Fixing an Asus Transformer TF101 stuck in recovery boot loop

Sometimes hax go awry.  When we’re lucky they only go slightly awry and things are relatively easy to recover once you get all the tools and ducks lined up. In this case it was an Asus Transformer TF101 that the BIL of a friend had tried to root and rom about a year ago. APPARENTLY about a year ago there was a fairly common bug in the tools available that resulted in devices like the Transformer getting stuck in a boot-loop where they’ll only start in recovery mode but won’t ever boot up android by themselves without user-intervention. That user-intervention for reference is:

  1. Press and hold Power and Vol- until the device reboots and small white text shows up saying press Vol+ within 5seconds for recovery.  Do not press Vol+.
  2. It will then prompt you to cold-boot in to either recovery or android, follow the directions on screen to select android and start.

That seems rather annoying to have to do every time you restart the bloody thing. The permanent fix requires either root access via terminal emulator under the installed version of android, or running a remote shell on it with the Android sdk. I chose the latter.

As with all ASDK tomfoolery, start the adb server

adb start-server

Check to make sure the device shows up

adb devices

Start the required remote shell session

adb shell

Run the follow magic command to make everything happy again

echo boot | dd of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p3 bs=1 seek=0

And then reboot the device.


Once you know it works, take a picture of your haxxing assistant and post to social media.

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38 thoughts on “Fixing an Asus Transformer TF101 stuck in recovery boot loop”

  1. I was stuck in recovery loop for the longest time (with CWM
    This fixed it. No need to reflash anything unlike most websites claim.
    Thank you very much sir.
    And your cat is awesome.

  2. Brilliant – I’d factory reset my device and it reloaded CM10 when it got stuck in this state. Your fix cured it – thank you so much, Dave!

    And I agree with AsimDlv: your cat is indeed awesome 🙂

  3. I thought I’d try this since the feedback was all so positive. Not much experience in this area but downloaed the ADK (for windows) and unpacked it. Launched Eclipse and it said I didn’t have Java, etc. So, I installed Jre7 and fiddled with the Eclipse shortcut (per the help docs). Here’s the target:
    D:adtdeveloperadt-bundle-windows-x86_64-20131030eclipseeclipse.exe -vm C:Javajre7binjavaw
    However, now when I launch the eclipse shortcut it gives me another error, java was started but returned exit code=13…. then a bunch of other stuff that I can’t cut and paste. Hoping you can point me in the right direction so I can fix this thing. Thanks.

  4. I was able to do this directly on the rooted tf101 via the term. just had to use su to run the command. Could not run ADB as the cable is kaput . I was stuck in this mode for a year .

    using Kat Kiss 4.3 rom right now

    thanks a million

  5. Hi. i have the same problem with my TF101 but i’ve an apple.
    is this a solution for linux and windows only???
    how can I do this on OSX???

    1. Housspin: It should be workable to do this on a Mac. Once you get the Android Development installed and functioning under OSX the instructions above should work just the same. I did a quick google search for “using android adb on mac” and found the this guide. Once you get to the point where the guide instructs you to run “./adb devices” and you get output listing your Transformer, you should be able to invoke a shell on your transformer using “./adb shell” and then run the echo command as I have it listed in the original post.

  6. How would you reverse this?

    TF101 used to boot into recovery unless I intervene, after doing this via terminal now it’s perpetually stuck at asus splash screen.

  7. Kenneth: Off the top of my head, I’m not really sure. It’s not something I ran in to. You’ll need to do some digging to figure out what it might likely be hanging on. Personally I’d be tempted to see if I could manually boot in to recovery and then push over a new rom and see where that got me.

  8. Hi Dave, thanks a lot for sharing this with us. I have absolutely no idea about the coding and using adb. My tf101 is currently stuck in the recovery bootloop and I tried using the technique showed by you but still no results. Could you be kind enough to share a video tutorial of the same or share a detailed method on how to solve the problem. Many thanks in advance.

    1. I no longer have access to the device as it belongs to the brother in law of a friend of mine. Where int he process are you getting stuck? Does adb recognize the device? are you getting an error when running the echo command?

  9. I finally got to the adb shell and ran the (adb devices) command and nothing. I have my tf101 device plugged into the computer via usb cable and the device will not totally power down but shows the initial eee pad screen. Possibly you could help me figure out how to recognize the device as I am sure that your magic is the cure for my ill. Thank you

  10. Hi Dave, thanks for your proposed solution. I am trying to use what you suggested. However, I cannot get my tablet to recognized by the computer. Should the tablet be turned off/on at the starting of the procedure?

    1. The tablet should be powered on and running android. If you follow the two-step manual intervention boot at the top of the post you should get android booted. Once that’s done adb devices should recognise it.

      1. Mine is having similar issues, but during the two-step it just hangs on Cold-booting Linux…

        Can’t seem to get adb devices to list the transformer. Any ideas how to get it to the next step?


  11. Thanks Dave, did just that, but it gets stuck again in the boot-loop. I tried connecting it to the dock and for the last 6 hours nothing has changed.. Any suggestions?

  12. Thanks a million, used terminal emulator on the transformer to run the echo -command, now it works. Way cheaper than getting a new one!

    1. YESSS this worked fine!

      cold boot by pressing vol down and power. wait, wait and let the as tf 101 disguised sl101 (because of earlier installatien of katkiss with compatibilitypack)

      after full boot ran terminat emulator.
      at te command line typed SU and ok when asked voor rootaccess, then teh # appearde indicating running the terminal emulator as root user.
      Then added teh echo-string:

      echo boot | dd of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p3 bs=1 seek=0

      and typed reboot.

      then like magic i got out of the bootloop.

  13. Hi! When I type “adb devices” I recieve answer “List of devices attachet”, but I don’t see my device, Asus APX, that I see connected down in systry. Any suggestions? Thank you!

  14. Hi everyone!

    My TF101 does not go pass the eee pad logo… I’ve tried cold booting it… It freezes and
    Stays like that… FOREVER. Any suggestions or tips?

  15. It happened the same to me after flashing recovery-clockwork-touch-

    You saved me! THANKS THANKS THANKS!!!

    And THANKS once again!

  16. Even after I did this it still stays in the rebooting screen didnt change anything. I am assuming I am doing it wrong

  17. Hi! My tf201 is stucked in step 2 of the configuration process after rebooting. Step 1: choose language, Step 2 choose input method. It won’t let me continue. Is not like it’s frozen, the “forward button” so to speak, is not glowing and does nothing. Like I have to choose something I’ve already had chosen (the input method). So I did a new hard reset but nothing. I know your article is not about my tablet (or my problem) but I have no one to help me


    One hint: when entering the ‘magic’ command in shell you may get the message ‘cannot open for write: Permission denied’. If this is the case you must restart adb with root permissions using the command:

    adb root

    This restarts the adb server. To check if it’s restarted type the command:

    adb devices

    After that enter shell and the ‘magic’ command

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