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.

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