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How to update Samsung Galaxy S2 firmware with Odin instead of Kies

After trying to update my Samsung Galaxy S2 with Kies, I quickly gave up after two attempts, on both x32 and x64 Win7, and settled with Odin instead.

Why Kies sucks

First of all, The Kies installation process is not very elegant;

  • Its a 50+ MB package with alot of stuff you don’t want or need, such as an integrated music player.
  • Drivers not getting installed properly
  • About one hundred DLLs (no exaggeration!) not getting registered, each giving me an error message to click “OK” on…
  • Kies couldn’t handle a custom installation directory
  • And then theres the labels in korean or whatever:

When I finally managed to install Kies (and its 3 running background services…) it wouldn’t detect my phone. Great.

Updating firmware with Odin instead (update: these steps may be outdated now)

This is the easiest way of updating you phone. Its pretty well explained in 8 simple steps here.

(I take no responsibility for this, and you should always follow the up to date guides for the different roms.)

  1. Find your new firmware version and download the file from the links
  2. Extract the file, so that you now have a .tar file.
  3. Download and run the Odin software from the provided link (200KB)
  4. Reboot the phone to download mode
    To do this, turn the phone off, then simultaneously press the volume down key, the home button and then press the power button. If you see a warning, press the volume up button to continue.
  5. In Odin, click the button named “PDA” and select your .tar file (your rom).
    If the rom has several files, also put in the PDA, Phone/Modem and CSC files. but do NOT put in a .pit file.
  6. Connect the phone to the computer with usb cable, and wait till ID:COM turns yellow.
  7. Click the “Start” button, and Odin will flash your rom.

When the flashing is done, your phone will reboot itself.

There are several different roms available for Galaxy S2, I am currently using Litening rom, which I am very happy with.
Edit: If you flash the litening rom, you will get root.

Edit2: The litening rom has been discontinued, but someone picked up and continued the development in another thread here, under the name UltraToxic rom.

CyanogenMOD have also come with nightly builds, which mean they are putting effort into making the rom stable enough for everyday use.

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  • Alexander

    isn´t this like rooting?

    • EnvyAndroid

      Hi.
      From the first link in the article it says:
      “You do not need to root or unroot the device to update the firmware.”

      So I think it depends on which rom you flash your phone with, if its a rooted kernel (such as Litening rom, which will give you root if you flash it)

      There is a rooting guide on the same website (in the first link), a bit further down.
      (Its pretty simple to follow :)

  • Adilbaig1

    Hi thanks for the guide..What sort of battery life are you getting with the Litening rom?

    • EnvyAndroid

      Hi! I have gotten about 4 days out of it at most, which I think was pretty good, that was with light usage. It depends on how much you use it ofcourse :)

  • Wences

    How if i turn my s2 to download mode and connect usb to my computer.. but my s2 therefore not detected by the computer? if i put my s2 to normal mode then yes, it is detected by the computer. Any solution for this? :(

    • EnvyAndroid

      If you have your phone in download mode, and then connect it, your phone should be recognized in Odin with ID:COM turning yellow.
      Does this not happen?

      • Wences

        yaya.. unfortunately there is nothing change in Odin but the right bottom of my computer will pop-up “devide not recognised” (something like that).. do you know how to solve it?

        • EnvyAndroid

          I think you have to have kies installed, because it comes with many drivers for the phone.

          • Wences

            yea i did.. but still… :(

          • Funkmonkey

            No, you dont need Kies at all. (You did title the article updating S2 WITHOUT Kies)
            You need the current drivers for both NORMAL operation mode (USB host etc etc) and download mode. Put your phone in DL mode, plug it in, wait for windows to find the drivers over the internet. It does work, you just need a modicum of patience.

          • EnvyAndroid

            Yes, that is true,

    • Scouseok

      Try reinstall of KIES with all drivers properly installed an it should now work if not try posting on androidadvices or xda forums

  • Colt_mc

    Thats Strange, if i follow your manual the phone starts in Download mode but in upper left corner it says “Custom Binary Download: No”. And the other thing is, if i start the update with odin, i’ll receive “Firmwars Update Start” and after that the phone seams to stuck on the Step “boot.bin”. It isnt work any further for hours….
    Did i forget something?

    • EnvyAndroid

      Hmm, Im not quite sure, I havent flashed the newer Litening roms.
      Usually you can get very good help if you search or post your problem in the xda forum :)

  • In_the

    I9100_CODE_I9100XXLP2_CL57619_REV02_user_low_ship.tar.md5 is valid.
    MODEM_I9100XXLP1_REV_02_CL1095381.tar.md5 is valid.
    GT-I9100-MULTI-CSC-OXALP2.tar.md5 is valid.
    Checking MD5 finished Sucessfully..
    Leave CS..
    Odin v.3 engine (ID:5)..
    File analysis..
    SetupConnection..
    Can’t open the serial(COM) port.
    All threads completed. (succeed 0 / failed 1)

    Why?:x

  • dave stevens

    well written…nice having links to guide u in choosing the right phone..its not so much the phone its wat it can do…in every aspect potential viewers should look at a great democracy..which in time fans will experience wat its made of!!!…

  • kate jack

    rumours about the android being escalated to great features…my friends working in developing and have actually said the modern features deadly..but in time wen tactically played with the development…it will be like a great surprise ..a great shock!!!!!

  • Iwandirksen

    hi there
    after trying to upgrade my S2, my phone switched off and won’t turn back on…pleeeeaaaazzze help

    • Scouseok

      i have the same problem i cant reboot or get into download/recovery modes did you mange to sort your out plz help

      • EnvyAndroid

        Try installing the rom again via odin. You should also be able to reach CWM, where you can do a restore backup.
        What exactly did you do, and which rom did you use, did you install a theme?
        You might want to search or ask the xda thread for the rom you used.

  • Funkmonkey

    Right, to all readers. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do yourselves a favour. Dont read this utter crap from someone thats just bought their new toy and just wants to stuff about with it. Get over to XDA developers and READ THE S2 UPDATE FAQs.

    Updating Android phones is one of the easiest things in the planet. SOME Roms are based on Insecure kernels (Installing these roots your phone, it has an extra line of code in there that allows certain installations to be made by the phone. THE MAJORITY of Roms STILL REQUIRE YOU TO INSTALL AN INSECURE KERNEL USING ODIN.

    Almost every single ROM you will find has its own installation FAQ. There is a reason for all this, its so people dont whinge that they followed the instructions but somethings wrong. Most of the time those people have followed guides like this one here.

    So, TL;DR – To update your S2 (Or any android phone) GOOGLE Galaxy S2 Roms, READ THE FUCKING FAQs ATTACHED TO IT and just get on with it!

    Cheezies…..

    • EnvyAndroid

      The point of this post was to guide people over to the thread at xda. But obviously that didn’t work out that well.

      Many people dont know where to start when they want to update or switch roms, so this gives them a simple entry point.

      The threads at xda changes all the time, and should ofcourse be read and followed.

      Thanks for replying, and for your information, I did not delete any comments.

  • Funkmonkey

    Congratulations on deleting my previous comment about how ridiculously bad this particular FAQ is. I tell you what, how about you just give your phones to me. Following this guid youre going to brick it and because you have not followed a ROMS faq you will be laughed at by the developers when you start screaming I r updat my phon it r not work plzzzzzzzzz hlp