I was updating my Nexus 10 tablet - had gotten to the system partition - when I lost the ADB connection. I've since learned that's a problem with newer Macs (I was connected to Windows through Parallels). Because of the lost connection, the system partition did not flash and my tablet is bricked. There is no operating system so it can't boot into Android, but it can boot into the Bootloader and Recovery mode. All the other partitions are fine.

I have a custom recovery (TWRP) and an unlocked bootloader, but I'm at a loss to figure out how to flash the system.img file. I can't boot to Android so I can't connect through ADB in Fastboot mode to flash the ordinary way. I am connected through ADB when I'm in Recovery mode, but I can't use the flash command in Recovery mode. Nor can I figure out a way to make TWRP flash the partition by running it as a zip file - mainly because I can't figure out what the update.zip file should consist of.

I tried pushing the system.img file to the Nexus 10 using the Linux dd command, but that doesn't work with the system partition, which uses a special format. The details are explained here, but I don't fully understand it:


I've spent hours and hours trying to figure this out, and I can't. I need help. I hope someone knowledgeable can give me some guidance. I posted in xda, but they ignored me (as usual).

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    You use adb when there is an adb daemon (think it as a service) running in the device. When you're in fastboot mode, there is no adb daemon running in the device so using adb commands is out of the question. The fastboot mode explicitly uses fastboot protocol and you can interface with device using that protocol. fastboot tool does that. The command fastboot flash system system.img should help. If not, search how to flash Nexus 10 using fastboot? // Could it be that you were already using fastboot for flashing? I may have misinterpreted the question.
    – Firelord
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 8:42
  • What is your source of system.img file?
    – Firelord
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 8:44

2 Answers 2


I got the update (with system.img) from the Google site. The problem is fixed now - so much time wasted. First I wrote an update.zip file that formatted the system partition (to fix the corruption) & write out the files in system.img. That seemed to work, but my tablet would only boot to Recovery. I suspect the formatting - perhaps a boot flag was needed. In the end, I discovered that I was wrong about not being able to flash. AUGH!! I could have fixed this so easily. Once in Recovery, if I rebooted into the Bootloader, I was connected. I reflashed the system partition & all is well now.

On the plus side, I learned a lot (trying to see a silver lining from so much wasted time). I know how to write flash updates that run in Recovery mode, and I know a lot more about the features of TWRP. I think I could wake up any soft-bricked device at this point. :)


I cannot see the date of the post but I am replying in case if helps other. Just install the ROM.zip from your custom recovery. It contains system.img, boot.img and more. But don't erase the fastboot.

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