Root a ASUS ZenPad 8.0 without unlocking the bootloader

The ASUS z380m is inexpensive but a really nice tablet. It has one of the sharpest screens and runs a MediaTek Quad-Core 64bit processor with good sound qualities. i always wanted to root it but procrastination got the better of me! Unfortunately this tablet is not easily rooted because according to most information sources on the web you have to unlock the bootlader before you can attempt to flash anything and root! Needless to say the ASUS unlock tool did not work for me as no version i could find supported this tablet nor did any ADB unlock routines. i did howver eventually root the tablet without unlocking and here's how i did it.

There are a number of tools out there available to use, some are:

  • 1) One Click Root programs: Don't work on this device.
  • 2) Zenpad Flashtool: If it runs a Intel chip and you need RAW formatted files. Won't work.
  • 3) ADB: Attempt to unlock and Sideload - Half worked!
  • 4) Odin: A great program but did not attempt to use it here.
  • 5) SP Flash Tool v5.1532: Works with MediaTek chips - Worked!

Since i could not unlock the bootloader via any tablet software menus, unlock tools, .apk programs or ADB commands, i decided to just attempt to flash the bootloader anyway (ONLY the Bootloader) with TWRP Recovery. You should be careful doing this - i took the risk. i made sure the device was fully charged. Installed SP_Flash Tool on a computer and downloaded the proper files. The forums at xdaDevelopers were really helpful. From their webpage, the process should have been pretty straight forward if the bootloader was unlocked, just enter the adb console and type 'fastboot boot twrp-3.2.1-0-z380m.img'. But that didn't work, So...

i openned up SP_Flash Tool, loaded the recovery image, scatter file and DA_PL.bin as the emergency procedure did not seem to be an option for me. Then i made sure ONLY the the BOOT portion was being flashed and crossed my fingers! After flashing i rebooted the device but it would not boot to the Android OS...<< Uh Oh! >> i then held down Volume Down and Power buttons to boot into recovery, it came up with a "Yellow State" warning saying "your device has loaded a different operating system", Confirm Boot? i said to my self - Heck yeah! And what do you know it booted up Teamwin Recocery Project! AND i did not need to unlock any bootloader to get it installed!

Ok so now i basically had a bricked device - but luckily, a brick with TWRP installed - Glass half full! While i was in the TWRP menus i attempted to fix the Android OS but nothing worked. So i put it down for a while...

TWO MONTHS LATER...i looked over at the device collecting dust. i really missed using that tablet and making music with SunVox (a really awesome syth tracker, the best i think!) i thought if the bootloader flashed theres got to be a way, but then i decided to stop trying to hack it and just flash the original OS to get it operational again. So i downloaded a from the ASUS website, booted into TWRP recovery and selected "Sideload". i then connected the tablet to the computer, entered the ADB console and typed:

adb sideload <>

Waited a bit and when finally it was done, rebooted the tablet on hope. TWRP was still there and with a fresh new Android OS! On second thought - i decided to keep on hacking!

Step one done, half way there. On to step two. Now i needed to root the device. Normally i use SU binaries/zips/apk's. So while booted into recovery TWRP i plugged the ASUS into a computer, the device was recognized and a drive showed up. Copied over a bunch of SU binary versions into the / directory from the computer and opened TWRP on the tablet. From the menus in TWRP i selected "Install", scrolled down till i found the SU binaries i copied over and selected "Install Image". One by one they all failed to install! Then finally a very old version installed - or so i thought. From TWRP i then backed up a menu and selected "Reboot". Got a message:

Yellow state: Your device has loaded a different operating system.
ID: blah blah
Yes (Volume Up) : Confirm and Boot.
No ( Volume Down) : Abort.

Confirmed and got a new message...

Red state your device has failed verification and may not work properly.
Your device will boot in 5 seconds.

It booted up i tested to see if it was rooted. It was not. NO root. No SU binaries were working.

At this point i decided to give "Magisk Manager" a try. Magisk is nifty as it attempts to root differently than the way SuperSU does. You can learn more about it here. Once again, from the computer, i copied over the Magisk .zip to the tablet, went back into TWRP and selected "Install". Found the .zip and installed it. Then backed up a menu and selected "Reboot", navigated the ASUS boot up questions again and booted into the the Android OS. i then opened the Magisk app - let it update and SUCCESS! wE aRE rootED!

You will get the Yellow/Red warnings upon boot. and this may be because of not unlocking, but i don't mind as it works great and i'm happy with my rooted ASUS ZenPad 8.0 z380m!

Peace be unto you. Thank you for visiting!