A sure fire way to upgrade your Samsung Galaxy Note SGH-I717 to Android 4.0 NOW
AT&T Wireless carrier in the US is notorious for slow firmware updates. Maybe that's good, as it keeps things stable. Maybe it is bad. For us technology geeks, it is bad. Often people resort to using third party firmwares that could be unsafe or have malware embedded. When an update is finally issued, we have to wait our turn as they are slowly issued OTA. It can take weeks, or at least it sure seems.
Well, how about if you've updated to the latest KIES. Even though firmware updates on devices are disallowed, what about the firmware recovery option? What if a firmware installation got messed up, and you had to recover. Could you? Turns out you CAN, but there are some peculiar hoops to jump through. First, the S/N must be entered in the program (under the battery, which can be removed if plugged to PC via USB), and model number (SGH-I717) in my case, iirc. If you get it right, it starts a download of the latest brand new firmware for that device.
A few minutes later, you are recovered with Android 4.0 (in this case), or the latest firmware in any case. HOWEVER, the side effect is that you lose any and all data. Thus, make sure everything is backed up or stored on the cloud (and you can get access back to the cloud with your password). It is like getting a new phone, which is what Android 4.0 feels like - to be honest. This was one upgrade WORTH the trouble.
Note that it may take a while to download from the internet and upgrade the phone, so be prepared to wait and don't give up. It also does *not* require that your device drivers recognize the USB device plugged in. You will have _unrecognized device_ show up, and that's OK.
Still, I don't recommend this to anyone, though it does ensure you have the latest Official OS from Samsung, and is a pretty good method to upgrade your phone if you're not afraid of incidental loss of data. These days, with everything on the cloud, or stored in some secondary location, for some this just might do the trick.
Phone: Samsung Galaxy Note
Applies to: Likely many Samsung model phones