I updated a Kindle Paperwhite…and it broke it…and then I found a workaround!
I recently wrote about a
The Kindle Paperwhite I use is an older generation, and wasn’t eligible for this update.
My Significant Other had a 6th generation Kindle Paperwhite which was eligible.
My SO hadn’t used it in some time. I think unexpectedly, my SO now reads on a now discontinue Kindle Fire HDX…which is also a daily device of mine (and one I like very much).
So, I found it, charged it up, went to
double-checked that I was getting the right download version for the device, and manually updadoted it (following Amazon’s directions precisely…I generally do that, in part to test how clear their directions are for other people).
It went through the update process, but then…
Just as it would be going to the homescreen (that’s one of the big changes), I got an “Application Error” message box, that told me
“The selected application could not be started. Please try again.”
All I had was a blank screen…still illuminated, but blank.
I restarted it.
I downloaded the file again from Amazon, went back through the install process.
I couldn’t do anything with it except use the power button to restart it, or put it into USB mode by plugging it into my computer.
Now, I often say how I generally find Amazon’s Kindle Support to be friendly and helpful, and that has been the case.
I went to
That worked in its normal satisfying fashion: my phone rang in seconds, and I was speaking to a person within a minute.
Well, I was with that person on the phone for close to an hour.
While it isn’t my primary job responsibility, I do phone tech support at work. I do think I know something about it, both as a user of phone tech support and to a small extent, as a provider of it.
Generally, Amazon is very, very good on this.
In this case, it could have been improved. They tell us that these calls could be recorded for training purposes. I honestly hope this is one of them.
It’s not just that the problem couldn’t get fixed…hey, sometimes, things are really broken.
It’s that the representative kept forgetting what my actual situation was.
More than once, the rep asked me to go to the settings menu…when I repeatedly responded that I couldn’t get to the menus at all, since all I had was a blank screen (no amount of swiping or restarting would change that).
I was asked if my wi-fi was on: I said I assumed it was. I was asked to verify it: I had to say (again) that I couldn’t get into anything that would enable me to check it.
The person with whom I was speaking was in what was probably a group chat, asking other Amazon employees questions. I have no problem with that: I do that myself. We can’t all know it all, and it’s great sometimes to have shared wisdom on a perhaps unusual circumstance (I’m sure many people have update sixth generation Paperwhites with no problem.
One creative solution was to rename the downloaded “bin” file, which is the update.
Unfortunately, that didn’t fix it, but it was a nice try.
I was asked if I had modified this Paperwhite: nope, this one is for my Significant Other, and I really, really don’t mess with those. I want unmodified ones precisely so I can have the typical user experience in situations like this.
Finally, after more than 45 minutes, I was transferred to someone who was actually an expert in this.
Within ten minutes, the verdict was, yes, it was broken. 🙂
I was out of warranty…so they offered me a discount on the purchase of a future device.
How much of a discount?
It seemed like $10 or $15, depending on the price of the device…and that they would send me an e-mail with the information.
I haven’t gotten an e-mail, as far as I can tell (I checked my spam folder, besides my inbox).
I’ve never had that happen from Amazon before, either…where they said I would get an e-mail, and I didn’t.
My Significant Other came home while I was on the second call, and could tell I was frustrated.
I almost never get frustrated, so that was a bit shocking. 🙂
I think I was still civil, although I was probably shorter with the second person than I should have been.
Bottom line: I do think I probably did as instructed by Amazon, and I do think it made the device unable to perform. Amazon could have, I think, handled my Customer Service experience better…and that is very atypical of my experiences with them in the past. I’m guessing (hoping?) it was just a fluke.
I’m letting you know, in part to say that perhaps manually updating your sixth generation Paperwhite may not be advised.
One additional point, and this is interesting.
I was getting the Special Offers “screensaver” before it would go to a blank screen when I swipe. Yes, I know, I know…the only thing working on the Paperwhite was the ad. 😉
However, it occurred to me that maybe I would bypass the broken application if I had it go to the offer instead.
I tried that this morning…and it worked!
From there, I could try getting to settings (not that I can do much there now), but that is only the store settings.
There was a “Home” button I could reach though…and I tapped it.
It took me to a “slideshow” about my update!
Hey, I just got through the slideshow…and I’m on the new homescreen!
I tested to see if that would persist by restarting it…and it failed with the same white screen and error message.
When I toggled the device on and off (using the power button), I got the Special Offers screen again…and by going through that special deal, I once again was able to get to the Homescreen!
I’ll let Amazon know about this “back door” method. That doesn’t fix the Paperwhite, but at least it is usable again.
I also want to mention that I did try downloading the other generation Paperwhite updates…and in each case, it correctly identified them with messages that they were the incorrect versions, so I know I had the right one initially…I was confident in that, but I wanted to test.
Hm…it is quite slow, so since I now have access to the menus, I’m trying to reset it to factory defaults to see what happens.
Okay, having gone through the reset, it does seem to work, and it tells me it is at the current version (5.7.2). I do have the new homescreen experience. One more test: I’ll restart it and see if it gives me that blank screen…
Well! So far, it all seems to work! I need to test it more, but virtual fingers crossed. Oh, and I did just put a passcode on it to test to see if that feature might have been what was broken, but that also worked.
I’ll contact Amazon directly and know about this…I will also offer them their discount back…presuming I actually get it. 😉 I now feel great that I solved the problem! Not great about the Customer Service call, but it’s hard to keep an optimist down for long. 😉
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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.