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Rooting my Moto E out of the box (step by step)

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by RobertB-DC, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I just got my Moto E, and since Motorola is kind enough to allow me to void my warranty without any delay, I'm taking them up on the offer. Even though they warn of the possibility of DEATH (in capital letters) when using a rooted phone. I'm just the kinda guy who looks death-by-rooting in the face, and laughs. In its face.

    0. Get phone
    I stuck a 32GB microSD in the slot, but no SD card - my old phone is a standard SIM, so I've got to hit T-Mobile tomorrow for a new Micro SIM (and SIM transfer). That's one reason for rooting immediately - I don't want to lose a bunch of customization, which Motorola claims will happen.

    I turned it on and gave it my Google info, but didn't run the "Motorola Migrate" app to copy everything from my old phone. I got enough from just logging in, that I'll be able to tell if the phone really resets from scratch.

    Interestingly, all my apps from my other phone auto-installed onto the new phone. That's good and bad... some of them, I don't plan to move over (at least until I see if I need them). Of course, my Amazon Appstore apps didn't come over. :)

    1. Get the software
    After following the link from the other Root post ( https://motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/87215 ) and signing in, I ended up at this page:
    Motorola says I need:
    Android SDK from Android SDK | Android Developers (500MB)
    USB drivers from https://motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/88481 (32MB)

    It looks like I might only need the SDK for the fastboot command, so it's kind of overkill to do a half-gig download (1.2GB unpacked). But, I want to do Android development eventually anyway, so why not go for it. The SDK is a .zip file, and you just unzip it into a path somewhere. The page explaining the unzipping says you can unzip it anywhere, but you have to keep the directory structure intact. So I put "adt-bundle-windows-x86_64-20140321" under C:/AndroidDev.

    While that was downloading and unzipping, I ran the USB driver install. It didn't even require me to reboot. Then, I watched the pretty pictures as the Android SDK spent a long time unzipping... but sped up when I closed a certain ad-filled browser window (I know, forum software doesn't pay for itself...)

    2. Do Fastboot

    Motorola is purposely vague when telling you how to run fastboot. Spoiler: It's hiding in sdk/platform-tools.

    I turned off my phone, and then wondered... should it be plugged into USB when I put it in fastboot mode (power + volume down)? I tried it plugged in and... it powered up on its own. But that was probably a good thing, because it allowed the device driver to finish installing.

    So I turned it off again. It powered itself back on again. I turned it off AGAIN. This time, I held down the volume down key while it shut down... that did the trick. It came up with a text screen with a boot mode selection menu, with options:
    Normal Powerup
    BP Tools

    Along with other info, it had two interesting things. One was "Fastboot Reason: Volumne down key pressed". I wonder what other reasons there are? The other: "Device is LOCKED. Status Code: 0". That's the one I expect to see change.

    So I ran factboot per instructions, and it gave me a string of digits as promised. And as promised, "Request Unlock Key" appeared at the bottom of the screen, below a disclaimer that warned me of my impending death-by-rooting. I agreed to the agreement (after verifying that it only warned of death, not the sale of my soul), and requested the key be sent to my email.

    Just to be sure, they warned me one more time that this would immediately invalidate my warranty. Challenge accepted.

    Aaaand... that's where I'm stuck. Clicking ok gave me a blank screen. It's late, so I'm going to have to give up for tonight. Will update as soon as anything happens!

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  2. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Tried again this morning and had no problems! cookies cosmic rays dns servers bla bla bla.

    I got the code in email right away. The instructions page has 8 steps, but all of them are redundant except for this one:

    7. To unlock the bootloader, enter the following in the command line:
    $ fastboot oem unlock UNIQUE_KEY
    The UNIQUE_KEY is the code you received in the email. It is case-sensitive.

    So I did that, and here's what happened:

    Hm. But the phone did reboot, and displayed the "WARNING: BOOTLOADER UNLOCKED" message that the instructions told me to expect. Then, it went to the Motorola logo, and eventually was visible to Windows again.

    A couple of minutes of anxiety later, I got the same startup process as I did at initial power up - they weren't lying about the full reset. But now I have my rooted Moto E!

    I'll post about my experiences as I have them. I'm not planning to mod the ROM, actually - I just want control over the (limited) onboard memory, and I want to use root-only network management tools. I'll leave it to the more adventurous to really go down the road that leads to DEATH (according to Moto). But I'll be reading their tales of terror with great interest!
  3. parkert

    parkert Newbie

    I have rooted my Moto E using TWRP Recovery to install SuperSU on my smartphone. I followed this tutorial to have my rooted How to root Motorola Moto E tutorial

    Can I know what method you used to root your Moto E?? Thanks in advance.
  4. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Um... sure? (like, that's what this thread is. Scroll up.)

    I've got a problem now, though. Motorola warned me over and over that rooting would void my warranty. But it turns out I've got a line of dead pixels in the camera (not the screen, but the camera). There is, of course, no way that rooting (and not installing any ROM or changing any system settings, or even getting as far as Titanium Backup) could have caused this hardware problem.

    I tried to go to online chat about repair, but when I put my device IMEI code in, the system replied "Error Code:100-02, Oops!!! We have encountered an error while trying to process your device for repair. Please contact us for additional assistance." So I'm going to have to call and plead my case, that developers are good guys who promote the product, and the flaw could not have been caused by rooting.

    If they tell me to take a hike, I'll be sure to whine about it here.
  5. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Good news... the Moto repair system now accepts my IMEI, and they're going to send me a loaner in the meantime. (It may not arrive before I go on a trip, unfortunately - but I can have someone at home send in the old one).

    Well, maybe I will. I got through the whole process and then got "Error Code :-" That's it. Is :- a smiley for Neo when the Agent says "How can you request a repair when you cannot... speak?"

    Going to chat now with the rep. Their chat system gives you helpful information about how long you will be waiting. Unfortunately, it's as accurate as a Windows status bar. I've had 30 seconds left to wait for the last five minutes or more... while the "average amount of time a customer has to wait" hovered between 2 and 4 minutes.

    But now I'm on chat. Of course, they took me through the software possibilities - go to camera app and clear data. Wow, that didn't fix an obvious hardware problem.

    L2 support says to "refresh" the phone. Here's their process (cut and paste from support session), which may be interesting for others:

    At step 4, the dire "bootloader" warning displayed in place of the Motorola Logo, just like when doing a normal boot. Including the part about all warranties being null and void...

    FYI: The menu options on the system recovery menu are:
    reboot system now
    apply update from sdcard
    apply update from ADB
    wipe data/factory reset
    wipe cache partition

    (They're lower-case in the menu, too)

    The "wipe cache partition" takes a while. When it finished, to my surprise, the line was gone and a unicorn poked me with its horn. JUST KIDDING, of course the damned line was there! (But the unicorn is friendly.) The rep told me to call and ask for L2 support. (Hint: when they ask for your email, use the one you used when you logged into Motorola.com!)

    While on hold, there was an ad for the Moto X, the first phone designed and built right here in the USA! Gee willickers! Too bad they're closing their US plant...

    The L2 rep asked had I not considered returning it? Well, duh, I tried. I told her about the error on the return page, so she was less confused after that. She sent me to Sales. Holding... well, that's enough for one post. I'll post later with the results.
  6. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I got sent to Sales at about ten till 7pm Eastern time, and was on hold for half an hour. Only to be told that Sales wasn't the right department... I needed to talk to Warranty. Unfortunately, Warranty left at 7. You gotta be kidding me. If I'd been transferred to the right department, I'd have been on my way!

    I submitted a repair request email, with the details, but didn't get a reply. The system says I'll hear from them within 24 hours, but I'm out of patience. So, I'm giving up on this phone entirely. I'm taking a trip next week and I wouldn't have the new phone in time anyway, so I'll just return this one and get another Moto E when I get back - maybe. I'll have to really think about it. It's solid and looks good, but Shazam can't pick up the song that's playing on the radio, and that's my killer app. It helps me build the night's Karaoke list.

    So I've submitted my RMA request. *This* request says it'll be acted on within 4 hours. Meanwhile, I've put my SIM back in my old phone, pulled out the memory card, and now I'm doing a Factory Reset.

    Power down, then vol-dn + power, then pick "Factory". Phone rebooted, still showing the scary bootloader screen... and returned to the same screen as before. The only difference is that I have a Notification: "CommServer - The CommServer has Started". When I click it, I get a screen saying "CQATest", with three options: CQA Menu Mode, Sequence Mode, and Model Assembly Mode. There are radio buttons at the bottom marked "Factory" (selected) and "ALT".

    CQA Menu Mode had a list of systems to test. Sequence Mode tests each system in sequence - you can't "Back" out, you have to pick the notification icon to go to the next test. I don't have time to sequence through all of them, so time for plan B.

    Fortunately, when I was on L2 support, I saw that "wipe data/factory reset" function. So I followed the process above, except instead of "wipe cache partition", I'm going to go all the way.

    It comes up with a cute failsafe: 10 lines, 9 of which say "No", one of which says "Yes -- delete all user data". I picked the red pill, and here's what displayed.

    After that, it returned to the system recovery. So I selected "reboot system now", and...

    ... bad news. The scary "BOOTLOADER UNLOCKED" screen is still displayed. So, once unlocked, always unlocked? After the initial boot process completed, I rebooted again, just to be sure. Yep, still unlocked, like it or not. That's something to keep in mind when looking to sell a once-rooted phone on eBay, or giving it to your mom. Whoever turns it on will get that scary warning.

    No idea what will happen with my return request. I'll keep the thread updated!
  7. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Well, they didn't get back to me in four hours, but this morning I had an RMA and a link to print a FedEx return label. It's on its way across town now (returns still go to the Fort Worth, Texas plant that will soon be closing).

    I'm hoping that unlocking the bootloader won't actually be a problem, because I'm not returning the phone for a warranty claim... I'm using my statutory 14-day return window, which is mandated by law.

    If they accept it with no issues, I'll probably buy another one in a few weeks - or I may decide to be a little less cheap, and spend an extra $90 to grab the new Moto G LTE, which has the Micro SD slot that made me go for the Moto E in the first place. In which case, go Moto!

    If they send it back to me (possibly with a bill for shipping) and can't be convinced of the error of their ways, I'll just post a disclaimer on every picture I post on Facebook: "Sorry about the blue line, but Motorola wouldn't accept my return. See androidforums.com for details." Because nothing screams "sour grapes" like a whiny Facebook post. ;)
  8. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Wrapping things up... when I got back from my trip, I found a nice little refund sitting on my credit card. No email from Motorola chastising me for rooting it, no restocking fee or shipping bill, just a no-questions refund in the 14-day window.

    I'll probably get a Moto G LTE when I get tired of my current phone again. But this time, I'll give it a good shakedown before I root it! I just took stats, so you'd think I would have understood the bell curve of product issues: if it's going to fail, it will be at the start of usage or at the expected end of its life.
  9. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Well, this is an interesting wrinkle.

    I put in an order this morning for a more advanced model. There's a good deal on a Moto X, $299 if you let them send along a Net10 SIM. The phone is still unlocked, so I'll toss the SIM and use my own.

    But less than an hour later, I get an email saying "We're sorry, your order is on hold. Please call our Order Specialists at 1-866-282-7387 (8am-11pm ET Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm ET Sat-Sun) to clear up some issues and get your order going again."

    Have I been blacklisted because they "bent the rules" to refund my broken phone? It was a legitimate hardware failure, and within the 14-day no-questions refund period to boot. Or is there a more prosaic issue, like something setting off their fraud detection systems and requiring confirmation? Maybe there's something about the Net10 deal that I missed - would it require transferring my number? It's not *that* good a deal.

    I couldn't stay on hold long enough to find out. But when I find out, I'll post it here. The only reason to rush things is that the Net10 deal expires in two days (7/16).
  10. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Phew! Motorola says that it's just that my order triggered their fraud prevention department - I've had four phones sent to three different people in the past year, because I got a G for my wife and my daughter plus the E and now the X coming to me. So they just wanted to be sure it was legit, and not the Russian Mafia using my credit card.

    (But I'm still not going to root my X until I'm really, really sure I'm not going to want to send it back!)
  11. timothy a

    timothy a Lurker

    hello yes ive done all this but my boot loader isnt eligible to be unlocked im semi knowledgeable but i guess its to solid to root any suggestions or can someone help me with something that will easily root my moto e 1st gen
  12. RobertB-DC

    RobertB-DC Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I would have to suggest that "easily" and "root" are a couple of words that just don't really go together. In fact, it's pretty easy to misunderstand what rooting actually does and doesn't do.

    You should definitely read - and to the extent possible, understand - all the info in the "Moto E: All Things Root Guide" topic before you get too far into bricking, um I mean rooting, your phone.

Motorola Moto E (1st Gen) Forum

The Motorola Moto E (1st Gen) release date was May 2014. Features and Specs include a 4.3" inch screen, 5MP camera, 1GB RAM, Snapdragon 200 processor, and 1980mAh battery.

May 2014
Release Date
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