Rooting Your Shield: The Why and How
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[u][b]Rooting: What Is It and What Can It Do For You[/b][/u] Rooting the Shield brings with it both great power and great danger. You will have access to the root of the Android operating system. For those that don't quite understand what root actually means I'll break it down in to Windows terms. The internal storage would be akin to a mix of My Documents and Program Files. Most downloaded apps will store data and settings here but it is also where any downloaded files are store, whether that is mp3s, pictures, or documents. In Linux(and Android), root is one folder up from that, or direct access to the C:/ drive where you can access the users folders(including app data) and, more importantly, the Windows folder. As far as pathing goes, the internal storage is usually found at "/sdcard0". One folder up would bring us to "/" which has folders such as "data", "mnt", "sbin", and "system". These folders combined, with a few smaller ones, are what would be found in the Windows folder. Having access to these files means that we can directly alter how the Android OS operates, including changing permissions, altering what the hardware keys do, how the interface looks, or completely removing preinstalled apps instead of simply disabling them. Being able to alter this data also means that changing the wrong variable or deleted some lines of code could destroy the OS causing the user to have to reinstall. With that said, most uses for Root involve using apps from the Play Store to alter these files for us. As long as the app is reputable there shouldn't be any negative side effects to using these apps. One piece of disclaimer though, nVidia will provide support to rooted Shields on a case-by-case basis. As a rule of thumb, hardware damage will fall outside of this support. Physical damage caused by extreme heat from overclocking most likely will not be covered by warranty support. I can't promise that all software issue will be supported but a simply reinstall of the OS should fix any of those. Again, don't mess with system files or settings unless you know what you are doing and don't install shady root apps and you should be fine. If you are unsure about something root related you can always create a topic on this board or message me and get help before messing with something. [u][b]I'm Fine With The Risk, So How Do I Do it?[/b][/u] Rooting is actually a 2 part process: First we must unlock the bootloader and then we must grant root access to device user. The bootloader is the software that initially loads when you turn your Android device on. The bootloader is a simple program that loads the complex program, the actually OS. If sure many of you who are still on the fence about rooting have heard horror stories of getting a device rooted. Most of these stories are based on how difficult a vendor has made it to unlock the bootloader. HTC requires the user to go through their developer channels and Samsung usually requires user to jump through many hoops to do this. nVidia has decided to make unlocking the bootloader a simple, single command line. But first we must make sure the proper drivers are installed. The regular drivers that Windows most likely installed when you first connected it do not need to be uninstalled. The drivers that need installing are the fastboot/adb drivers for when the Shield is in the bootloader menu. First lets download the files needed. You can find everything in this dropbox. This includes the Fastboot Drivers, the root images, and the files required for using fastboot. I am not the creator of these files, I simply packaged everything into an single zip for ease of use. The drivers can be found orignally at [url=http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2386956]XDA[/url] and the root files from [url=https://github.com/linux-shield/shield-root]Gnurou on Github[/url] 1. Turn your Shield off completely. When it is powered down, hold Back and Home and hit the Power button. Continue to hold the Back and Home keys until the bootloader appears. Your screen should now look similar to this. Note: It won't say "Device - unlocked" and won't have the red warranty void text. [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/scsF6kK.jpg[/IMG] 2.Plug your Shield into your PC via the USB cable. You should receive an error that says the drivers could not be installed for this device. Open Device Manager(hit the start button and search for 'device', it should be near the top). [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/YJsy4Md.jpg[/IMG] Under the "Other Devices" area should be a device called "fastboot". Right Click that and hit "Update Driver Software". [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/kh1kf9B.jpg[/IMG] From here click "Browse my computer for driver software". [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/JhUuf0w.jpg[/IMG] On the next screen you will want to click "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer". [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/xRpC87i.jpg[/IMG] A box will appear asking what type of device, simply select "Show All Devices" and click next. [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/IJPYt2x.jpg[/IMG] A blank box should appear on the next screen. Click "Have disk" and navigate to "android_winusb.inf" found in the Universal Naked Drivers you downloaded earlier. [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/mGUx35s.jpg[/IMG] Open that an a list of devices should appear in the box that was just empty. Scroll to the bottom and select "Nvidia Shield Fastboot", then click next. [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/tAyZAPA.jpg[/IMG] A warning will appear letting you know the drivers aren't officially signed. Just hit yes to agree to continue installing them regardless. [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/sR1imQr.jpg[/IMG] Your drivers are now installed! The most difficult part is over now. [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/XmWXyID.jpg[/IMG] 3. Open the Root folder now. If you hold left shift and right click inside of the explorer window, one of the options should be "open command window here". This will open the command prompt but instead of starting in C:/ it will start in the current folder. If you type "fastboot devices" it should show a bunch of letters and numbers followed by fastboot. This means that the Shield is properly connected to your computer. Before we type the command to unlock the Shield's bootloader I must place this disclaimer: [i][b]This is the part where the entire internal storage will be deleted. Make sure to back up any data that you wish to keep. I've heard Helium is a really good app for backing up data that doesn't require root. As a precaution, I always remove the SD card simply because I am paranoid it will delete that by some random act of entropy. [/b][/i] In the command prompt type "fastboot oem unlock". It will present some information and ask if you wish to proceed. [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/6nnIpaW.jpg[/IMG] Press either the home or back button to navigate to 'Unlock" and the press the power button to complete the process. The screen will return to the normal bootloader screen but, at the top, it should now say "Device - unlocked". 4. Some people go straight into rooting the device at this point. I always suggest hitting continue and letting the device boot first. This will do first boot initializing and seems to cause less issues than doing unlocking and rooting in the same swoop. After your device has booted, go through the introduction menus, and shut your device off. Go back to the bootloader(Back + Home + Power). Back on the PC go back to the command prompt. Type in "fastboot boot root_shield.img". This will allow the user root access while also installing the SuperUser app to the system. After you type this in, the Shield should display some penguins across the top with some text in the middle. The device will then reboot. You Shield is now rooted. [u][b]Conclusion[/b][/u] Now you can use all of those awesome apps that require root(including fixing the SD permissions in the latest update). For a great list of some of the apps you can now use check out HankChill's post https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/734204/general-discussion/rooting-your-shield-awesome-things-you-can-do/ For future reference, any time the Shield receives an update it will need to be rerooted. The update will download and install just the same as a Shield that isn't rooted, but the update will remove the root access during the installation. To reroot the Shield you only need to complete Step 4. One line of code and your Shield is rooted again. If I missed anything or there are any errors let me know and I will correct them. Updates -------------- (Conclusion) Clarified how updates are installed with a rooted device (Installation) Detailed where to files originally came from and their links (Introduction) Added information about nVidia's warranty support for rooted Shields (Conclusion) Added link to HankChill's post about Root Apps
Rooting: What Is It and What Can It Do For You

Rooting the Shield brings with it both great power and great danger. You will have access to the root of the Android operating system. For those that don't quite understand what root actually means I'll break it down in to Windows terms. The internal storage would be akin to a mix of My Documents and Program Files. Most downloaded apps will store data and settings here but it is also where any downloaded files are store, whether that is mp3s, pictures, or documents. In Linux(and Android), root is one folder up from that, or direct access to the C:/ drive where you can access the users folders(including app data) and, more importantly, the Windows folder. As far as pathing goes, the internal storage is usually found at "/sdcard0". One folder up would bring us to "/" which has folders such as "data", "mnt", "sbin", and "system". These folders combined, with a few smaller ones, are what would be found in the Windows folder. Having access to these files means that we can directly alter how the Android OS operates, including changing permissions, altering what the hardware keys do, how the interface looks, or completely removing preinstalled apps instead of simply disabling them. Being able to alter this data also means that changing the wrong variable or deleted some lines of code could destroy the OS causing the user to have to reinstall. With that said, most uses for Root involve using apps from the Play Store to alter these files for us. As long as the app is reputable there shouldn't be any negative side effects to using these apps.

One piece of disclaimer though, nVidia will provide support to rooted Shields on a case-by-case basis. As a rule of thumb, hardware damage will fall outside of this support. Physical damage caused by extreme heat from overclocking most likely will not be covered by warranty support. I can't promise that all software issue will be supported but a simply reinstall of the OS should fix any of those. Again, don't mess with system files or settings unless you know what you are doing and don't install shady root apps and you should be fine. If you are unsure about something root related you can always create a topic on this board or message me and get help before messing with something.

I'm Fine With The Risk, So How Do I Do it?

Rooting is actually a 2 part process: First we must unlock the bootloader and then we must grant root access to device user. The bootloader is the software that initially loads when you turn your Android device on. The bootloader is a simple program that loads the complex program, the actually OS. If sure many of you who are still on the fence about rooting have heard horror stories of getting a device rooted. Most of these stories are based on how difficult a vendor has made it to unlock the bootloader. HTC requires the user to go through their developer channels and Samsung usually requires user to jump through many hoops to do this. nVidia has decided to make unlocking the bootloader a simple, single command line. But first we must make sure the proper drivers are installed. The regular drivers that Windows most likely installed when you first connected it do not need to be uninstalled. The drivers that need installing are the fastboot/adb drivers for when the Shield is in the bootloader menu. First lets download the files needed. You can find everything in this dropbox. This includes the Fastboot Drivers, the root images, and the files required for using fastboot. I am not the creator of these files, I simply packaged everything into an single zip for ease of use. The drivers can be found orignally at XDA and the root files from Gnurou on Github

1. Turn your Shield off completely. When it is powered down, hold Back and Home and hit the Power button. Continue to hold the Back and Home keys until the bootloader appears. Your screen should now look similar to this. Note: It won't say "Device - unlocked" and won't have the red warranty void text.

Image

2.Plug your Shield into your PC via the USB cable. You should receive an error that says the drivers could not be installed for this device. Open Device Manager(hit the start button and search for 'device', it should be near the top).

Image

Under the "Other Devices" area should be a device called "fastboot". Right Click that and hit "Update Driver Software".

Image

From here click "Browse my computer for driver software".

Image

On the next screen you will want to click "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer".

Image

A box will appear asking what type of device, simply select "Show All Devices" and click next.

Image

A blank box should appear on the next screen. Click "Have disk" and navigate to "android_winusb.inf" found in the Universal Naked Drivers you downloaded earlier.

Image

Open that an a list of devices should appear in the box that was just empty. Scroll to the bottom and select "Nvidia Shield Fastboot", then click next.

Image

A warning will appear letting you know the drivers aren't officially signed. Just hit yes to agree to continue installing them regardless.

Image

Your drivers are now installed! The most difficult part is over now.

Image

3. Open the Root folder now. If you hold left shift and right click inside of the explorer window, one of the options should be "open command window here". This will open the command prompt but instead of starting in C:/ it will start in the current folder. If you type "fastboot devices" it should show a bunch of letters and numbers followed by fastboot. This means that the Shield is properly connected to your computer. Before we type the command to unlock the Shield's bootloader I must place this disclaimer:

This is the part where the entire internal storage will be deleted. Make sure to back up any data that you wish to keep. I've heard Helium is a really good app for backing up data that doesn't require root. As a precaution, I always remove the SD card simply because I am paranoid it will delete that by some random act of entropy.

In the command prompt type "fastboot oem unlock". It will present some information and ask if you wish to proceed.

Image

Press either the home or back button to navigate to 'Unlock" and the press the power button to complete the process. The screen will return to the normal bootloader screen but, at the top, it should now say "Device - unlocked".

4. Some people go straight into rooting the device at this point. I always suggest hitting continue and letting the device boot first. This will do first boot initializing and seems to cause less issues than doing unlocking and rooting in the same swoop. After your device has booted, go through the introduction menus, and shut your device off. Go back to the bootloader(Back + Home + Power). Back on the PC go back to the command prompt. Type in "fastboot boot root_shield.img". This will allow the user root access while also installing the SuperUser app to the system. After you type this in, the Shield should display some penguins across the top with some text in the middle. The device will then reboot. You Shield is now rooted.

Conclusion

Now you can use all of those awesome apps that require root(including fixing the SD permissions in the latest update). For a great list of some of the apps you can now use check out HankChill's post https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/734204/general-discussion/rooting-your-shield-awesome-things-you-can-do/ For future reference, any time the Shield receives an update it will need to be rerooted. The update will download and install just the same as a Shield that isn't rooted, but the update will remove the root access during the installation. To reroot the Shield you only need to complete Step 4. One line of code and your Shield is rooted again. If I missed anything or there are any errors let me know and I will correct them.


Updates
--------------
(Conclusion) Clarified how updates are installed with a rooted device

(Installation) Detailed where to files originally came from and their links

(Introduction) Added information about nVidia's warranty support for rooted Shields

(Conclusion) Added link to HankChill's post about Root Apps

#1
Posted 04/19/2014 09:06 PM   
Nice, should get a sticky for users interested in rooting their shield, I did it and it's worked fine. Another thing is the warranty will void, yes, but Nvidia are nice on their RMAs and if it isn't root related they will most likely replace your shield.
Nice, should get a sticky for users interested in rooting their shield, I did it and it's worked fine.

Another thing is the warranty will void, yes, but Nvidia are nice on their RMAs and if it isn't root related they will most likely replace your shield.

#2
Posted 04/20/2014 01:04 AM   
Root access made the 4.4 update better for external storage then 4.3 whereas if i didn't have root i would've wanted to revert back or maybe even sell my shield. Not only did I get my sd card permissions back but folder mount now works whereas it wouldn't work for me on 4.3 now i have vice city on my sd card as well as sonic 4 episode 2 and a lot of others. I have 32 android games which most of them are over a gig or at least 500mb in size plus roms, emulators and apps. Then of course adding the games from grid! I'm loving my shield! Well worth rooting. Just be careful though.
Root access made the 4.4 update better for external storage then 4.3 whereas if i didn't have root i would've wanted to revert back or maybe even sell my shield. Not only did I get my sd card permissions back but folder mount now works whereas it wouldn't work for me on 4.3 now i have vice city on my sd card as well as sonic 4 episode 2 and a lot of others. I have 32 android games which most of them are over a gig or at least 500mb in size plus roms, emulators and apps. Then of course adding the games from grid! I'm loving my shield! Well worth rooting. Just be careful though.
Very nice guide. Thanks for the step by step with pictures too.
Very nice guide. Thanks for the step by step with pictures too.

#4
Posted 04/20/2014 11:07 AM   
This should be stickied. Great guide.
This should be stickied. Great guide.

#5
Posted 04/20/2014 11:47 AM   
Great guide. If I root my Shield, what will it mean in terms of updating my Shield? Do we have to un-root to update firmware, or do we just update as normal? And I see we have to re-root after updating firmware each time. Will it always be the same rooting procedure, or will that change depending on the version of Android? This is new to me so thanks for any help.
Great guide. If I root my Shield, what will it mean in terms of updating my Shield?

Do we have to un-root to update firmware, or do we just update as normal?

And I see we have to re-root after updating firmware each time. Will it always be the same rooting procedure, or will that change depending on the version of Android?

This is new to me so thanks for any help.

#6
Posted 04/20/2014 08:22 PM   
In case anyone was wondering, the Universal Naked drivers came from [url=http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2386956]XDA[/url] and the root files from [url=https://github.com/linux-shield/shield-root]Gnurou on Github[/url].
In case anyone was wondering, the Universal Naked drivers came from XDA and the root files from Gnurou on Github.

Image

#7
Posted 04/20/2014 11:27 PM   
[quote="Tapster"]Great guide. If I root my Shield, what will it mean in terms of updating my Shield? Do we have to un-root to update firmware, or do we just update as normal? And I see we have to re-root after updating firmware each time. Will it always be the same rooting procedure, or will that change depending on the version of Android? This is new to me so thanks for any help.[/quote] You will update as usual, there is absolutely no difference. When the Shield reboots after installing the update, though, your root access will be gone. This is where you do step 4 to get root back. [quote="Tom_Bombadildo"]In case anyone was wondering, the Universal Naked drivers came from [url=http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2386956]XDA[/url] and the root files from [url=https://github.com/linux-shield/shield-root]Gnurou on Github[/url]. [/quote] I did find these files both through xda so I amended the original post to include this information as to not make it seem I am taking credit for any of the files required. Thanks Tom for bringing this to my attention.
Tapster said:Great guide. If I root my Shield, what will it mean in terms of updating my Shield?

Do we have to un-root to update firmware, or do we just update as normal?

And I see we have to re-root after updating firmware each time. Will it always be the same rooting procedure, or will that change depending on the version of Android?

This is new to me so thanks for any help.


You will update as usual, there is absolutely no difference. When the Shield reboots after installing the update, though, your root access will be gone. This is where you do step 4 to get root back.

Tom_Bombadildo said:In case anyone was wondering, the Universal Naked drivers came from XDA and the root files from Gnurou on Github.


I did find these files both through xda so I amended the original post to include this information as to not make it seem I am taking credit for any of the files required. Thanks Tom for bringing this to my attention.

#8
Posted 04/20/2014 11:53 PM   
Other than being able to put apps on the SD card what other things are you guys doing with a rooted shield. I've never rooted so I'm wondering what else you guys recommend to do other than just moving apps to SD.
Other than being able to put apps on the SD card what other things are you guys doing with a rooted shield. I've never rooted so I'm wondering what else you guys recommend to do other than just moving apps to SD.

#9
Posted 04/21/2014 02:41 AM   
[quote="BondoBox"]Other than being able to put apps on the SD card what other things are you guys doing with a rooted shield. I've never rooted so I'm wondering what else you guys recommend to do other than just moving apps to SD.[/quote] with root you can block any ads even navigating on the internet,take screenshots,customize your launcher,change the appearence of the notification bar,delete apps systems basically google bloatware and for the future install another OS system like linux.
BondoBox said:Other than being able to put apps on the SD card what other things are you guys doing with a rooted shield. I've never rooted so I'm wondering what else you guys recommend to do other than just moving apps to SD.


with root you can block any ads even navigating on the internet,take screenshots,customize your launcher,change the appearence of the notification bar,delete apps systems basically google bloatware and for the future install another OS system like linux.

#10
Posted 04/21/2014 03:25 AM   
[quote="alexei_gp"][quote="BondoBox"]Other than being able to put apps on the SD card what other things are you guys doing with a rooted shield. I've never rooted so I'm wondering what else you guys recommend to do other than just moving apps to SD.[/quote] with root you can block any ads even navigating on the internet,change the speed processor,take screenshots,customize your launcher,change the appearence of the notification bar,delete apps systems basically google bloatware and for the future install another OS system like linux.[/quote]
alexei_gp said:
BondoBox said:Other than being able to put apps on the SD card what other things are you guys doing with a rooted shield. I've never rooted so I'm wondering what else you guys recommend to do other than just moving apps to SD.


with root you can block any ads even navigating on the internet,change the speed processor,take screenshots,customize your launcher,change the appearence of the notification bar,delete apps systems basically google bloatware and for the future install another OS system like linux.

#11
Posted 04/21/2014 03:27 AM   
[list] [.]You can completely customize the notification bar and quick settings tiles[/.] [.]you can force your CPU to run at 100% instead of fluctuating(great for removing stuttering in Asphalt 8)[/.] [.]record what is on the screen(great for Let's Play videos)[/.] [.]backup apps(including their data and files)[/.] [.]change app permissions(such as turning off the GPS location permission that most social media apps have)[/.] [.]change the "device name" of the Shield to show more apps in the Play Store[/.] [.]change the DPI and resolution of apps[/.] [.]alter what the hardware keys do when tapped, double tapped, or held[/.] [.]create log files to see exactly what your Shield is doing(great for troubleshooting)[/.] [.]Completely remove system apps instead of simply disabling them(such as camera, or the preloaded games)[/.] [/list] And this is just the stuff I use it for. There are a hundreds of things that root allows you to do.
  • You can completely customize the notification bar and quick settings tiles
  • you can force your CPU to run at 100% instead of fluctuating(great for removing stuttering in Asphalt 8)
  • record what is on the screen(great for Let's Play videos)
  • backup apps(including their data and files)
  • change app permissions(such as turning off the GPS location permission that most social media apps have)
  • change the "device name" of the Shield to show more apps in the Play Store
  • change the DPI and resolution of apps
  • alter what the hardware keys do when tapped, double tapped, or held
  • create log files to see exactly what your Shield is doing(great for troubleshooting)
  • Completely remove system apps instead of simply disabling them(such as camera, or the preloaded games)

And this is just the stuff I use it for. There are a hundreds of things that root allows you to do.

#12
Posted 04/21/2014 03:30 AM   
I might RMA my Shield before rooting since my Shield has been passed around a little too much and want to make sure everything is in working condition. Thanks for the guide, there have been a few things I've been wanting to do that require root access such as using a DualShock 3 controller and finally making use of my 32GB mSD for all those games that use more than a Gigabyte.
I might RMA my Shield before rooting since my Shield has been passed around a little too much and want to make sure everything is in working condition.

Thanks for the guide, there have been a few things I've been wanting to do that require root access such as using a DualShock 3 controller and finally making use of my 32GB mSD for all those games that use more than a Gigabyte.

"Dog is man's best friend, Cat is man's adorable little serial killer"

#13
Posted 04/21/2014 10:48 PM   
Thanks for guide i just rooted today. I am having issues with tincore mapper i wanna change native controls for modern combat 4. For example the L1 and R1 to the L2 and R2. I think Failrunner has a setup i want
Thanks for guide i just rooted today. I am having issues with tincore mapper i wanna change native controls for modern combat 4. For example the L1 and R1 to the L2 and R2. I think Failrunner has a setup i want

:D Get Gud!

#14
Posted 04/22/2014 04:15 AM   
Many thanks for the guide ^_^
Many thanks for the guide ^_^

Nvidia SHIELD - 4.4.2 (77) Rooted
Xperia Play - 4.1.2 (SuperJellyBean)

#15
Posted 04/22/2014 05:43 PM   
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