The Kindle Fire is a great device but in my opinion to fully get the most from the device it needs to be rooted. Let’s briefly cover the reasons why you would want to void your warranty and root the Kindle Fire. Rooting your device will open up so many more options beyond the Kindle Fire experience. The first and biggest reason is access to the Google Play Store and its wide range of apps. Beyond those apps you can access all of Google’s services like Gmail, Maps, Reader, and much more. That’s already reason enough for me but there is more. Another great aspect is to move beyond the Kindle Fire software and install the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Thanks to the great developer community we get to experience custom Android Software on the Kindle Fire.
I assume by now you are convinced of rooting or already rooted. Once rooted you might want to try a custom ROM that is different from the original Kindle Fire. Installing a custom ROM replaces the entire software with a brand new one. Sometime the software will look the same as the original Kindle Fire with some modifications and other times it will be completely different like ICS. Installing a new software will give you access to different apps and better compatibility in the Google Play Store. Also it’s great to have the latest Android software on your Kindle Fire for free and test out new features. Now let’s cover the step-by-step directions to installing a custom ROM.
In order to install a custom ROM on the Kindle Fire you need to be rooted and have a custom recovery installed. You can check the links at the end of the post for rooting guide and installing recovery. With that out of way, you’ll first need to download a ROM and the best place is the XDA forums. There you will find a wide variety of custom ROMs with info, download, and more. If you’re looking for an ICS ROM then go to our latest post with a full list that is updated regularly.
Once you decide on a ROM then download the zip file to your computer. Connect your Kindle Fire to your computer via USB and transfer the zip file to the root drive of the Kindle Fire. Do not put in any folder or sub-folder and don’t unzip the file either.
Now turn off your device. Turn your device back on by pressing the power button. When the screen turns on press and hold the power button for a few seconds. You should notice the green light of the button turning orange. The device should now boot into custom recovery. In this example I’m using TWRP 2.1 and I would recommend using this recovery since it has the best compatibility with all the ROMs.
Once in recovery the first and most important thing is to make a backup of your system. Trust me you don’t want to skip this step. This ensures that you can always go back to this exact state of your system regardless of what you do afterwards and how many other changes you make. Go to backup and leave everything checked except Skip MD5. I would recommend enable compression as it significantly saves disk space and doesn’t cost you anything.
After backup is complete you need to do a factory reset. This will erase all your data and apps but remember we just made a backup and can always go back so don’t panic. Also all your apps can be downloaded again from Amazon or Google once you connect your account. You can try to skip this step but it may and probably will cause problems with a new ROM. I always and I means always do a factory reset before installing a new ROM and usually never have any problems. After the wipe you should also wipe both Cache and Dalvik Cache. This is will completely clear the system for the new install.
Now go back to the main menu and choose install. Here you should see the zip file on the right if you are using TWRP 2.1 or scroll down and find the file if using an earlier version of TWRP. After choosing the file, confirm install then relax as the magic happens. After installation is complete you can reboot to the system. You should now boot into your brand new ROM. Be warned that sometimes the first boot might take a long time. Be patient and it should boot normally after the first time. Well, that’s it and nothing to it. Try out some new ROMs and always remember to backup. Happy ROMing and be sure to leave us a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.