User:Agge/Updating the firmware/rev2

Line 5: Line 5:
This page has seen massive edits to get it in line with N900 details of flashing. N8x0 owners might want to have a look to older versions, like
This page has seen massive edits to get it in line with N900 details of flashing. N8x0 owners might want to have a look to older versions, like
This page grew organically, so structuring is suboptimal. '''READ THE WHOLE PAGE before starting!''' ''' AND [[User:Agge/Updating the firmware/Updating_the_firmware/rev2/Trubleshooting|Trubleshooting]]'''
This page grew organically, so structuring is suboptimal. '''READ THE WHOLE PAGE before starting!''' ''' AND [[User:Agge/Updating_the_firmware/rev2/Trubleshooting|Trubleshooting]]'''
'''Video Tutorials:'''
'''Video Tutorials:'''

Revision as of 00:27, 3 November 2013


This page has seen massive edits to get it in line with N900 details of flashing. N8x0 owners might want to have a look to older versions, like This page grew organically, so structuring is suboptimal. READ THE WHOLE PAGE before starting! AND Trubleshooting

Video Tutorials:


What does it do?


Please see the main article Flashing N9.


These descriptions assume that you are using the latest official images. This page is not exactly a step-by-step instruction, so better read the whole page prior to starting the flashing process.

While talking about flashing, there are exactly two distinct processes and related files (also called images) frequently mentioned:

  • (flashing the) FIASCO aka *COMBINED*, also referred to as "rootfs" though this file and flashing process also consists of / affects NOLO bootloader (the several stages), the kernel, and usually the GSM modem firmware, in addition to the root filesystem which is basically the content of your 240 MB NAND flash storage and implements the Linux operating system.
  • (flashing the) eMMC aka *VANILLA*, which will replace the complete content of N900's internal 32 GB eMMC storage (embedded MMC), which is: the /home partition which has your stored browser passwords and game highscores and calendar and contacts etc. /home is also containing /opt. Plus eMMC stores all the content of the MyDocs 28 GB VFAT partition, where all the media and docs and other user content lives.

Often people use the term "firmware" for either or both of those images. It's misleading.

Flashing the rootfs on your N900 will reset the device's linux system back to factory settings, meaning all additional applications will vanish, and some configuration details (e.g. LED patterns) are reset to the original configuration, with the exception of the lock code; if you have already set a custom lock code, it will remain intact, instead of reverting to the default "12345". Also, all information contained in /home (except /home/opt) will remain intact. This means the information stored in /home/user/MyDocs which is the area visible in the default file manager (or when connecting to a computer), will remain intact. Your external memory (microSD), will also be unaffected.

Flashing the eMMC and rootfs on your N900 will completely reset the device to factory settings, reverting everything to factory settings, including /home with all (app-)preferences, bookmarks, contacts, communications, but again, excluding the external memory on micro-SD card and the lockcode. (you MUST flash rootfs as well, when flashing eMMC (because of /opt deletion)

It is strongly advised you regularly use the Backup application to create backups of your settings and data to a safe storage. You will want to configure the Backup application in such a way it stores the backups to your microSD card - alternatively when creating manual backup of MyDocs as suggested below, backups stored to default location "N900" will be included and thus safe.

The Backup application will save:

  • Communication and Calendar: Stored conversations, accounts, contacts, and calendar entries. Only applies to content used with stock applications. (i.e. not Pidgin, or other third-party applications)
  • Bookmarks: Bookmarks stored via MicroB. (Default browser only)
  • Settings: Your current settings in the Settings "application." (Settings in /home/user, GConf, /etc.) Third party settings applets will also be backed up and restored once installed. Manually created shell scripts or other files (except those in eMMC/MyDocs) must be manually backed up prior to a rootfs flash.
  • Application List: A list of repositories and installed applications to be re-activated and installed after flashing. (Only applies to applications and repositories installed via the included Application Manager)

When using Backup application to restore from some backup, you can select which of the above listed groups of data shall be restored. For Application List you even can select on a per-application granularity, i.e. exclude an arbitrary number of applications from restore. (NOTE: it is a good idea to do a new backup of the system immediately prior to any restore - of course you don't overwrite an existing backup file for that, instead give the new backup a new descriptive name, like "system_broken-foobar__prior_to_restore")

When flashing the eMMC, all user-created content on MyDocs ("N900") must also be backed up manually to an external location in order to be preserved (i.e. computer or microSD). You can use Mass-Storage-mode via USB for this, or copy the whole content of MyDocs with Filemanager or similar tools. The eMMC image will contain and restore the MyDocs factory setting files and folders (.documents, .images, icons, etc.).


Upgrading wipes out your /home directory. All of it. Make sure you backup all your data before upgrading.

Updating & Flashing your device

If you are flashing the N900 with the eMMC image, follow the instructions below. Also see troubleshooting section, bullet 6:"If you cannot establish..."
MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR LOCK CODE (default: 12345 OR 0000 OR 00000) There has been at least one report where a device started to ask for lock code after reflashing!

Install Flasher

  1. Download the Flasher for your device model: N900, N810, N800 or 770 or mirror
  2. Download the latest firmware image for your device model:
 Vanilla = eMMC, Combined = rootfs 
  1. Ensure the battery is fully charged. Connect to charger until green light when screen locked! Don't say "I already did it this morning"! (this point obviously only applies when your device is not "bricked" or bootlooping.)
  2. Unplug the charger and switch off the device.

Linux PC

Install Flasher

see "Some notes: 2." below!

  1. Ensure the battery of Nokia device is fully charged.
  2. Unplug the USB cable if present, and switch off the device.

If you are flashing both the Rootfs(Combined) and eMMC(Vanilla) on a N900 please see the Flashing the eMMC in the N900

  1. If you installed the .deb version, run:
    sudo flasher-3.5 -F <Combined-firmware-image> -f
    If you are using the .tar.gz package, use:
    sudo ./flasher-3.5 -F <Combined-firmware-image> -f
  2. It will say:
    Suitable USB device not found, waiting
    • N900: While holding the u key, connect the N900 to your computer via USB. Wait until you see a dim screen on your N900 with a Nokia logo in the middle of your screen with an USB icon in the top right corner. Note: You may not need to hold the U key - it seems to automatically flash if the flasher is ready at boot time.
      1. If the USB logo does not appear, and the device turns off - ensure the battery is charged by connecting to the wall charger for an hour and try again. Bear in mind that neither the wall charger nor the USB cable will charge the N900 battery if the N900 cannot boot the OS.
    • N810 WiMAX, N810, N800 and 770: Connect your device to your computer via USB. While holding the Home/Swap button (It's a house on the 770 and N800, and two overlapping rectangles on the N810), power on the device by holding the power button. You should see a Nokia logo in the middle of the screen, and a USB icon in the top right corner.
  3. You don't need to continue to hold any buttons once flashing starts.
  4. It should start flashing and then reboot. You can remove the USB cable when the flasher program exits back to the shell prompt.

Some notes:

For errors see Flasher errors

Mac OS X

Install flashing software

There are two methods for flashing the device on OS X, using the GUI, with the 770Flasher application or using the console, much like the Linux flashing method. Both methods work fine for both the 770 and the N800/N810.

GUI with 770Flasher

  1. Drag the firmware image (will end in .bin) onto 770Flasher. Or open 770Flasher and select the image.
  2. The image may have a ,attachments ending. Remove this to get to .bin
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts.
  4. You should now see Suitable USB device not found, waiting, plug in the usb cable. Switch on your device while holding the Home-button. Note for N810 users: switch on your device while holding the Swap button. Note for N900 users: Unplug USB cable. Switch of your device. Press and hold "U" key then plug in the USB cable. If the USB symbol in the top right corner shows up or the flashing starts let go the "U" key.
  5. Watch the messages as the image loads to the device after which it reboots automatically.

Console with Flasher-3.5

These steps cover flashing the device with OS X using the Terminal. This is the more difficult than using 770Flasher, but gives you access to the advanced options flasher-3.5 provides (like setting R&D flags, flashing only parts of the image, unpacking the image, etc).

  1. Follow the steps above to get the appropriate firmware image and flasher.
  2. Turn off your device (make sure you unplug the charger or else the device wont power down completely) and plug in the USB cable to a port on the computer and the port on your device. N900 users cannot plug in the usb cable yet, as it would start recharging the battery.
  3. Open up the Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities/) and run:
    sudo /usr/bin/flasher-3.5 -F <firmware-image> -f -R
    You will be asked for an administrator password, enter it.
  4. It will say:
    Suitable USB device not found, waiting
  5. Unplug the power cord from the device, as this will prevent it from updating. Then take your device, and hold down the Home/Swap button (looks like a little house on the N800 and 770, and two overlapping rectangles on the N810 users do not need to hold down anything), and while holding down the Home/Swap button press the power button to turn it on. N900 users press ‘u’ button and plug the USB cable. Release button when flashing process begins.
    If the device does not boot and start flashing, make sure the USB cable is plugged in.
  6. It should start flashing and then reboot. You can remove the USB cable after it has booted to a normal desktop (just make sure to eject any cards that may have mounted on your Mac).



Updating the firmware using the Nokia Software Updater

Microsoft Windows users who wish to update their N900 can use the Nokia Software Updater (aka NSU), or use the Flasher (see section below).

The Nokia Software Updater is compatible with Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista Service Pack 2, and Windows 7. (Some users may encounter problems due to varying causes.)

The Nokia Software Updater can now be used when updating from a previous firmware to a new one or re-flashing.

Updating or re-flashing the firmware using the Flasher

Note: This method is fully compatible with 32-bit versions of Windows; 64-bit users may encounter problems. There is a workaround that is reported working though at Also note you need administrator rights to run flasher (Windows Vista and above - right click on the file and choose Run As Administrator)

To flash from the Windows (XP, Vista, or 7) command line,

Download and install the latest version of the Flasher.

  1. Download the latest firmware (.bin) file for your region and save it to  %ProgramFiles%\maemo\flasher-3.5\ (the default path), or wherever you installed the Flasher.
  2. Ensure the battery is full.
  3. Unplug USB cable if present, and switch off the device.
  4. Run the Flasher from the Start menu
  5. This is an alternate to step 5, if you have already opened the Flasher, ignore this step. Open the Command Prompt (Start then Run or Windows Logo key + R) and type cmd then press Enter. Change the directory to where you installed the Flasher (TIP: Use the TAB key to auto-complete commands and file-names)
    cd "%ProgramFiles%\maemo\flasher-3.5"
  6. Hold the u key on the device keyboard and connect the USB cable at the same time. See the Flasher documentation for more information. (TIP: Hold the u key until Windows has successfully installed the driver.)
  7. Run the following command (TIP: Do not include '-R' if you are flashing EMMC as well, see below):
    flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51_2009SE_2.2009.51-1_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R

Replace RX-51_2009SE_2.2009.51-1_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin with the firmware you wish to update. (Make sure you have downloaded the actual corresponding file.) The latest PR1.3 official (rootfs) images are listed below:



Middle East and North Africa




UK (not the vodafone firmware, but fully compatible with vodafone devices).




The flash will take approximately 2-5 minutes after which the N900 will reboot and display the Welcome Screen with Regional settings. After booting, you may use the backup utility to restore your settings.

Issues with 64-bit Windows and Workarounds

According to this post, Windows driver signing can cause problems. You either need to turn on the loading of unsigned drivers or boot your computer to whole another OS. There are a few workarounds:

Workaround for "no suitable device found" problem on Windows 7 x64

Once this message appears, run inf-wizard.exe from libusb-win32 package and create an inf file for "N900 (PC Suite Mode)" and install this inf driver. Then go to Device Manager and update the driver for N900 Phone Parent and the flasher should spring to life...

Option 1

Disabling signed driver detection is done by choosing the option "Boot without checking for signed drivers" (or something similar) in the Windows boot-menu. To display the boot-menu press the "F8" key as soon as the Windows boot process starts (i.e. after the BIOS has loaded, and after GRUB or other non-Windows bootloaders have passed).

Option 2

Alternatively you can permanently disable driver checking via command line in Windows 7. Instructions. ( site).

Option 3

You can use Microsoft Virtual PC - Also known as XP Mode. Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions of Windows 7 come with Windows XP mode, but must be downloaded and installed before use.

  1. Connect your N900 in flasher mode; Hold u on the device keyboard, then connect the USB cable.
  2. Wait for Windows to install the appropriate drivers.
  3. Start Microsoft Virtual PC / Windows XP mode/
  4. Allow the Virtual PC to have access to your N900: (On the top bar): USB > Nokia N900 (Update mode) (Attach). (If it doesn't say (update mode), you didn't enter update mode correctly by pressing "u". Remove the cable and try again.)
  5. Wait for Windows to install the appropriate drivers.
  6. When it is finished, proceed with the normal flashing steps above.

There have been numerous reports on the forums of people trying to flash the rootfs/FIASCO and eMMC with Windows 7 64 bit XP Mode/Virtual PC, where the rootfs/FIASCO image flashed just fine, but the eMMC image stays at "no suitable device found. Waiting". Again allow the Virtual PC to have access to your N900: (On the top bar): USB > Nokia N900 but *NOTICE* now it will be Nokia N900 (PC-Suite mode) (Attach). Now the flashing will start normally.

Option 4

An alternative approach is to use an Ubuntu LiveCD or a Persistent USB installation. This way, you are essentially using Ubuntu without installing it directly on your hard drive. Have ready maemo_flasher-3.5_2.5.2.2_i386.deb, which is the Debian Linux equivalent of a setup/installation file, the firmware files you need, and optionally, this page, if you don't have access to an internet connection on the LiveCD/USB.

After booting into your LiveCD/USB, follow the instructions from the Linux section of this page.

Option 5

Install other version of update drivers. Step by step instructions can be found at Video tutorial for setting up/installing the necessary drivers to enable flashing on Windows 7 64-bit OS can be found here: [1]

Option 6

The Flasher (version 3.5) uses the libUSB drivers it finds in it's installed folder. Download the libusb library, and simply copy the right libusb.dll version to the folder you've installed Flasher to. So, rename libusb0_x86.dll to libusb0.dll for x86-systems (32-bit) or copy libusb0.dll from the amd64-folder for 64-bit systems.

770/N800/N810/N810 WiMAX

Internet Tablet users can go to the appropriate support page for their device (N810 WiMAX Edition, N810, N800, or 770), download and install the Software Update Wizard, run it and follow the on-screen prompts. This will work both for updating and re-flashing the same firmware image.

Flashing only the kernel from a FIASCO image (expert topic!)

If you only want to flash a kernel from a FIASCO image without overwriting your rootfs (e.g. because you tried out a different kernel and that didn't work) you can use the following flasher command instead of the one above:


sudo ./flasher-3.5 -F <firmware-image> --flash-only=kernel -f -R

This will flash the kernel from the FIASCO image and then reboot your device. The rootfs will not be touched by this. NB a kernel usually needs matching modules in rootfs, so odds are your kernel from FIASCO image won't work either, if you messed up the modules in rootfs - you need to flash whole COMBINED/FIASCO image then to recover.


flasher3.5.exe -F <firmware-image> --flash-only=kernel -f -R

Flashing the eMMC in the N900

When flashing the eMMC content, the safe way is flash the eMMC/VANILLA image first, then remove battery for a moment, and then flash the FIASCO/Rootfs image. Do not boot up the device between the two i.e do NOT use the -R parameter at the end!

Also see troubleshooting section, bullet 6:"If you cannot establish..."

Rationale: on accidental booting in between the 2 flash processes, the sequence formerly suggested (rootfs first) will result in a broken system. The sequence "eMMC first, then rootfs" is checked back with Nokia affiliates and is proven to work as long as your rootfs still is somewhat functional. Note however that eMMC flashing will fail when your rootfs is completely messed up, the recommended flash sequence then is rootfs, eMMC, rootfs *again*.

For users familiar with flashing and interested in a smooth fast process: you can flash combined first, and then *immediately* after that - without one 10th of a second of booting - directly continue with flashing the vanilla. The other way round doesn't work due to a bug in NOLO - so after flashing vanilla you need to remove battery to recover

Flashing the eMMC resets the MyDocs folder contents to factory settings. N900 users don't need to reflash the eMMC of their device when updating firmware but can do so to clear all data from the device. You may need to do so if you have a pre-production device e.g. in the Maemo Summit. If you have a sales unit and you have problems with your eMMC you should contact Nokia Care. However there are cases known where for instance the desktop widget configuration data which is stored in user's home directory gets corrupted and causes bootloops on hildon desktop startup failing. In this case you'll actually need to reflash your eMMC to recover system from bootlooping (there are other more involved methods to recover too, search for "backupmenu", "watchdogs", "rescueOS")

Also note that any backups created in your MyDocs area will need to be copied off the device to be safe across an eMMC flash as the MyDocs area and other partitions on /dev/mmcblk0 will be erased.

Note that flashing eMMC will delete the /opt directory, so you *always* need to reflash your rootfs (the COMBINED image) after - or same time as - flashing eMMC (VANILLA img)

Note that the eMMC images available do not contain pre-loaded maps. If you reflash your eMMC you will lose them (the Maps application will work as usual but you will need to download the maps needed).

In order to flash the eMMC, follow these steps:

  1. Fully charge the battery (IMPORTANT!!)
  2. Install Flasher for your OS (Linux, Mac OS X or MS Windows)
  3. Grab the recent Vanilla eMMC image (.bin file) from the Nokia repository. There isn't always a new eMMC image for a new COMBINED image, as usually the content of eMMC doesn't change with new versions of the system.
  4. Navigate to the directory where the image file was saved (Windows users: if you don't know the full path to the image, copy it to the flasher directory)
  5. Execute the following command (in Linux you have to be root! On windows you have to be admin!): Replace RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.VANILLA_PR_EMMC_MR0_ARM.bin with the name of the most recent VANILLA file you downloaded
    1. Windows:
      flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.VANILLA_PR_EMMC_MR0_ARM.bin -f
    2. Linux (Replace /path/to/ with the correct full pathname to the binary. Using tab-completion helps ;-) ):
      /path/to/flasher-3.5 -F RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.VANILLA_PR_EMMC_MR0_ARM.bin -f
    3. Debian based Linux (e.g Ubuntu):
      flasher-3.5 -F RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.VANILLA_PR_EMMC_MR0_ARM.bin -f
  6. Text similar to the following will be displayed on the computer:
    flasher v2.5.2 (Oct 21 2009)
    Image 'mmc', size 255947 kB
    	Version RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.VANILLA
    Suitable USB device not found, waiting.
  7. Plug in the powered down N900 while holding 'u' key
  8. The dim Nokia screen will be displayed for a few seconds followed by progression dots. Text similar to the following will be displayed on the computer:
    USB device found found at bus 002, device address 014.
    Raw data transfer EP found at EP2.
    Image(s) flashed successfully in 4.711 s (9199 kB/s)!
  9. The flash will take a minute or so.
  10. When flashing of eMMC completed without errors: Switch off device by shortly removing battery.
  11. Now flash the FIASCO/rootfs image using the
    flasher-3.5 -F RX-51_2009SE_20.2010.36-2_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f
    with -R parameter.
  12. If you used the -R parameter, then N900 will reboot automatically, otherwise you need to reboot manually. The bright Nokia screen will come up, followed by progression dots with yellow LED blinking for a few seconds, first boot will be slow as the device would be optifying files.

Experienced users still may want to follow the rootfs-then-eMMC scheme, which doesn't need the battery removal, but is way less "fool-proof" wrt accidental boots. A boot in this context is defined as any activity of the device (flashing LED, some display on screen) that doesn't result in and stop at the NOKIA boot screen with USB icon. Especially "charging" actually also implies a boot of the system, and there's no lower limit for duration of such an accidental boot, 5s are more than enough to ruin your freshly flashed system.

Seamless Software Update

Main article: Seamless Software Update

SSU is Nokia's new method for upgrading the devices over-the-air without requiring a reflash. When Nokia pushes an update over SSU, you will see an update notification and be given the option to install the update—just like with your computer.

Generally speaking, SSU updates should be relatively pain-free, but there are a few issues to watch out for:

  • If you have an aftermarket kernel or initfs installed (like the rotation support kernel or fanoush's bootmenu) and a kernel or initfs upgrade is pushed, they will be overwritten and you'll need to wait for your kernel or the bootmenu to be updated to reinstall them.
  • If you have extensively modified the home directory for user "user", such as moved all the documents to a memory card or removing or leaving empty some of the subdirectories

If the update doesn't show up for you at all, you may have accidentally (or intentionally) uninstalled osso-software-version-rx*4, which is required to update. You can get it back by simply running an apt-get install osso-software-version-rx34, for the N800, and an apt-get install osso-software-version-rx44, for the N810. Then updating your repository list in Application manager.

If the packages that caused osso-software-version-rx*4 to be removed are still installed, they will need to be removed completely (in the case of conflicting packages). Alternatively, for packages which are simply newer than those specified by osso-software-version-rx*4, you can install osso-software-version-rx*4-unlocked, which does not have strict dependencies.

On N900 (probably also previous devices), it is possible that the application manager ends up with a message stating that it is required to upgrade using the Nokia PC application. In this case please read the article on known problems and possible solutions.

You can show the list of packages that are not going to be ugraded with apt-get update && apt-get upgrade. In that case, you can try using apt-get dist-upgrade command (as root, the app manager has to be shut down) to override. This is not supported because you can break future updates. Several users had to reflash after apt-get dist-upgrade!.


See Troubleshooting