but locked bootloader devices by Hashcode. You can download it from

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. It has variants for both OMAP and Snapdragon devices. This is used to 'flash' custom ROMs and other 'flashable' zip files.

Flash - A generic term for installing something to the device. You will see this used like so: "Flash ____ ROM using Safestrap" which just means to install the ROM's zip file to the device, using Safestrap by Hashcode.

Fastboot - A 'mode' for Motorola Android devices (and some other Android devices) for 'flashing' firmware files. Getting into this mode will vary by device, but generally you must select it from the Boot Menu. To get to the Boot Menu, the phone must be completely turned off. Then:
  • Hold down both Volume keys and the Power key until the Boot Menu comes up on the screen.
  • Use the Volume Down key to scroll down the list, and select the 'AP Fastboot' or 'Fastboot' mode from the list, the name varies by device.
  • To leave Fastboot, hold down the power button for a second or two. At any time your device is stuck or forzen in any mode and you cannot perform a Battery Pull, you can use the button combination of Power + Volume Down keys for 8-10 seconds and the device will power off.

Moto-Fastboot - For OMAP devices, you must use the Motorola version of Fastboot called 'Moto-fastboot'. I have renamed it for this guide's sake to 'fastboot'. The only difference between this and regular 'Fastboot' is the executable will flash large files in parts rather than in one time. This is required for OMAP based Motorola devices.

Firmware - Sometimes called 'SBF' files because of the format used prior to Motorola Android devices with a 4G LTE radio in them, these are generally .XML.ZIP files which contain the software of your device. The "Firmware Team" finds these files and uploads them to a

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maintained by Skrilax_CZ. Having this firmware in the hands of normal users lets us repair devices and return them to complete factory settings, or even upgrade them completely in some cases.

Path - This is a computer term relating to what your Command Line or Terminal application will see when you type in a command. I will not be assisting with setting up your Path mainly because its Operating System specific.
You can find a Windows guide for setting up the Path

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, by

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of DroidRzr.com.

Now that these are defined, lets move to some required Downloads.

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It should be obvious, but you only need the download for your device type. See the definitions if you don't know your device type.

The goal of this guide is to show you how to upgrade your rooted Motorola Android device to the latest update without breaking your ability to downgrade, and without breaking your root. Hopefully it won't be too difficult.

Some things must be true for this to work on your device:
  • Your device is rooted and has Safestrap installed.
  • Your device's new OTA Update has Firmware availiable for that new update.

If these are both the case, then you are in luck. This same process should work similarly for both OMAP and Snapdragon based Motorola Android devices.

  • Download the new firmware. Every time a new firmware is released, it goes on the

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    .
  • Extract the firmware .xml.zip to a folder, we can call this the folder whatever we like. You need two things from this folder:
    • boot.img
    • radio.img OR NON-HLOS.bin
  • Once you have those, you will then need to find a Stock ROM, or any ROM based off of the new OTA Update version. A Stock ROM is a .zip usually created by someone like Hashcode using a System Pull from a device and turning it into a flashable .zip for people to use as a backup.
  • With the Stock ROM, the boot.img, and the radio.img (or NON-HLOS.bin) collected, put the Stock ROM .zip onto your external storage. If you don't have external storage, internal should be fine too. Move the boot.img and radio.img (or NON-HLOS.bin) to the folder where your fastboot is located. These will then be in your Path if fastboot already is.
  • I had previously mentioned you need to be rooted and to have Safestrap installed, if you haven't done them you MUST do them now or the rest of this process will not work.
  • Boot your phone into Fastboot mode. I explained how in the definitions.
  • Using your computer's Command Line or Terminal application with the proper Path setup for fastboot.

    Enter the following commands for OMAP devices:

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    Enter the following commands for Snapdragon devices:

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  • Now reboot your device, and enter Safestrap. Depending on which version of Safestrap these instructions may be a little different but the outcome will be the same.
  • Flash the Stock ROM from your external or internal storage, from where-ever you have placed it from the previous steps. Note that you may need to enable another ROM SLOT for being able to flash any .zip files.
  • Once the Stock ROM is flashed, reboot into your brand new OTA Updated phone which is rooted (assuming the Stock ROM was, 99% of the time they are) and you have retained the ability to flash back to an earlier firmware. Congrats!

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#2 dru21281

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 06:03 AM

So by following this method even with 4.1.2 update, we can still downgrade to ICS? I have read the instructions over 3 times now and im still a little confused as to whats going on lol. I have a couple questions.
1. In step 9 you say that we may have to enable another rom slot to be able to flash any .zip files. Do you mean create and activate? Should we flash the Stock Rom now on our Stock Slot, or on a Rom Slot that we create?

2. Is there a Stock Rom(or Rom) available that is based off our new update yet?

3. If I am already on the latest update with root, but haven't done the update as posted. Can I just follow the steps to be able to downgrade again?

Oh and I forgot to mention, Thank you for this post! ;)

#3 mattlgroff

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:53 AM

So by following this method even with 4.1.2 update, we can still downgrade to ICS?
If you are on 4.1.1 or 4.0.4 and you use this to go to 4.1.2 you will be able to downgrade. If you are already on 4.1.2 this will not help you for now.

I have read the instructions over 3 times now and im still a little confused as to whats going on lol. I have a couple questions.

1. In step 9 you say that we may have to enable another rom slot to be able to flash any .zip files. Do you mean create and activate? Should we flash the Stock Rom now on our Stock Slot, or on a Rom Slot that we create?
Any way you want to be able to flash it is up to you.

2. Is there a Stock Rom(or Rom) available that is based off our new update yet?
I have one up on Batakang but no one has gotten back to me on testing it yet.

3. If I am already on the latest update with root, but haven't done the update as posted. Can I just follow the steps to be able to downgrade again?
No. You still can't go back.

Oh and I forgot to mention, Thank you for this post! ;)

.

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#4 dru21281

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:18 AM

Thanks for the reply. I actually found the stock rom on BKang and downloaded it. I will try to flash it on a rom slot and see if it boots.

#5 dru21281

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:34 AM

I installed the motoblur_9.16.6_DeOdexed_XT926.zip on a rom slot and it will not boot. Just stays on the boot screen for ever.

Also when I tried to FB back to ICS with Utility 1.10 from 4.1.2 everything failed except the Baseband. Is there any way to flash only the latest baseband back without loosing root? Baseband is currently VANQUISH_BP_1045.711.53.20P.

#6 mattlgroff

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:32 PM

I installed the motoblur_9.16.6_DeOdexed_XT926.zip on a rom slot and it will not boot. Just stays on the boot screen for ever.

Also when I tried to FB back to ICS with Utility 1.10 from 4.1.2 everything failed except the Baseband. Is there any way to flash only the latest baseband back without loosing root? Baseband is currently VANQUISH_BP_1045.711.53.20P.

fastboot flash modem NON-HLOS.bin
fastboot erase modemst1
fastboot erase modemst2

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#7 oneillperson

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 09:25 PM

After following these steps, will downgrading work like normal (i.e., RSDlite)? Or are other steps involved?

Edited by oneillperson, 24 March 2013 - 09:26 PM.


#8 Guest_Megaroad_*

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:56 AM

I updated the standard way, and I kept root with Voodoo OTA Rootkeeper and reinstalled Safestrap 3.12, so I'm fine for now, but I'm hoping there's eventually a way to go back for those of us who already took the 4.1.2 update in case we need to in the future.

#9 livinginkaos

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:14 PM

Props to Hashcode, xlightwaverx and Matt on this one! The detail in the OP is amazingly thorough. With the wide range of good vs bad updates that seem to plague the Razr line, it is great to maintain the option.

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#10 truemarine

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 05:52 PM

I installed the motoblur_9.16.6_DeOdexed_XT926.zip on a rom slot and it will not boot. Just stays on the boot screen for ever.

Also when I tried to FB back to ICS with Utility 1.10 from 4.1.2 everything failed except the Baseband. Is there any way to flash only the latest baseband back without loosing root? Baseband is currently VANQUISH_BP_1045.711.53.20P.

Where to get this file? Thx :) .
motoblur_9.16.6_DeOdexed_XT926.zip

#11 dru21281

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 07:19 PM

fastboot flash modem NON-HLOS.bin
fastboot erase modemst1
fastboot erase modemst2


Thanks I was able to flash the modem back! Is the other deodex w/script file you have on bkang for the RazrHD?

#12 mattlgroff

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:12 AM

Where to get this file? Thx :) .
motoblur_9.16.6_DeOdexed_XT926.zip

It was my test build and I believe it does not boot.

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#13 jtommyj

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 03:28 PM

It was my test build and I believe it does not boot.


Yeah I tried it last night and it hung at the boot ani.
Thanks for giving it a go.

#14 Aixelsyd

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:26 AM

Hey Matt silly question. I realize there are the 2 different fastboot downloads you have linked because of the device chips. Question is does the MotoFastboot.exe flash a Snapdragon without issue. I knew the OMAP needed the special version but curious if that version works fine on the newer Motos using the Snapdragon. Not that its a big deal to have 2 different fastboot file but if the Motofastboot works fine with Snapdragon would be a bit easier to just use one for both style devices imo and not have to worry about which is being used

#15 smeekteek

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:32 AM

Dammit. I went into Superuser to update binaries and it gave me an update button. I pressed it and low and behold, it updated me to 4.1.2. WTF?

#16 thecameraman

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:44 AM

I'm going to try this out later/want to start using safe strap to flash other ROMs anyway. On OTA 4.1.1 rooted right now. Since I encrypted my phone I think I need a data wipe before SS will work. Am thinking about using the utility to go back to ICS, rooting, and then keeping my stock slot there since some apps haven't been working right since I took the JB OTA. My question is: will I still be able to take the OTA ICS update that came before Jelly Bean, or will any OTA updating automatically bring me to 4.1.2?

#17 truedis

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:27 PM

Just want to volunteer myself as a guinea pig for downgrade testing. I got my repaired device back from Moto fully wiped & with 4.1.2 installed. I'm still using my temp device so I've got nothing to lose - I'll just send it back to Moto and say it wouldn't boot when I got it if I brick it.

#18 mattlgroff

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:00 PM

Just want to volunteer myself as a guinea pig for downgrade testing. I got my repaired device back from Moto fully wiped & with 4.1.2 installed. I'm still using my temp device so I've got nothing to lose - I'll just send it back to Moto and say it wouldn't boot when I got it if I brick it.

You cannot downgrade and that's that :/

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#19 truedis

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:56 PM

You cannot downgrade and that's that :/

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Well that's a massive disappointment. I guess I'm selling this thing...

#20 mattlgroff

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:37 PM

Well that's a massive disappointment. I guess I'm selling this thing...

Wait and see if a root exploit comes.

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