Root Sprint Galaxy Note 2 without increasing Flash/Binary counter

The Sprint Galaxy Note 2 has been out for a shade under two weeks now. Knowing our ever-alert developer community, a root method was already out in no time, thanks to veteran developer Chainfire who specializes in Samsung devices.

Chainfire had recently released a tool called the CF-Auto-Root tool, which can be used to root multiple Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Note 2. While the root process is pretty simple, and resulted in a lot of flash-happy folks, what it also did is increase what is called a binary flash counter on the device.

The binary counter is an inbuilt security mechanism in Samsung devices, which tells Samsung that the original firmware the device came with has been tampered, and hence voids the warranty. The more ROMs you flash, the higher the counter goes. Subsequently, Chainfire released a tool called Triangle Away (Indicating the Yellow Triangle with the exclamation mark on boot for rooted devices running non-stock ROMs), which could reset the counter.

XDA member mrRobinson has now released a new root method, or rather a pre-rooted ROM based on Samsung factory firmware, which can be flashed via Odin. The benefit with this method, is that you gain root access, while still maintaining stock Samsung firmware, without setting off the binary flash counter. Another awesome benefit, is that you can still get official OTA updates (like the multi-window update that is currently rolling out ), and still retain root access after the update is complete (steps for which are given below).

As always, we have put together a handy guide on how you can root your Sprint Galaxy Note 2 without affecting the flash counter. Read on to find out how.

Compatibility

The guide below is compatible only and only with Sprint Galaxy Note 2. It’s not compatible with any other US variants or other devices. Check your device’s model number in: Settings » About phone.

Warning!

The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky and should not be attempted unless you know exactly what you’re doing. If any damage occurs to your device, we won’t be held liable.

How to Root Sprint Galaxy Note 2 without increasing the Flash/Binary Counter

  1. This method will wipe all data on your device completely, and restore it back to factory state. To be sure you do not lose any data, backup your Apps and important data — bookmarks, contacts, SMS, APNs (internet settings), etc. This Android backup guide should help you. The SD card contents will also be wiped, so make sure that you have backed up what is required.
  2. Download and install the necessary USB drivers from Samsung — download from here32 bit (x86) Windows |   64-bit (x64) Windows
  3. Download the ROM file to your PC.  Download Mirror 1   |    Download Mirror 2
  4. Extract the downloaded file from Step 3 using WinRAR or 7-Zip software to a folder on your desktop. Check the folder for a file named root66_SPR_L900VPALJ1.tar.md5. We would be needing this soon
  5. Download the Odin PC software. If you are new to this, Odin is one of the tools used to flash stuff – firmware, kernels, etc. – on Samsung phones. We’ll use Odin to flash the firmware file obtained in step 4.
    Download Odin3 v3.04  |  Filename: Odin3_v3.04.zip
  6. Extract the contents of the Odin3_v3.04.zip file to a folder on your computer. You should obtain a total of 4 files after extracting it.
  7. Now, turn off your Galaxy Note 2 and wait for it to shut down completely
  8. Then, put the phone into download mode. To do so, press and hold these keys together: Volume Down + Home + Power till the screen turns on. Then press Volume Up to enter download mode
  9. Launch Odin by double-clicking on the Odin3 v3.04.exe file obtained in step 6 after extracting Odin3_v3.04.zip.
  10. Important! Connect your phone to PC now. You should get the message “Added !!” under Odin’s message box in the bottom left.
    • If you don’t get this message, make sure you installed drivers correctly (using Kies or directly) as given in step 2. If it still doesn’t work, try changing to another USB port on the computer and also use the USB ports on the back if you have a desktop PC.
  11. Click on the PDA button in Odin, then browse to and select the root66_SPR_L900VPALJ1.tar.md5 file obtained in step 4 above.
  12. Do not make any other changes in Odin except selecting the required files as given in step 11. Leave all other options as they are. Make sure Re-Partition check box is not selected, and Auto Reboot and F. Reset Time boxes are checked.
  13. Now, hit the START button to start flashing the ROM on the phone. When the flashing is complete, your phone will automatically reboot — and when you see the Samsung logo, you can safely unplug the cable. Plus, you’ll get a PASS (with green background) status in the box at the far left in Odin.
    • What to do if Odin gets stuck: If ODIN gets stuck and doesn’t seem to be doing anything, or you get a FAIL message (with red background) in ODIN – Disconnect the phone from the PC, close ODIN, remove battery from phone, reinsert it, and repeat Steps 8 – 13.

How to Backup and Restore Root Access after Official Over the Air Update

Now, whenever you get a notification for an official over the air update, you can accept that update. However, the update will cause your phone to lose root access. Hence, to apply the update and be able to retain root access as well, perform the following steps every time before you accept an over the air update:

  1. Install the Voodoo OTA RootKeeper app from the Play Store. This is only needed the first time there is an update after you root the phone, you can simply keep it installed on the phone after that.
  2. Open the app on your phone.
  3. Press the “Protect Root” button in the app, then press the “Temp. un-root (keeps backup)” button, which will make a backup of all root files.
  4. Go ahead and accept the download and installation of the official update.
  5. After the update has been installed, run the Voodoo OTA RootKeeper app, and press the “Restore root” button to restore root access. That’s it.

Once the phone boots up, you would be running stock firmware, software version L900VPALJ1, but with root access, which you can also retain by following the procedure to restore root access. Go ahead and try it out, and if you need any help, feel free to give us a shout in comments below. For more details and information on this ROM, click the Via link below to visit mrRobinson’s XDA thread. Happy Rooting!

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