Kubrick: Live CD to debrick Kindle 3, 4, and Touch
#1  ixtab 02-17-2013, 09:23 AM
Version 3.6

Here's a Live Linux System for all the frustrated Windows users who are trying to debrick a Kindle and are struggling with Windows' inability to correctly determine and install device drivers. Or for people who just want to debrick a Kindle, without diving into all the internals. And actually - it might even be useful for people who are familiar with those internals.

To give credit where credit is due: here's the original Simple debricking methods for K5-Touch, K4-Mini, & K3-Keyboard thread, containing pretty much all the information without which Kubrick would never have been possible - a huge THANK YOU to everybody who provided invaluable insight and who developed the fundamental programs in the first place!

Kubrick Features:
The entire procedure involves some 5 to 10 simple steps, and takes around 10 minutes on a K4 or KT, and around 2 hours on a K3 (the 2 hours are the time it needs to flash, not the time you need to configure it )

  1. Determine which file(s) you need, then download and unzip one or more of the following files:
    • Live CD ISO image, to debrick K4 and KT devices:
      • Note: you can also burn this image on a DVD.
      • Download (481 MB; ixtab, Version 3.6)
      • Mirror 1 (twobob, Version 3.6)
      • Mirror 2 (dsmid, Version 3.6)
    • Live CD ISO image, to debrick K3 devices:
      • Note: you can also burn this image on a DVD.
      • Download (384 MB; ixtab, Version 3.6)
      • Mirror 1 (twobob, Version 3.6)
      • Mirror 2 (dsmid, Version 3.6)
    • Live DVD ISO image, to debrick K3, K4, and KT devices:
      • Note: this image must be burned on a DVD; it is too large for a CD.
      • Download (783 MB; ixtab, Version 3.6)
      • Mirror 1 (dsmid, Version 3.6)
    • Live USB Stick disk image (required capacity >=1 GB):
      • Note: In addition to this file, one of the above ISO images is also REQUIRED. To update a USB stick to the newest Kubrick version, simply put the latest ISO image on the stick. Refer to the README.txt contained in the download for more information.
      • Download (1.5 MB; ixtab)
      • Mirror 1 (twobob)
      • Mirror 2 (dsmid)
  2. Read the README.txt file.
    It's copied here again for reference...
    Spoiler Warning below

    Kubrick is a Live Linux system to debrick Kindle devices.

    It should be working on pretty much every PC or laptop out there
    which can boot from a CD, DVD, or USB drive.

    Kubrick does not modify your Computer or your Operating System at all -
    it simply provides a dialog-based wizard that guides you through the
    procedure to debrick a Kindle.

    Questions and Answers:

    Q: How do I prepare Kubrick for use?
    A1: If you downloaded a CD or DVD image:
    Burn boot.iso to a CD or DVD. How to do this depends on your
    OS and installed software. If in doubt, ask your favorite search engine.
    A2: If you want to make a bootable USB Stick:
    BEFORE YOU START: The following procedure ***WILL DELETE ALL EXISTING
    DATA FROM THE USB STICK*** - You have been warned.
    STEP 1:
    - Download and unzip This is a very
    small file which provides a basic 1 GB USB filesystem that can boot
    a Kubrick image on many computers. However, it does *NOT* contain an
    actual Kubrick system yet. See below (step 2) for more.
    - Write kubrick-usb-base.img to your USB stick. How to do this depends
    on your OS and installed Software, but here are a few hints:
    * On Windows, you can use
    * On Linux or MacOS, you can use the command line, for instance:
    sudo dd if=kubrick.img of=<USB_DEVICE>. If in doubt, search the
    Internet for details about how to correctly use dd on your
    platform, there are plenty of tutorials.
    STEP 2:
    - Download and unzip an ISO (CD or DVD) image which supports the
    Kindle(s) that you want to debrick.
    - Copy the "boot.iso" from that download into the existing "efi/boot/"
    directory on the Kubrick USB stick. Do not create or modify other
    files or directories on the USB stick.
    - Safely eject the USB stick. The USB stick is now prepared to boot
    and debrick the devices you selected.

    Q: After the preparation - how do I use it?
    A: Insert the CD, DVD, or USB stick into your computer.
    Make the computer boot from the Kubrick device.
    Again, the exact procedure really depends on your hardware, so
    I can't give any more specific instructions. Most computers
    allow you to choose the boot device using a function key,
    like F8, F9, F10 or F12.
    - On older computers, you may have to enter the BIOS to manually select
    the boot order.
    - On Apple computers, press and hold the left "alt" ("option") key while
    turning on the computer. The CD/DVD will show up with a CD icon labelled
    "Windows", and the USB stick with a USB disk icon labelled "EFI Boot".
    See below for more Apple notes.

    Q: What do I do on the boot screen?
    A: You generally do not need to do anything. Just wait for a few seconds.

    Q: Ok, it booted - what now?
    A: The debrick wizard should start automatically.
    The only keys you really need from there on are the arrow keys,
    and the ENTER key. Follow the instructions on the screen.

    Q: I'm using an Apple computer with the USB stick, and it won't boot.
    A: Welcome to the Apple universe. First off, Kubrick will only work on Intel
    Macs. It won't work on old (PowerPC) Mac models, because these use an
    entirely different processor. That said, most modern Macs actually can boot
    from that USB stick -- but possibly only if you also install Boot Camp.
    Try booting from a CD or DVD. If that doesn't work -- well,
    see the "think different" credo in action.

    Q: The kubrick-usb-base.img file works, but now my USB stick
    only shows up as 1GB, instead of its actual capacity of 4/16/X GB.
    A: Yes, that is normal. Use a tool that allows to (non-destructively)
    resize partitions. An example would be GParted:

    Q: I'm an advanced user, and I want to boot Kubrick with custom kernel
    parameters. How can I...?
    A1: When booting from a CD or DVD, edit the boot prompt, or follow the
    isolinux instructions.
    A2: When booting from a USB stick on standard x86 hardware, use GRUB's
    built-in mechanisms to modify boot behavior. Alternatively, edit the
    boot/grub/grub.cfg file on the USB stick.
    A3: When booting from a USB stick on EFI hardware (e.g, an Apple device),
    edit the efi/boot/grub.cfg file.

    Q: Will Kubrick ever allow to debrick Kindle 1, 2, DX, Paperwhite?
    A: No, because these devices cannot be debricked over USB. Sorry.

    Q: Why "Kubrick"?
    A: Just because :-)
    Well, OK: I initially code-named this project KindleDebrick, then
    KDebrick (or KUnbrick or so)... and then ended up with Kubrick.
  3. Put the downloaded image file on your media of choice, by following the instructions contained in the README file.
  4. Boot your computer from the CD/DVD or USB stick, and wait for the on-screen wizard to start.

Make sure that you are performing steps 3 and 4 with physical hardware, i.e., on a real computer, and with a real CD/DVD or USB stick, not in a virtual machine!
Spoiler Warning below

Yes, I do know that it also works in a Virtual Machine, provided that you make sure the device (which enters 3 different modes) is actually seen by the VM in all of these modes. For the average end user, the VM simply constitutes another layer of potential trouble - which is why I don't suggest to run Kubrick in a VM.

While I thoroughly tested Kubrick many times on my devices, I can't guarantee that it will work on every hardware in every imaginable situation. In particular, if your Kindle is FUBAR for some reason (for instance, if you really screwed it up by erasing ALL of its data), this won't help either. But it should work in most more or less standard "my Kindle stopped working" situations.

If something goes wrong while debricking:
  1. Start over from the beginning, and make sure that all your selections (in particular the device to debrick!) are correct. (Yes, there have been reports of people who screwed up because they chose the wrong device.)
  2. Make sure that your Kindle is charged. If you keep having problems while debricking, STOP - and charge the battery using a wall charger for at least 20 hours. Then restart the procedure. Discharged Kindles are the #1 cause of weird behavior.

Technical stuff:
Spoiler Warning below

Kubrick is based on the totally awesome SliTaz GNU/Linux distribution, and uses the equally awesome lanterna framework for the dialogs.

A few links (in no particular order), which I found to be very helpful while messing around with SliTaz:
Source code:
Well, the live system pretty much IS its own source code. The sources for the Java part (and a tad more) are here.

Version history:

If you like Kubrick:
I sincerely hope that you find Kubrick useful. If it helped you to solve your Kindle problem, you are more than welcome to donate a little something... but don't give your money to me. Please donate for a much more important cause, namely: for a Literacy project in Laos. You will make not only me happy. Thank you!

... Below are a few screenshots of what the UI looks like. Note that these were taken while running in a Virtual Machine, and are just a few examples. The entire procedure involves more actions, and should normally be performed on a "real" (physical!) computer, not in a Virtual Machine.
screen0.png screen1.png screen2.png screen3.png 

#2  lehbaurd 02-17-2013, 10:21 AM
Wow - this is a great resource for Windows users - Thanks

#3  ixtab 02-17-2013, 10:50 AM
Quote lehbaurd
Wow - this is a great resource for Windows users - Thanks
Thanks for the feedback. Does that mean that you actually tested it and can confirm that it's working?

#4  twobob 02-17-2013, 10:56 AM
Oh Okay... Added to pile to test tonight

Super resource

#5  lehbaurd 02-17-2013, 12:05 PM
Quote ixtab
Thanks for the feedback. Does that mean that you actually tested it and can confirm that it's working?
Er not yet - will be able to do that later this evening when I have access to my trusty Kindle!

#6  ixtab 02-17-2013, 12:29 PM
@lehbaurd, twobob: Muchas gracias!

It's not like I don't trust my own software, but so far I am the only person I know for whom this is confirmed to be working. I've tested it many times (heck, I could sell my K4 and KT as "factory fresh" any moment now ), but still, that only makes, well, one tested configuration (namely my netbook resetting those devices over and over).


#7  twobob 02-17-2013, 12:38 PM
I'll give you 20 bucks for the 4 hehehe

#8  bonjurkes 02-17-2013, 04:15 PM
Here comes newbie question.

I managed to put device in USB Downloader mode by pushing those power and home buttons, and red bar changed to green and moved to next step.

Now it says putting device into fastboot mode. In this step your device is going into ....

But it just stays red there, what should I do to make it continue?

#9  twobob 02-17-2013, 04:31 PM
ermmm that doesnt sound good.

#10  bonjurkes 02-17-2013, 04:33 PM
in what way?

I can put device into usb downloader mode, but after that just stays there.

I didn't messed with my device before, so what may be the problem?

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