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When turning on Asus Zenfone 5 Lite, it was stuck on the Asus Logo and would not go any further.

I have tried the normal attempts to get it working again by hardware keys into recovery/factory reset, but it shows absolutely no options. The only thing that will appear is CSC fastboot mode. Tried different combinations of keys and nothing.

I have downloaded firmware for the device and it came with the instructions on how to fastboot the firmware, but I kept getting an error about write-protected, and also very little happens. Before that error, the phone is also detected as fastboot devices will bring up the serial number.

I learned that I may not be able to use fastboot to flash the phone due to the fact the phone's bootloader is locked and have NO way in unlocking it as the known methods require an actual working phone.

The next step I tried was using Asus flash tools and it does detect the phone but crashes if I try to load the firmware files into the tool. I assume because the software can see the phone's bootloader is locked as I realised the tool requires fastboot.

The next step was using Qfil and again I get errors on that. Some of the errors seem rather random. For example, one error I will copy the report here maybe someone can make sense of the below report

12:14:05: INFO: FH_LOADER WAS CALLED EXACTLY LIKE THIS
************************************************
C:\Program Files (x86)\Qualcomm\QPST\bin\fh_loader.exe --port=\\.\COM3 --sendxml=rawprogram0.xml --search_path=C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user --noprompt --showpercentagecomplete --zlpawarehost=1 --memoryname=emmc 
************************************************

12:14:05: DEBUG: Binary build date: Oct 31 2016 @ 22:51:02

12:14:05: DEBUG: Build Version: 16.10.31.22.51.02

12:14:05: INFO: Current working dir (cwd): C:\Users\Me\AppData\Roaming\Qualcomm\QFIL\COMPORT_3\
12:14:05: INFO: Showing network mappings to allow debugging
12:14:06: DEBUG: New connections will be remembered.

12:14:06: DEBUG: 

12:14:06: DEBUG: There are no entries in the list.

12:14:06: DEBUG: 

12:14:06: INFO: 



12:14:06: INFO: Trying to store 'rawprogram0.xml' in string table
12:14:06: DEBUG: ==================================================================================
12:14:06: DEBUG: ==================================================================================
12:14:06: INFO: Looking for file 'rawprogram0.xml'
12:14:06: DEBUG: 1. Calling stat(C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\rawprogram0.xml')
12:14:06: DEBUG: 2. Calling fopen('C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\rawprogram0.xml') with AccessMode='rb'
12:14:06: DEBUG: Trying get filesize, calling fseek()
12:14:06: DEBUG: Found 'C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\rawprogram0.xml' (22215 bytes)
12:14:06: DEBUG: 2. Calling fopen('C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\rawprogram0.xml') with AccessMode='r'
12:14:06: DEBUG: Trying get filesize, calling fseek()
12:14:06: DEBUG: ==================================================================================
12:14:06: DEBUG: ==================================================================================
12:14:06: INFO: Looking for file 'cache.img'
12:14:06: DEBUG: 1. Calling stat(C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\cache.img')
12:14:06: DEBUG: 2. Calling fopen('C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\cache.img') with AccessMode='rb'
12:14:06: DEBUG: Trying get filesize, calling fseek()
12:14:06: DEBUG: Found 'C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\cache.img' (6553820 bytes)
12:14:06: DEBUG: 2. Calling fopen('C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\cache.img') with AccessMode='rb'
12:14:06: INFO: Reading through sparse file 'cache.img' and pulling out relevant header information...
12:14:06: INFO: File cache.img is a sparse file, being split up into 5 separate XML tags
12:14:06: DEBUG: ==================================================================================
12:14:06: DEBUG: ==================================================================================
12:14:06: INFO: Looking for file 'system.img'
12:14:06: DEBUG: 1. Calling stat(C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\system.img')
12:14:06: DEBUG: 2. Calling fopen('C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\system.img') with AccessMode='rb'
12:14:06: DEBUG: Trying get filesize, calling fseek()
12:14:06: DEBUG: Found 'C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\system.img' (3890031856 bytes)
12:14:06: DEBUG: 2. Calling fopen('C:\Users\Me\Downloads\[up_vnROM.net]_WW__ZC600KL(630)_14.0400.1801.031_20180313_Phone-user\system.img') with AccessMode='rb'
12:14:06: INFO: Reading through sparse file 'system.img' and pulling out relevant header information...
12:14:18: INFO: File system.img is a sparse file, being split up into 7980 separate XML tags


     _____                    
    |  ___|                   
    | |__ _ __ _ __ ___  _ __ 
    |  __| '__| '__/ _ \| '__|
    | |__| |  | | | (_) | |   
    \____/_|  |_|  \___/|_|  


12:14:22: {ERROR: StoreXMLFile:8039 2. Too many XML files in XMLStringTable, max is 8000

To the above error, Google has not been very much of help, though some suggestions have said try downloading different versions of the flash tool namely the latest and work down as well as making sure the drivers are up to date and they are.

I tried different firmwares as the first one I got was based on research, but the device has never applied any system update, so I figured I will try an older version from when the phone came out.

The interesting point to make with the last firmware, the older one, is there are differences in how it responded. For example:

I tried the fastboot method again. There was a little more activity as in something seems to be happening, but then this time it failed with "cannot flash in a locked state" whereas before the error was "write-protected".

With Qfil, the same thing happened. There was a lot more activity as seen in the above details I copied whereas before on a different firmware was a lot less.

So as it seems my only option is to flash the device under EDL mode, but how do I go about this if the flashing tool keeps throwing up too many XML strings?

Sadly, research and other forums have been not so helpful so far and its been rather data-consuming.

Any advice, tips, and instructions?

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