How to Install Android 4.2 on the original Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon's older Kindle fire version has been successfully updated by Android 4.2 version by the Developer Hashcode, who  has also released a custom ROM for the Kindle Fire that lets you run Google Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on Amazon’s first tablet.
How to Install Android 4.2 on the original Amazon Kindle Fire

This build of Android 4.2 is designed for the first Kindle Fire -- the one that came out in late 2011. which runs a heavily modified version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

It has a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and a TI OMAP 4430 dual core processor. It’s not quite as fast as a Nexus 7, and the screen resolution is lower. But it’s not a bad device if you’ve already got one lying around -- and you can pick up a refurbished Kindle Fire from Best Buy for $130. From time to time retailers offer even lower prices.

Amazon offers a newer Kindle Fire (2nd generation) with a slightly faster processor and software based on Android 4.0. This build of Android 4.2 isn’t designed for that tablet. It also won’t work on the Kindle Fire HD 7 or Kindle Fire HD 8.9.

There are a few good reasons to stick with Amazon’s software. You lose access to the Amazon Instant Video streaming app and the Amazon Kindle Owners’ Lending Library if you install a custom ROM. You may also take a wrong move and end up with an unbootable Kindle (although it’s tough to make an irreversible mistake with a first-generation Kindle Fire).

How to update a Kindle Fire to Android 4.2 from another custom ROM

If you’re already running CyanogenMod or another custom ROM on the Kindle Fire and you have a custom recovery (such as ClockworkMod or TWRP) installed, updating to Android 4.2 is easy.

All you have to do is boot into recovery, perform a factory wipe and wipe the system partition, then install Hashcode’s custom ROM and the latest Google Apps packages.

This will wipe all of your data, settings, and apps. If you want to preserve them, you should download and run Titanium Backup first to backup all of your apps and associated data.

Then you can install Titanium Backup again after updating to Android 4.2 and run it to restore your apps. Not only will this re-install your apps and games, but it will even restore saved game data and other information associated with those apps.

You can find download links at the xda-developers forum, or you can download the ROM and gApps directly from

Performing a fresh install of Android 4.2 on an original Kindle Fire

If you’ve never installed a custom ROM on your Kindle Fire, then you’ll want to download the latest version of the Kindle Fire Utility and use it to install TWRP or ClockworkMod Recovery as well as the FireFireFire Bootloader.

How to Install Android 4.2 on the original Amazon Kindle Fire

While the Fire Utility is designed to run on Windows computers, some of the tools may also be useful for Mac or Linux users.  But that’s beyond the scope of this tutorial. For now I’ll assume you’re running a Windows computer.

 Install Kindle Fire drivers

If you’ve previously rooted your Kindle Fire using a Windows PC, you probably already have the proper drivers installed and you can skip ahead to the next section.

If not, the first thing you’re going to need to do is plug your Kindle Fire into your PC with a USB cable and navigate to the folder where you unzipped Kindle Fire Utility. Then double-tap the fie called “install_drivers.bat.”

This will attempt to install driver so that your PC can recognize the Kindle Fire.

It can be persnickety though. You can check to see if the drivers were installed correctly by firing up Kindle Fire Utility in the next step and seeing if the ADB Status is listed as “online or offline.” If it’s offline, the drivers you need aren’t installed and you can try this:

  1. Open your Windows Device Manager by typing “device manager” into the Windows run box and hitting enter.
  2. Look for an item labeled “Amazon” or something similar. It should have a yellow exclamation point next to it.
  3. Right-click on that item and select “update driver.”
  4. From the following menu choose “Browse my computer for driver software.”
  5. On the following screen choose “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.”
  6. From here I selected “Android Composite ADB Interface.” The “Android ADB Interface” option might work as well, but I can confirm that the Composite option does work.
  7. Click Next and wait for the installation to complete.

Run Kindle Fire Utility and install permanent Root

Now go back to the Kindle Fire Utility folder and double-click the run.bat file. It will open up a black window with red text and after a moment it should show you a menu with a number of options.

Check to make sure that ADB Status is shown as “online.” If it isn’t then your Kindle Fire isn’t plugged in properly or your drivers aren’t installed properly. Go back to step two for help configuring the drivers.

To root the tablet, choose the option that says “Install Permanent Root with Superuser.”

This will root your tablet and install a custom bootloader and recovery. These are the first steps toward installing the Google Play Store or custom ROMs.

Warning: Wait for the Fire Utility to tell you it’s safe to unplug your device before you do anything else!

 Have fun!

The next thing I’d recommend doing is entering the custom Recovery and making a backup of your device before doing anything else.

You can do this by pressing and holding the power button on your tablet and choosing the shut down option.

Once your device is off, press the power button again to turn it on. Once you see an icon on the screen press and hold the power button again for a few seconds to enter your custom recovery app (this should work with TWRP or ClockworkMod).

Then choose the backup option to create a backup of your device.

If anything ever goes wrong with your tablet you can enter the custom recovery again and restore from this backup to bring your Kindle Fire back to the condition it’s in right now.

You can also use TWRP or ClockworkMod to install custom ROMs. Just download the latest zip file for the ROM you want to install and follow the on-screen instructions from the recovery to install or “flash” the zip file.

If you want to stick with the standard Kindle experience but want access to Google apps including the Play Store, Gmail app, and Google Maps, choose the option in Kindle Fire Utility marked “Extras” and then use the option for “Install Google Apps.”

Troubleshooting (stuck at the boot logo)

If anything goes wrong there’s a chance that you may get stuck at the boot logo. This doesn’t mean your Kindle Fire is dead. It probably means you’re stuck in fastboot mode instead of normal boot or recovery mode.

To fix this, try plugging your Kindle Fire into your PC and running Kindle Fire Utility again.

You want Boot Status to say 4000. If it does not, try the option for Bootmode Menu. Choose the option that says Normal (4000). If all goes according to plan, your tablet should reboot and load your Android operating system.

If that doesn’t work for some reason, you can also try to change the boot mode manually:

Open a command prompt on your computer by typing “cmd” into the run box.
Navigate to the folder where you unzipped the Kindle Fire Utility by using “cd dirname” to navigate to a directory (where “dirname” is the name of that directory. For example “cd program files” will take you to c:\program files).
Navigate to the “tools” subfolder.
Type the following commands, one at a time:
fastboot oem idme bootmode 4000
fastboot reboot
It’s pretty hard to completely break a Kindle Fire. But getting stuck at the bootloader is no fun. Hopefully these tips will help if you find yourself stuck staring at the boot logo after attempting to root the tablet.

How to install Android 4.0 on the Kindle Fire

There’s now an unofficial build of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean for the Kindle Fire. I recommend using the Kindle Fire Utility to install a custom recovery and then visiting the xda-developers forum for the latest Android 4.2 download links to get started. 

But if you’ve already rooted your Kindle Fire and installed a custom recovery it’s actually pretty easy to take Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for a spin without much risk. You can always just revert to your previous software, whether that’s CyanogenMod 7 or Amazon’s stock software.

If you haven’t rooted the Kindle Fire or installed Team Win Recovery Project, we’ve got a guide for that. But be forewarned, it’s a kind of complicated process and there’s plenty of room for things to go wrong. While it’s tough to truly damage your Kindle Fire or leave it in an unbootable state, it’s pretty easy to leave it in a state that’s difficult to recover from without trying a half dozen different recovery techniques.

With that in mind, this guide is aimed at people that have already installed TWRP.

Download all the files you’ll need/want

There’s an active development thread at the xda-developers forum where you can find the latest tools for installing Android 4.0 on the Kindle Fire. It’s likely that the download links will change as new builds are released with new features and improvements.

So make sure to download the latest files from xda-developers. As of 2/2/2012, that involves:  - This is the file that contains the CyanogenMod 9 Android operating system files.  - This installs the Google Android Market and other Google apps.
Once you’ve downloaded these files, copy them to your Kindle Fire’s storage by connecting your Fire to your PC with a USB cable, and dragging and dropping the files to your tablet. You can also simply download them all directly on your tablet using a web browser on your Kindle Fire.

If you put the files in a folder, make sure you know what folder they’re in.

Boot into TWRP

1. Turn off your tablet by pressing and holding the power button and then selecting the on-screen option to shut down.

2. Press the power button to turn on the tablet.

3. As soon as you see the yellow triangle with a fire icon in the center, press-and-hold the power button until it glows orange instead of green. If you don’t see the yellow triangle then you probably don’t have the FireFireFire bootloader and TWRP 2.0 recovery installed. Check out our guide for using the Kindle Fire Utility to install those before proceeding.

4. It will take 10 to 20 seconds for your device to boot into TWRP 2.0

Backup your system

Before continuing it’s probably a good idea to backup your system. TWRP makes this easy to do, allowing you to restore your device to its current condition if you decide Android 4.0 isn’t for you yet. This is very likely, since the build that’s currently available is primarily designed for developers to test and improve.

1. Tap the button that says backup.

2. Select the items you want to backup. At a minimum this should probably include the System, Data, and Boot items.

3. Tap the Backup now button.

A progress meter should appear letting you know how things are going. You can also tap the terminal icon in the upper right corner to see a text description.

4. When the backup is complete, tap the button that says main menu to return to the home screen.

You can restore from this backup at any time by booting your device into TWRP and tapping the restore button on the home screen. Then choose the backup that you just made from the list.

By default, backups use the time and date you made them as their file names. You can also change the name to something more memorable without affecting the integrity of the backup.

Wipe your data

1. Tap the Wipe icon in the upper right corner.

2. Choose the Factory Reset option. This won’t erase data stored on the sdcard partition, but it will clear your data, system, and other partitions.

3. You have one more chance to change your mind. Tap the Factory Reset button to continue.

4. After the data is wiped, tap the back button to return to the previous screen.

5. From here you can tap the home icon or back arrow in the top right corner of the screen to return to the home screen.

Install Android 4.0

1. Tap the Install button on the home screen.

2. If your files are in the root directory of your sdcard, you should see them in the box on the right. If not, use the file browser on the left to navigate to the folder where your files are located.

3. Tap the file called

4. Tap the big button that says Flash to get started.

5. You’ll see text on the screen and a progress bar. Wait until the installation completes. You may see some error messages, but it’s safe to ignore most of these.

6. When the progress is complete you can tap the reboot button to boot into Android 4.0 -- but if you want to install Google Apps and other files, hit the back arrow instead. You can also do this later if you prefer.

7. Choose the next file you want to install and repeat steps 3 through 5. I installed gApps first and then repeated the process with Trebuchet.

Boot Android 4.0

When you’ve finished installing all the zip files, it’s time to boot into Android 4.0.

1. You don’t necessarily need to do this, but it may be a good idea to hit the button that says Wipe Cache/Dalvik after installing the last zip file. This is probably more important if and when you decide to use TWRP to flash an update to existing software, but in this case we’re performing a fresh install. Hit the back button when you’re done wiping your cache.

2. Choose the Reboot System option.

That’s pretty much it. Your device should now reboot and load Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Follow the on-screen prompts to setup your device by enabling WiFi, logging into your Google account, and you should be good to go!

Once you’ve installed a custom recovery, you can skip to the “Boot into TWRP” section of our tutorial on installing custom ROMs on the Kindle Fire.

It’s a good idea to make a backup of your system in case anything goes wrong -- or in case you want to restore the tablet to its current condition.

Then you can use TWRP or ClockworkMod to wipe your device and install Android 4.2.


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