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
  4. Enter serial number
  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)

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15 thoughts on “EFS folder or IMEI on Android is corrupted

  1. Mark Anthony

    Hi sir I find your tutorial very useful and following it I was able to restore my baseband version but when I checked my my IMEI it reads “0000000….” still I’m able to make and receive calls though but I cannot make changes to my mobile network settings because its just showing mobile data connection. Do you have any idea on what seems to be the problem? Should I flash a modem compatible on my country? By the way my Note 2 is a Korean variant SHV-E250L.. Hope you coul help me resolve this problem..Thanks in advance..

    1. AL Post author

      1. I was repairing the Note II for a friend, so I don’t have it any more.
      2. Please check via GSMarena that your phone is supported by your country’s telco. I am assuming you are not in S Korea. Make sure your SIM is voice enabled with voice hours.
      3. The field Baseband, it is referring to modem version. It doesn’t change your IMEI number
      4. If IMEI reports all 0s, it means the EFS is still not working.
      5. Sorry I can’t help you more. You might have better luck in XDA forum for your phone model.

    1. AL Post author

      The steps I posted works only for Samsung phones. The video uses Samsung manufacturing and service codes. Therefore it does not work for Nexus.

      Try looking for efs_backup folder. Some ROM creates a backup for you. I am not familiar or have access to a Nexus so I can’t help you on this.

  2. Dan

    I tried this method for my Note 3. My Kies 3 though was a later version (14). It did not give me the option to enter my model and serial #. Should I locate and attempt to use this earlier version 13? Thanks.
    Dan

    1. AL Post author

      I did not take note of the release version and have since deleted everything. Kies must prompt for model and serial number as the firmware needs to be downloaded from Samsung servers. These are huge files, ~200MB ++

  3. Alastor v3.14

    Hello friend, first of awesome guide no doubt i’ll try it…but a question first:
    the other day i flashed n original firmware to my galaxy trendplus…all good but i get this message of “not connected to network” what should i do?

    1. AL Post author

      Can you make, receive calls? If no, what is flashed is bad. Undo

      If yes, check your APN settings if they are correct for the telco.

  4. RydeL

    I came across this site and very useful tips im flashing a lots of GT-N7105 roms still skies undetected except this I made it today and make backup on skies 3 well done KUDOS for you a million star’s.

    My problem still not solve since I already recovered using your method my IMEI still NULL and Unknown Bandbase, need more paper works and research. Lastly I seen a EFS file …… thanks…

    1. AL Post author

      That can’t be right. Kies restore will give you back your IMEI. If it can restore your firmware, it can restore your IMEI. For some reason, the IMEI does not come back, you can extract your IMEI from http://www.google.com/dashboard and try to flash it in.

      Beware most IMEI flash apps contain malware.

  5. Edmond Obeng

    I have a galaxy note 2 GT-N7100. i recently lost my imei and baseband, it reports Imei :null/null when i check with*#06# . i tried using your method but after it downloads the firmware upgrade components. it reports that “failed to run firmware upgrade, an unknown error occurred”.
    Can you please help me. Thank you.

    1. AL Post author

      Hi, Did you entered the model and serial number as exactly as labelled in your battery compartment? Note your IMEI is captured in Google.com/dashboard Flashing the IMEI to your phone I have no info on this.

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