Kindle Hacking: Changing the Screen Saver Pictures on the Kindle 2 and DX

Article_HeaderThis may or may not have anything to do with the soon-to-be-announced ComicBase 14, but for my fellow Kindle fans out there,  I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned in the last month or two to help you make the most of your Kindle 2 or Kindle DX (I’m afraid I don’t have access to an original Kindle, so I can’t vouch for hacks which are meant for that platform).

First up: I love the screen savers on the Kindle, but I wanted  like to swap up the pictures for ones of my own choosing. But the pictures in question live on a hidden partition which isn’t user-accessible. Here’s how you do it:

1. Get your Pictures Ready

For the Kindle 2

Get your favorite images, and save them in 600 (width) x 800 (height) format, in .jpg (or .gif or  .png) file format. Make sure you leave a bit of a margin in your image as the viewable area of the image will be slightly smaller than the physical dimensions would indicate. Color is fine, but keep in mind that you’ll be viewing them in 16 shades of gray on the Kindle. Also, smaller images load faster than large ones, so try to keep the image sizes under 300K or so.

The Kindle will cycle through your images in order of their file names, so if you have a particular order in mind, you might want to save the files with a number in front of their name, e.g. “01_My First Image.jpg”)

For the Kindle DX

The same advice applies as with the Kindle 2, except that you will want to save your images at 824 (width) x 1200 (height)

2. Plug In Your Kindle via USB.

It will appear as a removable drive under My Computer

3. Set Your Computer to Show Hidden System Files

Go to Start > Settings > Control Panels > Folder Options and click the View tab. Scroll down and uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files” box, then click OK. This will let you see the hidden “System” folder on your Kindle.

4. Copy the appropriate “hack” to the top level of your Kindle

The following hacks come from MobileRead Forums user ClarkNova. I’ve tested them myself and can verify they work great on my Kindles, but they’re not official releases from Amazon, so caveat hacker (use at your own risk). They both basically work by showing the invisible partition on your Kindle which holds the built-in screen savers, allowing you to modify that folder. They’re also reversible using a second hack (at the end of this article).

For the Kindle 2

http://www.comicbase.com/Kindle/Kindle_2_Screen_Saver_Hack.zip

Download and unzip the above folder. Copy the enclosed file,  “Update_kindle2_user_screen_savers.bin” to the top level of your Kindle.

For the Kindle DX

http://www.comicbase.com/Kindle/DX_Screen_Saver_Hack.zip

Download and unzip the above folder. Copy the enclosed file,  “update_DX_screensaverhack-install.bin” to the top level of your Kindle.

5. Update your Kindle

Unplug your Kindle from your USB connection and restart it by pressing its Home button, Menu button, choosing Settings, pressing Menu again, then clicking Update Your Kindle. When the it’s done, it will restart.

6. Copy Your New Pictures to the Kindle

Plug in your Kindle Again via USB and you’ll see a new folder in your Kindle’s System folder called “screen_saver”. Inside are all the original Kindle screen saver pictures which you can add to or replace with your own pictures that you prepared in Step 1. Because we’re good like that, we’ve thoughtfully provided you Eight Fantabulous Glen Orbik Original Paintings from ComicBase, in Kindle 2 and Kindle DX format which you can download as well.

7. Restart your Kindle

Unplug your Kindle from your USB connection and restart it by pressing its Home button, Menu button, choosing Settings, pressing Menu again, then clicking Restart. Your new screen saver images will now appear in rotation. 
 


 

Undoing the Hack

If you ever want to go back to the original screen savers, just plug in your Kindle, and copy the the “Update_kindle2_restore_default_screen_savers.bin” file (for the Kindle 2) or the “update_DX_screensaverhack-uninstall.bin” (for the Kindle DX) to the top level of your Kindle. Update your Kindle by doing the Home, Menu > Settings, Menu > Update Your Kindle routine, and it’ll undo the hack and restart your Kindle.

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12 responses to “Kindle Hacking: Changing the Screen Saver Pictures on the Kindle 2 and DX

  1. Hey! I have a kindle 2, did everything here and it doesn’t work. Do we have to put the images in a specific folder? thanks!

  2. I recently had a fright when I left my kindle in a bathroom at work and thought I lost it! It was turned in to lost/found, but I realized that I didn’t have proper ID on it. I created an image file with my picture, phone number and email address along with a statement…”this kindle belongs to…” and uploaded it as the ONLY screensaver. I made back-ups of the original images to my PC and deleted them on the kindle. Now my pic and ID info is the only screensaver for my Kindle. The hack works, cool!

  3. I recently tried to update my Kindle’s firmware to Rev. 2.3. I could not get it to work. I called Kindle support and they wanted to make sure no “hacks” were on the system and asked if I had changed the Screen saver. I did using this hack (or a similar post) a few months ago. They told me that was why I could not upgrade to the new firmware. Anyway, I removed the hack, it still didn’t upgrade (lots of hack files were still on the Kindle) and then I did a reset to original specs. Only then did the firmware upgrade. I then had to unarchive all my books (it seems to be a step by step process – no global unarchive). Anyway, I don’t know if it was this hack or something else in my Kindle, but I miss my own screen saver, but thought I would report this.

  4. This does not work with Version 2.3 of firmware on Kindle 2. Are there any updates for the hack? Thanks

  5. I also tried this version of the screensaver hack with Kindle2 version 2.3 firmware, and it fails. A new hack is available at http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63225

    I installed that screensaver hack on version 2.3, and it works fine!

  6. I tried it on my Kindle DX v2.1 and it works just fine. Even the undoing works perfect. Thanks.

  7. For all Kindle’s up to version 2.5 you get help at:
    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86355&page=2
    tried it on my Kindle DX v2.5 now, works perfect, bless ClarkNova.

  8. Does hacking void the warrenty?

  9. Just tried this on my Kindle DX 2.5.5 and no luck with the updating in step 5. Just got an error message (code 0003). I’d be interested to know if anyone else has experienced this on the same version number, or just me.

  10. This is really random, but would you mind sharing the jpg for the really awesome screensaver shown in the pictures? (I’m assuming it’s yours, though I may be wrong.) Thanks!

  11. Hi everyone!

    The procedure in this page does not work with recent Kindles. I recommend using this:

    http://www.kubizo.com/changing-kindle-screensaver.php

    It’s an automatic installer that does all the job for you. No need to fumble with hacks.

    PS: the error update on a Kindle 2 is normal if you used the NiLuJe jailbreak. The kubizo application uses the Yifan Lu jailbreak, then you’ll get a “update successful” message on any kindle.

    Ciao!

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