Nexus 7 OTA errors

Today I finally upgraded my Next 7 (2013) tab to Android 4.4.4. Finally!

For the past few months it’s been stuck on 4.4.2. I tried OTA updates but each time it would download and try to install – and fail. On the recovery screen it would throw errors about signatures not matching. Initially I thought maybe my ISP or someone in the middle was trying to hijack the update, so I tried couple of times via VPN too. Not that that helped!

Finally I decided to try a manual update via sideloading. Followed the instructions at this link (note: at step 4, if you are using Clockwork Mod Recovery like I was, go to the option that says install ZIP and then you’ll find an option to install ZIP via sideload). Did that, and sideloading failed with an error (from Recovery) that /system/lib/hw/ has unexpected contents. Great!

Went to that location using Solid Explorer on the tablet and found there’s no file with such a name. Instead there was a so I renamed that to Repeated above process; and got an even more weird error:


This time I couldn’t find any file in the location shown.

By now I was having a suspicion that something I changed in the base system was what’s causing there errors (I got a similar impression from various other posts too). Two things I did do to this tab were to 1) root it and 2) install the Franco Kernel. Either of these could be the issue but I decided to start with Franco. Thankfully I had backed up my previous kernel – note to self & readers: always backup the original kernel! – so I restored that, rebooted, and tried to sideload. This time I got the error again, so I rebooted again, renamed the file again, and tried. And – phew! – it worked this time.

So the problem was Franco kernel. Wish I was aware of this beforehand, I could have updated a long time ago! Anyhow, for next time I know I have to restore the old kernel and rename any such missing files and that will be good to go. I think I’ll skip moving to Franco for now though; I forget why I started using it in the first place, and I am feeling too lazy to do all these the next time I need an update. Plus Android L is around the corner, so apart from rooting I don’t want to make too many other changes.

Speaking of rooting, sideloading the update resulting in loosing root access. Not an issue – use the excellent Nexus Root Toolkit (NRT) to get access again. NRT is an excellent piece of software, a huge time saver (I must donate to the author sometime but I keep procrastinating). I keep changing laptops or re-installing the OS, so each time I use NRT I have to go through the hassle of installing the drivers and that usually requires a reboot and some extra steps. Did that this time too and now my Nexus 7 has Android 4.4.4 rooted.