This morning I woke up to find a progress bar and a warning screen on my new $50 Kindle Fire 7 saying that its software was updating. I hadn’t touched update permissions on the device, but all the same, I didn’t see any notification asking me if I wanted to update. And since I had previously hacked the system to install the Google Play Store and download a bunch of Google and other apps from it, I was a little worried to see what would happen.
When the updating finished and the machine restarted, I saw the same home screen as before, including all of the non-standard apps and the Google Play Store itself. Some were greyed out: worrying. In particular, Mantano Reader Lite and ES File Explorer, both pretty essential apps for me, were greyed out. However, when I actually tapped on them, both still worked. As did all the non-standard and Google Play Store apps I’d already put on the device. The accounts, history and library settings in all of them were still there too.
Except for one. For whatever reason, ES File Explorer couldn’t recognize the microSD card in my Kindle Fire. The main Settings Storage menu showed the microSD card as still there, with the correct memory allocation. Mantano Reader Lite showed the library of EPUB books I’d saved to the card as still all on there. But ES File Explorer couldn’t recognize it.
Fortunately, unmounting and remounting the microSD card through the Settings Storage menu fixed the problem; ES File Explorer dished up its contents at once. I didn’t have to take out and reinsert the card. And I’ve no idea what the reason was for the problem.
So overall, the update process was a relief, and the Kindle Fire’s notifications menu says “Your device has successfully updated to Fire OS 5.0.1.” If you have installed non-standard apps or the Google Play Store on your $50 Kindle Fire, you can go ahead and let it update, based on my experience. But there may be other problems, including ones I haven’t come across yet, and I’ll be watching for these.