How To

What to do if you get the “missing system.img” error while flashing Android Lollipop factory image


system error nexus

We just posted our guide for flashing the Android 5.0 factory image on your Nexus. Unfortunately lot of people across the internet are running into an error when trying to do it. We addressed this problem in our guide, but wanted to mention it again in a separate post for anyone having the problem.

The TL;DR is that the typical method is failing to find the .img files from inside the We’ll simply find and install those files manually. Here’s how to do it.

*Phandroid is not responsible for any problems you have. Proceed at your own risk.

We’ll need to extract the file into a new folder. Then move the “bootloader” and “radio” .img files into that same folder. I suggest renaming the bootloader and radio files so you get something like this:

file names will vary by device

Now all we’re going to do is flash all the .img files manually one-by-one. It’s a piece of cake. Open up the command prompt and change to the directory with all your .img files. Input the following commands in order. Allow each one to finish before moving on.

fastboot flash bootloader bootloader.img

fastboot flash radio radio.img

fastboot reboot-bootloader

fastboot flash recovery recovery.img

fastboot flash boot boot.img

fastboot flash system system.img (this one will take the longest)

If you’re doing this for a Nexus 6 or Nexus 9:

fastboot flash vendor vendor.img

To perform a full wipe do this:

fastboot flash cache cache.img

fastboot flash userdata userdata.img

That’s it. Now run command “fastboot reboot” and your phone will restart. The boot animation will last a little longer than usual, but eventually you’ll get the “Android is upgrading” message and you’re on your way to Android 5.0 Lollipop! We hope this solved your problems. I know how frustrating it was to get this error message. Did you run into the system.img error? Did this method work for you?

[via Android Forums]

Joe Fedewa
Ever since I flipped open my first phone I've been obsessed with the devices. I've dabbled in other platforms, but Android is where I feel most at home.

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  1. First command you’re missing a “bootloader”…

  2. I used the “flash-all.bat” method and I didn’t run into any errors.

    1. Same here. No issues for this guy.

    2. I used it and at first I got the ‘system.img’ error; a quick Windows reboot fixed it, though.

  3. I tried the flash-all.bat file with my Nexus 7 and it bricked my device. It would say “failed to boot”. I had to revert back to 4.4.4 then try 5.0 again. I switched USB ports and that seemed to help. I have also heard running cmd as administrator fixes some of the issues.

    1. It wasn’t really “bricked” if you were able to reinstall 4.4.4.

  4. Is anybody else having the Phandroid app crash on their phone after opening it up or opening an article after not having the app open for a while? I don’t even know if they’re getting my crash reports

    1. Yup, I’ve been getting that for many months now. So much that I made my own Phandroid app for personal use.

      1. What’s the app?

        1. It’s not on the Play Store as I made it for myself but I can release it if Phandroid gives me permission to do so.

          1. Put it up on a website somewhere and share the link.

  5. After flashing my nexus 5 the memory has been downgraded to 16GB. Anyone else getting this?

    1. Good catch! My 32gb is now only showing 16gm in storage section. What gives?

      1. That happened to me with my 32gb nexus 7 when I restored it to stock and sold it to GameStop. Didn’t realize it went from 32gb to 8gb lol. A quick wipe fixed the issue.

    2. I had the same problem. Boot to bootloader. Switch up to recovery. Wipe cache, then do a factory reset. That fixed it for me.

  6. Flash-all.bat worked like a charm on my 4 Nexus 5s. There are more difficult ways if this is too easy.

  7. failmessages with both metods, went back to preview

    1. Restart your computer and don’t open up any programs. Use the SDK again with the flash-all.bat file. See if that helps.

      1. that’s what I had to do. worked after a restart. it’s a windows issue I think.

      2. Thank you it worked out after I restarted.

  8. I want to know who besides tech bloggers/reviewers is flashing a nexus 6 and where did they get it.

  9. PSA.. the Wug Nexus Root Toolkit has been updated to 1.9.3 which will allow you to easily flash the new image and root your device (assuming you are unlocked)

  10. Nice… I have the same problem, and this solutions works fine for me! :D
    I really don´t know whats gone wrong, but i think that i didn´t reboot the phone after the first unlock… Tks!

  11. So this is similar to someone deleting the shell32.dll files or other important dll files!

    Heh, this stuff is too easy now! Try fixing a PC with missing .dlls in windows 2000 or XP

  12. What to do ? Wait for the official OTA instead of doing questionable things to get something before anyone else because you JUST GOT TO HAVE IT NOWWWWWWWWW. lol.

  13. Thank you SO MUCH for this, Joe. My phone was stuck in a bootloop and I was so worried that I might have just lost my phone. After doing this, though, everything is completely fine! Thank you so much again!

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