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[Guide] de-bricking a ZTE Blade

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#1
hedgepigdaniel

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How to recover a ZTE Blade/Libra/v880 after a bad flash
This guide is meant to help you to recover from a bad flash. It assumes at the very least that you cannot boot android, and can help you as long as your phone can boot into download mode. I have described many ways to unbrick in order of increasing difficulty and risk. Use only the first method that works. These instructions will wipe everything on your phone’s internal memory. Before you follow any of them, charge your battery and have a good night’s sleep. For the purposes of this guide, a Dell XCD35 is a European GSM Blade.

Hard-brick vs Soft-brick
If your phone is soft-bricked, it has a software problem which is rendering it only as useful as a paperweight (i.e. there is nothing physically wrong with it). If it is hard-bricked, it has a physical problem which is rendering it only as useful as a paperweight. The recovery methods below can only help you to recover from a soft-brick because they do not involve any physical repairs. 99% of bricked phones are soft-bricked, and to my knowledge it is always possible to recover a soft-bricked ZTE Blade of the variants this guide is written for. I can't help you much with hard-bricked phones, but I will say this: batteries break before phones. Your Blade may have an old or damaged battery displays any of the following symptoms:
  • Does not turn on at all, even into download mode as per method 5
  • Turns on initially but does not successfully boot android without repeatedly rebooting or turning off, even after recovery using the methods below
  • Boots successfully but regularly reboots or turns off, even after recovery using the methods below
  • Especially if its behaviour is different depending on whether a charger is connected and/or depending on which charger is connected
If you suspect that your phone has a bad battery, you may be interested in buying a new battery from eBay, since it's cheaper than buying a new phone. I recovered my old Blade like this. Sometimes the angle at which the battery is inserted can have an impact: moving the battery from side to side or inserting blu-tak to hold the battery closer to the terminals can sometimes fix the problem.

Special Case: corrupt NV memory
If your phone was flashed via windows and will not boot into anything except recovery mode (i.e. FTM mode or clockworkmod), even if you install a compatible ROM and boot normally, then the problem is usually corrupt NV memory. You must use method 4 to solve this problem. You can often solve it by following only the instructions to restore your IMEI (skipping the flashing part), but you may need to do the whole lot.


Method 1: Clockworkmod
Turn your phone on with volume down held. If it boots into clockwork, then you should be able to fix it from there. In clockworkmod:
  • Go to “backup and restore” and perform a backup of your current setup.
  • Go to “mounts and storage” and select mount USB storage. Connect the phone to a computer and copy your backup from the clockworkmod directory to your computer. Download a Gen1 or Gen2 ROM and copy it to your SD card (not a stock ROM, since it will overwrite clockworkmod). If you are not sure, try installing both Gen1 and Gen2 ROMs.
  • Go to “mounts and storage” and format boot, system, data, cache, and sd-ext.
  • Go to “install zip from SD card” and install the ROM you have downloaded. Restart your phone when it is finished.

Method 2: Fastboot
Fastboot is a method of flashing a recovery image to your phone from a computer (which can be running Windows, Linux, or OSX). It does not work with Blades that are running stock Gen2 firmware (i.e. upgraded to stock Gen2 via windows or upgraded to android 2.2 by an official update) unless both the recovery and boot partitions are completely unbootable.

For all platforms
  • Download and extract this file, which contains both fastboot and clockworkmod for Gen1 and Gen2.
  • Turn on your phone with volume up held and connect it to your computer. It should not progress beyond the green android. Sometimes you have to wait a few minutes for the computer to recognise it.
For Windows
  • Download and install the ZTE Handset drivers. Your phone should be listed as "Fastboot Interface" under "ADB Interfaces".
  • Run windows-flash-gen1-recovery.bat to flash Gen1 clockworkmod, or windows-flash-gen2-recovery.bat to flash gen2 clockworkmod.
  • After rebooting with volume down held, you should be able to flash a ROM in clockworkmod.
For Linux
  • Navigate to the extracted folder and run one of the following commands. To flash Gen1 clockworkmod:
    sudo ./fastboot-linux flash recovery recovery-clockwork-4.0.0.8-blade-gen1.img
    To flash Gen2 clockworkmod:
    sudo ./fastboot-linux flash recovery recovery-clockwork-4.0.0.8-blade-gen2.img
  • After rebooting with volume down held, you should be able to flash a ROM in clockworkmod.
For Mac
I don't know the command but it is probably similar to linux. you need to run fastboot-mac instead of fastboot-linux and flash the appropriate .img file.


Method 3: TPT
TPT is a way of flashing part of the low-level firmware on your phone. After successfully flashing the files below you will regain access to clockworkmod. You need a different type of TPT depending on what variant of the Blade you have. If you have a China Unicom v880 or any other Chinese variant then you must not flash a TPT designed for European Blades, and vice versa. Be aware that flashing a modified or corrupt TPT can permanently brick your phone. Choose the appropriate file below.

European Gen1 TPT
Use this if your phone is a European GSM variant and if it is Gen1 or has been upgraded to Gen2 via TPT. This will flash stock Gen1 firmware.

European Gen2 TPT
Use this if your phone is a European GSM variant and if it was sold as Gen2 or upgraded to stock Gen2 via windows. This will flash stock Gen2 firmware.

China Unicom v880 Gen2 TPT
Use this if your phone is a China Unicom v880 (unsure, but may work on Chinese u880/x880). This will flash the stock Gen2 firmware taken from the B15 android 2.2.2 update.


Flashing the TPT
  • Download the applicable TPT file from above.
  • Unzip and put the “image” folder onto the root directory of your SD card.
  • Disconnect and reconnect your SD card and check the integrity of the TPT files. There is a file called "image.hash" in the image folder which contains all the files' md5 hashes in plain text. Make sure that the md5 of all the files match, or you may brick your phone.
  • Turn on your phone with the SD card inserted and with menu and volume up held.
  • The screen will either stay black or show green text (if you see the green android immediately then it didn't work), and will restart into clockworkmod when done. Wait at least 5 minutes for it to restart if you don’t see anything.
  • When it is finished (even if it didn't work), then remove the image directory from the SD card to prevent accidental flashing later on.
You can now flash a ROM using clockworkmod. If it doesn't work, then using a different SD card may help. If you have a European variant then it is safe to try both Gen1 and Gen2 TPTs separately in case you have made a mistake.


Method 4: Windows upgrader
This method flashes the entire low-level firmware and maintains the correct IMEI automatically. To use this method you need to be able to boot into stock recovery. This means that when you turn your phone on with volume down held, the words “FTM” must appear on the screen. If you can access clockworkmod then you don't need to use this method - see above. This method requires windows.
  • For European Blades, follow this guide and flash any firmware package linked in the guide.
  • For Chinese Blades, you must follow the same guide but flash this firmware package instead.
  • If your provider/country is listed here then you can also flash your stock firmware instead, and optionally the stock ROM aswell.

Method 5: The dodgy ZTE firmware flasher
This method can help if your blade cannot boot at all. Consider it a LAST RESORT - people do this all the time and only make their situation worse. Only use it if all the above methods fail or if your IMEI is corrupt. Your IMEI will be lost in the process and you will need to use hex editing to fix it up afterwards. This method also requires windows. Most of this is taken from burstlam’s thread here, which you can also refer to (burstlam has posted screenshots which also help to show what to do). Do the following in order:

Boot into download mode and set up connection
  • Download and install the ZTE USB driver.
  • Put your phone in download mode by turning it on with both volume buttons held down at the same time. The screen will remain black, but the notification LED should briefly flash red.
  • Plug it into your computer. The phone should be recognised in windows device manager under “Ports (COM & LPT)” as “ZTE Handset Diagnostic Interface(DFU) (COMxx)”. Take note of the port number (xx). If your phone cannot turn on at all and the LED doesn’t flash, it is dead. Sorry about that.
Flash firmware
  • Download this file, which contains the ZTE flasher along with firmware to flash your phone with, and unzip it somewhere convenient.
  • Run “Flasher.exe” from the extracted folder. Press the exclamation mark and login as administrator with the password “ZTEsmt123”.
  • Under “SW Directory”, select the correct firmware folder inside the extracted folder (European Gen1 firmware or Chinese v880 Gen2 firmware). ONLY flash the one appropriate for your phone.
  • Leave the default settings as they are – “download cefs” ticked, “no backup restore” selected, and “download” selected.
  • Go to the “Option” menu and select “Port Config”. Set line 1 to the COM port that you observed in step 3, then press OK.
  • Press the purple arrow next to line 1 and wait for your phone to be flashed. When finished it should boot into FTM mode.
Edit "channel1.nvm" to hold IMEI
  • In the flasher folder, open the file “channel1.nvm” with HxD, or a hex editor of your choice.
  • Go to offset 0x1215. The IMEI is stored between offset 0x1215 and 0x121C. You need to read your correct IMEI from behind your battery and enter it here like this:
  • In 0x1215 put the first digit of your IMEI followed by A. For each successive pair of digits, enter the second digit followed by the first digit. For example: and IMEI of 123456789012345 would be recorded at 0x1215 as 1A 32 54 76 98 10 32 54. When done, save this file.
Restore channel1.nvm to your phone
  • Make sure channel1.nvm is in the folder next to the flasher with the correct IMEI.
  • Connect your phone to your computer and turn on your phone with volume down held. It should boot into FTM mode.
  • In the flasher, select “restore NV” and “RF/BT/IMEI/unLock info”, and press the purple arrow next to line 1. Your IMEI will now be restored to your phone.
Put clockworkmod in the recovery partition
  • Take out the battery and turn on the phone. Clockworkmod should load.
  • 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 to the recovery partition.
  • Go to “mounts and storage”, and select mount USB storage. Connect the phone to your computer and copy the correct version of clockworkmod as a zip file (Gen1 for European Gen1 firmware, Gen2 for Chinese firmware) to your SD card, then install it using clockworkmod.
  • 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, reboot normally and make sure you flashed the correct version of clockworkmod.
You can now flash a ROM (If you flashed Gen1 firmware you can also upgrade to Gen2 via TPT). When you do, check your IMEI. If it is wrong, flash stock recovery in clockworkmod, boot into FTM mode, and repeat (correctly) above from "editing channel1.nvm" onwards.

------------------------------------------

I wrote this because it seemed that soft-bricked Blades were becoming a daily event and there was much confusion about which solutions worked in which circumstances. As far as I know these are the only known ways to recover a soft-bricked Blade. I don't use my Blade anymore so I don't check here regularly, but as of today (20/01/2012), everything here is up to date. I hope these instructions were useful to you.

Edited by hedgepigdaniel, 19 January 2013 - 01:35 PM.

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#2
k0zmic

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Really good guide, I think it should be pinned.

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#3
hedgepigdaniel

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Really good guide, I think it should be pinned.


you're welcome to PM the mods - although they seem to have done a major clean up of pinned topics!

I'll probably have to link people to it if its not pinned I guess - It's just what I always tell people to do in brick threads.

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#4
wbaw

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You should add fastboot to the guide too, before TPT. It's safer. If, like the guy the other day, somebody restores a gen1 nandroid backup to a gen2 upgraded phone, then it's in fastboot mode (because neither boot or recovery will boot) & they can flash a compatible version of clockworkmod, then flash a compatible rom, without needing tpt. vol+ on boot will put some blades into fastboot mode too (or flash a tpt, if the image dir is on their sd card).

You need to stress the importance of checking file integrity with any TPT, otherwise it has the potential to break their phone even more. Flash a non-functioning oemsbl.mbn or something like that & it's all over, Blade is dead. Remind people to remove the image directory from their sd card when their phone is working again too, I still accidentally tpt my phone every few weeks :huh:

The rest of the guide needs health warnings & rewriting a little too. In the Windows part, if they can access Clockworkmod then they should just use that to flash a working rom, not mess around flashing stock recovery & windows flashing. They shouldn't have got to that part of the guide if they can get into clockworkmod, so that sentence is redundant & confusing.

The last method needs a stronger warning, like *only do this if everything above failed*, otherwise people with not-so-bricked blades might end up making things worse unnecessarily.

Otherwise, good guide, it should be pinned. I'm glad somebody collected all the info & put it in one post.

Edited by wbaw, 16 July 2011 - 03:45 AM.

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#5
hedgepigdaniel

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You should add fastboot to the guide too, before TPT. It's safer. If, like the guy the other day, somebody restores a gen1 nandroid backup to a gen2 upgraded phone, then it's in fastboot mode (because neither boot or recovery will boot) & they can flash a compatible version of clockworkmod, then flash a compatible rom, without needing tpt. vol+ on boot will put some blades into fastboot mode too (or flash a tpt, if the image dir is on their sd card).

You need to stress the importance of checking file integrity with any TPT, otherwise it has the potential to break their phone even more. Flash a non-functioning oemsbl.mbn or something like that & it's all over, Blade is dead. Remind people to remove the image directory from their sd card when their phone is working again too, I still accidentally tpt my phone every few weeks :huh:

The rest of the guide needs health warnings & rewriting a little too. In the Windows part, if they can access Clockworkmod then they should just use that to flash a working rom, not mess around flashing stock recovery & windows flashing. They shouldn't have got to that part of the guide if they can get into clockworkmod, so that sentence is redundant & confusing.

The last method needs a stronger warning, like *only do this if everything above failed*, otherwise people with not-so-bricked blades might end up making things worse unnecessarily.

Otherwise, good guide, it should be pinned. I'm glad somebody collected all the info & put it in one post.



I was thinking about putting fastboot in but to be honest I didn't really feel up to the task of writing a guide for it when I could be more familiar with it. I'll see if I can't read up on it or at least mention it and link to another guide. I replied to you in mettaFox's thread - keep in mind that fastboot does not work if people are running stock Gen2, like mettafox was until he flashed your TPT firmware (via windows).

I'll add a note about TPT file integrity and removing the image folder. You use Android file verifier from market right?

True about clockwork and windows, I'll fix that

I'll have a look at the warnings, I have tried to make it clear that the dodgy ZTE flasher is a very last resort (that's half of the reason I wrote this, I end up helping people who have made their situation worse with it every second day).

Thanks, I'll see if I can address those things and PM a mod.

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#6
wbaw

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Fastboot does work with stock gen2, just not the vol+ boot shortcut to it. If recovery & boot wont boot, if they both have an invalid base address for example (gen2 flashed to gen1 or gen1 rom to gen2 phone), the phone hangs at the android splash screen, in fastboot mode. Then they just need to use fastboot to flash the appropriate clockworkmod & go back to step one. Theres no way they can cause any more damage with fastboot, it can only write to the normal android partitions.

Using it is simple, they just need to download the fastboot binary (windows, linux & mac versions available), download a clockworkmod recovery.img connect the phone using usb ... then

fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
fastboot reboot

In a command window, you could even put it in one package with a .bat file to click on. Windows users might need to install drivers too. Those two commands should be enough to get the phone to restart straight into clockworkmod, assuming they used the right version, if they flash the wrong one, it'll be back in fastboot mode & they can try the other.

fastboot flash recovery recovery.gen1.img
fastboot reboot
fastboot flash recovery recovery.gen2.img
fastboot reboot

In a batch file should get them into clockworkmod, if they're stuck in fastboot mode.


Anything that can test MD5s is good enough to check file integrity. If their phone is bricked, then they can't really use AFV, that's an Android app. They'll need to copy the files using a microsd reader of some kind. They should copy the files across, unmount the sdcard, then remount it & test the extracted files, to make absolutely sure there are no errors. So they need some kind of md5sum file in the image directory to test, my TPTs have one, called nandroid.md5 (to make it easier to test on the phone).

Edited by wbaw, 16 July 2011 - 04:40 AM.

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#7
hedgepigdaniel

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I've added a fastboot section with a automatic script for windows. I'll add a linux or mac script and/or the correct mac commands if anyone is willing to write them for me - I'm not familiar with Linux scripting and I can't test on a mac.

Still working on the md5s.

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#8
hedgepigdaniel

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Updated all the TPT files - they now have a list of hashes, which the guide directs people to check. I've PMed Matty-P asking for it to be pinned.

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#9
The Soup Thief

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Well done for another great guide hedgepigdaniel
Very clearly expressed and all in one place - will be an invaluable resource I'm sure

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#10
Anil K Solanki

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Kudos to you hedgepigdaniel, hopefully I will never need it. :) Hopefuly this will become a pinned topic, along with the description of what "bricked" actually means.

This guide will one day save someones ass.

Regards, Anil.

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Galaxy NEXUS with a side of Jelly Bean.

#11
judev

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Edited by judev, 30 July 2011 - 05:29 PM.

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#12
judev

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Edited by judev, 30 July 2011 - 05:28 PM.

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#13
ITiBoI

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I think I bricked my phone :( I described the problems in this thread. I hope you can tell me what to do :)

EDIT: Thank you so much for this thread and the described methods hedgepigdaniel :) The third method worked for my Gen 2 device :)
@Anil k Solanki: Yes it saved my ass :) :) :) :D

Edited by ITiBoI, 07 August 2011 - 05:30 PM.

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#14
VitorMC18

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Hello,
I tried to install a custom rom for my zte blade (GEN1) using the all-in-one method from this post i did everything as the topic says but when i started the phone pressing menu+volume up nothing appeared on screen. As i had read that it could display a blank screen i decided to wait. However nothing happened at all, i´va probably waited for like 15 mins. then i decided to reboot the phone, by removing the batery and restarting. The big android logo showed up, but again, nothing happened. Now, when i press the menu+volume up keys some green text shows up, and it ends with an error when loading splash.img.

i dont know what to do, i can't really understand the methods in this topic. I cant make the pc recognize the sd card. If someone could give me a little help it would be awesome.

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#15
hedgepigdaniel

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Hello,
I tried to install a custom rom for my zte blade (GEN1) using the all-in-one method from this post i did everything as the topic says but when i started the phone pressing menu+volume up nothing appeared on screen. As i had read that it could display a blank screen i decided to wait. However nothing happened at all, i´va probably waited for like 15 mins. then i decided to reboot the phone, by removing the batery and restarting. The big android logo showed up, but again, nothing happened. Now, when i press the menu+volume up keys some green text shows up, and it ends with an error when loading splash.img.

i dont know what to do, i can't really understand the methods in this topic. I cant make the pc recognize the sd card. If someone could give me a little help it would be awesome.


On some older firmware, when you do a TPT (which is what this all in one method is), nothing is shown on the screen, so a blank screen is normal the first time. The next time it showed the green text, so it obviously reflashed something the first time.

Have you checked the integrity of the files or tried downloading them again in case they have been corrupted?

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#16
bibberdy

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This should definitely be pinned, excellent article not needed it, but the day i do I'll be hugely thankful I can get to it quickly!!

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#17
stathisq

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Hi guys!
yesterday i tried to repartition my phone,but to installer stucked up on 98%(i dont know why...maybe it was my mistake...)...after rebooting my phone,the screen remained black and the led flashed red(i tryed to pressed (-) but nothing happend)...
afted that i tried method 3 (TPT for gen2 phones),and it worked(the only problem is that in 99% it gave me an error but after that it gave me success)...so the phone restarted to cmw...then i installed gsf b24 through cmw....then restarted my phone and it booted again in cwm!!(without pressing (-))...after this i tried to install stock recovery manager to try a FTM update...this time when i tried to restart my phone,it booted FTM(again without pressing (-))...i tried many roms after this but my phone is always booting the recovery partition...i also tried to restore phone to gen1...i did it but the problem still remains...
any ideas now???it anything i can do???
thank you and sorry about my poor english(im from Greece)...

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#18
hedgepigdaniel

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Hi guys!
yesterday i tried to repartition my phone,but to installer stucked up on 98%(i dont know why...maybe it was my mistake...)...after rebooting my phone,the screen remained black and the led flashed red(i tryed to pressed (-) but nothing happend)...
afted that i tried method 3 (TPT for gen2 phones),and it worked(the only problem is that in 99% it gave me an error but after that it gave me success)...so the phone restarted to cmw...then i installed gsf b24 through cmw....then restarted my phone and it booted again in cwm!!(without pressing (-))...after this i tried to install stock recovery manager to try a FTM update...this time when i tried to restart my phone,it booted FTM(again without pressing (-))...i tried many roms after this but my phone is always booting the recovery partition...i also tried to restore phone to gen1...i did it but the problem still remains...
any ideas now???it anything i can do???
thank you and sorry about my poor english(im from Greece)...


Your NV memory is corrupt - you need to do method 5.

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#19
stathisq

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Your NV memory is corrupt - you need to do method 5.


in this step...

Boot into download mode and set up connection

  • Download and install the ZTE USB driver.
  • Put your phone in download mode by turning it on with both volume buttons held down at the same time. The screen will remain black, but the notification LED should briefly flash red.
  • Plug it into your computer. The phone should be recognised in windows device manager under “Ports (COM & LPT)” as “ZTE Handset Diagnostic Interface(DFU) (COMxx)”. Take note of the port number (xx). If your phone cannot turn on at all and the LED doesn’t flash, it is dead. Sorry about that.



my pc is recognising my phone as ZTE Handset Diagnostic Interface(DFU) (COM4)...but the led is not flashing...is this ok??



EDIT:


hedgepigdaniel THANK YOU!!!i did it and it worked!!!!thank you so much!!!

Edited by stathisq, 14 September 2011 - 01:39 PM.

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#20
gridl0ck

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I tried everything and failed so I tried method 5. It flashes but after it completes the flash it remains on the blank screen and does not reboot. I manually then reboot it and the phone boots straight to FTM. The phone was dead before hand so I am unable to say if it is gen1 or gen2 :( It is the orange san francisco and I think it may be GEN 1. I flashed the gen one (europe rom) on to it using the ZTE flasher. Also in the flasher I am unable to check restoreNV either it is blocked out.

Also I cannot find the strings for the IMEI on the channel1 file using HXD, it simply isn't there :S.

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