Kindle 3 Freezing minimization, Amazon testing fix

If the Kindle 3 is giving you trouble with automatic restarts or freezing you’ll be glad to know Amazon might be close to a solution. This post will also add some details on how to minimize the freezing.

Please note that these are workarounds that reduce the frequency, not remove the problem. The real solution is for Amazon to release an update that fixes the underlying issue - which Amazon seems to be in the process of doing.

Should you return your Kindle 3?

No, all signs point to a software issue that’s fixable and Amazon is already working on a fix and testing it. Two users left comments that they have the new firmware for testing, one left a photo showing the new firmware version, and another user was told by Amazon customer service that a fix would be out in 10 days.

Additionally, Amazon is offering a free replacement Kindle 3 if you’re running into freezing issues.

If you’re thinking about getting the Kindle 3 please note that this Kindle 3 freezing issue isn’t happening for everyone - From the responses on the Kindle forum it seems that there are more Kindle 3 owners not experiencing the Kindle 3 freezing issue than there are Kindle 3 owners experiencing it.

Keep in mind Mike deMaria’s advice -

To those of you who are second guessing your purchase/being sad/etc –> DON’T BE (smile) All that is most likely wrong is a bug that can be found and fixed without you doing much – other than connecting to Whispernet Via 3G or WiFi when the fix is released.

Should it have been caught before shipment? Maybe. But I do know from all my experience on the other side of things (being the programmer), sometimes bugs like these escape even the best testing. It happens.

A fix should be out soon and even in the rare case it’s an unfixable problem you can get a free replacement Kindle 3.

Possible firmware upgrade on the way to fix Kindle 3 Freezing Issues

Here’s a comment from BobLenx -

Hey gang, I got an email back from Amazon support today – good news I think. The email was as follows:

“I have heard back from the development team on our issue. It appears this problem will be addressed in an upcoming software update for the Kindle which will be sent wirelessly to you in approximately ten days or so.

In the meantime for a temporary fix you can slide the power button to the right for about 15 seconds to reset the Kindle.”

That would certainly be a good thing. Hopefully, that’s a reliable customer service representative.

K. Scarpelli even wrote to say the new firmware is being testing on his Kindle -

Good news people. I just received a call from tech support about a half hour ago and they pushed the new firmware to my Kindle. I’m running 3.0.1 (525120101).

That’s really good news. He’s even put up a picture and it clearly shows he has a different firmware version. Another user, CLS10, also got the new firmware.

In the meantime let’s figure out how to minimize Kindle 3 freezing.

What seems to work best to minimize Kindle 3 Freezing?

Here’s a rough list of things that seem to decrease the probability of restarts and freezing -

  1. A hard reset (hold down power button for 15 to 20 seconds) seems to often fix the issue. The reset via the settings page isn’t effective – you have to use the power switch reset.
  2. Let Kindle 3 charge for 3 to 6 hours before using it.  
  3. Don’t download hundreds of books at the same time.  
  4. If you’ve just downloaded books and they’re indexing (Kindle is preparing them for searches) don’t do lots of intensive things. If possible even hold off for a few hours and let Kindle index. Do a search for ‘xqwe’ and it’ll show a list of books (if any) that haven’t been indexed – Wait for that list to go to zero.
  5. Don’t visit lots of complex websites one after the other. The web browser seems to be causing a lot of crashes so if you can avoid it that’d be best.
  6. Don’t load up lots of PDFs from strange places. If you’re having problems with PDFs delete a few of them and then try reading the remaining PDFs.
  7. Don’t add tons and tons of highlights quickly.
  8. WiFi might play a part so if you have the option of either work with 3G. Using 3G solved the freezing issue for some Kindle 3 owners.
  9. Importing Collections is causing a problem often enough that it might not be a bad idea to hold off on it for a bit.

Some users are taking up Amazon Customer Service’s offer of a replacement Kindle. Will update this post if they report back that the replacement fixes the issues – since lots of people aren’t seeing the freezing there’s a high chance the replacement Kindle 3 will be free of the freezing issue.

Kindle 3 Freezing – Possible Causes

Let’s look at the various situations which seem to cause freezing or reboots. We’ll also look at what people found worked. Most of these are from the official kindle forum.

Freezing right in the beginning -

  • It’s recommended to let your Kindle 3 charge for 3 hours before using it. There are claims that if you don’t do this it’s likely to cause more crashing – No idea whether these claims are valid but it certainly doesn’t hurt to let Kindle 3 charge fully.

Freezing and Restarts when Indexing a large number of books -

  • For some people the problems occur only when they are downloading/adding a lot of books at once. This suggests it might be an indexing issue.
  • The solution here is to not load up lots and lots of books at once.

Freezing and restarts when doing things very quickly one after the other -

  1. If you go into the photo viewer and do lots of changes at the same time sometimes the Kindle 3 freezes.
  2. The solution for this would be to not change settings multiple times in rapid succession.

For some people Every Word is causing problems – Well, Kindle Apps do freeze up on Kindle 3 and didn’t on Kindle 2. Kindle Apps presumably take up a lot of memory and processing power so if the crashing is related to processor overload or Kindle running out of free memory it would make sense that games crash more often.

Freezing and restarting due to WiFi -

  1. Quite a few people have had freezing when they were using WiFi. 
  2. A few people have had freezing disappear when they stopped using WiFi. It probably means the WiFi feature’s code is doing whatever causes the freezing more often than other features’ code.  

It seems more and more likely that there’s a single bug underlying all these freezing problems.

A common thread of a Memory Leak or a Processor Overload

If you look at all the things that might be causing freezing and restarts it seems that whenever you do memory intensive or processor intensive tasks on the Kindle 3 it crashes or freezes. We get errors more frequently when -

  1. Indexing lots of books.
  2. Doing lots of changes one after the other.
  3. Loading complex websites in a row.
  4. Loading lots of PDFs.
  5. Highlighting frequently.

It definitely suggests that either there is a memory leak or the processor is getting overloaded and is unable to cope.

Here’s a comment from Mike that suggests the same thing -

Being the good programmer that I am, to me it appears we are all having a memory leak issue.

The other day I could see things getting slower and slower until finally the K3 locked up and needed a hard reset. It would also explain the random reboots if something is eating program space.

A memory leak would make the most sense as it would be something that just gradually builds up and then suddenly when you do something that needs additional memory - it causes a crash. A problem related to a memory leak would also be be triggered more frequently when doing memory intensive tasks like web browsing or loading PDFs – which is exactly what we’re seeing.

the PDF restart issue 

There’s a particular, rare bug that causes a Kindle 3 restart every single time you open a PDF. There are two things found to work for this -

  1. This is sometimes fixed by a hard reset of the Kindle. Slide and hold the power switch for 15 seconds.
  2. Another solution is to delete a few of the PDFs you have. This suggests certain PDFs might be causing an issue or that PDFs aren’t cleared out from the memory properly until they are deleted. If PDFs aren’t properly removed from memory it would make sense that all PDFs cause a restart - PDFs and the PDF reader probably need a lot of memory and the PDFs left behind in memory would reduce available memory and the PDF reader wouldn’t have enough memory to load.

This will probably also be fixed by the new firmware. It’s good to know there’s a possible Kindle 3 freezing fix being tested and everyone will soon get back to enjoying the Kindle 3.

23 Responses

  1. Good to hear a fix is on the way. I received my K3 Monday, and just had my first freeze last night. Had just finished a book and was choosing a new one and it froze up. Reset fixed it up just fine.
    I would rather have this issue than the low contrast screens and sun fade issues on the first k2′s!

  2. Any news on updating the DX to K3 software?

    I just had to give my County Manager the bad news that, while moving to publishing our agendas to Kindles for elected officials would result in $20K savings per year, the Kindle DX’s PDF support isn’t quite there yet.

    He’s thinking about converting from print to the iPad — horrors — so any news would be good. (Also, a comparison of the PDF support on the iPad vs the Kindle 3 would also be useful.)

    BTW, the savings is a low estimate. Moving towards a paperless office could result in significantly higher savings, but this would require a change in the mindset of County employees and would probably take a great deal of time.

  3. I’ve had my Kindle 3 for a week and have noticed an increase in both auto-restarts and freezes. The auto-restarts happen when the device is in sleepmode and sometimes just picking it up causes it to restart. Also the battery life is poor, maybe because of all these restarts.

  4. I hope the fix is really on the way, because I’ve been having several crashes and freezes since the first day. I’ve even lost some highlights (precisely, I was doing a lot of higlights -two, tree on each page-, crashed, restarted and no highlights in my book).

    I hope Amazon fix this quickly, because there are a lot of new kindle users that could get upset because of this.

  5. Everything was great until last night. I emailed a pdf to my Kindle and I was able to read it the night before. But for whatever reason, everything I tried to access the file last night, the Kindle would restart. This morning the browser completely died and would not display any web site. I do hope Amazon fixes these problems quickly.

    But with all these problems, reading on the Kindle is still a joy! I suppose the broken browser means I should browse less and read more.

  6. Will there be K4 this Dec? Should I wait? Thanks.

  7. Amazon is on this and has a beta fix, which they installed remotely on my K3 yesterday. Their progress in coming up with a solution has been incredibly swift, considering that most people didn’t start getting their units until 7 or 8 days ago. I got mine a week ago today.

    Since installing the firmware beta, I’ve had no crashes, reboots or restarts. It’s working great.

  8. Amazon also contacted me yesterday regarding an earlier conversation on the freezing issue and asked if they could upload an update to the firmware which they did. I think he mentioned that the update would soon be released to all kindle owners. My Kindle version software is now 3.0.1 (525120101). Since the update there have been no “freeze ups”.

  9. As a new kimdle user myself (received it this morning) you can color me impressed. however as mentiomed above, i sure hope the updated firmware provides a relief from the crashes. It’s hardly a deal-breaker but sure can cause some sec-guessing.

  10. With all the problems in K3, what is the best scenario for a gift of e-reader?

    - Wait for better software fix for K3?
    - Wait for iPad 2?
    - Wait for K4 next year?

    Thanks.

  11. Minimization?

    LOL 3.0.3 didn’t fix anything – my K3 freezes up with 3g / wifi on or off and the standard tutorial books that came with it… Amazon support have no idea – its a piece of junk.

    It’s shame that this nice but now useless device will end up in the trash. Also living in Australia returning the thing costs $100usd.. I’ve given up trying.

    Avoid buying the K3 – buy an iPad.

  12. I am on my second k3 and still freezing/re-booting issues. I am doing nothing fancy – just trying to read 1 book with the wireless turned off (or on). Also, not that when it freezes and re-boots the machine completely loses the page you are reading. I was 70 percent through a book and it went all the way back to 20 percent. I received both updates including the preview update which just came out. Should I return it, ask for another new K3? No idea what to do. Any ideas would be appreciated

    • LRT, try out 3.0.3 on the Amazon site. Just search for ‘kindle update’ to find the page.

      That ought to work. If it doesn’t ask for a new one.

      • Thanks for the tip. Amazon Support helped me download 3.0.3 and it did absolutely nothing to fix the problem. When my kindle was asleep it would reboot repeatedly and without the wireless on it would lose my page. I gave up!! Returned the kindle last week – manager agreed to take everything back including the books so figured I better quit while I was ahead and send it all back. I am sad and miss my kindle but I spent more time on the phone with kindle support than reading.

    • Hi LRT,
      I just read your post and it describes my issue exactly! Did you have the Wifi or the 3G version? I have the Wifi, and am on my 4th since September 2010! My newest came with the newest software update: 3.0.3. They suggested to me that I take it out of the protective cover, and it seems to have stopped re-booting! Did you have a cover for your Kindle? Mine was the basic leather cover.
      I’m still working on trying to keep my Kindle. :( It doesn’t make sense that the cover would be causing the problem, but it has worked consistantly for 2 days without the cover. As soon as I put it back in, I couldn’t get it to turn on! The Amazon folks are going to call me tomorrow so we can figure all of this out, and I can tell them that the cover may be a problem…:(

  13. [...] Noen tips for å sørge for at krasj og restart ikke skjer så ofte finner du her. [...]

  14. After two years, this issue is alive and well! :(

  15. Same as above. It’s 3rd of October 2012, and I have my Kindle 3 open in front of me trying to fix it. Firmware 3.4!!

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