Howto: Debrand and Flash a Nokia E61

I've had a Nokia E61 for about 6 months or so. When I first got it I updated the firmware to the latest version, and ever since I regretted not changing the product code so that I could get rid of the Vodafone branding on shutdown and start-up as well as gain a few restricted apps.

The steps to flashing your phone are very simple and this is mostly thanks to Nokia's Software updater and the NSS suite which makes it possible to change your product code. Unfortunately the software for both of these operations is windows only but both work fine under parallels.

I followed these instructions which are very detailed and have excellent pictures. In any case I detail the procedure below with additional notes on doing this under a Parallels VM.

WARNING: You carry out the following at your own risk - I am not responsible if you brick your phone.

The Requirements

  1. NSS (optional if you only want to update the firmware)
  2. Nokia Software updater
  3. USB Data Cable

Changing the Product Code to de-brand

To change the product code simply follow the following:

  1. Make a backup with the Nokia PC suite before you start and make sure you have backed up anything important as everything will be wiped during this process.
  2. Install the NSS software selecting "Virtual USB Device"
  3. Connect your phone in PC suite mode and click the scan icon in the top right hand corner
  4. Next select the "Phone Info" tab and then hit the "read" button on the right to read the info from your phone.
  5. Tick the "enable" box to the right of the product code field and then enter the default product code which for the UK is: 0530151
  6. Click the "write" button and close NSS

Next the process for updating the phone itself is just to follow the steps outlined on this site within the Nokia Software updater. Note if you are changing the product code and you already have the current firmware you will want to re-install the current firmware to get rid of your current branding.

Using Parallels to flash the firmware

I've used the current version of Parallels Desktop for Mac to carry out firmware updates on a Windows XP VM twice now. All you need to do is take care to keep an eye on the usb activity light and if necessary tick E61 if it appears and is unticked. This happened only on the first time I used parallels six months ago and when I carried this out yesterday I had no issues whatsoever. To get the USB device to work I had the USB device in parallels set to "ask what to do" when a device is detected.

I do recommend using the Nokia PC suite if you've not used your data cable before as this will get you used to handling it before you get into the flashing process. Sometime you will have to disconnect and re-connect the cable so that the software detects the phone properly.

If you're in any doubt about carrying out this process under parallels then I suggest you either leave your phone as is or carry it out with a proper PC. It worked perfectly for me but YMMV.

Process Complete

After all is done you can start putting apps back on your phone and re-installing the contacts if necessary. You can also now check out the IM and Push to Talk apps that weren't there before (on my Ex Vodafone phone). One point to make here is if you are only doing this for these apps then I wouldn't bother. Apps like Fring and Mig33 (note site has audio) are probably far more useful and easier to use.

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