Kindle 3.X updater for Kindle 2 and Kindle DX released

After a month and a half of testing thanks to the community of MobileRead, I can finally release the first stable version of the Kindle 3.X software updater (help me come up with a better name, please). If you haven’t read my last few Kindle-related posts (read them if you want more technical details of this script), you should know that this allows you to use all the cool new features of the Kindle 3 on a K2 or DX device. Installation is easy and is only three steps: 1) Use “prepare-kindle” script on old Kindle to back up and flash recovery kernel, 2) Copy generated files to Kindle 3 along with “create-updater” script and run it, 3) Copy generated update package back to old Kindle and restart. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry, the readme contains very detailed directions and even how to recover in case anything goes wrong. Speaking of recovery, a “side effect” of using this is that the custom kernel that you flash in order to run the update package allows recovering without a serial cable and the installation of unsigned recovery packages.

Here it is.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering why I’m not just distributing a full 3.X update package and making you generate it by yourself, it’s because the Kindle framework and OS are proprietary code. I believe that Amazon didn’t release 3.0 for the DX and K2 because they don’t want to lose business for the Kindle 3. So, by making you have a Kindle 3 in order to use this, I can keep Amazon happy.

Comments

  1. Jason L

    Pretty sure I get what’s going on, but to be on the safe side I feel the need to ask; this won’t in anyway affect the functionality of the Kindle 3 will it?

  2. TJ

    I tried this with my Kindle 2 International but it fails with error 0003. Any mojo that needs to be run to make this work for Kindle 2i’s? Thanks

  3. BobSmith

    I did this, and it all seemed to work fine, but it broke all my active content. I did it mostly so I could get mibbit to work on my kindle 2. I restored to factory defaults, and tried to download archived items again. It claimed to be downloading them, but they simply don’t appear. Is there any fix for this? I rather like Triple Town.

  4. rX

    Regarding the “error 0003” mentioned above (post #5). I had the same problem. After looking at the log file requested by Yifan Lu I’ve realized that the script crashed because there wasn’t enough space on the hard drive. Here’s the make-backup.log:

    ota_install: I def:make-backup::checking for enough free space to continue ota_install: E def:make-backup::not enough free space to create a backup package. You need at least 900MB to continue. system: I 1-make-backup.ffs:def:drawing: eips 19 38 “You need 450MB of free space.”

    So, I temporarily moved to my computer all of my documents, and the script now works. Note: I initially had like 1.2GB of free space. So I did not expect this to be an issue.

  5. This isn’t working for me on my Kindle DX Graphite. The “Update Software” option just remains greyed out even though I have the correct file in the root level of my Kindle DX. Any ideas?

  6. pabloroy

    Hello Mr. Yifan Lu, I own a U.S Kindle 3 wifi+3G (v3.1) and a U.S. Kindle DX Graphite (v2.5.8). I went through all the steps and your updater worked flawlessly!!! Thank you very, very much.

    Observations:

    1. No problems, no errors, no hiccups in the procedure. Even hacks from Kindle 3, which presently do not exist for Kindle DX, transfered well and are working (“keybru” & “physkeyb”, which add support for special national characters). Over that, on freshly updated Kindle DX, I installed the Kindle DX version of “launcher” and “FBkindle” (FBreader port for Kindle). All works great (with one small reserve described in line 6.).
    2. Reading Kindle books is much better due to better rendering of fonts (especially visible on italics) and due to more flexible settings (line spacing).
    3. Reading PDF books is SO, SO much better due to flexible settings(adjustable darkness)and due to the possibility to move around the text, to use built-in dictionary, and to add higlights/notes. The font rendering seems improved as well.
    4. Kindle DX, in general, feels slower and laggier than Kindle 3. If it’s due to the update I can’t tell, since I updated it the same day I got it from Amazon. But sometimes, when turned off, it takes a second or two for it to go to sleep. When turned back on, it may take up to 15 seconds to wake up. Launching FBkindle can take that long as well. Opening books, going to the Home screen and browsing through menus is laggier than on Kindle 3. And all that with only a few books on the flash drive.
    5. Web browser is SO much better, it renders the webpages truethfully and the size and resolution of the display make up for a passable browsing and reading experience. But naturally, it does not come any close to web brosing on a smartphone or a tablet and thus constitutes only an emergency solution (i.e. in a foreign country thanks to its free 3G connectivity worldwide).
    6. The only weird behavior I noticed is with the web browser. When browsing, lines of what appears like command line instructions/logging messages flash over the content of the screen, revealing what’s going on “under the hood”. This sometimes goes on for a while even when switching to a Home screen or to a book. In an extreme case, the Kindle needs to be restarted for it to go away. Factory reset does not remove this. I don’t know whether this is related, but when browsing, strange folders appear in the root of the Kindle USB drive. Any ideas?

    I posted some pictures here: http://comptran.wz.cz/kindle.htm. The last three pics document the phenomenon described in line 6.

    Lastly, little off topic note: If you compare the two Kindles side by side, the eInk display on Kindle DX Graphite is visibly crispier. The white is whiter, black is blacker, i.e. overall better contrast and reading experience. The slightly finer resolution of Kindle 3 display poses no real advantage and is perceivable only when closely inspecting the individual characters.

    Once again, thank you for the great work!!! You prevented my disappointment with Kindle DX, which otherwise would have been inevitable.

  7. pabloroy

    Not sure, i seem to remeber this behavior even with a clean install. None of it on K3 either. Which hack do you think that would be? It does not bother me that much though.

  8. Clie

    Hello, Thanks you in making the update. I have just update my Kindle DX US to 3.2.1 Everything is OK, but music player have the noise. What could i do?

  9. Noori

    Hi, Thanks for your hard work! But I’m afraid I’m having trouble at part2. I DID jailbreak my k3w with ‘0.6N jailbreak’, yet it keeps showing U007 error when I try to update with the ‘k3w 3.1 create updater’. Would you help me with this?

  10. Dan

    Since I’ve updated my k2 to 3.2.1, I was nieve enough to think I could easily update it to 3.3, which isn’t the case.

    Any helpful advice on how I could get it updated to 3.3? Or do I need access to another k3 to start the process again?

    Thanks, Dan.

  11. Hroch

    Hello, very nice work, thanks :-) Please, how can I use K3 hacks, when there are no packages for kDXG? Thank you again.

  12. leetand

    It seems create_update_3.1.bin does not work on 3.3 firmware. Would you please create update bin file for 3.3 firmware? Thanks a lot

  13. Hoang Nguyen

    How can I jailbreak my kindle DXG? I upgraded it to firmware 3.1 following your instruction. Btw, thanks for the great work :).

  14. chen

    Thanks! I encountered some issue with my dxg upgrade, however it is very likely to be the problem of my dxg.

    I followed your instructions and upgraded my dxg to 3.2.1. Then I used the jailbreak file for DXG to jailbreak it and installed fonthack. Everything seamed OK until I opened the browser, the screen became fuzzy. The text is almost unreadable. I had to press the menu key to return to the home screen, waited for a few minutes before pressing the menu and back keys to refresh screen, to get the screen return normal. I first thought it was the problem of the upgrade, but the problem persisted after I restored to 2.5.8.

  15. qwas

    It is not quite clear to me how to restore the original firmware. Should I just copy update_restore-os.bin to my device and “update” it? Thanks!

  16. theWoosh

    Hi, Thanks for this, I have updated my DX graphite, and it works pretty good. Especially improved is the browser! FYI there are a few problems:

    • Audio books now play with distinct background noise, such that this feature becomes almost unusable (I know this is a known bug)
    • Large PDFs that contain a lot of scanned content, which used to open within seconds on the old DX software, now don’t. Takes forever and the only way I can move on is by restarting.

    Because of this second fault, I would like to reinstall Duokan, which was what I used for PDFs before (and which also has better music player)- it stopped working after the upgrade - but have been unable to install that, or Duokan lite - any ideas? I got the feeling it was because I need to uninstall jailbreak - is this possible without uninstalling 3.2.1?

    Thanks again, theWoosh

  17. chen

    Hi, theWoosh, There is a post in Chinese about this: http://www.hi-pda.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=864068&extra=page%3D1

    You don’t need to uninstall 3.2.1 to install duokan. Just use the latest duokan release for DXG (release on May 20). Copy DK_system, DK_documents,DK_pictures and emergency.sh into your kindle root directory, and restart your kindle. You may need to restart your DXG several times until the Duokan startup screen shows up. The file emergency.sh can be downloaded here: http://www.hi-pda.com/forum/attachment.php?aid=982889

  18. Hroch

    Hello, apparently nobody was hit by unability to install k3 hacks on kDXG, or it is too “dummy” question for gurus :-) My (it seems that working) solution was to take an older update, one in version for k3g and one for KDXG and compare them. The result was difference just in one byte (part of SN. check). By editing this byte in .bin file (fonts, screensaver, usbnet, language pack, launchpad, TTS) I’ve enabled installing k3g package on updated KDXG - so now I have DXG speaking czech including TTS :-) Only problem I have with updated firmware is PDF viewer crashing on large PDFs (40MB+), unfortunately these technical books were exactly the reason, why I bought DXG.

  19. “It seems create_update_3.1.bin does not work on 3.3 firmware. Would you please create update bin file for 3.3 firmware? Thanks a lot Comment by leetand — November 5, 2011 @ 5:05 am”

    I can also confirm that the create_update_3.1.bin does not work on 3.3 firmware (running on my Kindle 3 wifi). When I copy over the file along with the rootfs.img, the update menu option is not available. When I reconnect the USB, the create_update file has been removed from the device.

    Any solutions for this?

    Thanks!

    Ravi

  20. chodzik

    I can also confirm that the create_update_3.1.bin does not work on 3.3 firmware (running on my Kindle 3 3G wifi). Please help

  21. Tania

    I’m having the same problem the create_update_3.1.bin, it does not work on 3.3 firmware, as reported by Ravi the update menu option appears unavailable and then upon reconnecting kindle 3 to the usb, I can see that the updater file has been removed. I was so excited about getting that DX of mine updated. I do hope you come up with an updater that works for the 3.3 software. I appreciate your effort and making this information available. Thanks!

  22. Yeah

    Just got my DX, my kindle keyboard was version 3.3. There is not way for me to create tts-files.tar, can someone be kind enough to send me the file to me?

    Thanks in advance

  23. Yeah

    I forgot the other file. I need both “update_dx-os.bin” or “update_dxg-os.bin” (???) and “tts-files.tar”

    Thanks again

  24. phew

    One questions, since screen resolution of K3 and Kindle DXG are different (800x600 vs. 1200x824). Will if affect the quality of display. Does the 3.2 firmware support the resolution of DXG (apparently it does, how?) just feel weird. Anyway, it is great work that you are doing. Thank you.

  25. Yeah

    Hi, phew,

    do you think you can help me getting my DXG updated?

    My K3 came with ver 3.3, I can not get the 3.2 firmware to my K3, so I can not update my DXG.

    Thanks

  26. Jorge

    Hi! I need to update my DXG but I have the same problem of a 3.3 version. Please any help will be invaluable.

    Thanks very much.

  27. phew

    I know where you can find the rom , but I won’t post it here since it’s not legal per se. But really, I believe there’s nothing wrong. You spend hundreds of $$$ on the most expensive device but amazon give you up.

  28. a.w.

    Dear all, Have the same Problem as others. My Kindle Wi-Fi has version 3.3, and so the program is not working – unfortunately :-(

    I was soooooooooooooo happy when I saw the blog and that some kind people did work to get an improvement that Amazon is not willing to do for the Kindle DX customers - THANSK to them (also if unfortuatnely I have the wrong version).

    Does any workaround exist for people who have a Kindle Wi-Fi 3.3? Or a place to get the needed files?

    Any input is welcome - Thanks in advance :-)

    [email protected]

    Kind regards Ariane

  29. kindledxg

    hi, i installed a dxg 3.2.1 and its working for me, albeit with frustrating bugs like:

    After using for an hour or so and  highlighting in pdf it may hang.It seems that on using pdf and highlighting makes the system unstable.
    once it hangs on a pdf, we cant open any other document, only restart helps.If we try opening a pdf again while its on  a hang, it will show a message "pdf contains features not  supported by your kindle" occasionally it forgets bookmarks and notes in pdf docs.
    audio is noisy
    
  30. Phuoc

    I have successful upgrade to 3.3 for dxg. I used the patch file of deagol (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127969&page=32) first to create update files for my dxg and k3g then follow instructions in the readme.txt file. Work great!

  31. Hi Phuoc, Do you think you could assist me with this update process? I have A Kindle DX Graphite US 3G with v2.5.8 firmware… Now what do I do? Cheers, Misi

    kovacsmisi (at the rate of) gmail (dot) com

  32. Nick

    Like qwas I’m trying to restore a Kindle DX from 3.2.1 back to 2.5.8. I put the “update_restore-os.bin” in the root and went to Menu/Settings/Update but then it ended up with a loop and updating over and over. I ended up in Recovery Mode and can now connect the Kindle to the PC. The Kindle directory is blank. Do I need the rootfs.img on the Kindle as well as the update_restore-os.bin?

  33. Maarten

    Thank you so much for this! Upgraded without a glitch. One bug, though- my kindle now doesn’t recharge anymore when it’s screensaver comes up. Bit of a bummer, that one. Any ideas how I can fix this?

  34. Elvin

    Hi Yifan, Thanks for your efforts! I know you are busy, but could you give me a few instructions about how to update my dx from 3.2.1 to 3.4. And I’m sorry to bother you one more things that is about “Open it in a hex editor and change byte at offset 0x0C to 0x02 for K2, 0x03 for K2i, 0x04 for DX, 0x05 for DXi or 0x09 for DXG.” But I cannot find offset 0x0C in Winhex. Thank you very much!

  35. How can I get this to work now that kindle 3’s are all 3.4? I am longing to use my DX to highlight and note take on PDFs, it’s next to useless to me otherwise, but are all “3” kindles now 3.4? So this can’t work? I’d be grateful if someone has an idea to carry this out now.

  36. Andrés

    Hi, Does anyone have a backup of kindle dxg 2.5.8 firmware? My computer’s hard drive broke down and I need to downgrade my device’s firmware due to issues with the 3G network. Thanks

  37. Benito

    I know it’s been forever, but I just got a KDX G for cheap and wanted to add functionality, so I followed your instructions. I did encounter an issue. Upon updating the firmware, the device was de-registered and now I’m getting the message “Your Kindle is unavailable to connect at this time…”

    I’ve seen posts of people being able to browse the internet and sync their books after the upgrade to 3.2.1, but I haven’t been able to find a guide for fixing the connection issue. I do have 3G, but I’m unable to register my device. Any help would be appreciated.

  38. Stephen R

    No, really. Can anybody please tell us how to use the Restore file? Pretty Please? This has been asked several times and nobody has responded.

  39. Benito

    @stephen, it’s in the README file. You have to put the Kindle in recovery mode, and then use the .bin created during the backup process.

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