How to Install Kernel on Galaxy S2!

What is a kernel a lot of people ask me who are new to Galaxy S2 and Android smartphones.  Kernel is basically the underlying layer that runs your whole operating system, think of it as “MS-DOS” that runs on Windows.

By installing a custom kernel, you can make your phone do more things like overclocking, custom boot animations, and more.  A lot of times, you can install(flash) a new kernel on your stock ROM or custom ROM although sometimes some kernels may not be compatible with the ROM you are running on.

For those of you who want to try out new kernels on your phone, here’s how to install the kernel using ClockworkMod Recovery.

These instructions assume that your Galaxy S2 has been rooted and you have ClockworkMod Recovery installed already.  If you don’t have these, please follow How to Root Galay S2 or How to Root AT&T Galaxy S2 (if you have AT&T version) first.

*NOTE – Make sure you make a backup of your ROM in ClockworkMod Recovery before installation of any kernel as that will allow you to go back and restore your previous kernel and ROM if something goes wrong.

Step 1. Download the kernel you want to install (it should be a zip file) and copy over to the internal storage or external microSD card of your Galaxy S2.

Step 2. For AT&T Galaxy S2, make sure to unplug your microUSB cable as otherwise you will boot into download mode.   Then hold down Volume down, Volume up, and Power button at the same time until you see ClockworkMod Recovery menus.  It may be in orange or blue color.

Step 3. Once in ClockworkMod Recovery, choose “Install zip from sd card”.

You can use Volume buttons to move up and down and Home button or Power button to choose. (This may depend on what version of CWM you are running.)

Step 4. Next choose “choose zip from sdcard”.

Step 5. Choose the kernel zip file you copied over earlier.

Step 6. Choose “Yes”.

Step 7. If you get a successful install message, you are done installing the new kernel.

Step 8. Hit back button to get to the main menu and select “reboot system now”.

Step 9. Your phone should reboot with the new kernel.  If for some reason your kernel ends you up in a bootloop, just do a restore back in ClockworkMod Recovery.

*NOTE – Make sure you make a backup of your ROM in ClockworkMod Recovery before installation of any kernel as that will allow you to go back and restore your previous kernel and ROM if something goes wrong.

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23 Responses

  1. Krakberry says:

    I installed Kernel Codeworkx, w/ Baseband I9100XXKE7 WITHOUT 1st looking for proper Kernel version. How do I return to stock Kernel?? And where do I find U.S. Kernel??

    GT-i9100 U.S. Galaxy S2


  2. Tony says:

    I installed it and it went fine. But when it booted back up the annimation did not have the blue one on your video. It just showed the word andriod. I went to about phone and it shows your kernel file v1.0? Also I am new to all this (iphone user before)and I see you have setcpu app on your phone. Do I need that app too? If so can you recommend a free version? I found AnTuTu CPU master (free) on market. Know if it is any good? I installed it first go around and when I set it to performance at 1600 like you did then went into quadrant to run full benchmark my phone froze up. I did a reboot and still no go. I had to restore phone. After restore I reinstalled your kernel and am affraid to move forward without your advise. Thanks keep up the good work 😉

  3. Sol says:

    I get stuck in a boot loop whenever I try to flash a custom ROM. I’ve tried MIUI and CM7, both off of my internal and external SD. Thank god I did a backup.

    Any idea what might be going on?

    Thanks for all of the great work!

  4. Jake says:

    I flashed a kernel off entropy’s kernel’s for my at&t sgs2 through CWM and everything stays the same as it was. It says that its and have rom UNAMEd v1.2.0 running. and i want a kernel that will help with battery life please help.

  5. Melvin Garcia says:

    Nice tutorial but where can I get a kernel?

  6. John says:

    GalaxyS2 AT&T.

  7. Jensen Mathews says:

    Hi Max,

    How did you upgrade clockworkmod to the latest version while using gingerbread 2.3.4 and a different kernel the one you started with?

    I have an unrooted phone with kernel KI1 and want to root it using cf-root, but I want to run Simple and Clean ROM which needs kernel version KK2 how would I upgrade the kernel and clockworkmod?

    hope that made sense.

    This is a great site!

  8. MoFoShow says:

    Hey, I recently rooted my device with your kernal ”ZedoMaxStockKernal” Can I switch to the one you just recently made on 1/2/2012? Or do I have to go through another process to get to the new kernals?

  9. iROOT says:

    when I am charging my sgs2 with power off, the phone turns itself on.
    tried draining the battery untill all juice ran out.
    plugged it in, after about 3-5 minutes it turned itself on again.

    All this when the phone is powered off and charging.

    I rooted using your method and it was simple, but after I rooted, the above mentioned problem occurs.

    please help:

    btw: it’s the at&t i777 running 2.3.4
    bbv: KH7
    kv: _ZedomaxStockKernel


  10. Ken says:

    Hi, I rooted my i777 using your method.
    When I turn the phone off and try to charge it, the phone turns on by itself after about 3-5 minutes of being plugged in to the power supply.

    I tried to drain the battery as descriibed in your previous post, but it still turns itself on… Please help!!!


  11. jahangir jawed says:

    hey, i have gt-i9100
    version :4.0.3
    BB version: i91000xxlpq
    kernel version :3.0.15-i9100xxlpj-cl140368se.infra@sep-94#3
    build num:lidroid-resurrection remix ics v1.0

    whenever i opened cwm manager it says that cwm should be used with cf-root v5.0 or newer and when i get into recovery mode it says manual mode at bottom , and when i get into apply update from external storage then it says E:failed to mount /sdcard (no such file or directory) at bottom

  12. kingkhabir says:

    im getting stuck at boot up. and when entering recovery mode, my home button doesnt work! i made a backup everything. please help!!

  13. justin says:

    Can I flash stock kernel with this?

  14. S.J. says:

    Can the custom kernals be installed to a rooted t-mobile SG2?

  15. Paco says:

    I install Siyah ver.3.3.2 in AOKP rom with team kang kernel, my back and search touch button stop working. theres a siyah kernel exclusive to att galaxy s2 or i what can i do?

  16. Nate Faraci says:

    New to this so give me a break…
    What’s the difference between a kernal and a ROM
    Would I be able to run MIUI or CM9 with an overclocking kernal??

  17. Hakan says:

    my friend,

    I have a skyrocket and installed a kernel and a rom now the phone stuck at boot screen the “samsung ” is coming on but the phone doesnt turn on 🙁 will you please tell me what to do ?

    these are the wto combination that i install

  18. Halo says:

    Hey so I installed the kernel but then it had me lopping on the boot screen so i did system restore but it said that can’t find directory right… but I’m POSITIVE I did I BACK UP FIRST…. do you think me clicking wip cache having anything to do with it ??

  19. Brian says:

    I Sure Hope you can help me but i got all the way to step 9 where i rebooted and my phone just got stuck on the screen where it says Samsung Galaxy s II so i did a restore like it says in step 9 then rebooted again and i am still stuck on the same startup page where it says Samsung Galaxy s II. PLEASE tell me how to get out of this so i can get my phone running properly again, and i used your kernel GalaxyS2ATT-ZedomaxOCv1

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