Kindles are pretty reliable devices. However, like any other complicated device (or, you know, relationship or person), things do go wrong from time to time.
When that happens, there are some things you can try. They may fix the problem, they may not. That information in and of itself is a useful diagnostic.
When something goes wrong, you may want to just directly contact Amazon Kindle Customer Service. They are highly rated, and I’ve had some good experiences with them myself. They can’t always solve your problem, but they may just offer to give you a new Kindle instead. I have even heard about them helping people after a Kindle was out of warranty. You contact them starting here:
A lot of people like using the “Call Me” feature…Amazon will call you back. If you prefer, you can call them:
Inside the US 1-866-321-8851
Outside the US: 1-206-266-0927
Another option is to search the Kindle Help pages:
Make sure you put your search terms where it says Search Help, rather than in the main search box.
That said, here are some things I’ve found useful:
NOTE: THESE INITIAL INSTRUCTIONS ARE GOOD FOR ANY KINDLE EXCEPT THE KINDLE 1
When in doubt, try pressing Home. Your Kindle will normally respond to that.
If your Kindle is behaving oddly in other ways, but you can get to Home, try this:
Unplug your Kindle from any power sources (wall or USB). Then…
Give your Kindle time to restart (a minute or so).
If your Kindle can not go to home, or you otherwise can’t get to the Restart menu choice, hold your power button to your right as you face the screen for a good twenty seconds. This should force a restart. This should be done with the Kindle disconnected from any power sources. If that doesn’t work, try it again. If that doesn’t work, try it with the Kindle plugged into the wall. If that doesn’t work, contact Customer Service as above.
KINDLE 1 OWNERS: To do a “hard restart” on your device, do leave it plugged into the wall. Take the plastic cover off the back…it will come off very easily. Use something like a paperclip, and insert it into the pinhole in the back. The Kindle will restart itself.
KINDLE 1 OWNERS: One part of troubleshooting is always to remove the SD card (turn the Kindle off first, if you can). The SD cards cause quite a few problems.
Your Kindle connects to the internet the same way a cellphone gets calls…by connecting to a local cell tower. How strong your signal is will depend largely on that tower. As you physically move different places, you’ll have different strength signals.
The two current Kindles (both the 6″ and the 9.7″) use AT&T. The older Kindles used Sprint. The change was in part to enable the Kindles to use international wireless.
If you have been able to connect before and you can’t now, there are a few things you can try:
1. Clear your cookies, cache, and history. Start your browser, and then hit Menu…you’ll see your choices
2. On an AT&T based Kindle, try this: Home-Menu-Settings, type 311. You may see a series of provider choices. Try some different ones
3. On a Sprint based Kindle, try this: Home-Menu-Settings, type 611, back, type 411, Home…then try to connect again
Clearing your cookies, cache, and history may also help you get a blog delivered again if it stops coming.
The Kindles can only play MP3s, in terms of music. The most common problem I encounter is that people have put music in other formats on the Kindle…for example, directly from iTunes. To play the music as background, you also need to put it in the music folder on the Kindle.
You can only start text-to-speech while you are in a document that can do text-to-speech. You can not start it (or even select the option) from the Experimental menu, and some publishers have blocked the access. You also can not use text-to-speech on unconverted pdfs (although you can on converted ones).
Open a document with text-to-speech enabled. When you have the document open, you can check by hitting the Aa button…if it has been blocked, you won’t have the option.
I normally start it playing with Shift+Sym (Shift is the Up arrow).
If you can’t hear it, check the volume control on the right edge of the Kindle.
Text-to-speech is not available on the Kindle 1.
Setting the clock
You can’t set the clock manually…it has to get the time from a cell tower.
Books missing from the homescreen
When your Kindle resets, it may not show you any books on the homescreen and tell you that you have zero archived items. If you do Home-Menu-Sync and Check for Items, that should restore it (if you can connect to the Whispernet). You can check to see if the books are actually on the Kindle by connecting the to your computer using your USB cable. You should see the books in the documents folder.
Kindle not remembering your page
There are a couple of common causes for this. First, you should go back to the Home page after you finish reading each time. That’s apparently when your “last page” information is sent to Amazon. Of course, it also needs to connect to the Whispernet to do that. It’s also possible that you have Whispersync enabled, and that someone else is reading the same book on one of your other devices. To check that, go to
and go to the bottom of the page.
If you are reading the same book on more than one device, it’s better to have it on.
If two people are reading the same book on different devices, it is better to have it off.
It’s also possible the book is in the Topaz format..there are lots of problems reported with those. You can check that: connect your Kindle to your computer using your USB cord. Look at the file names. If it ends in AZW, you are okay. If it is AZW1 or TPZ, that’s a Topaz file.
Amazon not backing up your annotations
Amazon only backs up annotations for Kindle store items. If you got the book somewhere else, they don’t back it up. You can see if it has your notes by going to
It’s also possible that you have turned off the back-up of the annotations. You can check by going to Home-Menu-Settings-Menu. You can turn it on and off there.
Battery draining too quickly
This seems to most commonly be due to the Kindle indexing the books you’ve bought. It needs to do that, and that does take some battery…not much does take much power on the Kindle, but that’s one of them. Sometimes, you’ll have a book file that is corrupted, or for other reasons can’t be indexed. That doesn’t mean that the Kindle will stop trying, though, and that drains the battery.
You can check this. Search for a nonsense word, like XYZZ. The Kindle will then tell you if there are unindexed items. If any of them have been on there for awhile, considering removing them from the Kindle. On anything except a K1, go to the title in the homescreen and flick left. On a K1, instead of flicking, you use the backspace (backward pointing arrow).
Kindle running slowly
First, the more you have on there, the slower it is going to do some things. Consider removing titles you aren’t currently reading.
Second, Kindle Customer Service gave me instructions some time back on forcing a reindex:
Please follow the instructions below to re-index your Kindle.
Removing the index files on both the internal memory and on the SD card. Steps for removal -
** Connect the Kindle to AC power before connecting to the computer **
On a Windows PC:
1. In Windows Explorer, Select Tools – Folder Options
2. In Folder Options, select the View Tab
3. In the View List, select the radio button to Show Hidden Files and Folders
4. Deselect the checkbox to Hide protected operating system files (the customer
may wish to re-enable after removing the index files from the Kindle)
5. Connect the Kindle to the PC
6. Open the Kindle internal memory on the PC
7. Open the System folder on the Kindle disk
8. Open the Search Indexes folder inside the System folder
9. Select all files inside the System Indexes folder and move them to the
10. Open the Kindle’s SD card on the PC – repeat steps 7-9 to remove the index
11. Safely eject the Kindle and the Kindle’s SD card from the PC
12. Disconnect the Kindle from the computer
On a Mac running OS X:
1. Connect the Kindle to the Mac
2. Open the Kindle internal memory on the Mac
3. Open the System folder on the Kindle disk
4. Open the Search Indexes folder inside the System folder
5. Select all files inside the System Indexes folder and move them to the Trash
6. Open the Kindle’s SD card on the PC – repeat steps 7-9 to remove the index
7. Eject the Kindle and the Kindle’s SD card from the Desktop
8. Disconnect the Kindle from the computer
PLEASE NOTE: Once the indexes are removed from the device, the Kindle will start
re-indexing all content.
It is highly recommended the user keep the device connected to power while the Kindle re-indexes the content. Indexing of all content should complete within 24 hours, at which time the increased power usage from heavy indexing will subside.
After this point, the device should behave as expected.
One other thing: there is a reset to factory defaults option, but you are only supposed to do that when directed to do so by Kindle Customer Service, so I’ll let them talk you through that.
I’ll probably do another post like this in the future. If you have questions, feel free to let me know.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.