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How to root the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX

By

January 22, 2014

Here's your step-by-step guide to rooting the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX and expanding its cap...

Here's your step-by-step guide to rooting the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX and expanding its capabilities

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The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is the latest in its line of tablets that run a forked and heavily customized version of Android 4.2 which Amazon calls Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito." But if you want to get more out of it, namely installing the full Google Play Store, you'll need to root the device. Here's a step-by-step guide to rooting your Fire HDX and some helpful tips if you run into any difficulties during the process.

Disclaimer: Whenever you alter official software on any device you run the risk of something going wrong, or features not working properly. Of course, there's also the possibility of voiding the device's warranty. I've rooted several Android devices, including the last two iterations of the Kindle Fire without any problems. But remember you do this at your own risk.

Before You Begin

Though I've heard about a Mac version of the rooting tools, you're best off using a Windows 7 or 8.x computer. Also, before starting, make sure you have all of your important local files backed up. Anything that's on the Amazon Cloud servers, like music, apps, movies, or books can be retrieved later if something goes awry or you need to do a factory reset.

Steps to Root the Kindle Fire HDX

1. Enable ADB on your Kindle Fire by going to Settings > Device and turn on Enable ADB.

To begin you need to enable ADB which allows developers to debug over USB

2. Download the ADB drivers from the XDA-Developers forum and extract the zip file to a convenient location.

You need to download the Kindle Fire ADB drivers from the XDA forum

Then run the Kindle Fire ADB drivers.exe file. Installation is a snap following the install wizard. When the Windows Security dialog comes up, check "Always trust software from Amazon Services LLC" and click Install.

Install the Kindle Fire ADB drivers

After installing the ADB drivers, you may be required to reboot your system, as was the case when I first installed them on my Windows 8.1 system.

A reboot may be required to complete ADB driver installation

3. Connect your Kindle Fire HDX to your computer using the included micro-USB cable.

Connect the Kindle Fire HDX to your PC with the micro USB cable

4. Open Device Manager and you should see a yellow alert icon next to Android under Other Devices. Right-click it and select "Update driver software" and on next screen choose "Browse my computer for driver software." Then point to the ADB folder that you extracted.

In my experience, I didn't need to do that on my Windows 8.1 computer, and the drivers installed successfully without the extra steps. Either way, this is what you'll want to see: Android Composite ADB Interface under Kindle Fire in device manager, like the screenshot below.

This is what you want to see in Device Manager after installing the ADB Kindle drivers

5. Download the automated root script from here. Unzip the file and double-click the runme.bat file. Wait for it to complete (it doesn't take long) and hit Enter a couple of times and that's it! While the script is running you won't see anything change on your Kindle Fire screen.

The automated script runs and after that you're virtually done

Unplug your Kindle from the computer and to verify you have a successful root of your device, install ES File Explorer if you don't have it already. Go to the Tools section, scroll down and tap Root Explorer and it will turn on.

You'll be able to turn on Root Explorer in ES File Explorer after a successful root of the...

Troubleshooting, and how I finally got my HDX to root

The above directions are ideally how the rooting process should work, and hopefully it does for you, but there can be some odd quirks you'll run into along the way. Since the Kindle Fire HDX was launched last November, there have been minor tweaks to different batches of tablets as they are shipped out. Versions differ slightly based on release date and where you live in the world. Not to mention these rooting tools aren't officially sponsored by Amazon, so dealing with some oddities goes with the territory.

There are a few different auto root files out there. Make sure you're using the correct one and it's for the 7-inch model (there's one for the 8.9 one, too). If you're not using the correct auto root batch file, you'll see something similar in the command line shown below where ADB isn't a recognized command.

If you don't use the proper auto root version, you'll get errors similar to this

At the time of writing, all of the rooting tools out there are for the Fire HDX 13.3.1.0 firmware version, but there may be other tools you'll need to make the root work successfully. For troubleshooting, and getting the proper ADB drivers and auto rooting tools, I suggest keeping an eye on the XDA Developer forums.

After scouring through various forums on rooting the Kindle Fire, I came across a user who suggested going into the Kindle HDX root script, changing adb.exe to adb.exe.exe then rebooting the computer. After the reboot, go back in and change adb.exe.exe back to adb.exe. This strange trick actually worked for me and I now have successfully rooted my Fire HDX.

Summing Up

The Amazon App Store is limited compared to the full wealth of apps Google Play offers, and the main reason to root is to get access to the full collection. You can always sideload apps, but having the Play Store on your device makes it much easier to get them (sideloading is a way of installing non-market Android apps on a factory-set Kindle Fire). For that you need to set the Kindle Fire to allow installation of apps from unknown sources. Then you need to hunt down an application's apk file individually and install each one manually.

Though you may run into some snags during the process, usually it's not hard to correct them. The rooting community has some great information out there, and if you see something unique that isn't addressed in forums, there's a good chance you'll receive an answer quickly.

About the Author
Brian Burgess Brian Burgess resides in Minnesota. A technology enthusiast his entire life, he worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. In addition to contributing to Gizmag, he’s the Editor in Chief at groovyPost.com and has written for other notable tech sites Byte, InformationWeek, and How-To Geek. Away from the keyboard, you're likely to find him listening to heavy metal, playing guitar, or watching Star Trek.   All articles by Brian Burgess
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6 Comments

This is great news. If they get around to installing the play store I'll consider seriously about getting one. 230 for a Full HD S800 tablet would be great, but only if I can run the apps I already own.

Carolyn Cooley
23rd January, 2014 @ 11:51 am PST

Worked a treat thank you. Not that its rooted do you have a step by step to get Google play store on the kindle?

Connor McCann
24th January, 2014 @ 06:49 am PST

I just got my Kindle HDX and don't know squat about the operating system...except I have no control over my system. But then, do I need it? I hear the term "rooting" all the time and don't know what the benefits would be. (Just to install the Google Play Station?) What other benefits would there be? I've been into computers since C/PM days and I've always needed to tinker around with my systems; however, as the years slip away, I've done it less and less.

I'm tempted to root my device simply because I hate to be hemmed in by programmers who think they know more about what I want than they do. Even so, I know there are inherent risks involved in updating a BIOS on a computer and there are some in rooting it.

Can someone give me a 20-second education on rooting?

Thanks!

John Iler
11th March, 2014 @ 05:23 pm PDT

Does it work with 13.3.2.2?

This-Me-Is
12th April, 2014 @ 04:26 pm PDT

Thanks for the article. I really have found the scarcity of apps in the Amazon app store a crippling issue as a power user. However, I actually use immersion reading on the Kindle Fire HDX (yes, I'm the one ha ha ha) and was wondering if anyone knows if after rooting with this technique, will Immersion reading still work?

Robert Schertzer
24th April, 2014 @ 02:24 pm PDT

hii, can somebody help me, please. i want to buy the new kindle hdx, and here the problem is beegin', i want to read the books in polish language, so it is possible to download books from the internet and then put it into my kindle hdx? is the root is needed? please, answer asap , thankks

Anitaaa12345
3rd July, 2014 @ 03:18 am PDT
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