Update (7/16/2012): Recently Amazon updated the firmware on my Kindle to v4.1. The ads came back, but the procedure below worked to remove them again. If I leave wireless off (it’s called “Airplane Mode” now), as I usually do to conserve battery life, the ads stay away. But when I turn wireless back on, I get ads.
The Kindle is formatted as a FAT32 partition, so setting .assets to read-only doesn’t actually protect the file (or the folder).
Time for a new idea. Good to know Amazon is paying attention, I guess :-)
While you’re here… My original justification for buying a Kindle was so I could test my ebooks. Overthinking the Marathon and Chasing the Runner’s High are $2.99, R is for Running is free, and the One Fund benefit anthology, The 27th Mile, is $4.99.
Last week I bought a new Kindle for $79. I saved $30 by buying the Kindle “with Special Offers”. There are no ads while I’m reading, but banner ads appear at the bottom of menu screens and full-screen ads display when the Kindle powers down. The ads change regularly, which makes them harder to ignore.
I could go online and pay Amazon the difference in cost to turn the Special Offers off, but it turns out there’s a free and easy way block the ads. Here’s how you do it with Windows 7:
- Make sure your computer is configured to “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” and that it isn’t set to “Hide Protected Operating System Files“.
- Connect your Kindle to your computer with your USB cable.
- View your Kindle in Windows Explorer. Open the system folder and you’ll find an .assets folder.
- Delete the .assets folder.
- Create an empty file in the system folder named .assets. That keeps the Kindle from re-creating the .assets folder. The easiest way is to create an empty file is to open the system folder, right-click on the list of files and folders in system, and select New->Text Document from the context menu. That creates a file named New Text Document.txt.
- You can’t name a file with a leading period in Windows, so you need to open a command prompt window. Hold down the Shift key and right-click on the system folder, then select Open Command Window Here. This opens a character-based command prompt window (a “DOS Box”) with a prompt showing the location of the system folder (in my example, the prompt is D:\Kindle\system).
- Enter this command:
rename “New Text Document.txt” .assets
at the prompt to rename the file you created in step 5.
- That’s it!
The Kindle stores Special Offers in folders inside the .assets folder. When it can’t write to those folders, it assumes there’s no wireless connection and displays a default screensaver (or banner) :
I find this much less annoying than an ever-changing ad. If I leave my Kindle off long enough, the screensaver changes one of a set of Amazon-supplied defaults, like this one:
Other versions of the Kindle may act differently. If you find you can’t stop the ads, or if you find another method that works better, let us know in the comments.