How to install MIUI on Samsung Note 2 LTE GT-N7105

MIUI V5 screenshot

I had a request to replace the Samsung’s stock Android with MUI on a Note 2 LTE (N-7105).  MIUI is a flavour of Android that runs on Xiaomi range of phones.  Its UI is very much like Apple’s IOS.  There is no application drawer and all apps installed appear on the home screen.

The first source I hit were the MIUI forums, which are very active.  There are several ROM developers with their own threads.  Unfortunately, their opening posts (OP) are terrible.  There are no clear documentation on the steps and tools required.   Especially if you are starting from stock Samsung.  After much searching, I found a few procedures for Samsung S4, so I thought it should work.  And it did.

Installing MIUI v5 on Samsung Note 2 LTE GT-N7105

The basic steps are:

  1. Root the phone
  2. Backup the EFS folder
  3. Install recovery manager
    1. I used CWM, it may be possible to use TWRP
  4. Flash MIUI
  5. Flash G Apps.

The details:

  1. Install Odin on your computer. (link)
  2. Install Samsung USB apps. (link)
  3. Wait for computer to recognize the phone.
  4. Download Chainfire’s Autoroot (link)
  5. Download MIUI (link),  CWM recovery manager (link) and Google Apps (link)
  6. Restart device in download mode.
  7. Using Odin, flash Autoroot.
  8. Device restarts.
  9. Backup EFS folder, copy Google Apps  and MIUI zip
  10. Restart device in download mode.
  11. Using Odin flash CWM recovery manager.
  12. Restart into recovery mode.
  13. Device restarts
  14. Flash MIUI
  15. Restart device.
  16. Flash Google Apps.
  17. Done!

EFS folder or IMEI on Android is corrupted

If you are reading this, it means that your IMEI and/or EFS folder is corrupted.  This can happen when the ROM you are flashing contains an EFS folder and it overrides yours.  Or you have ticked Odin’s “Clear EFS Folder” box.  Both of which converts your phone to a tablet.

There are multiple guides that involves copying the nv_data.bin file and changing ownership.  This post does not cover that procedure, you can read about it here. link

In my situation, a friend has managed to delete the EFS folder on a Samsung Note II LTE, GT N7105.  I have found the above method did not work for me. The version of stock that I have restored using Odin is behaving weirdly.  It seems that I don’t have write access and yet I could change filenames or delete files.  When I attach the phone as a USB, I could not copy files onto it.  This reinforce my belief that changing permission of one file is not going to recover my IMEI number.

In the excellent thread by Hopper8 in XDA (link) on recovering from a failed Odin flash, he mentioned a 3 part stock flash recovery method.  Instead of the usual one file, there are three separate files to flash.  PDA, Phone and CSC.  Image below shows Odin flashing a PDA file.  Phone is BL.

EFS folder Odin v 3.09 flashing PDA file

After a few frustrating attempts to download the required files, I still got nowhere.  Either the hosting service has been discontinued (hotfile), no file found or throttling was so severe, I downloaded only 50MB of 1.2 GB.

Back to the drawing board. This time round I tried to use Kies to connect to the phone.  Both Kies 2 and Kies 3 refuse to recognize the phone. Googled some more and someone suggested using the emergency recovery in Kies. (link)  Kies 2 needs to download some components before upgrading, whereas Kies 3 starts immediately.  It helps if your device can be upgraded to Android 4.3  I decided to use Kies 3.

EFS Folder Kies 2 Firmware upgrade
Kies 2 Firmware upgrade

So here it is the simplest and easiest way to recover your EFS Folder.

Pre-requisites

  1. Fast and stable (~ 2 hours) Internet connection
  2. Kies 3 (link)
  3. Back up of all content, SMS, playlist, music, S Notes etc.
  4. Device minimum charge 70%

Procedure

  1. Launch Kies 3
  2. Click on “Firmware upgrade and initialization”
  3. Enter exact model number exactly as in the label in Battery compartment
  4. Enter serial number exactly as in the label in Battery compartment
  5.  A menu will pop up asking to switch phone to “download” or “recovery mode”
  6.  Check “I have done this”, select “No backup”
  7.  Click “Start Upgrade”
  8. In the window “Unsupported device alert”, do not click “Confirm” device.  Just ignore but do not close the window.

    EFS Folder Kies 3 Unsupported Device
    Kies 3 Unsupported device alert.
  9. Kies will start downloading a recovery image for your device.  It is about 1.2 GB.  This will take about 30 mins to 1 hour. Do not touch the computer, go do something else.
  10. Once downloaded, Kies will decrypt and expand the files.

    EFS Folder Kies 3 Decrypting the download.
    Kies 3 Decrypting the download.
  11. Followed by automated flashing.

    EFS folder Kies 3 downloading firmware to device
    Kies 3 downloading firmware to device
  12. The device will reboot to complete the process.  Do not click any of the Kies window.

    EFS folder Kies 3 after device restart
    Kies 3 After device restart
  13. Open Windows Explorer, go to %temp%, look for the most recent folder.  The Samsung Stock firmware files will be in there.  Copy the whole folder and archive.

    EFS folder Kies 3 files downloaded
    Kies 3 files downloaded and expanded in Temp directory
  14. Exit from Kies.

Using the phone app, type in *#06# to verify your IMEI number.

There you have it the easiest method to recover the EFS folder and IMEI.  Now all that is done, time for to back it up.  Here are some apps to backup and restore EFS folder.  (link)

Update 2 Apr 14

It may be possible to do this even faster.  Note you need to have Android installed.  I think it is independent of  version and type. (link)  Sorry, I don’t own this video and it was taken private by the owner.

Update 3 Jun 15

Try this 3 minute method.  This works even you have flashed other ROMs. This method is only useful if you have a working OS, but no IMEI.  If you have none, you may be better off using the Kies method.

Samsung Factory mode

 

IMG_20140326_225048_sm Factory Mode

If you are flashing stock firmware, it is possible to accidentally trigger the Factory mode.  It is when a black window with yellow characters floats like an overlay. The windows displays hardware version info.  It is not possible to remove or close it.  It is always there except when an application is opened.  WiFi keeps turning off and some applications refuse to launch.  This mode is used in <surprise>! in the factory for testing.

Turning on Factory Mode comes from a possible corrupted EFS folder (well mine was corrupted).  To remove this or switch back to user mode, you must be rooted.  Don’t worry, this seldom if ever happens on Samsung stock firmware.  The phone above was a N7105, it is possible to perform this on other phones.

Turn off Factory Mode

  1. Install ES File Explorer
  2. Browse to the folder /efs/FactoryApp
  3. Edit the file  “factorymode”
  4. It should be showing “OFF”
  5. Change to “ON”
  6. Save the file.
  7. Reset and you are back to user mode.

If you have already set to ON and Factory Mode is still there, that means the folder permissions for /efs/FactoryApp is wrong .  It should be set to rwxrwxr-x  You can do this using ES File Explorer.  link

Android 4.4.2 KitKat on S2 9100

android_kitkat_hero

After extensive testing of Android 4.3, I have decided to move up to Android 4.4.2 or more popularly know as KitKat.  The reason is that the older version, there is a memory leak or management problem.  After about 2 days, the phone will freeze up, requiring a power off reboot. You can extend the up time a bit by religiously clearing the Recent Tasks every few hours.  I managed to drag to 4 days before the inevitable happened.

Google promised that in KitKat, the memory usage is optimized, so I decided to try again.  The first two times I tried with Omni and CM11 was painful as not much features was available. Some apps keep disappearing. Maybe it is third time lucky.

I did a dirty upgrade, without clearing data  and flashed Google Apps.  On restart, everything is still there.  Aviate launcher was working fine, the apps are there.  Symantec VIP was working.  So I thought all was well.  Reboot it a few more times to make sure the setup was stable.  I noticed I kept getting.

com.android.systemui has stopped
Unfortunately Android Keyboard (AOSP) has stopped

Oookkay.  I started check through all the system settings.  Google Account Sync is working fine, strangely no backup account specified. When I launch the Play Store to update some apps, it kept crashing.  I quick check revealed that I have flashed the wrong Google Apps, 4.3 to be precise. Oops

A quick reboot to recovery to flash the PA modular mini Google Apps.  The error message said system partition full.  Oh no.  Tried again with mini, the same result.  Since resizing the partition is out of the question, the only answer is to format the system partition to clear out the old Jelly Bean version files.  Flashed KitKat and Google Apps again.  Sadly, only the micro version could fit in.  Looks like a handset replacement is imminent.  All the apps remained fully operational after the system format.  Ahh, the wonders of Linux OS.

The only outstanding issue is how to control Google Location Service and GPS.  Both are now combined. Activating Location Service for inaccurate but battery saving usage is not possible.  In Android 4.3 and older, you can use Location service with the cell towers.

CM11 link GApps link    Google Location link

Update 13 Mar

After 7 days of continuous use, this build has turn out to be a real beauty.  All it needs is some babying for the 3G connection, the performance has been excellent.  For reasons unknown, when the it loses signal at a certain train station and takes some time to come back.  No memory or music play back problems. The heap management and/or garbage collection is excellent, as the free memory actually increases when the phone is idled.  That never happened in Jelly Bean.  I need to find some time to thoroughly test the fitness app, Endomondo.

Android KitKat 4.4.2 7 days

Aviate Work Collection

Aviate is a contextual launcher, it will/should pop up an appropriate collection depending on your current location or time.  So far it has been quite spot on with Morning and Night collections, which is a no brainer.  Sometimes Aviate will get it right for Home, most of the time it does not for Work.

I was trying to get a faster response for Aviate’s Work collection, instead it worked for Spaces. This is assuming you do not connect to your work WiFi.  If you do, just ignore the WiFi bits.

  1. At work, turn on WiFi and GPS.  Preferably a location where you can get a good GPS signal
  2. Slide to Spaces and select Nearby.

    Aviate Change Collection
    Aviate Change Collection
  3. Wait for GPS to lock and select your current location.
  4. Wait for a few minutes, turn off WiFi and GPS.

Next time when you are at work, turn on and off WiFi.  I use Llama for this.  The desired Space will show up.

Work collection still does not turn up. Sigh.

New HTC One phone leaked.

HTC

A blogger got hold of a secret un-released HTC One phone.  He did a video in mid Feb  reviewing the various features and at the same time showing the IMEI number.  For reasons unknown the video was just posted (3 Mar) public on YouTube.  One  person re-posted to several other places and it got re-re-posted.  Until it reached the ears of the Corporate Communications Manager.

HTC Comms ManHTC Comms Manager on phone video leak.
HTC Comms Manager on phone video leak.

The aftermath.  Not too sure if it is real, his parents lost their jobs.

HTC One phone video leak aftermath
HTC One phone video leak aftermath

In general,   new products are tightly protected under Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA).  For media, traditional (newspaper, magazines) or new (bloggers), the NDA comes with a time controlled embargo.  The new products are shipped to them up to 2 weeks to 2 month before planned release so that they can review and put to print.  Anyone breaking the NDA are liable to serious financial penalties and/or future blacklists.

So all media outlets play ball and very seriously, after all no one wants their entire firm to be blacklisted due to the mistake of a single person.