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[Guide] Flashing firmware to Blade/Libra via windows

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Flashing firmware to ZTE Blade/Libra via windows

This guide is useful for flashing firmware to most GSM Blades where TPT is not available. TPT is not able to downgrade a phone with factory Gen2 firmware to Gen1 or to upgrade a factory gen1 phone to Gen3 or factory Gen2, so for these tasks you need to follow this guide. It is possible to flash any firmware to any Blade with this guide if you so desire (but do observe the warnings). This is not the same as flashing a ROM (Gen1|Gen2). If you are unsure about which Gen firmware your blade has, ask Mr PigFish. This method requires a Windows PC.

There is an easier way - TPT!
For most applications, it is possible to flash firmware via TPT. TPT is easier, faster, and safer than windows flashing, and does not require windows. Try these threads for TPT instructions first, then use this guide if they can't help you.
  • Gen1 to Gen2 TPT upgrade: TPTs to flash from Gen1 to Gen2, and from Gen2 to Gen1 if you upgraded to Gen2 with TPT. A number of different partition layouts are available, and fastboot is enabled. This is the easiest way to upgrade from Gen1 to Gen2.
  • Gen2 TPTs: TPTs to repartition and enable fastboot on stock Gen2 Blades.

Advantages of modified firmware
Windows upgraded/stock Gen2 Blades have a wasteful partition layout, no fastboot mode, and are incapable of flashing Gen1 compatible TPT images. Some are sold with 256MB of RAM hidden by software. Depending on which files you flash, you can:
  • Change the partition layout to something more optimal, and therefore have more space on the data partition for your apps (315MB instead of 162MB), as well as 15MB more space overall.
  • Enable fastboot mode. Fastboot can be useful for recovery if you make a mistake flashing ROMs and cannot boot your phone.
  • Add the ability to flash Gen1 compatible TPT images.
  • If your Blade was sold with 256MB of RAM and it has 512MB in hardware, then this process will unlock the full 512MB or RAM (Blades that have 512MB in hardware and can be unlocked include all known European GSM models and the Dell xcd35. Chinese models, the Indonesian N880, the Russian RTK v8, and any CDMA model cannot be unlocked and trying to do so will brick them. I don't know yet if the Brazilian model is unlockable).
  • Downgrade to Gen1. Optional, and not useful for most people.
  • Upgrade to Gen3. Also not useful for most people since most ROMs require Gen2.
  • If you flash stock firmware compatible with your phone form this thread, you can restore your phone to its factory state. I don’t believe this is ever necessary.
Warnings
The following process should be safe if you follow it carefully, but care should be taken to avoid bricking your phone. I cannot guarantee that it will work on all blades, and you must be aware that there is some risk of bricking
  • Do not use this guide for Chinese Blades, Russian RTK v8s, or CDMA Blades (v880, x880, u880, n880) as they are not compatible with these firmware packages.
  • This process will wipe all your internal memory - data, apps, ROM, etc, but not your SD card.
  • Nandroid backups can be restored after flashing, but only if their contents fit on the new partition layout and they correspond to the same Gen. If unsure, don’t rely on it. Backup all your data before flashing.
  • Do not mix and match files from different firmware packages. Some combinations will cause a permanent brick.
  • Do not use any firmware files from outside this post (e.g. other TPT files) with this method. Using these can result in a corrupt IMEI.
  • If you are trying to unlock extra RAM on your 256MB Blade, be aware that although all European GSM Blades I know about can be unlocked, your Blade might be the first one that can’t. If it can’t, you may end up with a brick.
Downloads
Before you begin, download these three files to your Blade’s SD card:

  • restore_stock_recovery.zip (md5:F7D1EA48A334E86A468A66B00A833E9A): This restores the stock recovery image if you have replaced it with clockworkmod. Stock recovery is necessary for the flashing process.
  • recovery-clockwork-5.0.2.0-blade-gen2-update_signed.zip (md5:17fbb1b404b4d6780fb799583ba90708): this re-flashes clockworkmod after the upgrade process so you can install a ROM. If you want to flash Gen1 firmware, you must use recovery-clockwork-4.0.0.5-blade-gen1-update_signed.zip (md5:3e8b9cd53c85697f8b9dd14643e896fa) instead. your current installation of clockworkmod will be overwritten in the flashing process.
  • A ROM to install from clockworkmod after flashing the firmware, so that you have a working phone. If you are unsure, use Swedish Spring, as it is compatible with Gen1 and Gen2.
Next, download one of the firmware packages from below and extract it to a folder on your computer. If want to use Gen2 ROMs, pick the first one, unless you have a good reason not to. All packages below will unlock hidden RAM.

Firmware packages


custom Gen2 160 v10 (md5:3bba5273f14dea9c971178f8f6fa4b2d) (Recommended)

  • Gen2 radio and memory layout
  • Partition layout: 2MB cache, 160 MB system, 294MB data
  • Fastboot enabled
  • Compatible with Gen1 TPTs
  • This partition layout is the most efficient for CM7 and most custom ROMs. 140MB is not quite enough for the latest releases.
custom Gen2 215 v10 (md5:dba6a95c0bc33333a6c04e87ca4b380e)
  • Gen2 radio and memory layout
  • Partition layout: 38MB cache, 215MB system, 204MB data
  • Fastboot enabled
  • Compatible with Gen1 TPTs
  • This partition layout is necessary for most stock ROMs and for early builds of ICS/CM9.
custom Gen2 v7b (md5:4630F7165EE331FD2EBFC2679D3AAAC1)
  • Gen2 radio and memory layout
  • Partition layout: 2MB cache, 140 MB system, 314MB data
  • Fastboot enabled
  • Compatible with Gen1 TPTs
  • If you flash this to a Gen2 Blade with a 136MB partition layout from the old windows flasher, you will be able to restore your nandroid backup afterwards (both firmwares are Gen2 and the system and data partition are both bigger)
Stock Gen2 (md5:85D7B01156C2E713FA927C78D2C39D53)
  • Gen2 radio and memory layout
  • Stock Gen2 Partition layout: 37.5MB cache, 220MB system, 162.5MB data.
  • Fastboot disabled
  • Compatible with Gen2 TPTs (image.bin)

Stock Gen3 (md5:3f3cc4b6b45fac19bdcbe3bd8b380445)
  • Gen3 radio and Gen2/Gen3 memory layout
  • Stock Gen3 Partition layout: 200MB system, 162MB Data, 57MB cache
  • Fastboot probably disabled
  • Compatible with Gen2 TPTs (image.bin)
Gen2 with 136MB system (md5:12F238321EDA5B5CB2F4569E1FD3C08B)
  • Gen2 radio and memory layout
  • Partition layout: 2MB cache, 136MB system, 303MB data.
  • Fastboot disabled
  • Compatible with Gen2 TPTs (image.bin)
Stock Gen1 (md5:27917857EFA40ADCECDD1B7793263229)
  • Gen1 radio and memory layout
  • Stock Gen1 partition Layout: 41MB cache, 207.5MB system, 208MB data
  • Fastboot enabled
  • Compatible with Gen1 TPTs
Gen1 with 128MB system (md5:64EEE62012A78231C9F5ECD475D72C84)
  • Gen1 radio and memory layout
  • Partition Layout: 41MB cache, 128MB system, 287.5MB data
  • Fastboot enabled
  • Compatible with Gen1 TPTs

How to Flash
  • If you intend to keep your ROM/Data, make a nandroid backup. Be aware that depending on which firmware you go from/to, it may not fit on your new partition layout and/or your ROM may not be compatible with your new memory layout.
  • Make sure you have saved the three files above to your SD card. The version (gen1/gen2) of clockworkmod and your new ROM should match the Gen you are flashing to. Make sure your Blade has plenty of battery.
  • Boot your phone into recovery mode by turning it on with volume down held. If the words FTM appear on the screen, go to the next step. If you find yourself in clockworkmod or AmonRa, flash restore_stock_recovery.zip and reboot with volume down held. The words FTM should now appear on the screen. Note that you have now removed clockworkmod - you can restore it after flashing.
  • Connect your phone to your PC via USB.
  • Unzip the contents of the firmware package you want to flash. Start the program called “download.exe” in the root folder. When the flasher window comes up, press the start button. If the start button is not clickable, use “driverinstaller.exe” to install ZTE drivers and make sure your phone is connected and in FTM mode.
  • Wait a few minutes for your phone to be flashed. The screen will turn black for a while. Do not interrupt this process. A message will inform you when flashing is complete.
  • Disconnect your phone and remove the battery. Reinsert the battery and turn on the phone (normally, with no buttons pressed). Your phone should boot into clockworkmod recovery.
  • IMPORTANT: clockworkmod is now installed to your phone’s boot partition. This means that if you install a ROM at this point you will overwrite clockworkmod. You must now flash the correct version of clockworkmod (recovery-clockwork 4.0.0.5-blade-genX-update_signed.zip) from your SD card. This will install clockworkmod to the recovery partition where it belongs.
  • Restart your phone with volume down held. It should boot into clockworkmod. If it boots into FTM mode or does not progress pass the green android, go back to step 7 and make sure you flashed the correct version of clockworkmod.
  • In clockworkmod, install the ROM you downloaded previously or restore your nandroid backup. Reboot and enjoy your new firmware. If you flashed a TPT compatible firmware, then use TPT if you ever want to repartition again.
Troubleshooting
If the flasher fails at 98% and your phone will only boot into FTM mode, or if your IMEI is lost in the process for any reason, then it can usually be fixed. The problem is that the flasher failed to restore NV memory after flashing your phone. Save "channel1.nvm" from the folder that you ran the flasher from (this file contains your IMEI and NV memory) and follow the instructions in this thread to restore it to your phone. If you already have that file then you can just restore it straight away without any hex editing or firmware flashing. This will make it boot properly and with the correct IMEI.

How this works
All the packages above contain the Gen2 flasher patched by mrradmir. They each contain a set of the usual .mbn firmware files in the files folder. The lost IMEI problem is avoided because the recovery.img in the firmware folders contains the appropriate stock recovery image rather than clockworkmod. The flasher automatically boots the phone into FTM mode near the end of the flashing process and restores the IMEI if necessary, with no user intervention. Clockworkmod is initially installed to the boot partition instead. All packages also contain blank system and userdata images to prevent problems caused by corrupt data after repartitioning, as well as a standard splash image, which is required if it is moved by a new partition layout. Thanks to The Soup Thief, hecatae, wbaw, mrradmir, and others for contributing to all this.

Changelog
2011-12-26
  • Added warnings about the incompatible Russian RTK v8 and the Brazilian model.
  • Removed links to Gen3 TPTs that don't work.
  • Added v10 versions gen2 TPTs - both stock and custom partition layouts.
2011-10-22
  • Added links to newly posted Gen2 style TPTs from Amphoras, revised recommendations as to when to follow this guide accordingly.
2011-10-14
  • Updated custom partition layout from v7 to v9 (no major changes)
  • Changed TPT upgrade links to point to xda since the modaco post was removed
  • Added stock Gen3 firmware package

2011-06-22
  • Updated custom partition layouts from v4/v5 to v7/v7b, and updated the clockworkmod on boot to 4.0.0.5
2011-06-21
  • Updated links to point to clockworkmod 4.0.0.5
2011-06-20
  • Removed references to 850Mhz GSM and HSUPA. I give up.
  • Added a troubleshooting section with instructions to follow if NV memory fails to restore, since people seem to be having this issue
2011-06-17
  • Renamed wbaw's firmwares to "custom" by wbaw's request. wbaw does not wish to receive queries from this guide, and does not use windows.
  • Added a warning against flashing CDMA blades. My intuition tells me it would be a bad idea.
2011-05-23
  • re-added wbaw's firmware's, having found the problem
  • Added a warning not to flash any of these files to Chinese blades, as they lead to a bootloop/brick.
2011-05-16
  • Added wbaw's Gen2 v5 - re added cefs.mbn (because I haven't tested without it and it does not cause a problem with this method)
2011-04-09
  • Initial post

Edited by hedgepigdaniel, 26 December 2011 - 05:00 AM.

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#2
jonathonf

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Beautiful work. Will be trying this in a bit on my Windows-upgraded Blade.

--edit
Excellent. Worked perfectly. Thanks to all of you!

Edited by jonathonf, 08 May 2011 - 05:04 PM.

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#3
The Soup Thief

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Excellent!
Very clear - dare I suggest this be pinned?

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#4
hedgepigdaniel

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Excellent!
Very clear - dare I suggest this be pinned?


I have PMed StevenHarperUK - that was my intention (and it would be, after all that writing + flashing my phone 6 times to test - lol), so hopefully he will pin it.

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#5
wookie16081965

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sorry for my ignorance i did the gen 2 upgrade when it first came out (think thats the windows flasher) im now running LanceH s flb rom for gen2 if im wrong please direct me. I need to backup my rom then install the three files to sd card then update the firmware is this correct thanks.

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#6
hedgepigdaniel

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sorry for my ignorance i did the gen 2 upgrade when it first came out (think thats the windows flasher) im now running LanceH s flb rom for gen2 if im wrong please direct me. I need to backup my rom then install the three files to sd card then update the firmware is this correct thanks.


Correct. Use the first set of files. I don't know what partition layout you have or how full your partitions are, but its up to you to check if your data fits on the new layout.

Nice quote, btw...

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#7
wookie16081965

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Correct. Use the first set of files. I don't know what partition layout you have or how full your partitions are, but its up to you to check if your data fits on the new layout.

Nice quote, btw...

Ive never messed with my partition ive no extensions so i assume everything should go fine thankyou for replying and this step by step.
Followed your step by step and everything went as per your instructions thankyou very much.

Edited by wookie16081965, 08 May 2011 - 05:16 PM.

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#8
t0mm13b

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Flashing modified firmware to a stock Gen2 phone

This guide is useful for Blades that were originally sold as Gen2, upgraded to Gen2 using the windows flasher, or upgraded officially by a network provider.
<- snip ->


Sorry to be pedantic but is that meant to be Gen1? :unsure:

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#9
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To clarify something that is amiss....
  • When doing the flash with wbaw's 4 firmware file, and the flashing is underway, the clockworkmod recovery 3.0.2.8 (which should be already on sdcard) gets deleted!
  • It would be prudent to highlight the fact that you should have another copy of clockworkmod recovery under a different filename.
  • I went "oh f..." when I tried to flash the new clockworkmod recovery... so I had to take out the sd card and pop it into another computer to copy it.
All is well - thanks! :unsure:

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To clarify something that is amiss....

  • When doing the flash with wbaw's 4 firmware file, and the flashing is underway, the clockworkmod recovery 3.0.2.8 (which should be already on sdcard) gets deleted!
  • It would be prudent to highlight the fact that you should have another copy of clockworkmod recovery under a different filename.
  • I went "oh f..." when I tried to flash the new clockworkmod recovery... so I had to take out the sd card and pop it into another computer to copy it.
All is well - thanks! :)

good tip to know :unsure:
ty honey

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#11
hedgepigdaniel

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Sorry to be pedantic but is that meant to be Gen1? :unsure:


It's meant to be Gen2. As I said, it works on any blade, but if you are Gen1 or if you upgraded to Gen2 with TPT then you can save yourself all this hassle and use wbaw's TPT files on the other thread

To clarify something that is amiss....

  • When doing the flash with wbaw's 4 firmware file, and the flashing is underway, the clockworkmod recovery 3.0.2.8 (which should be already on sdcard) gets deleted!
  • It would be prudent to highlight the fact that you should have another copy of clockworkmod recovery under a different filename.
  • I went "oh f..." when I tried to flash the new clockworkmod recovery... so I had to take out the sd card and pop it into another computer to copy it.
All is well - thanks! :)


what? clockworkmod gets deleted from the SD card? you mean the recovery partition gets overwritten?

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#12
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what? clockworkmod gets deleted from the SD card? you mean the recovery partition gets overwritten?


No I meant, the zip file stored on the root of the sdcard for clockworkmod-recovery, when during the flash, and when its done, the zip file gets deleted and you'll get caught out... hence my previous posting to make another copy of it... :unsure:

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#13
hedgepigdaniel

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No I meant, the zip file stored on the root of the sdcard for clockworkmod-recovery, when during the flash, and when its done, the zip file gets deleted and you'll get caught out... hence my previous posting to make another copy of it... :unsure:


Sorry but I'm not sure what you mean. I don't know of any way this guide would cause anything on your SD card to be deleted

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#14
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Sorry but I'm not sure what you mean. I don't know of any way this guide would cause anything on your SD card to be deleted

The scenario was this: I had clockworkmod-recovery-3.0.2.8 on the root of the sdcard, followed your guide to a T, flasher did install the clockworkmod, but removed the zip file from the root of the sdcard... that surprised me... hence I pointed out that there should be another copy of it somewhere else... weird I know... you need to check and confirm this...

So any person interested in doing hedgepigdaniel's guide make note that you did indeed copy over the clockwork mod to the root of the sd-card, and allow the wbaw's window flasher go through its paces, and confirm that the file is indeed deleted once the flash is successful....

The impression I get, is that upon a successful flash, it deletes the files as part of cleaning up routine... including the clockworkmod recovery zip file itself....

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#15
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The scenario was this: I had clockworkmod-recovery-3.0.2.8 on the root of the sdcard, followed your guide to a T, flasher did install the clockworkmod, but removed the zip file from the root of the sdcard... that surprised me... hence I pointed out that there should be another copy of it somewhere else... weird I know... you need to check and confirm this...

So any person interested in doing hedgepigdaniel's guide make note that you did indeed copy over the clockwork mod to the root of the sd-card, and allow the wbaw's window flasher go through its paces, and confirm that the file is indeed deleted once the flash is successful....

The impression I get, is that upon a successful flash, it deletes the files as part of cleaning up routine... including the clockworkmod recovery zip file itself....


Ah ok, I understand now, although I have no idea why that would happen. When I tested, I didn't put clockworkmod on the root of the SD card, but in a folder. I will test again putting it on the root and see if I can reproduce this.

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#16
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Ah ok, I understand now, although I have no idea why that would happen. When I tested, I didn't put clockworkmod on the root of the SD card, but in a folder. I will test again putting it on the root and see if I can reproduce this.

I used the guide (and associated files) successfully yesterday to move back from a Windows-flashed Gen 2 to Gen 1. I used the Stock Gen 1 Fimware and had CWM on the root of my sd card. It wasn't deleted during the process and I'm now back on Gen 1. Is this therefore an issue with the firmware option chosen?

And just for completeness, I moved back to Gen 1 because CM7 seems to have plateaud as regards bug fixes, and the extra functionality it currently offers doesn't compensate when there's a near-perfect SS available that gives me all I need. I'll TPT back to Gen 2 should that eventually become the de facto standard for all future roms. I stress I'm not ungrateful to the CM7 devs. They're doing a brilliant job which is much appreciated. I do wonder though if we're at a hardware/software stasis as regards CM7 on the Blade

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#17
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just done this, works fine, have requested the previous guide to be removed

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#18
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Aplogies if this sounds stupid. I rarely keep up to date with Blade developments as i have a Desire HD as my main phone.

i upgraded to gen2 using the windows method. Should i now do this to have it as a newer gen2 (TPT method)?

EDIT: Done it and all worked fine. Just to find the TPT images now. Thanks for the guide. Very clear instructions.

Edited by Tones, 09 May 2011 - 07:24 PM.

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Ah ok, I understand now, although I have no idea why that would happen. When I tested, I didn't put clockworkmod on the root of the SD card, but in a folder. I will test again putting it on the root and see if I can reproduce this.


Bump :unsure: :)

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[quote name='hedgepigdaniel' date='May 8 2011, 15:09' post='1693039']

Flashing modified firmware to a stock Gen2 phone

This guide is useful for Blades that were originally sold as Gen2, upgraded to Gen2 using the windows flasher, or upgraded officially by a network provider. If you just want to upgrade to Gen2, go here. This procedure will work on Gen1 and TPT upgraded Gen2 Blades aswell, but is unnecessary in those cases since re-flashing with TPT is easier and simpler. This is not the same as flashing a ROM (Gen1|Gen2). If you are unsure about whether your Blade is Gen1 or Gen2, ask Mr PigFish. This method requires a Windows PC.

Advantages of modified firmware
Windows upgraded/stock Gen2 Blades have a wasteful partition layout, no fastboot mode, and are incapable of flashing TPT images. Some are sold with 256MB of RAM hidden by software. Depending on which files you flash, you can:[list]
[*]Change the partition layout to something more optimal, and therefore have more space on the data partition for your apps (315MB instead of 162MB), as well as 15MB more space overall.
[*]Enable fastboot mode. Fastboot can be useful for recovery if you make a mistake flashing ROMs and cannot boot your phone.
[*]Enable TPT flashing. TPT flashing is an e

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