Samsung Galaxy S, Gingerbread and Kies.
To say that Samsung Kies is a poor piece of software is an understatement. You only need to trawl through the Android or Samsung forums to see the frustration it causes people. It’s buggy, unstable and in many cases just doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do especially in terms of firmware upgrades. If you are plagued by lag issues on Eclair and Froyo then you’ll probably argue that Samsung just can’t write software at all – for all their prowess in the hardware space.
Anyway I struggled with the Froyo upgrade for months before finally getting Kies to work albeit with a newer ‘improved’ version of Kies (v2). I’ve documented the steps below. These also apply to the recent Gingerbread 2.3.3. Do note that Google recently (April 2011) put a stop to any further downloads of Gingerbread for the Galaxy S due to unknown reasons but knowing Samsung’s track record it doesn’t really surprise me. The update was subsequently reinstated and having run Gingerbread on my Galaxy S for a few weeks already it’s well worth the effort. It’s given new life to my oldish phone and I’ve put off any future Android purchase until Ice Cream Sandwich is available later this year.
So here goes:
+ Remove any One Click Lag Fixes (OCLF). This step is critically important as you can brick your phone trying to do an upgrade if you don’t remove all OCLFs.
+ Some people say to unroot your phone if it’s rooted but I didn’t do this and had no issues. You will lose root however and you will need to reapply it after the upgrade.
+ Charge the phone fully to 100%. Actually the upgrade appears to work as long as you are somewhere above 50% charge.
+ Ensure 3GB free space on the Windows PC being used to do the upgrade or you’ll get errors.
+ Remove any home screens and revert back to twlauncher default. You don’t need to uninstall. I use the home switcher app in Marketplace to switch between Launcher Pro and TWLauncher. If you’re on Froyo there’s a Froyo version of Home Switcher but the older Eclair version worked fine for me.
+ Remove the external sd card from the phone. This is quirk with MTP protocol that can send the phone (and you) loopy.
+ Finally if you use your phone for critical communications like work you may want to keep an old spare phone at hand in case the upgrade fails on you.
+ Download and install the latest version of Samsung Kies (v2)
+ Close Kies
+ Put the phone in USB Debugging Mode (Settings, Applications, Development)
+ Connect phone to the Windows PC and allow Windows to install the relevant drivers
+ Check Device Manager for proper install
+ The following screenshots show correct installation in Device Manager
+ Now take the phone out of USB debugging mode
+ Put the phone into Kies Mode under USB Settings
+ Put the phone at the Idle screen and unlock any lock pattern
+ Connect the phone to the PC
+ Wait for the Connected message from MTP on the phone
+ You must have the Connected message before going any further. If the phone sits at Initialising and never moves to Connect try rebooting the PC and then the phone is still having issues.
+ Now open Kies.
+ Don’t touch Kies when you see it in the Taskbar. Don’t maxmize it. Not sure what difference this makes and maybe it doesn’t on the majority of machines but it caused issues for me if I maximized it.
+ Kies should pop up a dialog that your phone needs a firmware upgrade and prompt you to click Update .
+ If you are on Eclair you will need two upgrades – one to Froyo and a second to Gingerbread and again this is confirmed by a dialog box.
+ The following screens are shown on the PC.
Then a big yellow “Downloading. Do not turn off target” graphic appears on the phone screen with a blue progress indicator. A progress indicator also appears in Kies.
Phone reboots by itself after some final installation steps scroll past on the phone display.
Kies confirms that upgrade is complete and provides backup/restore message.
The phone can take a long time to reboot after the upgrade. Much longer than usual. Be patient.
When the phone reboots it asks questions like:
1. Setting On-screen keyboard settings
2. Internet connection (3G network or wifi)
3. Whether you wish to use google location services (no thanks I uncheck this)
Then finally it scans all media files on the sd card which can take a minute or so.
To confirm your firmware update go to Settings, About Phone and check the Firmware version.
To update to Gingerbread you need to go through the same steps again with Kies.
That’s it. Good luck.