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Motorola Included a Root Check in the RAZR, RAZR MAXX, and DROID4 With Ice Cream Sandwich

See that little “qe 1/1″ listed on the screenshot above of my DROID RAZR booted into recovery? According to @P3Droid and a variety of testers, this is a root checker of sorts that Motorola has built into the boot and recovery .img files of their current crop of devices, including the RAZR, RAZR MAXX and DROID 4. If you see “qe 0/0″ you are running a device that has never been rooted. If you see “qe 0/1″ you are running a device that was at one time rooted, but currently is not. If you see “qe 1/1″ like in the picture above, you are running a device that is currently rooted. 

At this point, it’s tough to tell if this is a big deal or not. In theory, it could mean that if you return your phone because of a warranty concern, that Motorola or Verizon could simply boot into recovery and check this to see if you are or have been rooted, and then potentially deny you of a replacement phone. We don’t know that they will actually do that, but you have to wonder what else their motives for including a root checker would be.

P3 is also under the impression that when the Bionic is updated to Ice Cream Sandwich, it will also receive this new root checker. At this time, there is no way to trick or reset it.

I’m sure you have some colorful comments in response to this news and we would love to have it down in the comments.

Cheers Brandon and @P3Droid!

  • freemag

    So… How does the Magnuson – Moss Warranty Act play into this? Is it a valid argument? What about antitrust? Why am I stuck with preloaded apps that take up memory on my (crappy) low memory device? I don’t use them but can’t uninstall without rooting.

  • dmagicp

    Well I know from personal experience that the idiot that you return your phone to will have no idea how to boot it into recovery, let alone check to see if it has ever been rooted.

  • Cory

    I would just be happy to have my battery life back I had from Gingerbread. 2 different RAZR’s same issue: 10minutes of screen time = 10% battery drain or worse.

  • anonyguy

    workaround: custom recovery that looks exactly like stock but without root check. done.

  • triumphtriple

    Wow, it surprised me to see that you guys have phones around that aren’t rooted! Haha

  • chris k

    my best hopes would be that they only use it as a way for people to troubleshoot upgrade issues especialy with the soak tests, so they can tell if someone has rooted and went back, is still rooted but thought they unrooted, or never rooted at all

  • Jack Coleman

    nope, ive returned 3 faulty razr’s since ice cream sandwich dropped. one even had a custom boot animation. dumbasses!

    • Joshua Hoffman

      Haha! I did the same!

  • http://www.naskaras.com/ Thanassi Karageorgiou

    Yet another reason why I abondoned my once loved MotoDroid line.

  • JustAnAngryJOE 22

    Funny thing about this is, VZW Support will mostly likely still swap devices regardless, i mean they aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the shed. That and half of them don’t even know what a recovery screen is…much less know how to spell it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716789798 Lonnie Kerchief

    I don’t see this in my recovery because I’ve long since ditched Motorola for another manufacturer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.delafuente.731 Eric De La Fuente

    Easy just sbf

  • http://twitter.com/Scooterman7 Neil Phillips

    This is funny because I show qe 1/1, and I’m NOT rooted. FAIL

  • Pegleg

    Where in hell is the RAZR MAXX HD???????????????????????????

  • Tobi De la Cuz

    I never found a reason to return the phone if there’s damage when they will charge you the same for damaged replacement and lost replacement. I would just say the phone got lost and i’ll take the refurb. That way u get an extra battery out of it or depending on the damage the old one can still be used for something. Probably sell it to use overseas or something.

  • RoadsterHD1

    I’m running the Bionic Leak .233 and finally the Bionic has no more data issues. It runs fast and smooth. The camera shoots better pictures and its real fast. It evens sounds different. The display color corrected and is more vibrant. ICS rocks,
    Motorola DROID BIONIC

    ICS 4.0.4

    1.2GHz OMAP-4430 Dual Core

    Stock Kernel 1gig-DDR2 RAM

    OEM Launcher

    Quadrant Standard Score 3100

    AnTuTu Benchmark 6310

    • bakdroid

      Too bad there is no such thing as .233. Fail!

      • RoadsterHD1

        ICS leak 6.7.2233 is ICS 4.04.

  • Davros

    If it was to see if waranty was voided I wouldn’t care as long as they unlocked all bootloaders going forward

  • jim

    i got that little red triangle a while ago when trying to get into cwr

  • Michael Schotborg

    Looks like the Droid 4 is gonna be my last Moto phone. I like having a physical qwerty so, I was like, I could settle for no removable battery, no custom recovery for romming(without using safestrap), but now I can’t root either? Seriously? Why do they even care? What if people use root for Extended Controls, Sixaxis, Ti Backup, or Widget Locker? I’m sure those apps do nothing to harm the phone. Had Moto forgot what Android means as a whole or is this just a Verizon Power Move? To be honest, I don’t think Verizon ever cared what Android meant. I hope the FCC finds a way to sue them for this too if this root checker nonsense is true. Both Moto and Verizon just need to let Android be Android and stop restricting it so damn much. -_-

  • jeesung

    they’ll never know since it doesn’t show up in my Safestrap Recovery! winning!! ;-)

    • http://twitter.com/CrayzeeJoe Joe Wright

      it will show in stock recovery. go into stock recovery and check it.

  • Tbone

    All your qe are belong to us!

  • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

    I am wondering what they store in the recovery that is permanent? One would think an RSD of an earlier recovery and images would erase this and the flag if it was never there to get set in the first place.

  • underface

    lol in my phone qe equals 2/1 – wtf ? its any idea how can i clear this parametr?

  • Daniel Clifford

    Nice to see a Bionic ICS reference. Does that mean the hope is still alive for a official release?

  • Joe Bionic

    How about one that was rooted and then unrooted before the ICS update?

  • novamrmet

    I am running the ics leak. will this prevent me from getting back on the ota path?

  • sport

    It means more ‘quantitative easing’…relax!

  • will valentine

    wtf! i had a bionic and it was a crap phone, build and performance. im on razr maxx and im not doin any roms just launchers and love it. roms are for crap phones, did it on my droid x and the bionic didnt make a difference. if u use a rom its cuz ur phone is garbage

    • JSIN

      you obviously have no idea what your talking about “roms are for crap phones”

  • iNfAMOUS70702

    Ha!!….does anyone actually think that Verizon employees know how to boot into recovery?

    • smwandrie93

      …verizon employee here who has probably rooted more phones for freinds in a month than you have your whole life… just saying

      • http://profiles.google.com/cvananden Chris VanAnden

        but do all of your coworkers know how to do this? 1 person can’t speak for the entire staff.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mike.aurin Mike Aurin

          And one consumer like yourself can’t speak for every Verizon employee who is “useless”….

          • dmagicp

            Well one thing I do know, is that you guys are so caught up in trying to upsale us on useless crap to meet your sales goal for the week and lying about damn near everything, that I doubt you have time to be checking recovery. That’s why I buy all of my products myself online and never set foot in a store.

          • http://profiles.google.com/cvananden Chris VanAnden

            why are you quoting “useless”? Did I even say useless in my post? Your argument is irrelevant as I was proving a point. A counter point of the same is just redundant.

          • Eric

            When will there be a fix for this piece of crap Ice Cream Sandwich that has only succeeded is melting and causing a mess on my phone? My once awesone Razr has become a slow ass piece of junk.

        • smwandrie93

          actaully everyone in my company knows how to, pearcewireless…

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710672553 Joseph Yonke

            ok, but you’re not a Cooperate store then right? I’ve found that the guys at one of the authorized retailers are very open to Rooting and Unlocking. They only knew of but now how until I got my Gnex from them. I’ve basically been giving them lessons.

            The cooperate store however… that’s a different story. They don’t know anything, at least at mine or they pretend to not know except to try to scare you from doing it.

          • panicswhenubered

            “cooperate store” Come on. Once is okay, it is the internet after all, but twice?! It’s “corporate”, dude.

          • http://profiles.google.com/cvananden Chris VanAnden

            Maybe it was an autocorrect? haha

          • panicswhenubered

            So then you lied about being a Verizon employee?

          • smwandrie93

            technically, yes and no, i still follow all the rules and regulations as a verizon store would, just its a fanchise corp off of such

      • http://twitter.com/br4nd0n Brandon Ayers

        You have to admit though, you’re the exception and not the rule…. your average run of the mill sales rep is utterly clueless unless there is a memo taped behind the desk…

      • grocka

        you need a new job then my friend. seriously.

        • smwandrie93

          sorry for making $40000 a year BEFORE commisions and bonuses, which brings it up usually to around 60 if not more, last year i raked in 62.5K, i think im doing well for myself at 20 with no college education

      • zaxwashere

        however, would you screw a customer over because of this knowledge? that’s the question i want answered

      • Patrick

        I am a novice and rooted my wifes, daughters and my phones, so I think it would be naive to think a person in the industry wouldn’t know how to do it. I don’t know why these people think that vzw people cant boot or root. Sorry.

        • Ronspruell

          All I want to do is run droidwall, I had no idea that rooting a phone was unlocking it but I really don’t care I just want to run this firewall called Droidwall. Big Grin

          • Mathew

            Despite what many people believe unlocking and rooting are not the same thing. Whilst there are similarities, they both comprise key fundamental differences. A root makes way for unsigned code to be added on the Android software, whereas unlocking is just allowing any SIM card to be used on a particular device, which has been previously cut off from the device carrier. For more on the topic http://kindredcone.com/2012/07/05/how-to-root-motorola-razr-xt910-ice-cream-sandwich/

      • chedberg88

        “I know you are but what am I?”

    • will valentine

      verizon employees are the most stupid people in the world. just hired cuz they got a good face or smile and can sell as much crap as verizon wants.

      • angermeans

        Well that’s about the most ignorant comment I’ve read today. You do know that Verizon employees do a lot more than just sell phone, right? I cant speak for sales but Verizon has many talents employees at their workforce and it shows. You will have clueless people at every position in every company but that doesn’t mean the entire corporation is “the most stupid people in the world”

        By the way if your going to make a very ignorant comment about how stupid people may or may not be (which is nothi but a subjective comment anyway) then try to use correct punctuation because all it makes you look like is ignorant and even stupider than the people your trying to call stupid.

        • dmagicp

          Well Verizon does have a lot of talented people working there. My best friend is one of them. But even he says that the people in the stores are not the brightest, and that’s why they work in the store.

        • PointingFingers

          hmmm Stupider?

        • MasaCheez

          I’m sorry but this post has to be a joke, no?
          “By the way if your going to make a very ignorant comment about how
          stupid people may or may not be (which is nothi but a subjective
          comment anyway) then try to use correct punctuation because all it makes
          you look like is ignorant and even stupider than the people your trying
          to call stupid.”

          Um, calling out someone on punctuation and then proceeding to misspell and have the longest run out sentence known to man doesn’t exactly bode well for you friend. You make me lol. Congrats…..stupider lolololololol

    • http://twitter.com/br4nd0n Brandon Ayers

      Touche!

    • VZWIndirect

      Hell…gotta love being an indirect agent. Not only do I know how to root, ROM, jailbreak, and unlock phones…I get paid a pretty penny to do it for customers everyday. Before the Share Everything crap came out, customers were happy to pay a $50 one-time fee for free tethering.

  • wongjo

    Other month another droid phone coming out

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdenman03 Jared Denman

    What about SBF?

  • Rob

    I don’t think Moto or VZW employees even know how to boot into recovery so I’m not worried. The same people that say task killers are good for a smartphone.

    • smwandrie93

      trust me we know how, if you have even needed software flashed to your phone because you where a dumbass and didnt update your phone and then checked 3 software verisions later, i will be seeing you and flashing the current software on there, to do so i use recovery mode…

      • Jordan Webb

        I went in to get a replacement for my Nexus a few months ago with it unlocked (I was in a rush, was going to revert it later), and the CS rep told me she had to “check to make sure it wasn’t jailbroken” as she stared at the lock symbol, then checked the Android version to make sure it was 4.0.4…that was the “jailbreak” check.

        Also, I asked them to flash my buddy’s Moto two months ago because it was having issues with a really bad app he had installed, and they told me they weren’t allowed to flash phones anymore.

        • smwandrie93

          only some stores have the equipment to do so, its not just a computer, whichi think is dumb, its a machine much like the contact transphere machine… they run a cool $100000 and have a $300/month lisencing fee… thats why some stores dont have them, cant afford them..

          • http://twitter.com/jdk2 jdk2

            Odd. VZW doesn’t have a Share Everything Plan for their stores?

          • https://plus.google.com/114483312559013915960/ Timoh

            Zing!

      • Sp4rxx

        You are one in a million because of all the area stores I have visited give me a dumb look and say “what’s that?” and then try to sell me something I’m not interested in.

    • http://bane-tech.com/ Bane Tech

      Ive talked about rooting and ROMs with the employees. They tell me what ROMs they are running. So they know.

      • zaxwashere

        at the same time, i had a employee at a corporate store that tried to tell me that titanium backup made my gnex screen defective (i was not rooted, google auto restored the app when i wasnt looking….)

        she then proceeded to do a factory reset, pull the battery half way though and then struggle with a device that wouldnt boot anymore.

        then they tried to send me out of the store. nope.

        • http://bane-tech.com/ Bane Tech

          For the most part, the ones i did/do talk to, are the Tech Support ones, not the sales team. Most of the time anytime I am in the store I end up interrupting the sales and help their customer with the problem the employee cant figure out.
          Then the customer tells them they should hire me. I just smile…

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710672553 Joseph Yonke

            Same experiences here. The Verizon employees at my cooperate store know of rooting, and only know its “bad for you” but wouldn’t know what a rooted/unlocked phone looked like if I booted mine up in front of their face.

            The guys at the authorized retailer I prefer to go to, they know of rooting and find it interesting but don’t know anything about it either. But they have said they will honor my extended warranty even though they know I’m rooted and unlocked.

        • angermeans

          Sales are a bad example of any wireless employee. Hell sales of any company is hard to take at their word (I’ve worked countless sales jobs) believe me Verizon reps are smarter then people think.

          • MattInPDX

            I could take you at your word if you knew which form of “than” to use.

  • guest

    Insurance fraud is going to rise. Someone has a problem with a phone, they’ll run it over with a car. Hopefully they will only use it in a bricked phone situation, not anything physical.

    • Diablo81588

      You would have to pay 100 bucks that way. No deductible for phones that are under mfg warranty.

  • cancerous_it

    OMG. i’m so shocked and mad!!!! not really. i’m not ever buying another moto phone so a fuq is not given.

  • bose301s

    …………………./´¯/)
    ………………..,/¯../
    ………………./…./
    …………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸
    ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯
    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……………………..’…../
    ……….”…………. _.·´
    ……………………..(
    …………………………

    • John

      …………../´¯/)……..….. (¯`
      …………/….//……….. …\….
      ………../….//………… ….\….
      …../´¯/…./´¯………../¯ `….¯`
      .././…/…./…./.|_……_| .….….……

    • WickedToby741

      Dev’s need to find a way to hack it and display this instead.

      • PuzzleShot

        which will still tell them all that they want to know

        • Drew Smith

          It would be funnier this way though.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Just one more reason for me to only purchase Nexus devices in the future.

  • jim

    whats the best jelly bean rom and why?

  • Baker

    They will always find a way to check and the community will always find a way around it!

  • MooleyBooleyTroll

    lol

  • http://twitter.com/Droid920 Matt Ellefson

    That’s not correct just checked mine it says qe 1/1 and mine is not rooted hasn’t been rooted since march when I was running .215 gingerbread

    • http://twitter.com/adrynalyne Adrynalyne

      I could see it being a counter for showing if an SBF has been flashed, but not root. Root access is a binary and apk. How would a recovery know if an SBF was flashed and there are no traces of it anymore?

      • Raven

        I am curious how this could work as well. Like you said, all being “rooted” means is you have a su binary with 4755 permissions and the apk that most people use to manage root capable apps. It is really a quite simple system. The real trick is getting that su to have the 4755 permissions. Anyway, if you remove those 2 things, then you are effectively no longer rooted. My only theory is that they have a check at boot time for a su binary, and if it finds it, it adds 1 to the pointer in protected memory somewhere. So, according to my theory if you you rooted a phone, did something rooted, and then unrooted before rebooting it would never know. But, even a single accidental reboot while still rooted could trigger it.

        This is why I will never buy another Verizon warranty and instead will from now on buy cheap 3rd party warranties from companies such as SquareTrade. The exchange process is slower, but they don’t care what ROM or root you have on your phone for physical damage claims.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emt.jason Jason Spangler

    I took my old INC 2 to a verizon store because the speaker was bad. She said I would have to put the original rom back on it before she would replace it. She didn’t care that I was running CM7.

    • PC_Tool

      ^This.

      They don’t (or didn’t) really care. The Fascinate I brought in due to Headphone jack issues was running CM7 and after testing a few different headphones on it (causing it to open random apps and a number of FCs) he handed it back and asked if I could put the original ROM back on it. I had the wife grab my laptop from the car and did it in-store. (sitting on one of the couches…not at the front desk, but they didn’t herd people away from me or anything)

      He took at back, tried a few headphones again and set up the replacement.

      FWIW: This had to have been over a year ago by now, at the Apple Valley, MN Corporate VZW.

      • Weezer

        They don’t really care for now, give it a month or two.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678166432 Joe Mihalich

    I’m sure they would never use that to deny you a replacement. That cracked screen had to be caused by that rogue rom you installed on your device. it must have overheated the phone, and caused the screen to crack.

    • James

      A cracked screen wouldn’t be a warranty issue, it would be an insurance issue…

  • nameless

    Did they (moto/vzw) really have enough warranty return issues to worry about this? Bionic gets ICS? (still waiting)… It amazes me that the OG got JB

  • AJA0

    Welp. There goes my warranty. Thanks Moto. I guess I’m gonna have to go with samsung and their plastic toys next time..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Cheng/1402836859 Ryan Cheng

    MOTOROLA GIVE UP ON MANAGING OUR SOFTWARE ALREADY! JUST STOP!

    • inzandity

      Don’t confuse Motorola and Verizon though. I am sure this push came from Verizon. Especially seeing that Motorola is starting to unlock devices.

      • Stinker

        Except Verizon doesn’t care if we’re getting warranty replacements.

      • http://twitter.com/adrynalyne Adrynalyne

        Don’t not blame Motorola though, because they folded if Verizon requested.

        • inzandity

          No sarcasm intended here…but do you think Motorola really has a choice if the carrier lays down a standard like that? Verizon could always choose to not carry the Motorola phones if they don’t comply with their standards no?

  • htowngtr

    My guess is they won’t check it if its factory because that’s too much time.

    • smwandrie93

      5 seconds isnt too much time

  • thedonxr

    I hate moto and they’re awesome radios….

  • http://twitter.com/br4nd0n Brandon Ayers

    I should note that I’ve warranty-returned half a dozen devices that have the root-trigger fired without issue.

    • inzandity

      What other devices currently have this?

    • DantesInferno

      People like you are the reason why Verizon has locked bootloaders on most of their devices. Please go educate yourself on how NOT to brick your phone and have it been rooted.

      • Hunter

        Do we even know that rooting and rom’ing was the cause of his warranty issues? Chances are they had nothing to do with it, but thanks for jumping to conclusions anyways! Have a nice day :)

        • http://twitter.com/br4nd0n Brandon Ayers

          @disqus_1X9aRuBzkv:disqus Thank you, a point well made sir.
          @8e3da311c9b366fe5b4e335f86cdc073:disqus “People like me” — Take a look at the Thanks in Kellexs’ post, “People like me” are who informed “People like you” about this. My warranty swaps have never had anything to do with any modifications I’ve made.

          You might be better off just waiting to speak until spoken to. Sport.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710672553 Joseph Yonke

        Except that fix “bricked” phones for my Verizon Authorized retailer and then turned around the resold them as used phones, giving me 50% of the profits. :)

  • http://twitter.com/JeffreyDHuber Jeffrey Huber

    If we can trick it, make it read qe1/0 just to confuse VZW employees.

    • bose301s

      But then you would form a singularity and the phone would implode, possibly taking the Eart, Solar System, Galaxy and perhaps even the entire Universe with it. Do you really want all that on your shoulders?

      :D

      • Jarred Sutherland

        Eart.

        ;)

      • http://twitter.com/MI95SHO MI95SHO

        Hmmm. The end of the world is coming up soon. Maybe a dev will find a way…

    • Hunter

      Can’t divide by 0, therefore apocalypse :)

    • Diablo81588

      Lol!

    • michael arazan

      Regular verizon employees, don’t know how to root, not even most managers. All they know is the word and definition. CS doesn’t know anything either. By the time you trade your device in by mail, usually after they have sent you a replacement first, then they might check if they can, but it’ll already be in their hands at that point.

      • Jeff

        And at that point they just stick the 299 damaged device fee on your phone and tell you there’s no way to get your old phone back.

        Happened to me

      • Johnny Mnemonic

        I am actually pretty offended by that, i work in a store and most of the other employees of my store have rooted phones males and females alike. To assume that this knowledge to be able to root is so advanced that a lowly sales representative can not possibly comprehend how to do it is BS. Oh and that plan of yours is really brilliant you should go ahead and do exactly that! LOL

  • p4

    the question is: how does one ‘reset’ that back to 0/0 ;)

    • http://twitter.com/br4nd0n Brandon Ayers

      As of now, it can’t be reset.

    • htowngtr

      P3 said you can’t change it

      • p4

        damn u dad!

  • snowbear 89

    First

    • http://twitter.com/Ike_Farmer Chris Franzen

      haha faggot

      • http://twitter.com/Crispityyy Chris Spells

        BAHAHAHAHAHAHAH