An anonymous tipster left a comment on this blog yesterday that describes how to completely get rid of the advertisements on the Kindle 4 (and other Kindles) without paying Amazon extra to upgrade. The comment was left on the Simple Trick to Get Kindle 4 to Not Display Screensaver Ads post. But I thought it deserved its own post because no one will notice it over there.
Update: People are still leaving comments about this so I guess it’s time for an update. Amazon broke this workaround a long time ago. If you want to get rid of the ads, you’re going to have to go to the Manage Your Devices page at Amazon and pony up the extra $20 to get rid of the ads officially.
I haven’t tried this myself, and don’t advocate doing so because it is essentially stealing. The better way to go is just to pay to get the ads officially removed by Amazon. But on the other side of the coin it is your Kindle that you paid for so it should be your choice what you want to do with your device.
I frequently post about hacks and hidden features, and this definitely qualifies. I find it interesting to see how these types of processes work. Try it at your own risk.
Here is the comment in its entirety:
Amazon will probably drop a nuclear bomb on my house for this. Here’s how you can get a COMPLETELY AD-FREE Kindle 4 (non-touch) without paying a single extra cent to Amazon. Your Kindle will behave EXACTLY as though you purchased the Ad-free version.
Tested on Kindle 4 non-touch with latest OS 4.0.1. Theoretically, should work on older OS 4.0 also. Actually, steps x to y were tested on a 4.0 device, but the steps before that were never done on the device (It was never connected to the internet before doing this hack.) Theoretically this may even work on the Touch and Touch 3G version and other ad-supported Kindles.
START FROM STEP 1 if you have already connected to internet, registered your Kindle and thus got ad loaded on your Kindle.
SKIP TO STEP 10 if you have never connected to internet since you got your Kindle (That is, your Kindle is currently behaving as “ad-free” without even the “Please connect wirelessly to download sponsored offers” message, and is currently unregistered.)
It may seem lengthy but trust me it’s quick to do. Just give it a full read to mentally plan out what you have to do, then start doing it.
1. Connect Kindle to PC and allow USB mode.
2. Copy out the “documents” folder and any other content you may have loaded on your Kindle. [“Copy out” means copy to your computer’s hard disk so that you can copy them back later.]
3. Disconnect the Kindle from the USB cable.
4. Wake your Kindle if needed. From Home screen, press Menu, go to Settings.
5. Press Menu button again, go to Reset to Factory Defaults.
6. Press Right to select “OK” then press the center key of D-pad.
7. After a few seconds, Kindle will restart. Be patient.
8. When you see the Language selection screen, choose your desired language (by default “English (United States)” and select “OK”.
9. A few more seconds later, you will see the “Set Up Your Kindle” screen. DO NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS SCREEN! Not yet.
10. Plug in your USB cable to Kindle and connect to your PC.
11. Open the Kindle drive in your computer. If you did steps 1-9, you will find that the drive has been reformatted by Kindle and all your documents are now gone (including the dictionaries that Kindle came with!). This is why step 2 is important. If you skipped to step 10, your documents (if any) are not affected, and you must skip next step, go to step 13.
12. (For those who did steps 1-9) Copy back the documents folder that you had copied out in step 2. You will be asked whether to replace two Kindle_User_Guide files. You can click “Don’t Copy” or say No to this question unless you want restore your last read page on the User Guide.
13. Make sure hidden files can be seen by enabling the “Show hidden files, folders and drives” option.
14. Open the “system” folder in your Kindle drive.
15. Right-click an empty area and choose New > Text Document. Enter any alphabet to shorten the name to (for example) d.txt
16. Go back to the Kindle drive, hold SHIFT on your keyboard and right-click the “system” folder.
17. Choose “Open Command Window Here”
18. In the black command window, enter the command “ren d.txt .assets” (no quotes, and replace d.txt with whatever filename you chose in step 15). Press ENTER key after typing command. Close command window once done. (IMPORTANT: Make sure you get the file name right, or you will have to start from step 1 again, even if you had skipped steps 1-9.)
19. Open the system folder again, and right-click the .assets file, choose Properties.
20. Place a checkmark on the “Read-only” option and click OK. (This step may not be necessary, but I did it so I’m mentioning it. You’re welcome to test without it and post your results.)
21. Eject your Kindle and disconnect the USB cable.
22. NOW is the time to “Set Up Your Kindle”. First of all, connect to a WiFi (internet). Once connected, register to your Amazon account.
23. Once registration is complete, press the Home button (unless you wanna shop or read user guide, but you probably don’t wanna do that now).
24. SURPRISE! No ads! Not convinced? Go to the Experimental Web browser and do some good amount of surfing. Go back to Home screen. STILL NO ADS! Awesome, huh? Not even the “Please connect wirelessly to download sponsored offers” banner! You won’t even find the “View Special Offers” option in the menu. Your screensavers will also have the same effect.
25. Final step: Go to Settings and set the time, and ensure that your dictionary and other settings are set correctly and to your preference.
Enjoy your ad-free Kindle at ad-supported Kindle’s price!