The CF-Auto-Root tool is a complicated rooting application that is also very deceptive because it does not result in much work for the end user. CF-Auto-Root by Chainfire works by flashing a modified recovery image and cache image which is then used to flash the SuperSU and enable the SuperSU before finally reflashing the stock recovery so any evidence of the modified recovery image is gone. The result is your device has SuperSU empowered and granted your device root permissions. In other words, you are officially the root user on the Android operating system that is running on your device which means you can finally start installing the applications you were hoping to install, but the handset would not let you.
Chainfire’s CF-Auto-Root packages are primarily made for Samsung devices, and they have been around for a long time. The way CF-Auto-Root works with Android Marshmallow builds is different from it used to work. Most versions of the CF-Auto-Root tool from Android 5.1 Lollipop and above and now what is known as “systemless” root methods. Chainfire has always liked keeping a device as close to stock Android as possible which is why he wants to give people the chance to keep a stock recovery image and have rooted device at the same time. Things get even cleaner yet again when we talk about the systemless root in comparison to the older versions of the CF-Auto-Root tool.
The systemless root tool version makes it much easier to accept over the air software updates for your device, and that is largely why the FlashFire app is now so popular to install. Interestingly, the Android developers have stepped up the security with Android 6.0 Marshmallow in an attempt to lock people down even more than what the were in previous years. That change has lead to the way CF-Auto-Root would usually work into having to change so that it no longer relies on rooting by modifying files in the system partition like it did earlier. That has worked in Chainfire’s favor with his new FlashFire tool which could help people keep root on a device after they rooted it the first time. Moreover, since the systemless root method does not modify any files within the system partition, the results are also much cleaner. Having it cleaner is better for people like us, and it also makes it easier to unroot the device for the times when you want to sell the phone or send it away under warranty.
Whether you use the CF-Auto-Root tool that does modify the system partition or not doesn’t matter as they will both result in the ability to install the root apps from the Google Play Store. As usual, everything works apart from the Google Pay, which is locked down for root users because of the potential security risks involved. Furthermore, you can apply the systemless CF-Auto-Root tool found in this guide if you have a custom recovery installed already or if you want to install a custom recovery afterward.
The CF-Auto-Root tool is available for many Samsung devices, but it comes in a unique file for each phone. The CF-Auto-Root tool that is made to work on the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920W8 smartphone is based on the MMB29K.N920W8VLU2BPC5 firmware build number. That is the build number that Chainfire was running on his Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone with the same model number when he created the working rooting method for this device. It does not mean you need to be running the same firmware. When Chainfire creates the working rooting process with the new CF-Auto-Root tool, he does so that it works on all versions of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow regardless of the firmware build number.
What Is Rooting the Android Operating System?
When you buy a new smartphone, you might not know it, but the Android operating system is in a “locked” state. For the most part, it will not make much difference to you: most apps are still available to use, and there are benefits to this locked state such as better security. When you root the Android operating system, you are gaining full administrative rights over the OS.
Why Would You Want to Root Android?
Gaining full administrative rights over the operating system has some perks to some people. For example, out of the millions of applications available on Google Play, some of them will not be able to run on your device unless it has root access. Until you have a specific need for wanting Android rooted, you probably want to leave Android as it comes out of the box. But if you need to unlock an app, then that is when you want to look into rooting methods. Using more apps is only one example of why you may want root access, here is the full list of benefits:
- Unlock more applications. Some of the apps available for Android cannot run unless you have root access. This is because the app’s features cannot run without the root permissions because the features require the full system access before they can be useful.
- Better battery life. Smartphones are great, but they have one caveat, which is each time you recharge the battery, it loses some of its overall lifespan. That means smartphones, in general, do not make great investments, and if your weekly paycheck is low, you will want to limit the number of smartphones you go through. One of the ways you can do that is by removing bloatware and creating a better battery life.
- Bolster performance. If you are the budget-conscious shopper, you may want to increase the device’s performance. This can be done by removing the bloatware as well. The more processes you have running, the more memory that is used. By removing some of the apps, it can help lighten the load on your hardware.
- Customize Android with themes. With root access, you can download and install any theme that’s at your disposal. That includes any customized theme you can find.
What Are the Risks of Rooting?
If you are buying a smartphone that is not running iOS, then it is probably the Android operating system that you want running as the ideal software to pair with your shiny new hardware. It is, in fact, the Android OS that offers you the chance to customize the OS considerably more than iOS: custom themes, run any app you know about, the works. For many users, the “openness” of an operating system is important, because it offers them more freedom which means running into fewer problems with their investments. But there is a reason iOS likes a far more locked approach: the ability to customize is not for everyone, and if you do not know what you are doing it can lead to a lot of problems which can define your time with the OS rather than freedom.
With power (full admin permissions) comes greater responsibility. Here are some of the main risk factors when it comes to rooting:
- Malware becomes a larger threat. You might read the occasional news article about how new malware is wreaking havoc in parts of the world on Android. But the Android operating system with root access becomes considerably more vulnerable to exploits because applications are no longer prisoned off in their own sandbox environments. This means if you accidentally download malware, it can do more damage because it can spread throughout the operating system and even jump into other applications and potentially view sensitive data.
- You can accidentally brick the smartphone. There is always a chance that you end up bricking the smartphone before you had the opportunity to use it with root access. That is because if you are going to brick it, it is going to happen during the rooting process.
- You may void the warranty. Most manufacturers do not allow you to root the Android operating system and still get to bring it in for repairs under warranty. Whether they are legally meant to do that or not is another question, but it is now common knowledge that most do not want to help you if they find out you have unlocked the OS with root access.
Files You Need
- Download the CF-Auto-Root tool for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920W8 smartphone when it is running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow updates from here.
- Download the Samsung USB Drivers on the Windows computer from here.
You must have the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone with the SM-N920W8 model number to use this guide. Flashing the CF-Auto-Root package found in this tutorial bricks any other model number version of the Galaxy Note 5, and you need to flash the stock firmware on the device to unbrick it.
You must have a computer that is running a version of the Windows operating system to use this guide. The Odin flashing application we use to flash the rooting file does not work on a MacOS or Linux distribution.
There could be some additional software updates that roll out for this version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone that brings new bootloaders with them. A new bootloader can often present a problem for the CF-Auto-Root tool in the sense that it refuses to let the kernels based on the old firmware boot. People need to leave the new recovery image files that are found in the new firmware files so Chainfire can see them on the official CF-Auto-Root thread made at the XDA-Developers forum.
Rooting the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920W8 smartphone running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow software updates
- Unlock the Developer Options menu on the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone so you can turn the USB Debugging Mode on from within the settings.
- Enable the USB Debugging Mode from the unlocked Developer Options menu so that your smartphone can connect to the computer and allow for some developments to happen on the software.
- Run the Samsung USB Drivers on the Windows computer so your smartphone can connect to the computer and be detected by the flashing application.
- Extract the CF-Auto-Root tool to the desktop of the computer, so you get the Odin flashing application and the rooting exploit files together on the desktop.
- Boot the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920W8 smartphone into the download mode and then connect it to the computer with the USB cable.
- Double-click on the Odin flashing tool executable file that is on the desktop of the computer and the flashing tool we are about to use opens.
- Do not make any changes from the default settings you get from the Odin user interface and all its buttons.
- Check that you can see a blue or yellow color coming from the ID: COM port which is letting you know that the smartphone is connected, and the drivers are working. (Those of you who do not see any color need to work out why the Samsung USB Drivers are not working. They usually work no matter if the Odin flashing application is open already or not. However, you may need to reboot the computer or log out and back into your account. Moreover, you must be logged into an administrator account on the Windows computer to get your device connected to the Odin flashing application, os that might also be your problem if you cannot connect).
- Click the AP button from the Odin user interface and then browse through to the desktop location and then upload the rooting file that is ending in the tar.md5 file extension.
- Click the Start button from the Odin flashing application and then check out the screen of your smartphone.
- Since this is based on Android 6.0.1 updates, the CF-Auto-Root tool is a systemless root which results in different text running down the display than what we are used to in other versions. You should see text that says it is detecting the devices, mounting the system and cache, and then resetting the SuperSU.
- The screen should also show text now that says it is running the SuperSU Installer, boot image patcher and then giving you an important notice on the screen which is telling you not to panic. It should tell you that the first reboot can take a few minutes, and it may also choose to loop a few times (like a boot loop), but do not be alarmed by these loops or the amount of time it is taking. The time is significantly longer than the older version of the CF-Auto-Root tool which would happen almost instantly.
- Now check the screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone for text that states it is unmounting the system, restoring the stock recovery, cleaning up and then rebooting in about 10 seconds.
In conclusion, that is how to root the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 SM-N920W8 smartphone running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow software updates by suing a systemless root version of Chainfire’s CF-Auto-Root application. The systemless root version means that each time you apply a factory reset on the device, you need to root it again by following one of these guides. That should not be a problem, and you can expect this version of the CF-Auto-Root tool made for your handset to work on all versions of the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow updates regardless of the firmware build number you are using.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone now reboots back into the normal mode once you see the message that is is going to reboot in ten seconds, and you should also notice a green box coming from the Odin user interface that has a pass message inside. Now your device is ready to unplug from the computer, and you can open the Google Play Store application and install the basic root checker application. We usually recommend the basic version because it is free to use and checks the source status for you. Those wanting something more can think about installing the paid version which will also give you BusyBox and potentially a couple of other things which you can invest in elsewhere anyhow.
Once you have confirmed your device is rooted by checking out the root status available from the root checker application, you are ready to open the Google Play Store application once again and then start installing your root only applications like the Titanium backup app. Titanium is the app I always go out and recommend a great deal in my guides because I think it is one of the best root application out there, and one of the obvious choices for people to make. The Titanium backup app comes with a clean user interface that will have you excited about your rooted Android. Moreover, it is the bets way to backup the device and allows you to backup absolutely everything. About the only thing that comes close to using the NANDroid backup option that is available from the custom recovery images, but not everyone wants to install la custom recovery. Those who d want a custom recovery might prefer installing the NANDroid manager app and pairing it with the NANDroid backups from inside the custom recovery image. Both the NANDroid backup option from inside a custom recovery paired with the NANDroid manager app and the Titanium Backup app are great options.
Those of you, not all that interested in backing up solutions at this point might prefer doing some more reading on what things you can do with the rooted Android operating system when it is running on your Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphones. Of course, it is not all about backing up, and there are heaps of other things that might be of interest. Things like installing a custom ROM, custom recovery image, increasing the RAM, increasing the hardware performance in other ways, increasing the battery life, removing the system apps that you thin are bloatware and changing the way your smartphone looks by design are some of the most popular choices.
Furthermore, there are also some things you can try if your Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone is not rooted after you complete the guide. Chainfire states that you need the Note 5 to get into the recovery mode for the installation of the SuperSU to be done properly to the point where it is enabled. You can wait until the flashing of the CF-Auto-Root tool completes and then manually boot it into the recovery mode when you see the phone reboot, and it results in the same finish which is the operating system now rooted.
Moreover, those still in need of help should just try installing one of the other Odin flashing tool versions that are available from our Odin downloader page. The version of Odin that Chainfire puts in his guides is the Odin 3.10, and it comes in a range of other versions such as the Odin 3.09 and the Odin 3.07 which works just the same. In fact, there is no wrong version of the Odin flashing tool to install; it is just a matter of which version works. None of them will ever harm your device.
In addition to installing another Odin and getting into the recovery mode, you might want to check how many smartphone carrier networks are assigned to your phone’s model number. Some places in the world have more than one phone carrier network attached to a model number, and those can be installed as long as you are SIM unlocked. A SIM unlocked phone can head to the Sam Mobile website and install a firmware intended for use by another phone carrier network provided that it is made for the same model number. Try installing another version of firmware from a phone carrier network that has more users than the one yo is using now for a potential higher success rate.