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WARNING: Backup your IMEI Number BEFORE Flashing a Custom ROM

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    WARNING: Backup your IMEI Number BEFORE Flashing a Custom ROM

    I've been working with MTK devices for a few months, now...and this new platform for me has been a challenge to learn. While I have heard that the MTK format is closer to the mainstream...it's a whole lot different from the Rockchip platform I've been making ROM's for for a while.

    The common thing among MTK devices is...they are all pretty much smartphones...just in different sizes, with different other features.

    The problem is that each device has to have an IMEI number in order to work on a cellular phone network. The number has to be unique to the device...and it is installed on the device at the factory.

    To me, a major flaw in the MTK firmware is the lack of a way to retain this IMEI number when flashing firmware updates or custom ROM's. I've seen different results on different devices...but let me just make a general assumption...Don't Trust that a custom ROM flash will not delete your IMEI number...because odds are it will.

    Sure, there is an app called MobileUncle for MTK devices that backs up the IMEI number...along with a bunch of other things. It's quite a handy tool. But in order to run it, the device has to be rooted.

    So here's the dilemma...most people flash custom ROM's to root their device, but in order to prepare your device to flash a custom ROM you need to root the device and make some backups. This is a step I would prefer not to take, but on MTK devices it's a necessary step. You only have to do this before you flash for the very first time. Once you have the backup, you can use it to install back to your device each time you flash a ROM update.

    There are plenty of apps out there for rooting. I've had pretty good luck with Root Genius. There are others, too...you can search Google and find several. Some work, and some don't. It took me weeks to find a way to root my iFive Mini 3GS.

    Here is a link to an update.zip file you can flash with stock recovery to root your device. I know it works on the iFive Mini 3GS...but I haven't tested on other devices. I've looked in the zip file, and I can't see why it wouldn't work on other devices as well. Note: This update will only work on KitKat, not Jellybean. You will need to find a different rooting technique for a Jellybean ROM. (Google is your friend).

    Download

    Generally, on most devices, you get into stock recovery by holding down volume + and press and hold power until the recovery screen appears (this may vary from device to device). Press the power button one time to reveal the recovery menu. Scroll the menu selections by pressing vol- and confirm with vol+. Go to the line that installs MTK_root_update.zip from SD card and install this zip. If the installation fails, there is an incompatibility with the zip on your device...so look for a different way to root (Google again).

    Then reboot to system. You should be rooted.

    Then go to the Google Play Store and install MobiliUncle for MTK devices. Run the app and select "IMEI backup" to make a backup of your IMEI number(s) to your external SD. It's important to store your backup to external SD because some ROM flashing techniques will erase your internal SD.

    Once you have this precious backup...copy it to your PC, or some other safe place...because you will need it each time you flash a custom ROM to your device.

    If you've lost your IMEI number...on phones, usually it's printed inside the battery compartment...or somewhere in the materials that came with the device. On tablets...I really don't know. You may have to email customer support for your device's manufacturer. You might be able to provide them with your device's serial number and they can send you the IMEI number. I haven't tried this route...but it seems like a pain.

    So the best way to keep your IMEI number is to take my advise and make a backup.

    In post #2, I will explain a way to make a complete backup of your currently installed firmware...because there are some other files you may want to keep.
    Randy
    Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
    Read my BIO Here
    Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
    Donate here

    #2
    MTKDroidTool

    Once you have rooted your device...whether you used the update.zip file or some other app, you now have the power to do some more advanced things.

    One thing is the ability to make a complete backup of your device's firmware. This can come in handy if you run into problems running a custom ROM...or if you need to return your device to the factory for repairs. Or, if you want one of us FT developers to make you a custom ROM...but we don't have a factory firmware to download.

    Download an app called MTKDroidTool:

    Link

    Yes, I know...the download link is one of those convoluted crappy download pages that requires you pick whether you want the regular download....or a "Gold Mode" download. Just click "regular" and scroll down to enter the stupid code and yet another download button will appear on the screen...click it, and you will receive your prize.........that really pisses me off!!!!!!!!

    This app can link with a rooted device and make a full backup of the firmware.

    Example: If after you flash a custom ROM and you get an NVRAM error on your list of wifi networks, you can fix this by restoring the nvram.bin file from your original backup.

    The tool is pretty self explanatory, but if you run the app and connect your tablet via USB, it will detect it (but it has to be rooted). If your device's information populates to the first screen, click over to the next tab "root, backup, recovery". At the top, is "backup"...just click it and run through the prompts.

    In the middle, there is a button called "Recovery and Boot". You can use this tool to make your own CWM Recovery for your device. The tool will take your stock recovery and create a working CWM from it.

    The other selections are for arranging your backup files for restoring...later. You can play around with them if you want.
    Last edited by rrileypm; 07-13-2014, 19:32.
    Randy
    Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
    Read my BIO Here
    Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
    Donate here

    Comment


      #3
      Really, the MOST IMPORTANT thing to back up are your NVRAM files.

      The MTKDroidTool has a special option JUST FOR backing up your NVRAM.

      Again, you have to be rooted...and not every device uses the same rooting method. There are several out there, so your best bet is to read the threads to discover what someone has already used to root the device, or Google your device and see if there is a root method available for your device. There are literally thousands of different MTK device models...and I can't keep track of what root method works on which devices...and I can't possibly own every MTK device ever made...so you need to do a little leg work...otherwise, I may not be as willing to keep making ROM's for devices I don't own. I do it as a favor to you...and you have to assume some responsibility and confidence.

      Anyway, back to the MTKDroidTool........

      1. Open the MTK Droid Root and Tools app on your PC.
      2. Plug in your device, turn it on IN RECOVERY MODE.
      3. On the Phone Information tab, wait for your devices information to populate the screen.
      4. Click the IMEI/NVRAM button.
      5. Click Backup. All of your NVRAM information, containing your IMEI number and MAC address...and a bunch of other stuff will be saved to your hard drive.
      6. Reboot to system.

      After you flash a custom ROM, you can restore this NVRAM file by going through the same steps above, but clicking Restore. You will get a browse window to find where you saved you backup file.

      What I don't know is whether you actually MUST be rooted to use this in recovery mode. I may flash my iFive tablet to stock and try it and see. I will report the results when I'm done. It sure would be a whole lot easier if we didn't have to root first.
      Randy
      Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
      Read my BIO Here
      Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
      Donate here

      Comment


        #4
        OK...so here is what I've discovered by some more testing...AND THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


        You do NOT have to be rooted to back up your IMEI/NVRAM with MTKDroidTools!!!!!!!!!!!!

        All you have to do is flash CWM Recovery before you flash the ROM...then go into MTKDroidTools and backup your IMEI/NVRAM as explained in the previous post (above).

        So, here's the quick and easy process:

        1. Download the RileyROM for whatever device you have.
        2. Included in the ROM kit is the PDAnet_4150 app...use it to install your drivers if this is the first time you are flashing an MTK ROM.
        3. Also included in the ROM kit is the MTKDroidTools.
        4. Open the flash_tool.exe located in the root of the ROM kit.
        5. You will be prompted to browse to the scatter file in the RileyROM folder. Select it.
        6. A list of files will populate to your screen with checkboxes all checked.
        7. Uncheck EVERYTHING, except the one that says Recovery.
        8. Click on the path of the Recovery line, and select the CWM_Recovery.img in the RileyROM folder.
        9. Turn your tablet off and unhook the USB.
        10. Use the Download Only setting for the flash tool.
        11. Click the Download button.
        12. With the tablet turned off, insert the USB plug.
        13. The Recovery will download immediately. It will be quick.
        14. Unplug the USB from your tablet.
        15. Hold Volume + and press power until the tablet starts booting...it will boot to CWM.
        16. Open MTKDroidTools
        17. Plug in your USB to your tablet.
        18. Wait for your tablet information to populate to the screen.
        19. Click the IMEI/NVRAM button.
        20. Click Backup.
        21. Disconnect your USB when the backup is complete.
        22. Press the power button to reboot to system.

        Now that you have a backup of your NVRAM, you can now flash your tablet.

        Instructions on how to flash the ROM may very, depending on certain things in the new ROM. For instance, if you are upgrading from one version of Android to a new version (Jellybean to KitKat...or 4.4.2 to 4.4.4) or if you are selecting a different EBR set to increase your user app space...or if your device is just acting strangely and you want to do a full wipe...I will recommend that you use the "Format - Download" setting in the flash tool. If you are going from stock to a custom ROM, this will also clear out of the bloatware.

        If you are only updating the ROM with one of the same Android version, and you aren't changing the size of your EBR files...you can use the "Download Only" setting. This setting overwrites the current firmware with the new files. So if you want to remove the bloatware, you should do a "Format - Download".

        So let's flash the ROM:

        1. Turn your tablet off and disconnect it from USB.
        2. Open the Flash Tool and select the scatter file if prompted.
        3. View the list of files.
        4. Just as you selected CWM_Recovery.img above, go through and select it again.
        5. Select the EBR1 file you want to flash.
        6. Select the EBR2 file that matches the size of the EBR1 file you selected.

        NOTE: Some ROM's will only have 1 EBR file. This is for ROM's which have combined the user app space with the internal SD card. If that's the case, you will only have the single EBR1 file...so leave it alone.

        7. Click Download on the Flash Tool screen.
        8. With the tablet still turned off, connect the USB
        9. Watch the activity at the bottom of the flash tool.
        10. When the flash is finished, a box will pop up telling you it's done.

        11. If you used the "Format - Download" option, you need to first boot to CWM Recovery by holding Volume+ and press power. Navigate to the wipe/factory reset option and run it.

        Now, boot to system...and you will have the custom ROM running on your tablet/phone.

        It has taken me a while to figure out all of the in's and out's of flashing these ROM's...and I apologize for my lack of discovery, until now.

        For all of you who have flashed ROM's and lost your NVRAM data, I'm still working on a solution for getting back to normal. When, and if I do come up with a plan...I will post here.
        Randy
        Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
        Read my BIO Here
        Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
        Donate here

        Comment


          #5
          Great post Randy. I prefer to always use download from the flashtool and then format data an cache from CWM. I use the format/download to recover 'bricks'. The only time I've had to recover imei numbers is after format/download.
          900Supersport

          900supersports FreakTab rkROMkitchen

          900supersports guide to working-RK-ROMs

          Under Construction 900supersports guide to working MediaTek ROMS

          Struggling for time at the moment, but will try and drop by when I can.

          If you would like to support my ROM development then please visit my Google site donate page where you can make a paypal donation

          freaktab developer

          Proof that you're never to old to learn. Sometimes too old to remember though.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by rrileypm View Post
            Download an app called MTKDroidTool:

            Link
            Currently there is no download link on this post anymore. Do you know another trusted source?
            THX.

            Edit: I'm using MobileUncle now, very easy IMEI backup and available in Google Play.
            Last edited by tempdroid; 11-11-2014, 12:28.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by tempdroid View Post

              Edit: I'm using MobileUncle now, very easy IMEI backup and available in Google Play.
              I've tried MobileUncle on my MTK powered Teclast P98 3G Octa-core, unfortunately it refuses to backup IMEI to internal or external SD (which are the only options).

              Comment


                #8
                You can try the MTKAndroidTool to do it. Read the instructions in the first post in this thread.
                http://www.FreakTab.com/showthread.php?t=16890
                Randy
                Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
                Read my BIO Here
                Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
                Donate here

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by rrileypm View Post
                  You can try the MTKAndroidTool to do it. Read the instructions in the first post in this thread.
                  http://www.FreakTab.com/showthread.php?t=16890
                  Yeah, I know, just wanted to point out that the existing version of MobileUncle might not play nice with some MTK tablets, so one is probably better off with MTK Droid Tools.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have installed lepis twrp recovery 2.8. When in recovery I make nvrm backup, does this backs up my IMEI number?
                    Problem is that mobile uncle tools cant find my internal and external memorycard

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As explained in the post above...the MTK Droid Tools is currently the most reliable solution.
                      Randy
                      Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
                      Read my BIO Here
                      Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
                      Donate here

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by rrileypm View Post
                        OK...so here is what I've discovered by some more testing...AND THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                        You do NOT have to be rooted to back up your IMEI/NVRAM with MTKDroidTools!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        All you have to do is flash CWM Recovery before you flash the ROM...then go into MTKDroidTools and backup your IMEI/NVRAM as explained in the previous post (above).

                        So, here's the quick and easy process:

                        1. Download the RileyROM for whatever device you have.
                        2. Included in the ROM kit is the PDAnet_4150 app...use it to install your drivers if this is the first time you are flashing an MTK ROM.
                        3. Also included in the ROM kit is the MTKDroidTools.
                        4. Open the flash_tool.exe located in the root of the ROM kit.
                        5. You will be prompted to browse to the scatter file in the RileyROM folder. Select it.
                        6. A list of files will populate to your screen with checkboxes all checked.
                        7. Uncheck EVERYTHING, except the one that says Recovery.
                        8. Click on the path of the Recovery line, and select the CWM_Recovery.img in the RileyROM folder.
                        9. Turn your tablet off and unhook the USB.
                        10. Use the Download Only setting for the flash tool.
                        11. Click the Download button.
                        12. With the tablet turned off, insert the USB plug.
                        13. The Recovery will download immediately. It will be quick.
                        14. Unplug the USB from your tablet.
                        15. Hold Volume + and press power until the tablet starts booting...it will boot to CWM.
                        16. Open MTKDroidTools
                        17. Plug in your USB to your tablet.
                        18. Wait for your tablet information to populate to the screen.
                        19. Click the IMEI/NVRAM button.
                        20. Click Backup.
                        21. Disconnect your USB when the backup is complete.
                        22. Press the power button to reboot to system.

                        Now that you have a backup of your NVRAM, you can now flash your tablet.

                        Instructions on how to flash the ROM may very, depending on certain things in the new ROM. For instance, if you are upgrading from one version of Android to a new version (Jellybean to KitKat...or 4.4.2 to 4.4.4) or if you are selecting a different EBR set to increase your user app space...or if your device is just acting strangely and you want to do a full wipe...I will recommend that you use the "Format - Download" setting in the flash tool. If you are going from stock to a custom ROM, this will also clear out of the bloatware.

                        If you are only updating the ROM with one of the same Android version, and you aren't changing the size of your EBR files...you can use the "Download Only" setting. This setting overwrites the current firmware with the new files. So if you want to remove the bloatware, you should do a "Format - Download".

                        So let's flash the ROM:

                        1. Turn your tablet off and disconnect it from USB.
                        2. Open the Flash Tool and select the scatter file if prompted.
                        3. View the list of files.
                        4. Just as you selected CWM_Recovery.img above, go through and select it again.
                        5. Select the EBR1 file you want to flash.
                        6. Select the EBR2 file that matches the size of the EBR1 file you selected.

                        NOTE: Some ROM's will only have 1 EBR file. This is for ROM's which have combined the user app space with the internal SD card. If that's the case, you will only have the single EBR1 file...so leave it alone.

                        7. Click Download on the Flash Tool screen.
                        8. With the tablet still turned off, connect the USB
                        9. Watch the activity at the bottom of the flash tool.
                        10. When the flash is finished, a box will pop up telling you it's done.

                        11. If you used the "Format - Download" option, you need to first boot to CWM Recovery by holding Volume+ and press power. Navigate to the wipe/factory reset option and run it.

                        Now, boot to system...and you will have the custom ROM running on your tablet/phone.

                        It has taken me a while to figure out all of the in's and out's of flashing these ROM's...and I apologize for my lack of discovery, until now.

                        For all of you who have flashed ROM's and lost your NVRAM data, I'm still working on a solution for getting back to normal. When, and if I do come up with a plan...I will post here.
                        where can I find "RileyRom for whatever device I have"? I have a cube u65GT.

                        thank you

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I see a few available in the MTK Tablets section.

                          http://www.freaktab.com/forumdisplay...94-MTK-Tablets
                          Randy
                          Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
                          Read my BIO Here
                          Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
                          Donate here

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Fantastic explanation but ...
                            I could not save the IMEI/NVRAM the button is grayed .
                            I have a Cube Talk9x.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I've heard that is a problem. You must have root, or a custom recovery installed in order to do it with MTK Droid Tools. Look at todays thread posts...I've seen someone post a rooting solution for the T9 today.

                              900Superport is taking a break for a while, so I will possibly have a ROM the the T9 this weekend.
                              Randy
                              Freaktab Developer, Product Reviewer, Moderator and "Flashaholic".
                              Read my BIO Here
                              Be sure to donate to support Freaktab.com. If any of my development work makes a positive difference for you, please make a donation to support future RileyROM's.
                              Donate here

                              Comment

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