How to test the integrity of files sent to the Amazon Fire TV

fire-tv-file-md5-integrity-check
Installing a corrupt ROM or other critical file seems to be the most common way people are “bricking” (i.e., rendering unusable) their Amazon Fire TVs. Files can be corrupted when downloaded or when being transferred/pushed to the Fire TV with no indication that something has gone wrong. That’s why it’s important to test a file’s integrity on the Fire TV itself before using it to replace critical parts of the Fire TV operating system. It’s not enough to test files on your computer after downloading them. My past and future guides will now all include steps, which reference this post, to test file integrity.

The way to check a file’s integrity is to calculate its md5 value. An md5 value is a 32 character alphanumeric value that is unique to each file. The website that you downloaded the file from should have listed the file’s md5 value, sometimes called an md5sum value. I list each file’s md5 value on my ROM and recovery download pages in the notes area next to each file. If the md5 value you calculate using the guide below matches the md5 value listed on the download page, then you know the file has been transferred to your Fire TV intact and can safely be used.

  1. Follow my guide to install and setup BusyBox on your Fire TV, if you haven’t done so yet.
  2. Transfer the file to be tested to your Fire TV, if you haven’t done so yet.
  3. Connect to your Fire TV via ADB, if you haven’t done so yet.
  4. Run the command:
    adb shell
  5. Run the command:
    /system/xbin/busybox md5sum PATH-TO-FILE
    Be sure to replace PATH-TO-FILE with the full path to the file being tested.
    For example:

    /system/xbin/busybox md5sum /sdcard/bueller-51.1.5.0_515020820-rooted.zip
  6. After a few seconds you will see 32 alphanumeric characters displayed, followed by the file’s path.
    For example:

    b7005dd3cc0b6a15dae21b0170aeae85 /sdcard/bueller-51.1.5.0_515020820-rooted.zip
  7. If the 32 characters displayed match exactly to the md5 characters listed on the file’s download page, then you know the file is intact and can be used.
  8. If the characters do not match, you should delete the file from your Fire TV using the following command:
    rm -f PATH-TO-FILE
    Be sure to replace PATH-TO-FILE with the full path to the file being deleted.
    Then re-download and re-transfer the file to your Fire TV and repeat this guide.
  9. To exit out of adb shell, run the command:
    exit

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20 comments
  1. mjbxx says:

    Thanks for explaining what can cause a Fire TV to be bricked when installing this new ROM. I may wait a bit until I garner enough courage to move forward with the update.

  2. steve says:

    Thanks a ton for all of these guides they are very helpful and in the last day – life savers!

    But, IMHO the real reason for all of the problems people have had updating to 51.1.5.0 is due to a missing/corrupted boot_menu. I had checked and verified the md5sum and already had busy box installed. Those did not matter without the rbox boot_menu.

    Now I had it installed months ago but it disappeared somewhere along the upgrade path to stay rooted. I never noticed and confused it with the ClockworkMod Custom Recovery which I or course did have.

  3. krawhitham says:

    Maybe you could add the MD5 checksums for the Fire TV Stock Software by Amazon section since you have to downgrade to 51.1.0.2_user_51005852 when rooting

  4. Honeyarjun says:

    I checked the md5sum before bricking my Fire TV with the latest pre rooted ROM. It was completely fine – One thing i didnt do was doing a fully unlock the bootloader before this installing this update. It was not given as a prerequiste for doing this upgrade. I am thinking some issue with the partially unlocked bootloader would have bricked the fire TV.

    I am able to go to recovery mode using alt+printscreen+i now. Didnt have recovery.img in the sdcard so couldnt recover and tried factory reset – it just goes back to Amazon logo and does not do anything. Not able to adb connect as well. I think it is completely bricked and not sure if I would be able to bring it up anymore :(. Would appreciate if someone can help me to debrick my Fire TV.

      • TROJAN4EVR says:

        Disregard my post as you obviously already did that…

        • TROJAN4EVR says:

          Does this help:
          Vladimir says:February 9, 2015 at 7:21 am
          Hey Fredy, FYI IF YOU CAN GET INTO CWM YOU ARE NOT BRICKED. You may have to post of the XDA forums for AFTV but you can still fix anything wrong with it. I had a similar issue, but I was able to clone a recovery file off a different rooted AFTV to fix it. You can upload files to it in CWM with a usb hub, keyboard, and jump drive. Or it is possible to ADB connect into if you remember the IP address or check your router. ADB is limited though.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Are you saying your bootloader was partially unlocked, or not unlocked at all? Also, did you have the boot menu setup before installing the new ROM? I need to know these things before I can help fix the issue.

      • Honeyarjun says:

        Yes I had the bootmenu setup before installing this new ROM. It was partially unlocked. I did not do a full unlock for the bootloader. I followed the steps in this page for partial unlock – I did it sometime back before the previous update. http://www.aftvnews.com/how-to-partially-unlock-the-amazon-fire-tv-bootloader/

        • AFTVnews says:

          A few more questions:

          When you power on your Fire TV, do you currently get the bootmenu screen?
          If no, did you used to see the bootmenu screen before?
          What software version was the Fire TV running before you installed the new pre-rooted 51.1.5.0?

          • Honeyarjun says:

            When I power on I see Amazon fire TV screen. If I use Alt+printscreen+i few times then I can see the boot menu. I had 51.1.4.1_514013920 Fixed version before.
            I tried connecting A to A usb cable with laptop and tried fastboot flash recovery recovery.img but it was just waiting for device. May be since I did factory reset I lost adb – also boot loader was only partially locked so that’s why fastboot is not working.

          • Honeyarjun says:

            AFTVNews Thanks for your all your guides. One more thing you may need to put in this page http://www.aftvnews.com/pre-rooted-51-1-5-0-fire-tv-custom-rom-released/ like a reminder for others not to brick their Fire TVs – reinstall busybox and fully unlock bootloader.

            I have one more Fire TV and wanted to try updating that TV. I really wanted to do Factory reset the second Fire TV as I was little upset with this bricked one but since I had recovery.img and fully unlocked bootloader thought why not try updating first. The only 2 steps I did extra from the first Fire TV updating is ‘Install busybox again’ (it was in my apps already but reinstalled just to make sure) and also did ‘full unlock of bootloader’. It was able to update with no issues this time.

            Looks like Fire TV 1 is bricked and not sure if I would be able to unbrick it. Called Amazon and they are sending a new one.

          • AFTVnews says:

            I’m glad your second one updated fine and that you’re getting your first one replaced.

            The Alt+printscreen+i method does not bring up the boot menu. What exactly are you seeing when you use Alt+printscreen+i? The boot menu looks like this and should come up every time the Fire TV powers on if it’s installed correctly: http://www.aftvnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/boot-menu-guide-header.jpg

            The Alt+printscreen+i method should directly load ClockworkMod recovery if you’re doing it correctly. It sounds like you never had a functioning boot menu, which is why it bricked. Even without a boot menu, you should still be able to get into recovery with the Alt+printscreen+i method and fix everything.

          • Honeyarjun says:

            Sorry I meant to say CWM recovery screen but said bootmenu instead. I wasn’t sure how to edit my post and correct it. I had Rbox bootmenu installed and everytime I restarted fire TV it used to come up.
            But this time after I installed rom.zip for the new version it went to this Amazon fire TV logo and stuck there. I didn’t see the bootmenu at all after trying to upgrade this time. All I see is CWM recovery screen and since I didn’t have the recovery.img in the sd card I wasn’t able to do recovery. So I tried factory reset it erased cache but went back to recovery page again. Restarting puts it to Amazon fire TV logo screen.
            I am very sure now that people are bricking the fire TV due to partially unlocked boot loader. It is just not me a bunch of people are complaining about the same issue of bricking their Fire TVs here and XDA forum.

          • AFTVnews says:

            Thanks for the info Honeyarjun. Later this week, when I have time, I’ll try to test the partially unlocked bootloader theory.

  5. Sergiu says:

    An alternative way of checking the integrity of adb pushed file to FTV is using the side loaded ES file explorer. Select the archive and go to properties where you can check the MD5 or SH1.

  6. J says:

    Wow! This staying rooted thing is killing us… Is the an installion tool that we can us to do a pre check list to verify our firetv box setup and firmware version we are on. Maybe it could get us all on same page. I have 3 firetv boxes. 1 still in the box, 1 with the original firmware, and 1 on last firmware that was bootable. I have root on the 2 I’m using, with update blocking using open dns and also the commands to block updates using adv! I would hate to have 1 of my firetv boxes go down. I’ll look around and see if I can help in anyway! Thanks to all the hard work of the aftvnews crew and we have a spot to hang. We are all working together. Thank you for all the hard work and these posts!

  7. J Means says:

    I’m trying to install CWM. I transfer the file but when i go to check the integrity of the file it just tells me “no such file or directory”. Is the file not transferring onto my fire tv or am I checking the integrity wrong?

  8. Daniel says:

    Great tut. Hash checking is allways good.

    But…. I came from here and I had no of course no busybox in xbin folder :/

    Perhaps you can add some files to push at this moment if error comes like this:
    [~ # /system/xbin/busybox md5sum /sdcard/bueller-51.1.4.0_514006420-rooted\+upda
    ted.zip
    /sbin/sh: /system/xbin/busybox: not found]

    Greetings by Daniel

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