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3-Button Fix for Samsung Galaxy S

Page history last edited by Mike Diamond 9 years, 9 months ago



Before we get started, please take a moment to read and understand this paragraph.  Herein, I describe how to do something you shouldn't be doing.  I make no claim that this will work nor whether it's legal.  It's definitely not supported by anybody, including Samsung, Google, and myself.  In fact, this is guaranteed to void your warranty, and may irreversibly destroy your phone.  I am in no way responsible for that or any other outcome.  The information that follows is a transcription of my own opinion and experience, and may in fact be entirely false.


Preamble regarding Recovery Mode

I bought an International Samsung Galaxy S recently (namely the GT-I9000), and wantedneeded to root it.  But despite all the articles I read on the net agreeing that you needed to reboot the phone into Recovery Mode using a magic "three finger salute", it simply refused to work for me.  A bit more digging, mainly over at the xda-developers site, revealed that this was a known issue on several of these phones.  Though the comments couldn't agree on whether or not this was done on purpose by Samsung, the cause was a "faulty" secondary boot loader, and there was a fix!


Now before we get into the fix, I would like to point out something else.  You do not need to fix this problem to enter recovery mode.  The fix outlined below uses "adb" to fix the problem, and adb itself can be used to reboot the phone into recovery mode ("adb reboot recovery" and "adb reboot download" are the two commands that will put the phone into the two modes you typically need for rooting, avoiding the three-button reboot requirement).  HOWEVER, a smart person will fix this problem anyway, in case you ever break the adb interface on your phone, or for the event that one day, you simply can't get adb to work, no matter the reason.


Another note: most of the commenters seem to refer to a two-button salute to bring the phone into "Download Mode" (Download Mode is different than Recovery Mode, and the two buttons they refer to are Volume Down + Power).  Note that even after the fix described below, this button combo doesn't work for me.  You need to press the Home Button too...


  • Volume UP + Home + Power On (Recovery Mode)
  • Volume DOWN + Home + Power On (Download Mode)


Performing the salute is simple:


  • Turn off the phone.  Wait for the vibration to confirm it's fully off
  • Perform the three-button-salute.  Hold down all three buttons (power last)
  • When the screen first displays something, let go of the power button only
  • When the recovery/download screen appears, let go of the other two buttons


If the above doesn't work for you, try it again.  If it still doesn't work for you, you probably have the 3-button issue described herein.  Read on for a fix...



I have found two documented fixes for this problem:


  1. Here, on xda-developers (I did NOT use this method)
  2. Here, on addictivetips (I DID use this method)



In case the site ever disappears, here it is reproduced:



There was an unlucky batch of some Samsung GT-I9000 Galaxy S phones that cannot be put into download and recovery modes using the standard three-button combos. This poses a huge problem for the users of these phones, as they cannot literally apply any mods, leaked firmware etc whatsoever.


The problem is caused by a faulty SBL (secondary bootloader) in these devices. Luckily, a fix exists for this issue, involving flashing a custom ‘fixed’ secondary bootloader to your device, that should enable the 3-button combos once again.



Please note this process is highly dangerous, and can permanently brick your device if not followed properly. While the success rate is over 99%, proceed at your own risk. The instructions provided herein are ‘as is’ only, with no liability on AddictiveTips part.



 Make sure that you have:

  • Samsung drivers preinstalled (verify this by checking that Kies actually recognizes your phone)
  • ADB installed on your machine (refer to this guide here to ensure that)


Mike says: This caused a bit of headache for me.  Here's my summary of the guide linked to above:

  1. First, ADB requires the Java JDK is installed on your machine.  The JRE is not sufficient.
  2. Second, if you install the 64-bit JDK under Windows 7 (perhaps this applies to other 64-bit versions as well), there is a problem.  ADB "looks for" the JDK in the registry in one specific location.  Unfortunately, that location differs between the 32-bit and 64-bit installations of the JDK.  So ADB will never find the 64-bit JDK installation, and will therefore never run.  There is a registry fix available:  copy the HKLM\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft registry tree to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft.  Problem solved.
    1. Launch regedit
    2. Navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft"
    3. Highlight the "Java Development Kit" key
    4. Click File > Export...
    5. At the bottom of the Export dialog, select "Selected branch"
    6. Save it to a new file that you can find easily 
    7. Open that file in a text editor
    8. There should be three entries like this: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Development Kit]
    9. Add "Wow6432Node\" just before JavaSoft - no spaces: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft\Java Development Kit]
    10. Save the file
    11. Double click the file to merge it into the registry
  3. Next, launch Android SDK Manager (Start > Programs > Android SDK Tools > SDK Manager)
  4. It should automatically prompt you to install packages.  Install them.  This takes time.  If anybody out there knows which package specifically is required for 'adb', please let me know
  5. The guide says that adb is in the 'tools' subfolder.  Not so.  It's in 'platform-tools'.  On my machine, the full path was: 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools'


  • USB Debugging mode turned on in device’s settings (go to “Settings –> Applications –> Development” menu)
  • Without plugging in the USB cable, type *#0228# in the phone dialer, and ensure that Voltage value is AT LEAST 3800 (mV). (This must be done WITHOUT plugging in the USB cable).
  • Odin3 Multi-downloader v1.3 (can be downloaded here)
  • Modified SBL tar file (Download here) (Mike's link: P-SBL.tar.md5.tar)
  • Removed SIM and external microSD cards


When all set, start Odin in administrator mode (or run it with an admin account). Load the downloaded TAR file as PDA, and make sure that Re-partition is UNCHECKED and Phone Bootloader Update is CHECKED.




Now plug the USB cable into the phone. Start a new command prompt window and navigate to the folder/directory where you have installed ADB.


Put the phone in download mode using adb method. Enter the following command:

adb reboot download


This will put your phone in download mode. Check Odin now, and if ID:COM has turned yellow, you’re good to go. (Again ensure that you have not selected any other files than the one in PDA, and that re-partition and bootloader update options are correct)


Mike says: also, look at your phone, and make sure the screen is showing you that it's in download mode:



Once you’re satisfied, press the Start button on Odin. The flash will take about three seconds, after which your phone will reboot automatically.


That’s it. This should fix your download and recovery mode 3-button combo issue. You can now apply any mods with the normal procedure.



To go in Download mode, press and hold Volume Down + Home + Power Button

For Recovery mode, press and hold Volume Up + Home + Power Button

Also check out our guide on flashing Froyo on your Samsung Galaxy S phone via Odin.



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