How to Hard Reset a Bricked Nexus 7 With Your PC


Maybe you’ve been rooting your Nexus 7 and putting ROMs on it and messed up, or maybe your Nexus 7 just up and died randomly (happens sometimes). Either way if you can’t get it to turn on, you might think you need to go through the colossal hassle of sending it in for warranty service. Well, think again. Here is a way you can restore the Nexus 7 back to an out of box state without the hassle of shipping the darn thing.

1. Setup ADB drivers by going here (link opens in new window). Once done, come back here to continue.

 

2. Now, download the stock image files from Google here (all the way down at the bottom click the download link for the 4.1.1 version of the Nexus 7) and save them inside the C:/android-sdk/platform-tools/ folder on your computer (they need to be in the same folder as the fastboot file).

 

3. Extract the archive you downloaded from Google.

 

4. Take all of the files from inside the new extracted folder and copy them into the C:/android-sdk/platform-tools/ folder.

 

5. Power Off the Nexus and turn it back on by holding down Volume Down and Power at the same time until the bootloader screen comes up.

6. Now, plug your device in via USB cable.

7. Open the Platform Tools folder of the SDK, hold down shift and right-click in any blank area of the folder. Select the option to Open a Command Prompt Here.

 

8. At the command prompt, type the following while hitting enter at the end of each line:

fastboot erase boot

fastboot erase cache

fastboot erase recovery

fastboot erase system

fastboot erase userdata

 

9. After that is done, type fastboot oem unlock and hit Enter.

 

10. After that is done, type fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-grouper-3.34.img and hit Enter.

 

11. Then type fastboot reboot-bootloader and hit Enter.

 

12. After that is done, type fastboot -w update image-nakasi-jro03d.zip then hit Enter.

 

13. When the device reboots, power off the Nexus and turn it back on by holding down Volume Down and Power at the same time until the bootloader screen comes up.

14. After that is done, type fastboot oem lock at the command line and hit Enter.

 

15. Type fastboot reboot at the command line and then hit Enter.

David Cogen is a founder of TheUnlockr.com, the popular site for rooting, jailbreaking, hacking, modding, and other how tos to show you how to unlock your device’s true potential. They even have a popular ROM repository. Check out TheUnlockr.com for all your AndroidiPhone, and Windows Phone how tos.


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  1. Nagy László Says:

    Hello! This is a great tutorial, but to install the drivers, I have to go to USB debugging mode, and with a bricked device, it’s impossible. Am I missing something?

  2. Mark Says:

    Hi. Experiencing the same problem as the comment above. How do I select debugging mode on Nexus 7 if I can’t boot it up to select debugging from the settings menu? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Regards. Mark

  3. Steve Says:

    Very helpful. I allowed the update from Jelly Bean 4.1.2 to 4.2 and this bricked my Nexus 7. I was going to send it back to Asus, in fact I had already gotten an RMA number, but found this procedure.

    You do not have to select debug mode when doing this procedure (of course it’s not possible to do so), but you do need to at least need to be able to power up into the boot loader.

    You’ll lose everything on your tablet and need to re-install everything, but you’d need to do that anyway even if you sent it back to Asus.

    I don’t know why the 4.1.2 to 4.2 update caused the tablet to brick. Could have been because I let it do the update while I was on a charter bus with Wi-Fi and the Wi-Fi connection was lost, but I doubt that the update is so fragile.

  4. Steve Says:

    After I unbricked it and installed 4.2, I had a an issue with 4.2, the widely reported battery charging issue. It simply would not charge (apparently it thinks that it’s plugged into a 500mA USB port even when it’s plugged into the 2A charger. So I tried installing 4.1.2, and it bricked again! This was an even worse brick, with the boot loader not even coming up completely. I think part of the reason the install of 4.1.2 failed was batter related since during the few hours that it had 4.2 on it it never charged, even though it said it was charging. I finally got enough charge on it to unbrick it again and this time loaded the 4.1.2 image.

  5. Charlie H. Says:

    Wow, it worked for 4.2! Some notes (used Windows 7, BTW) … you are likely to have to move files around, and I had to download and install the ADB drivers manually from the gotnex.us website (http://www.gotnex.us/2012/07/29/how-to-install-the-nexus-root-toolkit/)

    Ignore the outdated instructions to download to a specific directory, and follow the Google ADT directions. You also don’t need SDK Manager …

    When you download the image from Google, it is a zip file wrapped inside a tar file wrapped inside a tgz file. REALLY, Google? If you don’t have one already, you will need a utility like 7-Zip to unpack the tgz file, since Windows has no way to read that file extension.

    You will also have to call the files by the actual names that correspond to the image files you download from Google. The article is out of date, and refers to 4.1.1, but the files that are currently available for the Nexus 7 Wi-Fi version are 4.1.2 and 4.2.

    The command mode didn’t come up for me with the right-click on the blank portion of Windows Explorer, so just fire up a “DOS” window with cmd. You will then need to change directories via cd to wherever you installed the \platform-tools directory. The tgz package from Google comes with a flash-all.bat batch file, which automates the fastboot commands, except for the last two, to revert to locked status and another reboot. You can also follow the manual instructions above.

    Note: This really isn’t for beginners (you will need familiarity with commands from the Command Window), but you don’t need to have programming experience, either. You will also potentially void your warranty by unlocking and re-installing the operating system, but who cares if you’ve got a brick otherwise?

  6. Shitzugoddess Says:

    Stopped at step 5, I don’t maybe because the device won’t turn on!

  7. Mike Says:

    I just locked up my Nexus 7. Why in the world do I need to go through this hassle to get it to reboot? android seems to be an immature platform. Am writing this on my iPad. Should have bought the mini. My iPad never locked up.

    I will take offers on my 7″ Nexus tablet.

  8. person Says:

    ok i got all the way down to type fastboot -w update image-nakasi-jro03d.zip.. i keep getting an error that file ins’t found…please help me someone asap my god

  9. Frustrated User Says:

    Mike, I’ll be more than happy to give you $70

  10. Frustrated User Says:

    Mike, I’ll be more than happy to give you $60

  11. Geek chick Says:

    Very well written article, but there is only one problem: you cannot do this with a bricked device. Perhaps the author confused bricked with locked? These are great instructions for rooting your nexus 7, assuming it isn’t bricked. If you have a bricked n7, follow these instructions to reset it: simultaneously hold the volume (up and down) and the power buttons down for 30 to 40 seconds or until you are welcomed by the little green guy. It may appear as if you need to set it up all over again, but it will boot normally on its own after 5 seconds or so, and you will be staring at your lock screen and all your glorious settings and apps just as they were before.

  12. Adele Says:

    you save my nexus 7!

  13. Matt Says:

    Nice tutorial.

    My brand new Nexus arrived with 4.1.2 installed, for some reason, it refused to do an OTA update to 4.2.1 – dreaded red triangle. This was directly from opening and trying to update for the first time.

    BTW, you can just run the flash-all script – for windows, flash-all.bat – however, not sure if that locks OEM after?

    I guess I’ve voided my warranty by doing this, but it sure beats having to send the device back! – no doubt the seller would claim there’s nothing wrong with it.

  14. fabienne presume Says:

    Thank you just save my nexus 7 i did not need to go through all that step.

  15. Quy Says:

    I DONT KNOW HOW TO TURN ON USB DEBUGGING WHILE THE TABLET BEING BRICKED ?????

  16. Sanyi Says:

    HI! Thanks for the info. It saved my Nexus (nad my life). It worked with Android 4.2.2, of course I had to update version numbers. Special thanks for Charlie H, who told that you have to unpack the tarball downloaded from Google.

  17. sean Says:

    this didnt work for me :(

  18. Ian Says:

    Thank you!!!! Mine died today and went to the circling X of doom. Stumbled onto this and it looks like I have a working Nexus again (Despite the man from Google support saying it was “toast”). Many thanks!

  19. Jerry Says:

    Thanks, but my device won’t even turn on, let alone be recognized by the PC as any device with storage. Bloody hell. I was so damned in love with the thing and this fiasco had to cockblock my day.

  20. Ian L Says:

    Thanks a lot! I had a custom rom and kernel on my nexus 7 that was somewhat outdated and relatively unstable. I downloaded a toolkit app, and when i finally decided I wanted to start from a clean slate, i formatted everything, including the recovery and backups- what was i left with? A tablet stuck at the google spinning circle screen. Tried the power/volume button to boot to recovery and try and restore/reboot from there. NO LUCK! For all intents and purposes it was bricked. This guide (after following instructions and using some common sense when it comes to file names) was extremely easy to follow, and worked flawlessly for me. My nexus 7 is working good as new! Thanks a lot! if you have a bit of common sense, arent afraid working around some command line, and can follow instructions it will go off without a hitch! Thanks a lot!

  21. etek Says:

    Hey, after this process it wont boot!!! HELP!!!

  22. Steve Pringle Says:

    This is useful as long as your boot loader is intact.

  23. Nerfherder Says:

    Thank you for being born and posting this info. I completely erased my Nexus 7 while trying to get a bug out of JellyBam 8.3, (not fully knowing what I was doing, of course) and you saved my day. I’m still going to play with different rom’s but now I know what to do if I “brick” this thing again. I owe you! Need any cars fixed? ;)

  24. Gabe Says:

    stuck on “sending ‘bootloader’ (2092 KB)”

  25. Andy Mac Says:

    Epic – Whilst I replaced the instructions with the current IMG and ZIP files this process was flawless.
    Thank you

  26. Jeremy Says:

    I have a samsung note II GNT7100.
    I had turned off usb debugging when i thought I did not need it anymore after rooting. Updating the SU program seemed to have made a problem. I can not boot to recovery. I can boot to download mode. Will this adb get me back and running? or odin? I need help!!!

  27. nachiketa kashyap Says:

    huge help, saved me

  28. Edgar Lozano Says:

    You just like… totally saved my life!!

    THANKS!!!

  29. Francisco Ramírez Pineda Says:

    Me salvaste la vida!!! Mi nexus 7 esta con VIDAAAA!!! Thanks a lot!!!!

  30. Anonymous Dude Says:

    Is step ten optional? I keep on having this issue with the command prompt telling me that “cannot open: bootloader-grouper-3.34.img” I have tried substituting the 3.34 with my current version number (4.18) and it does nothing. If anybody can help with this please do.

  31. Anonymous Dude Says:

    Step ten is too set your bootloader to the the version number that corresponds with your operating system

  32. optiongeek Says:

    Worked like a charm and saved me no end of wifey “told ya so” grief.

    I was sure I had bricked because I saw the endless spinners, but the nexus wasn’t showing in my windows 8 explorer when plugged in. However, I simply booted to recovery screen, connected the usb, and then typed the fastboot commands anyway. I was worried because “adb devices” was returning nothing, but the connection was still working.

  33. BurbonSV Says:

    How to Hard Reset a _Bricked_ Nexus 7 …. Power Off the Nexus and turn it back .
    Really?

  34. SlimGus Says:

    Thanks you sir !

  35. Steve Says:

    WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT WORKED. I TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE…and this is the only fix that worked….THANKS

  36. ingar Says:

    my phone is still bricked.. you have some other advice to how i can fix it?

  37. Rodriguez Says:

    My english is bad but I had to thankyou for your tutorial.

    My NEXUS 7 32GB WIFI is my first Android device, when I turned on the device for first time the device had the update available (Android 4.3) but when finished the installation… it’s bricked :(

    Reading, reading, reading i found your tutorial and now my device is alive!!!

    Thank you for all!!!

    Best regards since El Salvador, CA.

  38. Francis Says:

    Does anyone know have or know where i can download the factory or any image file for the nexus 3g version 32gig 2012 (tilapia) bootloader version 4.23. baseband version1231_0.10.0_1021 because no matter which image file i try one of the requirements are not met. its not even there in the google developers site and I dont even know how to contact them.

  39. Simran Says:

    Omg life saver thank you so much for this tutorial saved my nexus7 and my life and for everyone else that are bricked all you need to do is install sdk as the video tells you to then restart the computer after that go to bootloader connect the nexus 7 and follow the steps here only thing I had to do was change the names of my .IMG and .ZIP files to what i downloaded KK 4.4.4 (fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-flo-flo-04.02.img) and (fastboot -w update image-razor-ktu84p.zip) for my nexus 7 2013 WiFi it didnt work the 1st time but the 2nd time was the charm for me anyways thank you so much for this great tutorial

  40. Ben H Says:

    Thank you! My Nexus has been gathering dust for the last 6 months while I played with my ipad mini (a gift) but thanks partly to this tutorial it is now restored. It was an arduous task as it only occasionally went into bootloader mode (took ten or more goes to finally get the PC to recognise it). I would also like to thank Charlie H for his updated advice in the comments – running the flash-all.bat from the command prompt basically does all the work for you, just make sure you have the zip file in the same folder (you don’t need to unzip those files actually, it does it for you). Thought I might even have to resort to sending this back to Google for an expensive repair (it’s well out of warranty), but have now been saved that problem. Thanks again David and everyone else who posted their experiences here!

  41. amanda Says:

    Hi! I’m getting stuck at the oem unlock step. When I enter fastboot oem unlock, the permission comes up on my tablet screen, I push yes, and it fails. The command screen says Failed <remote:> Any ideas?

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