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Updating firmware with Odin instead (update: these steps may be outdated now)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