Samsung S2 Rebooting, Rebooting, Rebooting Nightmare

Now that the Tech Nag has a new smart phone, tablet, and more black snacks added to the electrical snake pit, she has even more to bitch and whine about.

The current bitch and whine is also a lesson in what not to do even if it will let you do it. You won’t get away with it.

After the rash of 10 cent apps on the Android Market, Tech Hubby and Nag got addicted to the constant hunt for new apps. Discovering new ways to get those cool apps faster, we installed Chomp, Best App Finder, Ondroid – Top apps chart, Best Apps Market, and My Daily Free Amazon App.

I did say addiction, right?

As you fill up your phone with a ton of apps, even if it’s got more RAM and SD Card space than your laptop, you want to play safe and move some of the space wasters from the phone’s storage to the SD card. The newest phones play well with this…to a point.

The point is that if your App has a Widget, it cannot be moved to the SD card. Don’t risk it if you use that widget on your launcher screen. Experiment with it if you do not use their widgets, but take care if you change your mind.

The App 2 SD is brilliant at showing you the options for which apps you can safely move to and from the SD card. It gives you a warning to alert you that you should think twice before doing so. appSaver helps you backup and save apps on your phone. It also now features an App 2 SD feature, unfortunately without really clear warnings with the latest update segregating what you can and cannot move to SD Card. Unfortunately, that came a bit too late. I went forth and blew my phone up.

Symptoms of a Smart Phone Crisis

The phone suddenly started losing wifi signals. I was two meters from my wifi router so this was odd. Then it flashed the Sprint logo and did a fast reboot. When it came back on, it couldn’t find the wifi connection. Thirty seconds to three minutes later it would reboot again, no matter what I was working on, and whether or not I was holding it or it was sitting quietly on my desk. Within an hour, the battery was dead, and I was pulling my hair.

Thinking virus, I started to uninstall the last few things I’d installed. With the time to reboot so short, I could barely get one thing uninstalled when the phone rebooted.

Instead of going through all the 36 hours of nightmare trial and errors, let me tell you what my solutions could have been, and then what it was. I’ve found that these symptoms are the result of several possibilities, all with much the same answer. These things are trial and error resolutions, so best you have all the possibilities in one spot, unlike me who hunted and hunted with little sleep.

Battery Doesn’t Fit Right

If you are using a Samsung S2 phone, international versions prior to Fall 2011 had a slight flaw. The battery area was a tiny bit too large for the battery. Jump around, run, bike, or walk down the street and the battery could shift away from the contacts, causing the phone to reboot.

I found many solutions in the various Android forums on using a piece of paper, preferably a small sticky note, to stick down into the battery compartment with the “tail” of the paper laying beyond the compartment’s edge opposite the contacts. Place the battery in properly and allow it to fold at the edge. Cut the remaining visible paper and this should add enough compression to keep the battery wedged up against the contacts while you move.

For many, this was the perfect solution. Not for me.

Viruses and Evil App Attacks

Some virus attacks will drain the battery and disable the wifi capability to force the phone onto 2/3/4G. Per the norm, never download anything not tested and checked by others and only from known verified sources. If you like risk, make sure you have a solid virus protection app installed and keep it updated.

My research found that the majority of my symptoms matched a virus attack, but the rebooting didn’t. A reboot or two, maybe, but not consistently and in a timely manner. I couldn’t keep the damn thing on long enough to download another anti-virus program, but evidence led me in another direction.

App Conflict Battles

Occasionally, apps won’t play nice together. If they are sitting on your phone turned on only when you need them, this isn’t an issue, but when they are TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) living in the background or foreground together, they can be worse than siblings in the back seat.

The solution is to uninstall each “live” app, especially those with active widgets, and test to see if this resolves the issue. Be patient as sometimes it takes a bit for them to figure out the evil sibling is out of the room. It’s a hunt and peck game, though, so watch a movie or television show while you’re at it so you feel like you aren’t totally wasting your time.

A possible solution for many was to do a a hard reset and cache clearing on the Samsung Galaxy S2 and cache wipe. This is not a factory reset that will clear out everything and make you start over. Your apps and data will be saved, but it clears the cache (and possible problems). This simply “flushes” the cache and hopefully removes the problem.

  1. Remove the battery and let it sit batteryless for a few minutes.
  2. Replace the battery.
  3. Hold down the UP volume key and the ON button until you see the Samsung logo and a DOS like colorful menu pops up. This is the factor reboot menu which can be the life or death of your phone. Move cautiously.
  4. With the volume key, move down to wipe cache partition.
  5. Press the menu button (the house).
  6. Move to the reboot system now item in the list.
  7. Press the menu button to select it.
  8. The phone will reboot.

This worked for a few minutes longer than usual, so I knew I was on the right track, but it wasn’t the issue.

Moving Widget Apps to the SD Card

This was the winner for me. By moving apps with widgets I was using to the SD Card, the timely nature of the reboots was a sign that when the widget refreshed its data, it couldn’t find the files it needed, forced it off WIFI, and the conflicts caused a reboot.

The clue I’d found the right solution? I removed the SD card and the phone worked perfectly, though the apps that required the card didn’t work.

I worked for hours with the Apps 2 SD program to move everything I could back to the phone from the SD Card and uninstall anything suspicious, but the reboots happened often faster than the actions I was taking. The processors on the phone got so hot, I couldn’t touch the phone from the midway point up. I removed the SD card but that wouldn’t move or uninstall the apps that were causing the problem.

As not to bore you with all the things I learned along the trial and error trail, here was the solution.

  1. Turn off the phone.
  2. Remove the back and the battery.
  3. Wait a few minutes.
  4. Slip the SD card out. One press will bring it out far enough. No need to remove it completely.
  5. Turn on the phone normally.
  6. Carefully remove EVERY widget from your screens. All of them. Even the ones you aren’t sure of.
  7. Turn off the phone.
  8. Remove the back and battery and wait a few minutes.
  9. Slide the SD card back in.
  10. Turn on the phone using the cache clearing method above and reboot.
  11. Using App 2 SD, go through all the apps stored on the SD Card and move anything with an X in the lower left corner off the SD Card and to the Phone.
  12. You may need to restart the phone again, but by now, everything should be working perfectly.

Again, NEVER put anything on the SD Card that has a widget or really shouldn’t be moved. Widgets can be deceptive. They may not “look” like widgets and you’ve forgotten where they came from as they’ve been sitting there for months. Apps critical to your daily phone activities shouldn’t be moved unless they are completely safe and it’s recommended to do so, so sayeth the Tech Nag.

7 thoughts on “Samsung S2 Rebooting, Rebooting, Rebooting Nightmare

  1. Pingback: Lorelle’s World as of January 26th, 2012 | Taking Your Camera on the Road

  2. I am having the same problem with the rebooting after I had moved even the applications “safe” to move to SD as recommended by App2SD or other similar applications. Before moving any application to SD, everything works well and no rebooting. As soon as applications are moved (don’t even know which one caused the rebooting), rebooting starts again and again before the eyes could blink. Reset to original factory setting and reloading all the application does resolve the problem and I had done it 3 times before I realized the moving of the applications caused the problem.

  3. Pingback: Happy Holidays and Onward! « Lorelle on WordPress

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