I was flashing a Samsung device with a single file (tar.md5 format) and i saw some people are working with 4 files(Repairing firmware) to fixing the most and actually, Any problems with those 4 files and i've heard that they says, it should fix any(Software) problems after flashing it on the device but i couldn't actually figured out ;

What is the exactly difference between these two which the 4 files containts four files such as ;

  • Bootloader file
  • CODE file,
  • Modem file
  • and CSC file

And the single one has the Modem file and the others which we'd introduce it in PDA section?

Or, which one should be the best option for updating a device?

Also, i've seen an application which it could convert the Single firmware to four files and that was more interesting about the question too!

  • You flashed and MD5 sum? Better fix that. Also, decompress your tar file, and I think you'll find those 4 files. – Android Dev Apr 4 '16 at 11:13
  • I did that also, and there were about 8 files but i can't figured out what is the difference between that single one and the four? – ʍѳђઽ૯ท Apr 4 '16 at 12:17
  • The single file which you can flash (I presume you are using Odin) contains all the files required for your firmware upgrade- which you place in PDA option of Odin

  • If you want to upgrade the firmware selectively, you would use one of the four files mentioned:

    • Bootloader file- not normally done for stock, mostly used for compatibility issues in version upgrade in flashing custom ROM. Example : MJ5 bootloader for flashing Note 4 ROM on Note 2

    • Code File is typically the ROM

    • Modem File is the radio component of ROM- you may want to replace a ROM meant for use in a different region and change the modem to get better performance by flashing modem file of your region. List of modems for your device can be searched on XDA forums. Example- Note 2 modems

    • CSC (variously referred to as Country/Carrier/Consumer Specific Code) File is the file you would want to use to change if you bought the phone in a different region and want to use it in your region (Samsung ROMs incorporate region specific features ) . Example

What is the exactly difference between these two?

I had overlooked this main question and realised I never probed this aspect. Googling leads me to the conclusion that the key difference is is it Odin ready (to be flashed as a single file or not?. While Odin and Kies are both Samsung proprietary, formats required for using them differ. using a Kies format and adapting to Odin requires extraction of files required.

  • Samsung firmware upgrade comes as a single file having the necessary files required for upgrade (Odin ready)

  • Samsung firmware is available on many sites, Sammobile is considered to be the most reliable out there. This site and other sites sometimes host upgrades/beta/test mode in Field Upgrade Serviceable (FUS) files which are not standard Odin flash ready files. But they can be flashed using Kies. Reason cited here for not being able to use directly on Odin is header file corruption. These need to be downloaded using apps like FUS downloader and then split into required files to be upgraded using Odin.You put these CSC, modem,bootloader files in the corresponding sections of Odin

Linked site(s) explain (Warning: Don't use PIT file which is available on splitting till you understand what it is for)

  • To summarise, key difference lies in packaging of firmware (Odin Vs Kies), others being type of firmware (beta/ test/ tested/ leaked) and possible end use (complete or selective upgrade)

which one should be the best option for updating a device?

It depends on what you want to do-there is no specific answer, as for instance of flashing a modem only explained above. Or if your source upgrade file is Odin ready or not a explained above

If you are using Linux the method varies (not tried by me) and you can pretty much use either methods as outlined here

Samsung has a pretty confusing (till you get hang of it) of breaking down these components and labelling them. You can read here and here for starters.

And if you want to get deep into sources, see my answer Samsung firmware modifying

  • You didn't actually answered my question, but you explained the files very well which i appreciate that.But, the thing is ; What is the exactly difference between these two The bold one is the most important thing! – ʍѳђઽ૯ท Apr 4 '16 at 19:08
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    Great answer, thank you and i think it was a great question too :) – ʍѳђઽ૯ท Apr 5 '16 at 10:15
  • Yep. Had upvoted earlier :) – beeshyams Apr 5 '16 at 10:18

The main difference is that the single file doesn't Factory Reset the phone after flashing, but the 4 file firmware does factory reset and remove absolutely everything and make it like an out of the box phone.

The 4 files are called Binary Firmware which contains all the files in certain order:

  • Bootloader contains all the boot files
  • AP contains all the system and recovery files.
  • Modem/CP contains phone network and wifi software.
  • CSC contains PIT file and cache removing IMG which puts all the files in order and repairs any damage firmware has before.

Thats why they are called repair files.

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    Why would flashing the files separately trigger a wipe of /data? – Matthew Read Apr 5 '16 at 21:57
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    because the repair filen (4 files) has pit file and param.bin which wipes everything, and i mean everything! obviously knox count doesnt get changed because thats hardware. – Tarinder Apr 6 '16 at 8:32
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    Ah, yes repartitioning would make sense. – Matthew Read Apr 6 '16 at 13:58
  • +1 Good point. Maybe you can elaborate your answer by adding "how to flash" – beeshyams Apr 12 '16 at 8:56
  • Use odin, Many tutorials are available online for that – Tarinder Apr 13 '16 at 23:05

There are two kinds of Firmware (Stock ROMs) in Samsung mobile phones:

Single file Firmware 4 files or Repair Firmware

Single file Firmware: This kind of firmware contains the main flashing file (PDA or AP) which relates to your phone device’s system files, and after flashing this file your data won’t be deleted from your phone.

4 files Firmware: This firmware contains:
1. BL or Boot Loader file. Boot Loader is a code which starts processing before the Operating System (OS), and it loads the first part of the OS into the phone’s memory. 2. CP or Phone or Modem files relate to the phone device’s connectivity such as 3G/2G/4G/5G/WiFi/Bluetooth/GPS etc.

Note: It’s very important to flash CP/Phone/ modem file due to the country/area you are living in it.

  1. CSC (Common Short Code): This file has data of countries and areas. Data like languages and region-specific settings or apps.
  2. Main flashing file (PDA or AP): It contains the system files like boot.img, system.img, recovery.img and a few other core files for the Android OS.

More info/reference SamsungFirmwareBlog

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