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Re: Galaxy S3 SCH-I535 - Verizon/Samsung forced OTA update failed - now it hangs:(
Happy Reindeer Season Greetings to all in DroidVille and peripheral Galaxies!
I thought it only appropriate to follow up with the details of the experience in solving this issue with what worked and what didn’t.
I will start first by extending my gratitude to the folks at AndroidCentral.com, and more specifically Cyber Warrior for his very complete and accurate set of instructions in his/her post of 07-17-2012, 01:20 AM to help me solve my problem. I used method 3 with success. Also, the folks at xda-developers.com for all their assistance detailed in post etc.
I first tried CLOCKWORKMOD with the hope of ending up with a USB storage device mount, but in the version in the download link (CWM 6 touch and CWM 6 non-touch), the option for USB storage device was absent (at least when loaded on the i535 – not sure about others). So I tried TWRP (from the link in the post) and it had a USB storage device option – but didn’t work – again not sure if it’s the phone model and/or Android version – BUT it did have a FILE MANAGER option under the ADVANCED tab that allowed me to see and copy all my pictures and music and contacts to the external SD card – and presto – I now have all my pictures back – all 12GBs of them Note - be patient while it is working way – it took about an hour to copy them all to the SD card and there are no graphs or counters to show its progress (hint-hint to the folks at TWPR).
I also want to express my gratitude to all the folks that pulled together ODIN, CWM and TWRP. Great tools that without access, I would have little more than my memory to look back on my vacation with. And at my age, well, let just say it’s not what it used to – and I’m not sure that is a good or a bad thing
I can’t forget to acknowledge Verizon for all their assistance – most notably that what I was attempting to do what was ‘impossible’ and that my pictures etc. were lost forever in the ether or in a parallel universe or maybe with Schrodinger’s cat. They also repeatedly reminded me that any attempt to recover them would void the warranty on the phone clearly indicating that didn’t grasp the seriousness of the situation. ‘Impossible’ was my cue – as that is my speciality - I made a long and rewarding career out of doing what was ‘impossible’
Yes, I did involve Samsung in Texas. And I did experience new high water mark of Customer Support Avoidance. The first few call they switched me to various departments in the facility – none of which had any knowledge of what I was looking for. Repeated call backs finally met with DnD (do not disturb) and then finally ‘blocked number’. I suspect the DnD was their attempt to buy time to figure out to block me. What every, it really hurt my feelings
It is all too clear that as a business world and a society, we have long passed the intersection of the CM Kronbloth Curves.
And with all that I now salute all those who are the ‘Technical Underground’ that so many of us depend on! - THANK YOU!!!
PS: a word to the wise – get a SD card and configure the phone to make sure that your personal stuff like pictures and music etc is stored on the external SD card.
I will answer my own questions as best I can - just in case someone else finds themselves in a similar quest for understanding – not sure if it is of any help but it’s what I got so far.
1. What is contained in the OTA update? Is it the ‘ROM’? Is it a complete image or just the changes? Do I need to wait for Verizon or is there a web site that I can down load an image?
The OTA (over the air) update is a full OS image build for the phone buy Samsung with Verizon garnishing – i.e. the program object code that is loaded and executed under a normal boot (power on) sequence.
There are several non-Verizon and non-Samsung sites that this code can be downloaded from. Check out the instruction following ‘Method 3’ – ‘Back to Stock’ at the following site - [Guide] Root/Unroot/Recovery/Unlock Bootloader for the Verizon Galaxy S3 (SCH-i535)
2. What is the memory map of the S3? How is it partitioned? It is 16GB model. So I would suspect that there would be 16GB of ‘user’ space where pictures etc would be stored that is separate from the system ‘ROM’ and RAM space(?) - which I think from what I have read is a separate ‘partition’ approx 12GB(?).
The i535 has either 16GB or 32GB of integrated physical flash memory and 2GB of RAM. That’s it that’s all. This can be extended (with some restrictions) by adding up to a 64GB SD card.
Assuming a 16GB edition of the phone, there is 16GB for both the system and the user data. How it is logically divided depends on both the hardware designer/vendor design and the release of Android. Prior to ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) fixed or hard coded size blocks of memory were allocated for various uses which in turn lead to somewhat inefficient use or lack of use of memory. In ICS, these blocks are allocated on a more real-time dynamic bases. More detail is available on the web and from Android – and beyond the scope of this response.
There is no ‘ROM’ in the i535 (or any other recent vintage smart phone for that matter). The term ROM has historical meaning that does not apply in the smart phone domain. The term ‘ROM’ has been reassigned the meaning of ‘software downloadable object code’ or ‘software runnable code image’. It is anything but ‘Read Only Memory’ which historically has hardware implications. So when you find yourself in DroidVille and you see the term ROM, think of it as a complete runnable operating system object download.
3. What is the ‘cache’ in the above menu? Is that part of the 16GB user space or part of the system space? Is that the memory space that is used to download and store the OTA update until it is conformed complete before actually being applied?
The cache is a block of OS pre assigned working space. Yes, it is part of the 16 or 32 GB of physical flash memory. In ICS, there is more than one where the additional caches are used by/for apps. In the case of the OS, the cache is where the OTA upgrade download is targeted until it is complete and verified after which it is applied and the phone rebooted and the new image is run. There is a lot going on through this whole process so this is a bit simplified for the sake of this response.
4. If I ‘wipe the cache’ as in option 3, are my pictures/user data etc intact?
Yes, in ICS (I can’t say for other version of Android), the cache is not user data space. I did find a lot of sites that spoke about the mounts and directories of this phone and this version of Android in general but I was not able to correlate what was specified in the articles with what I actually see with a file manager like ASTRO – so you will have to do your own more in depth investigation for a conclusive memory allocation and use as well as by what part of the whole system..
5. If I update using something like ODIN, I would expect the user space to be left intact(?). Or is it always wiped?
That depends. ODIN is a utility with many options that can selected or not. It can be left intact or can be wiped. Refer to the ODIN user instructions for a complete details of all the options and there effects.
6. Does anybody have any experience using the second option in the menu noted above to perform an update form external storage (SDcard?) ? What did you put on the SD card?
I do now. The SD card is loaded with the ‘ROM’ (DroidVille definition) or runnable, bootable operation system image with all the desired vendor customizations – or not. Check out this site ([Guide] Root/Unroot/Recovery/Unlock Bootloader for the Verizon Galaxy S3 (SCH-i535) ) for the details of how to prepare the SD card and the file format. And Yes it works as expected as detailed on this site.
7. What format should the file that I put on the SD card be in? From looking on the web, it looks like the android system recovery program prefers a zip file(?).
Check out this site for the details ([Guide] Root/Unroot/Recovery/Unlock Bootloader for the Verizon Galaxy S3 (SCH-i535)) - ‘Back to Stock’ section. The file format on the SD is a ‘*.tar’ file while the web download is a .z7 – therefore it must first be unzipped using zip7. I suspect it will vary/depend on the utility that either loads it – i.e. the ‘recovery’ boot load and/or the utility that pushes – i.e. ODIN or the like and maybe even code version. Always reference the user instructions. I don’t know what would happen if you get it wrong – it might try to load it or it reject the file.
8. Should Verizon be unable to provide the code, any idea where I can get an image that will preserve the pictures that are in the phone when I update the OS?
Yes, see this site ([Guide] Root/Unroot/Recovery/Unlock Bootloader for the Verizon Galaxy S3 (SCH-i535) ). ‘Back to Stock’ section.
9. I see references in discussions of internal SD storage and external SD storage. Is there an there an SD card hiding somewhere inside the device that though dissection could be removed?
No, there is no ‘hidden’ SD card inside the physical phone that makes up the memory. There are either 16 or 32 GB of Flash memory, (no ROM – by the historical meaning of the acronym) and 2GB of RAM. You may see references to SDdat or internalSD but these are mounts or directories.