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WARNING: Follow this guide at your own risk, YOU assume total and full responsibility and exonerate me from any liability and/or responsibility if the process leads to a bricked or otherwise faulty device. - Having said that, I've never heard of anybody bricking their device following this process, just sayin'.
This is a step-by-step guide to get the best out of your Samsung device. The device used in this guide was a Galaxy S3 GT-i9300, but THIS GUIDE WORKS for ANY and EVERY SAMSUNG android device (just use the correct files for it.)
  • Upgrade your Samsung device to the newest official firmware available
  • Root your Samsung device by installing ClockWorkMod Recovery (optional)
  • Install MultiWindow Complete Control (optional)
  • Reset the binary counter (optional)
  • Install ADWLauncher Ex (optional)

IMPORTANT: Your device should be charged at least 80% before you start this process in order to avoid power failure in case of battery drainage during the process, which could result in a bricked device.

This guide is dedicated to Eithan, to whom I basically wrote this for out of guilt.

An S3 GT-i9300 that followed this guide:

Upgrade your Samsung device to the newest official firmware available

Make sure you have USB Debugging enabled: Settings > Manage Applications > Development > USB Debugging <-- check box.
Step 1 - Backup/synchronize your files, contacts, calendar, messages, settings*, etc. (*some apps have settings and an option to back them up; ie: desktop settings, widget settings, Jkay Deluxe Settings, etc.)
  • To backup SMS, MMS, Call Logs, Whatsapp messages, etc. use available backup apps in the market.
  • To backup APN Settings (make sure your "Mobile internet" is turned on) for GPRS, 3G, Edge, MMS Settings, etc. go to Settings > Wireless & Networks (More…) > Mobile networks > Access Point Names. Write everything down.
Step 2 - Connect your phone using the provided USB cable. - Make sure your computer has all the necessary drivers installed and that it recognizes your device. Resources: Samsung USB drivers - KIES
(If you've done this before but are using this as a guide to update to the newest firmware, restart your phone in Recovery Mode and do a Nandroid backup now, it takes a while.)
Step 3 - Go to, in the firmware section, search for and download the latest firmware available for your device. It doesn't have to match your country necessarily. In my case I'm downloading I9300XXEMC2
  • Open the .zip file and extract the .md5 file to your desktop or another directory of your choosing.
Step 4 - Download Odin 3.07 (or newer one if available), extract contents of zip file to a folder in your computer.
  • Make sure KIES is NOT running
  • Right click on Odin3v3.0_.exe and Run as administrator.
You should see "Added!!" in the Message box indicating your device is recognized by your computer and Odin.

Click to enlarge

  • Click on PDA and choose the .md5 file you just extracted in Step 3

Don't change any options. (refer to picture above)

Step 5 - Restart your device in "Download mode"**
  • Turn off your device (leave usb cable connected)
  • Press and hold the volume down, home and power buttons at the same time
  • Release buttons when you see the device enter the warning screen
  • Press the volume up key to agree
Notice that you downloaded & are installing an official firmware released by Samsung and not a custom OS

Step 6 - In Odin press Start.
It will take around five minutes for the process to complete, then you should see the "Pass" message in Odin and your device will restart (leave it connected).

Odin animated gif
Click to enlarge animated gif

Congratulations! your device is now unrooted and running an official Samsung ROM. You could stop here and wait and wait and wait to get future official updates from Samsung via Kies or you can stay updated and squeeze a lot more out of your device following the rest of this guide.
You can check your firmware information in Settings > About device
Notice that your binary counter has been increased.
When you restart the phone in Download Mode you wil notice a small red number in the top left corner of the screen, "Many Samsung devices store a flash counter that keeps track of how many times you have flashed *custom* firmwares to your device."
Reset binary counter with Triangle AwayYou can reset this number later on in this guide.

Root your device installing ClockWorkMod Recovery
  1. Download the newest ClockWorkMod Recovery that is compatible with device (example: for i9300 v6.3)
  2. Go back to Odin
  3. Click on PDA
  4. Choose the Clockworkmod .tar file you downloaded (ie: CF-Root-SGS3-v6.3.tar) - Leave all other options as they are.
  5. Restart your device in Download mode (refer to Step 5)
  6. Press Start in Odin
The device will restart and then you will have a rooted device !
**PRO TIP: You will find a couple of new applications installed in your device, one is SuperSU which is a Super User permissions manager for applications, it lets you control what apps can have root permission. And an application called "CWM" (ClockWork Mod) that you can use to reboot your device in Recovery mode to do Nandroid backups (system snapshots), or in Download mode to flash more stuff with Odin.

Restarting your device in "Recovery mode"
  • Turn your device off
  • Press and hold the volume up, home and power buttons at the same time

In Recovery Mode navigate up and down with the volume keys, select with home button.
Once in Recovery Mode
Install MultiWindow Control
The "stock Multiview only supports a set of applications contained in it's own Rom (browser, gtalk, gallery, gmail...) With this mod [Multi Window Complete Control] you can have Multiview support for any application installed in your device." FREE
  1. Go here and download the compatible version with the firmware you just flashed.
  2. Copy the downloaded zip file to the root directory of your device.
  3. Copy the file ( to the root directory of the internal card of your device.
  4. Restart device in "Recovery Mode"**
  • Turn your device off
  • Press and hold the volume up, home and power buttons at the same time

Once in Recovery Mode

  • install zip from sdcard > choose zip from internal sdcard > choose the file > Yes install.
  • Restart device
  • Download the control app from here and install it on your phone. Use the app called Multiwindow Control to customize the list of apps allowed in the MultiWindow drawer.

Reset the binary counter$ (optional)
If you want to reset the binary counter to take your phone into warranty without your warranty provider knowing that you rooted and/or flashed your device, you can use a paid app called Triangle Away to do that.

Install ADWLauncher Ex$ (optional)

ADWLauncher Ex is a highly customizable home replacement application with great desktop screen transition animations, folder customization, widget management and much more, it's a paid app, but in my opinnion, it's worth every cent. There is a free version in the market, but it's far from the paid one.

You need to repeat this whole process over again every few months, as updates become available. There is also a distinct possibility that some of the paid apps may stop being compatible with future versions of Android.

Last edit 13/02/16

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