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I have been using my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone for over a year as the manufacturer intends, NOT rooted. Its a great phone IMO because it has capable enough hardware, but not being root on my phone that I paid good money for isn't cool,

The way I see it is I'm root/admistrator on all of my linux/microsoft machines why doesn't samsung trust me to be on my phone which I use probably more than my laptops.

The main reasons I wish to be root is to remove all the "bloatware" which I never use, to prevent further updates from stealing my memory, and generally for the principle of it. The most current update (which I absolutely refuse to download) is asking for 800MB for "Galaxy Apps store" and "a finger print scanner for microsoft exchange apps".

I think it is completely unreasonable to surrender nearly a GB of space for something I will likely never use, yet the notifications will not go away.

I asked a question a while back where I quickly found out that rooting my phone using Towelroot was not possible since geohot now works for google and that rooting my phone would cause the warranty to be void but why should I care about this?

TLDR

I don't have insurance on my device anyway and have had it for more than a year.

Why should I care about "tripping knox" and is there a way to root my phone without making it a pretty paperweight?

  • I guess you must have missed out rooting tag-wiki, which basically covers most of what you're asking for – directly or linked. Apart from that: The question-and-answer format of this site works best if you put each question in a separate question post. You're basically asking multiple questions, at least two I was able to identify: 1) why should you care and 2) how to root the S5. – Izzy Jul 17 '15 at 7:31
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Knox warranty void has been discussed for a long time but I can't find consistent results on what it actually means.

Some sources say, that it only covers data security, a warranty that makes sure your data is safe and private, so tripping the Knox warranty void flag doesn't void your hardware warranty. (where I live there is a law that hardware warranty is independent from software warranty, so they have to repair your device even if the software has been modified, given that the software was not responsible for the damage ie. cracked screen, blown up battery etc.)

Other sources say, that it completely voids your warranty and if you break your phone, you are left with an expensive paperweight.

All of them say, that tripping the Knox warranty void flag is permanent because it's written into the bootloader, though, some devs found a way to not trigger that flag while rooting and found a way to force the system to overwrite the memory using a modified bootloader that is larger than the original one.
All of those methods have a higher risk of bricking your device than thousands of root attempts. Rooting is kind of secure given that you only modify a few files to give yourself full control over your phone.

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    Just to clarify your answer, it is a software warranty for the KNOX suite of apps from Samsung - used to provide supported Android devices with additional security features for governments and tin-hatters alike - and it is separate from the hardware warranty tired to the bootloader. – ZeroPaladn Jul 17 '15 at 12:32
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    I'm pretty sure that Chainfire's Triangle Away does just that, removing the tampered flag from the bootloader – Tamoghna Chowdhury Jul 17 '15 at 15:21
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    @TamoghnaChowdhury sadly no. The flag is triggered once and for all. It's like cutting paper in two halfs, you can't just put it together. The bootloader refuses to write anything to where the flag is stored so flashing a bootloader won't really do anything, besides tripping the flag again. Even a JTAG flash of an untriggered bootloader doesn't work (soft-bricks the phone). It's a strongly secured trigger that makes sure that nobody can claim Samsung responsible if their data is stolen by cracking the security measures KNOX uses. It doesn't actually affect hardware warranty. – GiantTree Jul 17 '15 at 15:36
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    @TamoghnaChowdhury the bootloader and the system both scan the /system partition for any modifications (they literally scan every single file of the system) and trigger the KNOX flag permanently the bootloader does not feature a way to undo that and also does not allow to overwrite itself using any method apart from soldering a different chip and thus working around the bootloader. Every modification to the system is logged and using a bootloader exploit most of the time triggers the Custom binary flag. The Note3 already has a leaked bootloader that reverts that flag. – GiantTree Jul 17 '15 at 15:49
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    @TamoghnaChowdhury for flashing the bootloader, you need to have 1) a newer version, 2) the correct private keys directly from Samsung, 3) Software that allows you to flash that partition without the original bootloader calling yours "insecure" and cancelling the flash process. It's not as easy as it seems. – GiantTree Jul 17 '15 at 15:51
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You can always try the manual method using fastboot/ODIN to flash a custom recovery,eg, CWM, TWRP and then flash a SuperSU zip from that custom recovery. Note that this will void Knox warranty by tripping its counter.

Or you could try Kingroot. I hear it's good upto 5.0 .

I am quoting from this XDA forums post here, just in case the method needed to be cleared up:

  1. Disable security policy updates (security) and automatic updates (about) in the settings. This is just in case. Updates might remove your root.

  2. Download tr.apk from towelroot.com by clicking the icon. Please note that Avast AV might flag it up, which you can then disable and re-download the file. Use at your own risk. You shouldn't have any problems...

  3. Enable Unknown Sources (Settings → Security), copy the apk to your sdcard and install it.

  4. Run it. It might take a little while.

  5. Install SuperSU from the market.

  6. Run SuperSU and let it install the su binaries.

  7. Depending on what you want root for, you may wish to disable Knox using SuperSU. When you attempt to let it disable Knox, it might fail. As it instructs, reboot and run it again.

Now install root checker and titanium backup and have a play. Root will probably work. Reboot and check download mode, Knox counter : 0x0 root is still there after reboot. All done! Make sure you have read and understand the notes before you go off using root.

And, once your mobile is rooted, you can always ODIN back to stock to claim warranty unless you encountered a hardware failure. Note that flashing stock ROM via ODIN does not trip the Knox counter.

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    FWIW i have tried kingroot and towelroot with no success – John Dream Nov 3 '15 at 2:22
  • Did you try going maual? – Tamoghna Chowdhury Nov 3 '15 at 9:38
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    I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are referring to, if there is a manual way to do so I will consider it, can you provide a link? – John Dream Nov 17 '15 at 4:51
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That's one of the two problems I can think of with samsungs (aside from the cheap build quality.) They literally put in a self-destruct mechanism that PHYSICALLY BURNS OUT when you modify the software. It's microscopic. It BURNS. They claim it's to "protect KNOX from hacking" (which is total BS.) Don't believe me? Here's their official description of it

It won't break your device, but it will break knox forever and ever (unless you have equipment to de-cap the internal chip that it's housed in and a little welding laser in a precision machine, and then somehow put the top back on)

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