Kindle Fire Utility makes updating, tweaking Amazon’s tablet a snap

It’s been a little over a month since the Amazon Kindle Fire hit the streets, and since day one hackers have been kicking the tires of Amazon’s 7 inch tablet to figure out how to make it do more than read books, play videos, and run apps purchased from Amazon. Now a developer going by the name of Vashypooh has put some of the best tweaks in one place.

Kindle Fire Utility makes it ridiculously easy to root the Amazon Kindle Fire, install the Android Market, change the boot mode, perform a factory reset, install the TWRP Recovery app, download and install the latest official update from Amazon, or make other changes.

Basically all you have to do is connect your Kindle Fire to a Windows computer with a USB cable, download the Kindle Fire Utility zip file, unzip it to a folder on your computer and start the run.bat file to get started.

Update: Kindle Fire Utility 0.9.5 supports Kindle Fire software versions 6.3.1 and earlier, and allows you to choose between the TWRP 2.0 and ClockworkdMod custom recovery tools. 

Here are some of the nifty things you can do with Kindle Fire Utility:

Root the Kindle Fire 

Want to gain root access to the Kindle Fire and install Superuser on the tablet? Just fire up the Kindle Fire Utility and choose the “Install Permanent Root” option.

The utility will walk you through the rest, even displaying helpful comments to explain what’s happening as your tablet reboots during the process.

Install TWRP 2.0

Team Win Recovery Project 2.0 is a custom recovery utility that makes it easy to create a complete backup or your Android device, restore from a backup, or install new firmware or updates.

What makes TWRP 2.0 special is that it’s the first recovery tool available for the Kindle Fire that users touchscreen input. Since the Kindle Fire doesn’t have physical volume buttons, a home button, or other buttons, this makes TWRP 2.0 the first publicly available recovery app that’s fully usable on the Kindle Fire.

You can install TWRP 2.0 manually — or fire up the Kindle Fire Utility and choose the option to install the latest updated automatically.

Install the Android Market, Go Launcher EX

If you want to install the Android Market and other Google apps on an Amazon Kindle Fire running Amazon’s standard software but don’t want to go through the hassle of doing it all manually, Kindle Fire Utility lets you install the official Google Apps package including the Android Market as well as a home screen launcher called GO Launcher EX which you can use instead of the Kindle bookshelf-style launcher.

Download the latest software update from Amazon

You can use Kindle Fire Utility option 5 to download the latest version of the official Amazon software for your tablet.

If you’re already running Amazon’s software this might not seem that exciting, since Amazon pushes updates automatically over WiFi. But if you’ve installed CyanogenMod or another operating system on the tablet, you can use Kindle Fire Utility to quickly download the latest official version of Amazon’s software.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll still need to manually restore your device using the update.zip. You can do this using TWRP 2.0, or you can restore the Kindle Fire using JackpotClavin’s original method. You can find more details in the “restoring your Kindle Fire” section of our tutorial for installing CyanogenMod 7 on the Kindle Fire.

Recover from a boot error

If your Kindle Fire is stuck in a boot loop or won’t turn on for some other reason (especially after you’ve been trying to do something like flashing a custom recovery, bootloader, or other firmware) you may be able to use Kindle Fire Utility to recover.

When you run the program the first time it will show you the boot status. If it shows anything other than 4000, choose option 1 to change the bootmode and then select “Normal.” If all goes according to plan, this should cause your device to reboot normally.

Caveats

The Kindle Fire Utility comes with all the drivers and tools you should need, and the utility makes it easy to make some rather complicated changes to the tablet without manually entering a series of commands in a DOS box.

But you’ll probably have the most success if you have at least a basic knowledge of some Android development tools including adb and fastboot. While this utility makes things a little easier and safer, there’s still a good chance that something can go wrong. You will probably void your warranty by performing any of the actions described in this post.

You may also have to manually install drivers for your computer to recognize the Kindle Fire in adb and fastboot mode. To enable ADB for the Kindle Fire, you can follow the steps in our guide for rooting the Kindle Fire.

If your computer doesn’t recognize the tablet in fastboot mode, you can install the drivers included in the drivers folder of the Kindle Fire Utility. Just open your device manager, find the Kindle (which will probably have an exclamation point next to it), choose the option to update drivers manually, and browse to the drivers folder.

You’ll know that you’re stuck in fastboot mode without the proper drivers installed if your Kindle Fire isn’t booting properly after entering fastboot mode (for instance, to install TWRP) and the Kindle Fire Utility is stuck on a screen that says “waiting for device.”

Latest Amazon Kindle Fire news and tips:

  • David Etengoff

    Simple question – if you choose to root in this manner – using the Kindle Fire Utility – what version of Android is installed – or is the current Amazon version still present?

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Rooting the tablet doesn’t change the operating system. It just gives you extra privileges so that you can access otherwise inaccessible files and settings.

      In other words, you can’t replace the operating system unless you root first — but rooting alone doesn’t actually change very much. 

      • David Etengoff

        OK Brad – I was just trying to clearly ascertain what changes would transpire through the rooting process. So, I will still have all standard Amazon Kindle Fire factory-based functionality – plus access to “extra privileges and otherwise inaccessible files and settings.” Would you please briefly mention how this will add to improved KF functionality? I should add that I am an avid KF fan and an IT Director – so “lay it on!” Thanks so very much.

      • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

        In order to hack the Kindle Fire you need to root it first. This lets you do a number of things such as installing the official Google Android Market, changing the default keyboard app, or replacing the Kindle Fire version of Android with CyanogenMod or a different Android-based operating system.

        You can find more details by taking a look at some of our previous articles on the Kindle Fire:

        http://liliputing.com/tag/amazon-kindle-fire 

      • David Etengoff

        Thanks Brad for clarifying the clear advantages that obtain in this instance. Your rapid and professional responses are a pleasure to read! Thank you very much! David

      • http://jeffmcneill.com/blog/ Jeff McNeill

        An IT manager who does not understand root? Time you go back to school: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooting_(Android_OS) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_user

  • pcs2011

    Brad – Downloaded and unzipped KF Utility , connected to my KF. Screen on KF said “You can now transfer files…..” I started the run.bat file.

    Here is what I saw on the first screen
    “error: device not found
     error: device not found
       Oops … something went wrong
       We are unable to locate your Kindle Fire.
       Make sure it is plugged in and powered on ”

    Can you suggest some troubleshooting I could do?

    Thanks, Pete

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      1. Tap the button on your Kindle that says disconnect. You don’t want it to show that.
      2. If that doesn’t do it you may need to configure adb to work with your Kindle Fire. I can’t guarantee that this is necessary since I had already performed these steps before trying Kindle Fire Utility, but try heading to the section in our “rooting the Kindle Fire” tutorial that starts with installing ADB on your computer and continue until you get through the part about enabling ADB on the tablet.

      http://liliputing.com/2011/11/how-to-root-an-amazon-kindle-fire.html 

      • pcs2011

        Brad – Thanks for the quick response..
        Here’s what happened:
        Same thing happened as before so I started path to install ADB.
        - I downloaded the Android SDK package and unzipped.
        - I checked the Android SDK Platform-tools.
        - When I clicked install package, I received message
          “Failed to create directory C:Program FilesANDROID-
           SDK-WINDOWSandroid-sdk-windowstemp
        - Done. Nothing was installed.

         

      • Ben Bettridge

        Permission problems normally. Make sure you run the SDK manager as an Administrator.

      • http://twitter.com/HooverGA Garrett Hoover

        The android sdk manager? As in open it as admin and run the driver install again? I’m having the same problem. The device is stuck on a yellow triangle and i cant install the .inf file in device manager because ”
        The folder you specified doesn’t contain a compatible software driver for your device. If the folder contains a driver, make sure it is designed to work with Windows for x64-based systems.”

        Any Ideas anyone? 

    • Snicers

      http://www.jayceooi.com/2011/12/29/how-to-install-kindle-fire-adb-usb-driver-video/
      Uninstall the Kindle Fire driver installed by the KF Utility. Install this one, It works.

  • Aschlon4

    hey..i used this utility to install latest twrp (option 7) and afterwards it automatically rooted my device although it was already rooted before..now it just hangs on the yellow fire triangle and im basically stuck because the utility cant find my device..

    what do i do ?

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Use the Kindle Fire Utility on your PC to check the bootmode. It should be “normal.” It sounds like you’re stuck in fastboot, so choose the option to change from fastboot mode to normal. 

      • Dominik mueller

        same problem… i’m on the normal boot mode…

      • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

        Try downloading the latest version of the Kindle Fire Utility? Version .4 includes a few fixes that may help with your problems. 

        http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1399889 

      • Dominik mueller

        thanks a lot :) now it works nearly perfect! only the market says 
        “… could not be downloaded due to an error”
        it’s an problem with the mod?

      • Dominik mueller

        ah now it works ;) thank you!!! i only had to delete data from the apps…

  • Anonymous

    Hi brad, i’m stuck on the yellow triangle and my device is in 4002 mode, when i try to get the normal mode, the program says that my device can’t be found. What should i do? Please help me! Thanks!

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Try running the install_drivers.bat file included in the latest version of the Kindle Fire Utility. 

      You could also try entering the fastboot commands manually:

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=20421225&postcount=222 

      • Anonymous

        Thanks! :) I resolve my problem by updating the drivers using device manager of windows and select the folder drivers in the kindle utility :)

  • Renegad3

    previously rooted KF, tried using the kindle fire utility to install twrp, started as expected, then got to the the point it said “waiting for device” (first reboot). Now Fire is just stuck at loading screen, and cycling power does nothing, just returns immediately to the kindle fire loading screen. Wont do anything else, won’t connect to windows so not sure what else to do. Need some help!

    Thanks.

    • gcovato

      Hi,

      I had the same problem and I fixed it doing these steps:

      1) I download SuperOneClick utility and I ran the “ShellRoot” option
      2) SuperOneClick will stack after restarting the asdb server
      3) Force close the application and restart the computer
      4) Using “Kindle Fire Utility”(KFU) select “Boot Mode Menu” and restore 4000 boot mode. During this step if the system is still searching for the device, turn off and back on kindle fire without disconnect the cable. 

      It will work!

      Giuseppe 

      • beaujo1

        Thanks so much, I was able to recover following your isntructions… Got pretty scared.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NFREBIHRZOEBVVXPGKG6QAZXE4 Joshua

    Thanks guys.  This works perfect.  Now my daughters Kindle is much more useful.  What a great tablet for 200 bucks.  

    Cant believe how simple its been made.  

    Thanks for the how-to.  

  • Nesasn

    Hi,

    My Kindle won’t start after I rooted it. It’s stuck on the Kindle Fire logo when powered. I have done the power down for 30sec and still nothing. I also left it for a couple of days hoping that it might come back but still nothing. It does not show up on my computer when connected. I’m not a computer expert but I did follow the video to the letter. 

    I hoping you can help me. My other option is to send it to Amazon for a replacement but if I don’t have to I would prefer that.

    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks 
    Nesasn

  • Rob

    New to tablet market…is there an app or a way to run windows software on the Kfire? A program I have needs to have windows; I didn’t want a netbook ect…Thanks 

  • Abraham Nerio

    Hello, i have 2 kindles, one was rooted long time ago  and was succesfull.Before i rooted it , the KF had the first versions of the system. Then i rooted the other KF and if went off of work because just turns on when you connect it to the PC , and reboots continuosly. Have to say that  before mess it up, it had the 6.3 system version.

    Now that i read about this topic, i see if i could root the already rooted KF with the KF utility , but it already appears as 6.3 system version.
    Thought that every release of system it cracks the root and need to root again. So my question is that if i rooted KF with an oldest way, will it keep routed and update the version system when it is changed?

    Thanks so much (: