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Wiki > Main > GigabeatSPort > GigabeatSInstallation

Gigabeat S Installation


NOTE: Rockbox for the Gigabeat S is still in development, and there is a good chance things won't go smoothly when you try to install using these instructions. If you are not confident that you can undo any changes to your Gigabeat, then you may wish to wait until it's more stable

When running the original Toshiba firmware (a version of Windows CE), it is only possible to connect the Gigabeat S to a PC in "MTP mode", which hides the actual content of your Gigabeat's disk and provides restricted access to its contents.

In reality, the Gigabeat S's hard disk contains two FAT32 partitions - a small (150MB) "firmware partition" containing the Gigabeat's firmware (operating system), and a second "data partition" containing your media files. The main firmware file in the bootloader partition is called "nk.bin", and this is the file that is loaded into RAM (by the Gigabeat's ROM-based bootloader) and executed when your Gigabeat is powered on.

There are two ways to install Rockbox onto your Gigabeat:

  • "single-boot" - you will lose access to the original Toshiba firmware;
  • "dual-boot" - the original firmware remains accessible and you can choose which one will run

Single-boot installation involves replacing the original nk.bin file (stored in the firmware partition) with a new nk.bin containing only the Rockbox bootloader. Dual-boot installation involves adding the Rockbox bootloader into the original firmware's nk.bin file.

Rockbox itself consists of many files (contained within a folder called ".rockbox"), and that is installed on the main data partition on your device.

NOTE: The installation instructions below are old and outdated, and the sendfirm utility is also outdated and now replaced by beastpatcher. Do NOT use them, follow the instructions in the manual instead. The instructions below are only left for reference.


In order to install Rockbox for the first time, you will need to perform either Step 1a or Step1b, followed by the remaining steps. Upgrading Rockbox in the future will just involve Step 3A.

Step 1a - Bootloader installation (single-boot version)

This step involves replacing the original firmware nk.bin file with an nk.bin file containing only the Rockbox bootloader. Currently there is no official Rockbox release for the Gigabeat S, so you will need to set up a Rockbox development environment and compile the latest bootloader using the source code available from SVN.

After doing this, you will have a file called nk.bin in your bootloader build directory. This is installed as follows:

A) Compile the sendfirm utility

The sendfirm utility is used to upgrade the firmware in an MTP device. It can be found in the utils/MTP directory in the Rockbox source tree; the Linux version requires both libusb and libmtp (and their development packages) to compile and use. This utility can be used from Linux and Windows.

For Linux: to compile, just type make in the utils/MTP directory.
For Windows: make sure you have MingW installed and type make sendfirm.exe in the utils/MTP directory (or download the binary here).

B) Install the bootloader

To install the bootloader, attach your Gigabeat to your PC and run the following command from within your bootloader build directory:

../utils/MTP/sendfirm nk.bin

After a successful installation, your Gigabeat will immediately reboot and (because it is still connected to your PC) enter the Rockbox bootloader's "USB Mass Storage" mode, which exposes your Gigabeat's disk to your computer as a standard USB Mass Storage device.

Step 1b - Bootloader installation (dual-boot version)

[To be completed - we now have a source for the nk.bin file, but we need to integrate it into sendfirm so the user is less likely to screw it up]

Step 2 - Fix your Gigabeat's partition table

The factory-standard partition table on your Gigabeat's disk is technically invalid, and the Linux kernel (and maybe other operating systems) rejects it. To fix this, you need to use the fdisk utility to correctly set the "bootable flag" field to a valid value (it doesn't matter if this is true or false).

Assuming your Gigabeat is appearing as /dev/sdz (the output of the dmesg command will show the log messages including the device node assigned to your Gigabeat), type the following:

fdisk /dev/sdz

After exiting fdisk, you may need to unplug and then reattach your Gigabeat in order for it to be recognised by your computer.

You can now proceed to step 3.

Step 3 - Main Rockbox installation

When your Gigabeat is in the Rockbox bootloader USB mode, you will see two visible partitions - the 150MB firmware partition (containing at least a file called nk.bin) and the main data partition. Rockbox MUST be installed onto the main data partiton.

A) Install the main Rockbox build

The latest "Current build" of Rockbox for the Gigabeat S (built automatically after every commit of code to Rockbox's SVN repository) is available here:

This is installed by extracting the contents of the zip directly to the root (top-level) of your Gigabeat's main data partition. Do not extract it to the same drive as the nk.bin file.

B) Install the Rockbox fonts and extras

The first time you install Rockbox, you should also install the Rockbox fonts. These are available from the RockboxExtras page and each zip file is installed in exactly the same way as the main Rockbox zip - extracting it to the root of your Gigabeat's main data partition.

Step 4 - Read the manual

A work-in-progress manual (updated nightly) for the Gigabeat S is available online or as a PDF file.


Recovery Mode

Hold left on the directional pad, plus the windows/menu button, while turning the Gigabeat on. It must be shut down, not merely suspended as the OF does, so you will need to turn the battery switch (lower left corner, on the bottom of the unit) off if the OF was used last. The unit may be turned on either by the battery switch, by plugging in the power cord while the battery switch is off, or by the power button, so long as the left and menu buttons are held until the recovery dialog appears.

The player will display a series of numbered notices on the screen as it partitions and formats the drive. Eventually the #1 notice, asking the user to connect the device for firmware upload, will be displayed. After connecting the player, #2 should appear, and it should ask the user to upload the firmware. An nk.bin file file may now be uploaded using the sendfirm utility, after which the player should reboot automatically.

Formatting the storage partition

After the player formats the storage partition, the partition should be usable via a host PC in USB MSC mode, but the bootloader may display a "File not found" message when attempting to load Rockbox. It appears that using the mkdosfs utility to format the partition from the host PC before installing will resolve this problem. The appropriate format command is:
mkdosfs -f 2 -F 32 -S 512 -s 64 -v -n TFAT /path/to/partition/device

"File Not Found"

If the bootloader refuses to boot into Rockbox and instead gives a "File Not Found" error before rebooting (in an infinite loop) try to "make tar" rather than "make zip" and put the tar as it is to your data partition. The bootloader will search for a .tar, and will extract it. (The bootloader looks here precisely: /Content/0b00/00/rockbox.tar). Worked for me. (Thanks to Mike Sevakis)

TODO: Format instructions for Windows
TODO: How can a user uninstall Rockbox? We need a source for the original nk.bin...

r18 - 02 Apr 2021 - 20:46:06 - UnknownUser

Parents: GigabeatSPort
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