When you root / flash custom software, Samsung has a "root counter" (so to speak anyway) that shows you've done it. If your goal is to return the phone for warranty purposes or sell it or anything that requires resetting that counter, install this app and run it to reset the counter. The app will also show you where your counter is at before you reset it. Run this before doing the below steps, otherwise you'll have to re-root to reset the counter. Resetting the counter is not necessary for the steps below to work, but could be a good idea for any of the reasons laid out above.
INITIAL NOTES - IMPORTANT
- This guide is for Windows only. I've done this on a Windows 7 64bit and 32bit computer with no issues.
- I have a Verizon Galaxy S3 (SCH-I535), so this is technically for the Verizon S3. But this general process should work on most other S3 variants. But my experience is not with other S3's on other carriers, so please do your homework first if you're not with Verizon. And if you're using an S3 on another carrier / country, please chime in with any helpful info!
- Niether myself or s3forums.com are responsible for what you do to your device. Though, if you're here to unbrick, you're probably beyond that point and don't care. But if you're here to simply revert your phone back to its factory state, please heed that disclaimer.
FILES YOU NEED
- Drivers (mirror) - the driver I've linked to is for the Verizon I535 model. Make sure you find and use the proper drivers for your model if you're on another carrier.
- Odin (mirror)
- Verizon SCH-I535 VRBLK3 Factory Image (SAVE DATA, WIPE DATA - thanks to open1your1eyes0 for adding the "no wipe" feature to the first file!) - Again, this is the Verizon I535 factory image. It's absolutely imperative that you do NOT use this file unless you are on Verizon Wireless USA! See the next bullet...
- Factory Image for carriers besides Verizon - Go Here and near the top left choose your model under "Select the device". Download the appropriate factory image from the page that comes up - it will be a large file (700mb give or take) and end in .tar.md5.
- If you've rooted, "rommed", etc., I'm going to make the assumption that your phone is already recognized by your computer and you have the right drivers installed. If not, feel free to ask in the comments, and for Verizon USA users, #1 in the Files section above will work for you.
- Create an empty folder on your desktop and name it "S3 Restore" (not really important how you name it, but makes it easier to describe the instructions! )
- Extract the Odin .zip file (from #2 in the Files section) into the S3 Restore folder on your desktop
- Extract the Factory Image file (from #3 or #4 in the Files section) into the S3 Restore folder on your desktop
- Make sure all files are in the root of the S3 Restore folder and not in any sub-directory that unzipping might've created.
- Power off your phone - pull the battery (then re-insert), power down normally, etc. - however you have to do it.
- Boot into Odin / Download mode: While powered off, press and hold volume-down + home + power until the prompt (green text) asks you if you want to enter download mode - ignore the warning and tell it to continue. The next screen should say "Downloading... Do not turn off target!" - you're now in download/odin mode.
- Plug your phone into a usb port on your computer and make sure the computer recognizes your phone ok (i.e. the drivers are installed ok and work while in download mode)
- In the S3 Restore folder, open Odin with the Odin3v3.07.exe file. It should pull up a window that looks like this (mirror) - you might want to keep that screenshot open for reference.
- In the Message box (bottom left), it should say "added!!". Look back up near the top left - below ID:COM it should be light blue and have COM** (** = the comport number your phone is plugged into). If all of that is there, your phone is ready to go - just a couple more things to do...
- Under "Option", ensure that only "Auto Reboot" and "F. Reset Time" are checked - nothing more.
- Under "Files [Download]", check the checkbox next to PDA (none of the others under that section should be checked), then click the PDA button. Navigate to the S3 Restore directory on your desktop and select the factory image file (long filename, large file, ends in .tar.md5)
- Once all that is done, you're ready to start. Make sure you're ready to leave it alone and make sure it's in a place where something/one can't accidentally pull the usb cable out while it's running. Then click Start at the bottom.
- Do not touch it until it's done - it will reboot your phone for you once it's finished. Depending on your system, it should take 5-10 minutes - maybe a little less, maybe a little more.
- Once it reboots, you're good to go. Your bootloader is relocked and you're now back to 100% stock.
- Edit: If you ever find that your phone finishes this process and won't boot up after a good 5-10 minutes (i.e. it just stays on the boot animation), pull the battery, boot into stock recovery (volume-up+home+power), and do a factory/data reset. That should clear it up for you.
- After it's finished and it reboots, you might notice all of your apps, etc., are still there. Flashing the factory image through Odin does not wipe your data. So depending on the state of your phone before you flashed, things might look similar to the way they were before. A factory reset will take care of that.
- The factory images do include the factory radios that correspond to that software build.