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How to root your Kindle Fire

No Android device is really yours unless you have root access. Here's how to install the Android SDK

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Amazon's Android-powered Kindle Fire e-reader/tablet has arrived, which means only one thing: Eager Android enthusiasts everywhere will buy one and hack it so they can get superuser access, or "root" it. Root your Kindle Fire, and you can potentially install a custom Android ROM that lets you use your Kindle Fire as a full-featured tablet, install and use Android apps that require root privileges to add features and access your Kindle's system guts, and more. (You can even add support for the complete Android Market, but that's a separate guide.)

Credit for this specific Kindle Fire root method goes to Android Forums user "death2all110." In order to perform it, you'll need the Android SDK and a special root app called SuperOneClick. Don't worry, though - we'll show you how to do it from scratch.

Step 1

Turn on your Kindle Fire and tap the top bar, near the battery and Wi-Fi icons; press More... from the drop-down menu, then Device, and tap Allow Installation of Applications to On.

Step 2

Download the Android SDK from the Android Developer site. Get the version with an installer app (installer_r15-windows.exe).

Step 3

Download the Java Development Kit (version 7, at the time of this writing). Make sure to download the appropriate version of the Java Development Kit for your PC--I'm on a 32-bit Windows 7 PC, so I downloaded the Windows x86 version.

Step 4

Install the Java Development Kit. Make sure you do this before you install the Android SDK. All you need to do is to open the installer file you downloaded (mine was called jdk-7u1-windows-i586.exe) and click through the installer wizard.

Step 5

Install the Android SDK. Simply open installer_r15-windows.exe and follow the instructions. Once the Android SDK is finished installing, the SDK Manager app will automatically open with a list of software packages you can download. Go ahead and install all the prechecked packages, but make sure that the Google USB Driver package (listed under Extras) is checked. You'll need this file to let your PC communicate with the Kindle Fire. Wait for SDK Manager to download install and all the packages, and don't panic if it asks you for permission to kill a server or process. Just click OK until it's all done with the install process.

Step 6

Now that you have the SDK installed, you'll have to make two quick modifications to it before you can root the Kindle Fire. First, open up your User Account folder in Windows (C:\Users\(Your Account Name), find the new ".android" directory, and find a file called adb_usb.ini. Open it up in Notepad, add a new line at the bottom of the document, and type 0x1949. Make sure that string is on its own line in the document, save it, and close it. Next, go to wherever you installed the Android SDK itself (probably C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk), and navigate to the \extra\google\usb_driver\ directory. Find the file called android_winusb.inf and open it in Notepad. There, you'll want to take the following lines and paste them immediately underneath the [Google.NTx86] and [GoogleNTamd64] headings in the document:

;Kindle Fire%SingleAdbInterface% = USB_Install, USB\VID_1949&PID_0006%CompositeAdbInterface% = USB_Install, USB\VID_1949&PID_0006&MI_01

Save the file and exit Notepad. If Notepad doesn't let you overwrite android_winusb.inf when you're saving it, save the edited version to your desktop, and then drag the edited version over to the usb_driver directory to replace the old version with your edited version. Windows may ask you for Administrator permission to replace android_winusb.inf - don't worry, it's fine.

Step 7

Plug your Kindle into your PC. You'll need a micro-USB cable to do this, which the Fire doesn't ship with, so you'll have to buy that cable if you don't already have one that you use with your phone or camera. Windows will probably automatically attempt to install a driver for it, fail, and then mount it as a normal storage device. That's fine, though we may have to change something there later.

Step 8

Now that your PC and Kindle are connected, we're going to open up the Android SDK to make sure it recognizes the Kindle. Open up Command Prompt in Windows (Start Menu, All Programs, Accessories, Command Prompt) and navigate to wherever you installed the Android SDK.

Don't remember your DOS commands? That's okay - just open up the Command Prompt and type cd followed by the file path to the platform-tools directory (for example: cd C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools\). Once you're there, type adb kill-server, press Enter, type adb devices, and then press Enter again. You should see the Command Prompt return with "List of devices attached" and a string of numbers followed by "device" - that means the Android SDK recognizes the Kindle is attached, and you're ready to proceed to the next step.

However, if you don't have any devices listed, it probably means that Windows isn't using your Android SDK USB driver to communicate with your Kindle Fire. Go to Control Panel in Windows, open Device Manager, and scroll down the list of devices until you find your Kindle listed. Right-click the listing and select Update, then click Browse my computer for driver software, Browse, and navigate to the directory that holds the file you edited earlier called android_winusb.inf--probably C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver. Click Next; Windows should now switch over to the Android SDK USB driver for your Kindle. Go back to the Command Prompt; type adb kill-server, press Enter, then type adb devices, and press Enter again. You should see something show up under the list of attached devices.

Step 9

Now you're ready to root your Kindle. All you have to do is download SuperOneClick (and Microsoft's NET 2.0 Framework, if you don't already have it installed), install both apps, open up SuperOneClick, and click Root.

Let SuperOneClick do its thing - the entire process takes a few minutes - and when it's done, go back to the Command Prompt, type adb kill-server, and press Enter. Then, just to be sure, click on the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media icon in the Windows Notification Area (usually a picture of a plug with a green checkmark on it), eject the Kindle, and unplug it. Congratulations - you have root access!


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Icebe01 said: The text Kindle FireSingleAdbInterface USBInstall USBVID1949ampPID0006CompositeAdbInterface USBInstall USBVID1949ampPID0006ampMI01Must be Kindle FireSingleAdbInterface USBInstallUSBVID1949ampPID0006CompositeAdbInterface USBInstall USBVID1949ampPID0006ampMI01Otherwize the driver inst found by windows

alejandro said: is there a way to do it from Mac OS

Andrew Sears said: I purchased an Amazon Kindle and rooted the device Now it no longer lets me access any of the videos I purchased from Amazon or any of their Amazon Prime videos I called customer service and they verified that Amazons policy is to not let customers access their videos once they root the device call at 877-442-1958 to verify thisThis is completely counter to the policy that Amazon said they would have toward rooting see httpwwwpcmagcomarticle2 I bought the device because they stated they wouldnt get in the way of rooting Its complete BS that they take away content Ive already purchased because I root the device Their Amazon Android store is crap and only has about 110th the apps I need I got kids and their selection of kids games is horrible In addition I have a subscription to the Economist which I cant get unless I root the device because Amazon would charge me for each issue through their newsstand even though I already have a subscriptionI feel misled

Rini20 said: when i try to root it freezes and i get this program is not respondingthe second line of text opens and then it freezes what can i do

android_winusb.inf seeker said: Regarding Step 6 if you happen to have some of your Windows 7 user account info eg Desktop Favorites Documents etc on a separate drive ie your user account isnt located under CUsersyouruseraccountfolder perhaps modded via TweakUI like you could do with WinXP then the android folder will be located off the root of that driveSpecifically I have my Desktop Documents etc located on a RAIDed F drive For the life of me I could not find this android folder under my CUsersmyusername folder to modify the androidwinusbinf fileOk step 7finally

Port City Javascript said: Sounds as simple as making water from sand SHeesh

Mcplame said: My device isnt showing up so i tried setting it to use the android sdk usb driver manually like you said but windows gives me the error the specified location does not contain information about your hardware when i try to select it

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