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Add Custom Screensavers / Lockscreens to your Kindle!

» Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in Blog | 49 comments

Okay so I got my new kindle a few days ago (see here: http://www.simonstoneauthor.com/archives/341) and right away I NEEDED to change the lockscreens. As much as I admire these long-dead writers and great minds I didn’t really want portraits of them every time I saw my little hibernating ereader. So, I tried searching for a way to change the screensavers. Should be easy right? That’s something people would want to change so I was sure Amazon would have some conspicuous folder somewhere where I could add/delete lockscreen images.

No. No such luck. That would be too simple.

On to plan B. Jailbreak it.

Now way back in about 2007/8 Amazon began releasing the source code, the GPL libraries used to power the Kindle software. Since then, not too long after each new firmware update, talented little hackers (I say little because most I’m aware of are under two decades old) make simple update .bin files available so you can unlock your kindle and easily modify things in it.

I thought doing this might void the warranty. It usually does. It turns out at the most it might void a warranty pertaining to any software/firmware issues. At best it seems Amazon don’t mind you modifying your device in this way since it’s so easy to uninstall any modifications. I will say you take your own risks in this and make sure you do your own research. I’m just posting a “how to”.

So, how to do it? Read on:

1. Work out what kind of Kindle you have and what the firmware version is. You can find that by going menu/settings, and it shoudl be at the bottom of your screen. Mine currently says 3.2.1 then a bunch of numbers in brackets. And I have a UK Kindle Wi-fi without 3G.

2. Upload the zip file and unzip.  If you have 3.2.1 the file can be found here: http://yifan.lu/p/kindle-jailbreak

If you have an earlier version and for some more really good clear instructions go here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/37424/jailbreak-your-kindle-for-dead-simple-screensaver-customization/

3. Next you want to connect your Kindle to your pc and keep it in USB mode. Open up the kindle’s folder.

4. Now choose your file. Copy and paste the correct update for your device into your kindle’s folder.
k2 = Kindle 2 US
k2i = Kindle 2 International
dx = Kindle DX US
dxi = Kindle DX International
dxg = Kindle DX Graphite
k3 = Kindle 3 Wifi + 3G (US & Canada)
k3g = Kindle 3 Wifi + 3G (Elsewhere)
k3w = Kindle 3 Wifi

Mine was called “update_jailbreak_0.5.1_k3w_install”

5. Eject your kindle and unplug. Go to menu/settings then click menu/update your kindle

click OK and the jailbreak begins. You’ve set your kindle free!

Now for part 2: setting up the folder to put screensavers in!

Bascially it’s exactly the same steps as jailbreaking. Download the custom .zip file here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BLJV0WKE

or find the second part of the “how to” here:  http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/37424/jailbreak-your-kindle-for-dead-simple-screensaver-customization/


Again, extract, plug in your kindle, open the folder and copy/paste the correct file (in my case “update_ss_0.20.N_k3w_install”).

Then disconnect and again go to menu/setup, then in setup click menu/update your kindle

Once the update is done, plug your kindle back in and open the kindle folder. You should now see a new foldoer called “linkss”. Open that and you should see a bunch of files and folders, one of which is “screensavers”. That’s where you put any new images you want for your lockscreen! Make sure they’re the correct size and greyscale (no colour). Easiest thing is to do a google search and find already made ones online, but they’re easy enough to make yourself with a simple photo editing program.

Once you’ve dropped some images (.jpg, .gif., .png) into the folder and you want to check them out, unplug the kindle and reboot it. (I just hold down the off button for 15 seconds.)

After it reboots you should now have some great new screensavers!!

If at any point Amazon releases new firmware and you want to update it, you can just go through this process again in reverse, putting the “uninstall” files on your device until it’s back to how it was, then update and hunt around for the latest jailbreak to fit the new firmware version.

Any questions get in touch. Here’ some pics of mine!


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