How To Hard Reset The N900 To The Factory State

As I have mentioned before, unlike Nokia’s Symbian devices, the N900 does not have a code that you can enter to format the device and restore it to the factory state. However, if you like playing with software in the extras-devel repositories, chances are that sooner or later you will like a fresh start and want the N900 to be restored to the state in which you first picked it up.

How To Hard Reset The N900 To The Factory State

There is no seemingly easy way to do this and I really hope Nokia is doing something about it. That being said, how do you go about accomplishing the task? The answer is to flash both the N900′s OS and the 32 GB mass memory. This can be done on a Mac, a Linux or a Windows machine. Since windows is the most popular OS, I will show you how to do this via Windows.

Before we start, please note that this would be done using the command line interface, it may seem tricky but let me assure you that it is simply enough for anyone to accomplish.

  • Download and install the latest version of Maemo Flasher (e.g. maemo_flasher-3.5_2.5.2.2.exe). Since this is a command line application you will see no shortcut on the desktop or in the Program Files option under the Start menu.
  • Next, Download the latest firmware (.bin) file, it will look like “RX-51_xxxxx_ARM.bin”. You will need your IMEI  number to access the downloads, it can be found on the box or by going to Settings > General > About Product.
  • Also download the Vanilla eMMC image (.bin file) from the same page. It will look like “RX-51_2009SE_1.2009.41-1.VANILLA_PR_EMMC_MR0_ARM.bin”
  • Save both  to C:\ProgramFiles\maemo\flasher-3.5\. My suggestion is to rename them to something simple such as RX-51.bin for the firmware and R.bin for the eMMC, this will make typing the commands easier later on.
  • Make sure that the battery is fully charged and switch off the device.
  • Open the Command Prompt by going to Start then Run and type cmd, then press Enter.
  • Change directory to the flasher’s program path by entering:
cd "C:\ProgramFiles\maemo\flasher-3.5"
  • Connect the USB cable while holding the ‘u’ key on the N900. Within an instant you will see a USB icon on the top right corner of the N900. Now leave the ‘u’ key.
  • Run the following command:
flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51.bin -f -R
  • I typed RX-51.bin because I had renamed the file earlier, otherwise it would have been: (this was the name of the latest firmware, the name may vary after a new firmware comes out)
flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51_2009SE_2.2009.51-1_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R"
  • You will see text similar to the one below on your PC.

How To Hard Reset The N900How To Hard Reset The N900

  • The update will take about 3 minutes after which the N900 will reboot and display the Welcome screen with Regional settings.

The next step is to flash the Mass Storage or the eMMC. The first few steps are identical to the way you would flash the firmware. If you are following on from the above and already have the command prompt open, you can directly proceed to step number 3.

  • Open the Command Prompt by going to Start then Run and type cmd, then press Enter.
  • Change directory to the flasher’s program path by entering:
cd "C:\ProgramFiles\maemo\flasher-3.5"
  • Connect the USB cable while holding the ‘u’ key on the N900. Within an instant you will see a USB icon on the top right corner of the N900. Now leave the ‘u’ key.
  • Execute the following command:

flasher-3.5.exe -F R.bin -f -R"
  • I typed R.bin because I had renamed the file earlier, otherwise it would have been

flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51_2009SE_1.2009.41-1.VANILLA_PR_EMMC_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R
  • You will see text similar to the one below on your PC.
How To Hard Reset The N900
  • The flash will take around 1 minute after which the device will reboot.
  • The bright Nokia screen will come up on the screen with the USB icon on the top right followed by progression dots with yellow LED blinking for a few seconds. The device will then turn off and go into charging mode with the yellow LED blinking (NOTE: If the device appears to reboot, unplug the cable.)
  • Unplug cable and wait for device to turn off completely. You may hear a sound (punk) of the device turning off.

That’s it. You have now hard reset the N900 to the factory state. This procedure can be used to update the firmware on your device as well, if you wish you can leave formatting the eMMC if your intention is only to update the firmware. Please make sure that the battery on your N900 is completely charged, otherwise you might brick it.

This guide has been adapted from this immensely useful wiki on maemo.org.

Disclaimer: Please do this at your own risk.

92 thoughts on “How To Hard Reset The N900 To The Factory State”

  1. i got the same problem as Isless200045

    ” suitable USB device not found, waiting. ”

    i waited 1hr still the same.im using window xp ferrari 1000.
    anyone pls help me

  2. TTTHHHHAAANNNNKKKSSSS in a million dude, you saved my phone. The way you descriped how to do it is GREAT. Again thanks in a million.

  3. For those who got:

    ” suitable USB device not found, waiting. ”

    Please note that the cable drivers are NOT win7 x64 compatible.
    Run the tool from a 32BITS OS, and it works fine.

  4. You are a star , so many thanks for easing the process . Worked like a charm (after renaming the emmc image to r.bin)removing the full rootfs problem after overuse of extra-devel apps .

  5. “I did install a zagg invisible shield last night. and you have to use this soapy water solution to install it.”
    Where else can I read about it?

  6. hey guys always first flash the emmc image then install the firmware if u flash the firmware file ist and then installl the emmc 1000000% u will brick ur nokia n90000
    asshole give us wrong guide go check the page from ware u download the firmware and emmc files and read there they said the always flash ist emmc then firmware

  7. For those who got:

    ” suitable USB device not found, waiting. ”

    Please note that the cable drivers are NOT win7 x64 compatible.
    Run the tool from a 32BITS OS, and it works fine.

    THIS CAN BE DONE USING 64 BIT VISTA DESPITE THE ABOVE LIMITATION NOTED:

    How to get N900 flasher to work in Windows 7 64-bit (x64).

    Install Flasher 3.5 – http://tablets-dev.nokia.com/maemo-dev-env-downloads.php
    Download libusb-win32-bin-1.2.2.0.zip – http://sourceforge.net/projects/libusb-win32/
    Press U while starting N900 and attach USB
    Wait for the original driver to install.
    Run inf-wizard.exe (bin folder in zip) – Run as Administrator

    Press “Next”
    Search in list and select “0×0421 – 0×0105 – Nokia N900 (Update Mode)”
    Press “Next”
    Press “Next”
    Save .inf file
    Press “Install Now”
    Press “Install this driver software anyway” on warning message.
    You should get “Installation successful.” and press OK.

    Check Windows Device Manager for “libusb-win32 devices”, expand and verify “Nokia N900 (Update Mode)” can be found.
    Now you are ready to run Flasher 3.5 with your parameters.

    this was posted on another forum by a guy called codetracer – thank him/her for it.

  8. How many people will be misled by this tutorial.

    As the time of this writing April 26, 2011, it says in the N900 download:

    NOTE: Always flash the eMMC image first, then the FIASCO image immediately after that. Never boot up the device between flashing the FIASCO image and the eMMC image! When flashing eMMC always also flash FIASCO rootfs – NEVER boot the device between the two flashes.

    But clearly on the instructions, it’s the other way around.

    Even in the unlockr.com – in the video of the guy, it’s the other way around.

    I don’t know who’s fault it is. Very clearly, Nokia, also changed the instruction (as proof: see the video of the unlockr).

    What gives guys?

  9. Ummo,
    Thanks very much for digging up that nice tip for Windows7 x86_64 users. It worked like a charm.

    I did try flashing VANILLA eMMC first (as suggested by nokia, as it makes sense) and made sure I don’t specify -R option. But then flashing FIASCO (the other image) didn’t work. It didn’t report any error but the phone rebooted (since for the FIASCO image -R option was used). Now the phone started up very sluggish and unidentifed characters (actually tiny squares) on the screen. I guess it was my enter security code screen with missing character encoding. Now I tried to reset into Updater mode again (with u-button pressed) and this time flashed FIASCO straight away. It did take a bit more time and viola….

  10. UMMM, i have a windows xp 32 bit edition only. it still says
    “suitable usb device not found, waiting”
    need to get this done asap. please help :(

  11. great! now my phone doesnt have any images….. everything is grey with black lines.. the buttons looks like windows 95 and there is no text only gibberish… :( plzzzz can somebody help me? (i followed exactly the article)

  12. Hi. Everyone. I have a problem with flashing an eMMC file, Firmware is flashing without any problems at all any time but NOT eMMC, I was keep trying to change USB ports but nothing, keep saying ( Device not found. waiting and a little text on the right corner of my Windows XP SP3 appear (I’M USING ALSO NETBOOK), please help !!!! maybe there is something I don’t know really or any other ways to flash eMMC ? Thanks all

  13. Sorrry…on the right bottom corner appears text in the box which says that New hardware might not work properly, because drivers or something else missing, but HOW can it be if Firmware is flashing without any problem, smooth easy and fast but not eMMC ;@@@@ HELP PLEASE!!!!!

  14. hi when i start cmd it cant not find the path of flasher C:\ProgramFiles\maemo\flasher-3.5
    when i type this the cmd says
    the system can not the path specified

    help me plz

  15. hi once again the cmd problem has been solved
    but now whe i put this command flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51.bin -f -R
    nothing happens

  16. I have downloaded and installed flasher 3.5 on windows XP.. I have downloaded and copied the latest firmware and copied it to the flasher directory.

    I run the mobile on Flasher mode and I can see the USB icon on top right corner with Nokia written in centre of screen

    When I give the command as specified in directory, it gives %m.. I dont know whts is that?? Following is the copy of commands and response from command prompt of Win Xp

    D:\Program Files\maemo\flasher-3.5>flasher-3.5 -F RX-51_2009SE_3.2010.02-8.003_P
    R_COMBINED_003_ARM.bin -f -R
    flasher v2.5.2 (Sep 24 2009)

    RX-51_2009SE_3.2010.02-8.003_PR_COMBINED_003_ARM.bin: %m

    D:\Program Files\maemo\flasher-3.5>flasher-3.5 -F RX-51_2009SE_3.2010.02-8.003_P
    R_COMBINED_003_ARM -f -R
    flasher v2.5.2 (Sep 24 2009)

    RX-51_2009SE_3.2010.02-8.003_PR_COMBINED_003_ARM: %m

    D:\Program Files\maemo\flasher-3.5>

    It does not flash but gives %m.. What does it means.>?????? And what to do now??

  17. help help ! after i flash my N900, it doesn’t work with any sim cards at all. what can i do ? thanks in advance !

  18. hi every1
    after i finish the flash.i run my device and i found the big problem:
    there is no picture
    there is no sound
    the screen is fully black
    pleaese i want a quick answer

  19. Can someone please help, I’m using a windows 7 OS, during my first step of holding the u button down and connecting device, then running the command (flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51.bin -f -R), the following information comes up:

    Flasher v2.5.2 (Sep 24 2009)
    RX.bin: %m

    C:\program Files\maemo\flasher-3.5>

    Now this is the only thing that happens or comes up, what am I missing? What havent I done?or is my phone cooked!?

  20. all the solutions provided just works.. my problem was with usb device not found.. and %m ..

    thanks guys for the reliable info…

  21. Thank you very much for the instructions and the files but after the procedure its not showing me the network operator…I am from India, please suggest.

    thanks
    Namit

  22. Hi all,
    please make this clear, as of now 2011 November, with latest images, which one first to flash ? emmc or firmware ?

  23. wow! for over a year since i started using the n900, i’ve had to meet experts in order to fix my phone, but thanx to “whoever posted this article”i just flashed my phone and recovered it from a really critical problem. thanx man

  24. please reply
    problem with flasher
    good to >> flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.19-1_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f >> compelte

    but error on >>
    flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.13-2.VANILLA_PR_EMMC_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R >> Suitable USB device not found, waiting.

  25. had the same issue… did the MMC first then firmware.
    using windows 7

    i unplugged the USB after the MMC update
    WAIT for about a few minutes (i think windows needed time to unload the device)

    then press U on your N900 and plug in the usb again. when you feel it vibrate,
    the flasher should then resume

    my phone is working fine now :)

  26. i tried using xp mode and using win7 but trying to flash the emmc ..it stops at the sw version and then reboots….but i am using the cssu update and trying to use the latest global release

  27. after format my internal memory drive it does not boot, when i start my nokia n900 with power button and then problem start – it start and show nokia logo and goes off and it start show nokia logo and again went off this goes on that way. Even while charging battery from the wall it show same problem it blink and goes off what is the problem please help me

  28. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However
    I am going through problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody having similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  29. HI
    I am running it on windows 7 32-bit
    I kept all req files in prog/maemo/flasher

    when i run the command on cmd
    windows ask either to procced or not which is normal
    once i say yes
    a another CMD WINDOW comes in FLASH and Gone
    meanwhile nothing happen on my shitty N900

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