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2  Installation

Installing Rockbox is generally a quick and easy procedure. However before beginning there are a few important things to know.

2.1 Before Starting
2.2 Installing Rockbox
2.2.1 Automated Installation
2.2.2 Manual Installation
2.2.3 Bootloader installation from Windows
2.2.4 Bootloader installation from Mac OS X and Linux
2.2.5 Finishing the install
2.2.6 Enabling Speech Support (optional)
2.3 Running Rockbox
2.4 Updating Rockbox
2.5 Uninstalling Rockbox
2.5.1 Automatic Uninstallation
2.5.2 Manual Uninstallation
2.6 Troubleshooting

2.1  Before Starting

DRM capability.
It is possible that installation of the bootloader may lead to you permanently losing the ability to playback files with DRM.
USB connection.
To transfer Rockbox to your player you need to connect it to your computer. For manual installation/uninstallation, or should autodetection fail during automatic installation, you need to know where to access the player. On Windows this means you need to know the drive letter associated with the player. On Linux you need to know the mount point of your player. On Mac OS X you need to know the volume name of your player.

Note: The following steps require you to change the setting in Settings USB Mode to MSC from within the original firmware.

2.2  Installing Rockbox

There are two ways to install Rockbox: automated and manual. The automated way is the preferred method of installing Rockbox for the majority of people. Rockbox Utility is a graphical application that does almost everything for you. However, should you encounter a problem, then the manual way is still available to you.

There are two separate components which need to be installed in order to run Rockbox:

The Rockbox bootloader.

The bootloader is the program that tells your player how to load and start other components of Rockbox and for providing the dual boot function. This is the component of Rockbox that is installed to the flash memory of your Sansa.

The Rockbox firmware.
Unlike the Sansa firmware, which runs entirely from flash memory, most of the Rockbox code is contained in a “build” that resides on your player’s drive. This makes it easy to update Rockbox. The build consists of a directory called .rockbox which contains all of the Rockbox files, and is located in the root of your player’s drive.

Apart from the required parts there are some addons you might be interested in installing.

Rockbox can load custom fonts. The fonts are distributed as a separate package and thus need to be installed separately. They are not required to run Rockbox itself but a lot of themes require the fonts package to be installed.
The appearance of Rockbox can be customised by themes. Depending on your taste you might want to install additional themes to change the look of Rockbox.

2.2.1  Automated Installation

To automatically install Rockbox, download the official installer and housekeeping tool Rockbox Utility. It allows you to:

Prebuilt binaries for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X are available at the RockboxUtility wiki page.

When first starting Rockbox Utility run “Autodetect”, found in the configuration dialog (File Configure). Autodetection can detect most player types. If autodetection fails or is unable to detect the mountpoint, make sure to enter the correct values. The mountpoint indicates the location of the player in your filesystem. On Windows, this is the drive letter the player gets assigned, on other systems this is a path in the filesystem.

Rockbox Utility will ask you for a compatible copy of the original firmware. This is because for legal reasons we cannot distribute the bootloader directly. Instead, we have to patch the Sansa firmware with the Rockbox bootloader.

Download a supported version of the Sansa firmware for your Sansa Fuze+ from the Sansa website, links can be found on SansaFuzePlusPort.

Note: Although the only tested version of the original firmware is 02.38.6, Rockbox Utility should be able to patch any newer version.

Note: If the file that you downloaded is a .zip file, use an unzip utility like mentioned in the prerequisites section to extract the firmware.sb from the .zip file to your desktop.

Choosing a Rockbox version

There are three different versions of Rockbox available from the Rockbox website: Release version, current build and archived daily build. You need to decide which one you want to install and get the appropriate version for your player. If you select either “Minimal Installation” or “Complete Installation” from the “Quick Start” tab, then Rockbox Utility will automatically install the release version of Rockbox. Using the “Installation” tab will allow you to select which version you wish to install.

The release version is the latest stable release, free of known critical bugs. For a manual install, the current stable release of Rockbox is available at http://www.rockbox.org/download/.
Development Build.
The development build is built at each change to the Rockbox source code repository and represents the current state of Rockbox development. This means that the build could contain bugs but most of the time is safe to use. For a manual install, you can download the current build from http://build.rockbox.org/.
Archived Build.
In addition to the release version and the current build, there is also an archive of daily builds available for download. These are built once a day from the latest source code in the repository. For a manual install, you can download archived builds from http://www.rockbox.org/daily.shtml.

Note: Because current and archived builds are development versions that change frequently, they may behave differently than described in this manual, or they may introduce new (and potentially annoying) bugs. Unless you wish to try the latest and greatest features at the price of possibly greater instability, or you wish to help with development, you should stick with the release.

Please now go to section 2.2.5 to complete the installation procedure.

2.2.2  Manual Installation

The manual installation method is still available to you, should you need or desire it by following the instructions below. If you have used Rockbox Utility to install Rockbox, then you do not need to follow the next section and can skip straight to section 2.2.5

Installing the firmware

Download your chosen version of Rockbox from the links in the previous section.
Connect your player to the computer via USB in MSC mode as described in the manual that came with your player.
Take the .zip file that you downloaded and use the “Extract all” command of your unzip program to extract the files onto the main data partition of your player.

Note: The entire contents of the .zip file should be extracted directly to the root of your player’s drive. Do not try to create a separate directory on your player for the Rockbox files! The .zip file already contains the internal structure that Rockbox needs.

If the contents of the .zip file are extracted correctly, you will have a directory called .rockbox, which contains all the files needed by Rockbox, in the main directory of your player’s drive.

Installing the bootloader

In order to install the bootloader, you will need to download the following files:

2.2.3  Bootloader installation from Windows

Create a folder called “rbinstall” on your desktop, and then extract the OF, the bootloader and mkimxboot into it.
Open a new command prompt, and navigate to the “rbinstall” folder.
Run mkimxboot.exe, passing according to the following syntax the name of the OF and bootloader files that you downloaded, in addition to a name for the output file and the option argument for dualboot.

  mkimxboot.exe -i firmware.sb -b bootloader-fuzeplus.sansa -o patched.sb -t dualboot

If mkimxboot.exe does not report success, then retry or abort.

Copy the output file (“patched.sb” in the example given above) to the root of the device and rename it to the same name as the OF file you downloaded earlier (“firmware.sb” above).

Please now go to section 2.2.5 to complete the installation procedure.

2.2.4  Bootloader installation from Mac OS X and Linux

Create a folder called “rbinstall” in your home directory, and then extract the OF, the bootloader and mkimxboot into it.
Open a new terminal, and navigate to the “rbinstall” folder.
Run mkimxboot, passing the name of the OF and bootloader files that you downloaded, in addition to a name for the output file and the option argument for dualboot.

  ./mkimxboot -i firmware.sb -b bootloader-fuzeplus.sansa -o patched.sb -t dualboot

If mkimxboot does not report success, then retry or abort.

Copy the output file (“patched.sb” in the example given above) to the root of the device and rename it to the same name as the OF file you downloaded earlier (“firmware.sb” above).

Please now go to section 2.2.5 to complete the installation procedure.

2.2.5  Finishing the install

Warning: Before proceeding further, make sure that your player’s battery is enough charged. Interrupting the next step due to a power failure most likely will brick your player.

Note: If you are updating/reinstalling the bootloader on a previously rockbox installed bootloader you will need to boot into the original firmware in order to perform the following step. See section 3.1.3 for details on how to do so

Update your player’s firmware with the patched bootloader. To do this, safely eject /unmount your player. The update process should start immediatly. The Sansa will display an animation indicating that the firmware update is in progress with words: “Updating Fuze+”. Do not interrupt this process. When the firmware update is complete the player will restart (The update firmware process usually takes one to several minutes.). You are now ready to go.

2.2.6  Enabling Speech Support (optional)

If you wish to use speech support you will also need a voice file. Voice files allow Rockbox to speak the user interface to you. Rockbox Utility can install an English voice file, or you can download it from http://www.rockbox.org/daily.shtml and unzip it to the root of your player. Rockbox Utility can also aid you in the creation of voice files with different voices or in other languages if you have a suitable speech engine installed on your computer. Voice menus are enabled by default and will come into effect after a reboot. See section 8.10 for details on voice settings. Rockbox Utility can also aid in the production of talk files, which allow Rockbox to speak file and folder names.

2.3  Running Rockbox

When you turn the unit on, Rockbox should load.

2.4  Updating Rockbox

Rockbox can be easily updated with Rockbox Utility. You can also update Rockbox manually – download a Rockbox build as detailed above, and unzip the build to the root directory of your player as in the manual installation stage. If your unzip program asks you whether to overwrite files, choose the “Yes to all” option. The new build will be installed over your current build.

The bootloader only changes rarely, and should not normally need to be updated.

Note: If you use Rockbox Utility be aware that it cannot detect manually installed components.

2.5  Uninstalling Rockbox

2.5.1  Automatic Uninstallation

You can uninstall Rockbox automatically by using Rockbox Utility. If you installed Rockbox manually you can still use Rockbox Utility for uninstallation but will not be able to do this selectively.

Note: Rockbox Utility cannot uninstall the bootloader due to the fact that it requires a flashing procedure. To uninstall the bootloader completely follow the manual uninstallation instructions below.

2.5.2  Manual Uninstallation

Copy an unmodified original firmware to your player, and then reboot into the Sandisk firmware. See section 3.1.3 for more information.

If you wish to clean up your disk, you may also wish to delete the .rockbox directory and its contents. Turn the Sansa off. Turn the player back on and the original Sansa software will load.

2.6  Troubleshooting

Immediately loading original firmware.
If the original firmware is immediately loaded without going into updating the firmware, then the Rockbox bootloader has not been correctly installed. The original firmware will only perform the update if the filename is correct, including case. Make sure that the patched Sansa firmware is called firmware.sb and present in the root directory of your player.
“File Not Found”
If you receive a “File Not Found” from the bootloader, then the bootloader cannot find the Rockbox firmware. This is usually a result of not extracting the contents of the .zip file to the proper location, and should not happen when Rockbox has been installed with Rockbox Utility.

To fix this, either install Rockbox with the Rockbox Utility which will take care of this for you, or recheck the Manual Install section to see where the files need to be located.