How to restore or unbrick the Galaxy S3 I535 after being soft-bricked

1
October 24, 2012
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    Sometimes when you flash a ROM on your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-I535, the /system and /data partitions are not wiped properly, causing those partitions to be formatted with read-only (R/O) permissions rather than read-write (R/W).

    Such a scenario makes the phone unable to boot because no data can be written to those partitions.  Flashing another ROM or a stock ROM through Odin will also yield the same result. It can get really frustrating.

    You probably landed upon this page to find a way to save your phone. You have just come to the right page, for we can help you unbrick your soft-bricked Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-I535. As long as your phone still boots to Download Mode and Recovery Mode, there is still hope.

    Kudos to XDA Developers member PureMotive for having created a guide that will help you restore your phone. The steps involve flashing some files via Odin.

    This guide shows you how to restore or unbrick the Galaxy S3 I535 after being soft-bricked.

    Warning

    • The instructions in this guide are intended for use with the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3, model number SCH-I535. Applying these instructions on another device or model may produce undesired outcomes.
    • The information in this guide is provided for instructional and educational purposes only. There is no guarantee that these instructions will work under your specific and unique circumstances.
    • Use these instructions at your own risk. We shall not hold any responsibility or liability for whatever happens to you or your device arising from your use of the info in this guide.
    • Read and understand the whole guide first before actually performing the instructions.

    Requirements

    • Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-I535
    • A Windows PC with WinRAR or 7-Zip installed
    • Handset USB drivers installed on the PC. You may install the drivers by installing Samsung Kies or using the installer from Samsung support page.
    • Enable USB debugging on your handset.
    • Disable antivirus, firewall, and other security software. Also disable Samsung Kies and other software that accesses your phone. Such software can interfere with the procedure in this guide.
    • Download the following files:
    • Backup all personal data on your phone to make sure you have a copy of your personal data (e.g., contacts, SMS, MMS, Internet settings, Wi-Fi passwords, and the like) in case the procedure in this guide erases such data.

    Instructions

    1. Extract Odin307.zip to your computer.
    2. Go to the Odin folder and double-click Odin3 v3.07.exe to launch Odin on your computer.
    3. In Odin, make sure that only “F. Reset time” is selected under Options.
    4. Click the PDA tab and locate the VRALEC bootchain file (VRALEC.bootchain.tar.md5).
    5. Turn your phone off.
    6. Boot your phone into Download Mode. Press and hold the Volume Down, Home, and Power button until you see a “Warning!!” message on the screen. Press the Volume Up to continue to Download Mode.
    7. Connect your phone to the computer via USB cable. An “Added!” message will appear in Odin. If this doesn’t appear, make sure you have properly installed the USB drivers for your phone.
    8. Click the Start button in Odinto flash the VRALEC bootchain. Wait until you get the “PASS” message on Odin.
    9. Close and restart Odin.
    10. Click on the PDA button again in Odin. This time, select the VRALF2 bootchain file (BOOTLOADER_I535VRALF2_618049_REV09_user_low_ship.tar.md5). Also make sure that only “F. Reset time” is selected.
    11. Click the Start button in Odin to flash the VRALF2 bootchain to your phone. Wait until you get a “PASS” message on Odin.
    12. Close and restart Odin.
    13. Extract stock.vzw_root66.tar from the stock.vzw_root66.7z file into a folder on your PC.
    14. In Odin, click the PDA button and load the stock.vzw_root66.tar file.
    15. Select the following options under Options:
      • Auto Reboot
      • F. Reset Time
      • Nand Erase All
    16. Click the Start button in Odin to begin the process.
    17. Once you see the “PASS” message, take out the battery from your phone and re-insert the battery.
    18. Reboot into stock recovery. Press and hold the Volume Up, Home, and Power buttons until recovery boots.
    19. You will see the following error messages. These are expected:
      • E:failed to mount /data (Invalid argument)
      • E:Can’t mount /data/fota/ipth-muc.prop
      • E:failed to mount /data (Invalid argument)
      • E:Can’t mount /data/fota/ipth-muc.prop
      • E:failed to mount /data (Invalid argument)
      • E:Can’t mount /data/fota/ipth-muc.prop
    20. Select Wipe data/factory reset and confirm the action on the next screen
    21. Select Wipe cache partition and confirm the action on the next screen.
    22. Select Reboot system now to reboot your phone.

    Terrific! You have successfully saved your soft-bricked Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-I535.

    Comments

    • Brad

      Will this take a verizon S3 that has been flashed to cricket and place it back on the verizon network?

    • Ted

      At the end of step 8, the top left hand side of my odin sceen says “RESET!” instead of “PASS”. What is wrong?

      • TED

        I take that back, its working now.

      • http://www.facebook.com/morgan.sutherland.3 Morgan Sutherland

        Mine also says RESET. How did you fix yours?

    • Nick Xie

      THANK YOU

    • Theron

      my phone will not turn on any ideas?

    • NANA

      i get PASS on step 8, but FAIL on step 10 ( SetupConnection..) please help me out..

      • http://www.facebook.com/morgan.sutherland.3 Morgan Sutherland

        Mine does this as well.

    • Scott Schroeder

      STEP 8: Says wait till oden says pass, it should be conveyed to users that it takes it a while. First it says “RESET” then after roughly 5-10 mins it will say “PASS!”

      • Scott Schroeder

        STEP 10: Needs to add after restarting odin to “Unplug/replug S3 VIA USB” this way odin recognizes the device again. Odin doesnt auto connect to the device (even though windows recognizes it), requires it to rediscover. Also as mentioned on STEP 8 about the time, same for STEP 10 – takes about 5-10 mins to say “PASS!”

      • Scott Schroeder

        Thank you SO much for this step by step – it was awesome and helped me get my samsung back on track! :D

    • blublazx

      This was the only method that worked for me. I am so appreciative to the hard work your developers due on a daily. Thanks a lot for helping fix my phone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Daniel.Bo.Baniel Daniel Dickens

      Bless you!!!

    • TONY LIMA

      it is very hard to do without the right stuff i have bricked my samsung s3 twice but i found a guy that will un brick it for 35.00 shipping included less than a week turn around i will post his e-bay link …this guy is great and does great work i will never go any place else it is worth it to not risk messing it up on your own so hope this helps someone like it helped me thanks and good luck this guy is great and does great work at a great price !!!!!!!!

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/160908811157…84.m1439.l2649

    • Venator

      Thank you very much. I was really scared i would need a brand new phone. IT should be noted than every time you restart Odin, you should also d/c and reconnect phone or else Odin won’t recognize. It should also be noted that the RESET sign appears for a very long time before READY.

    • Saved

      Thank you very very much. This worked wonderfully! Although the root torrent didn’t work for me, I had to get the zip from here http://aesirsystems.com/install-cyanogen-mod-10-m1-on-the-samsung-galaxy-s3/. Regardless, everything went well.

      Thank you.

    • NOOOOO

      I am not saved. I can’t get passed the boot. It doesn’t restart the animation so I don’t think I am in a hard brick. It gets stuck at 4GLTE surrounded by the colorful animation. When I pull the battery and go into recovery… it doesn’t go in completely! It just stops where it says samsung and recovery at the top corner. I can only fully get into download mode!

    • professorjay

      I’m stuck on step 16. The current message in Odin is ‘Erase…’ and it’s been like that for at least 15 min. Looks like it’s stuck on this step for some reason? I’m guessing it shouldn’t take that long otherwise people would have mentioned it like in steps 8 & 10….

    • Lamar Spires

      mine keeps saying there is no pit partition

    • Puja Gupta

      Fix to spinning gears Nokia Lumia
      Watch Solution at following youtube video: http://youtu.be/YJCgNs9lc0Q

    • Verucalise

      Thank you! I had updated my firmware, which caused my camera to stop working. So I played around with a few things, and ended up soft bricking it. This did the trick! To anyone that needs this in the future, each time you close out odin, also remove your USB from your phone. Reopen odin, then reconnect it. Be patient on 8, as others have stated, it takes a while for the PASS to show up. Step 17, the phone will reboot and be on the verizon splash screen before PASS shows up. Just be ready to pull the battery then :)
      Thanks again as well for the smaller recovery file… all the other ones I found were almost a gig in size, and I am on limited download satellite internet. This saved me!

    • Joe

      So I have a sch-i535 galaxy s3 that wont boot into the rom and has odin mode flashed but not the custom recovery or bootchain and I cant seem to get windows 7 to regognize that the device is even being connected to the computer any more. How can I push the custom recovery to my phone if it wont even show up as being attached to the pc?

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