I have a well known love of all things fiction, and books have always been a passion of mine. It was with more than a little apprehension that I finally laid my hands on the latest Amazon Kindle.
I have to confess, it is amazing. Armed with a crisp screen, and over 300 books I am in my element wherever I go. Although it will never replace my paperbacks, it will always have a special place in my heart.
Of course being a Techie, it didn't take long before I began to explore the device a little more. I have never been one for rooting/jail-breaking devices, but I did find a hack that allowed me to add my own custom screensavers. This hack is well known all over the web. I will be laying it out here step by step, but I will also be pointing out some issues I found along the way.
When performing this hack I was running Firmware 4.0.1. (NOTE: This is important.)
Remember this is just a hack/work around, this DOES NOT Jailbreak the Kindle. Although, I state here and now that if you decide to perform this hack yourself, it is entirely at your own risk. You should also note, that all forms of modification to the Kindle software, voids your warranty.
Firstly, make sure you have your Kindle is backed up, especially your personal documents.
- Connect your Kindle to your computer via USB.
- Copy and paste the "DON'T_HALT_ON_REPAIR" into the root of the drive, this will create a 0kb file with no file extension.
- Now rename this new file to "ENABLE_DIAGS".
- Eject your Kindle and disconnect from USB
- Enter the Settings menu on the device, you will need to note two things: The version of the firmware you are running (pre 4.1.0) and the serial number of your kindle.
- Restart the Kindle. Do this by going to the Kindle's settings page and selecting "Restart" from the menu. It will reboot in to Diagnostics mode.
- Once in Diagnostics you need to choose the following options using the pad at the bottom of the Kindle:
Misc individual diagnostics > Utilities > Enable USBnet
- Once in the USBnet, connect your USB cable and plug it in to your PC. Now wait for drivers to install.
- Once setup you will have an extra network connection. I am using Windows 7, I was able to use Network and Sharing Centre to view this.
- Open the connections TCP/IPv4 Properties and ensure it has the following IP Settings:
IP Address: 192.168.15.1
Keep all others blank.
If it has, DO NOT modify. If it hasn't, correct accordingly. Mine was set to DHCP.
Next you need to download Putty; A small linux connection terminal that will communicate with your Kindle.
You can Download Putty from here.
Load Putty and use the following connection config.
IP Address: 192.168.15.244
Connection Type: SSH
This should load a black terminal window, connected to your Kindle.
The username you will need use will be "root".
The password on older firmware is usually "mario". However I was running 4.0.1 and the password is unique to my device.
This is where you will need your serial number:
Goto http://members.ping.de/~sven/kindle.html and enter your serial number to get your password, you will need to know your firmware version too. Your serial number must be entered exactly, remember it is case sensitive.
Once you are logged into the Putty session, run the following commands one by one:
mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt/base-mmc
mv /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600x800 /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600x800.old
ln -sfn /mnt/us/screensaver /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600x800
This will perform the Screensaver Hack. Now the important bit:
Before exiting run the following command:
This will put the mnroot back to "Read Only". This is important if you ever want to upgrade your firmware at a later date. Every blog/walkthrough I have found DOES NOT tell you to do this.
Exit the putty session, and unplug the USB cable.
Now you need to Exit and disable Diagnostics mode. Use the Right key to navigate back to the main menu and select "Exit, Reboot or Disable Diags", use the left Key to confirm. Your kindle will reboot.
When you reconnect via USB, you will now have a folder on your Kindle called "screensaver". Here you can add greyscale images at the size of 600x800. The images MUST be in png format. You must also reboot before the Kindle will read the new images.
You can name your images whatever you like. But another issue I have found that if you DO NOT have an image named 01N.png in your screensaver folder, once again firmware updates tend to fail with Error U006.
REMEMBER - If you add the Default Amazon Screensavers into the folder, these will be displayed first, so don't get disheartened if your images do not show up at first. Each time the Kindle is rebooted, it will display the images in the same order cycle, starting from the beginning again. If you only want your own images to show, remove the Amazon Screensavers, or wait for your own to come up in the cycle (turning the Kindle ON and OFF standby will test this). 01N.png is only required when performing a firmware update.
Here are 3 collections I have gathered together for you to download. Plus a complete set of the default Screensavers if required.
Each are rar files.
You can also download the original Kindle 4 Screensavers from here...
You can find pre-sized images at http://kindlewallpapers.tumblr.com/
There is also a huge collection here...
So there you go, custom Screensavers on your prized Amazon Kindle 4 (Non-Touch).
NOTE: I have since upgraded my firmware to the latest 4.1.0. I found had to revisit Putty to set the mnroot back to "Read Only" and had to add a file to my Screensaver folder called 01N.png (included in the Original_K4_Screensavers pack) as I was receiving a u006 Error code.
I downloaded the update from here.
I can confirm that this hack DOES work on the newer firmware, version 4.1, with the same password as per version 4.0.1.
Many thanks to Ruebarb263, his YouTube video was most helpful, as was his assistance when performing this task. You can check his youtube channel out here. Check his tutorial out here.
Although some have claimed it works (maybe they had a different procedure), after some experimenting with a friends Ad Supported Kindle 4 (Non-Touch) , we couldn't get this to work on it. We did find a way to disable the Ads though, and a work around for the screensavers. Both links posted below.
Want to get rid of those annoying ads? - Check out how here.
Screensaver work around for Ad version - http://www.pierotoffanin.com/2011/12/how-to-remove-ads-from-your-ad-supported-kindle-4-for-free/