December 6, 2014 Comments (2) Phones

Connecting Windows 8.1 to LG Volt Android Hotspot

Boost Mobile LG Volt

It took me a couple of days to finally get my Windows 8.1 computers to connect to our new Android phone. The phone is a LG Volt we picked up on Black Friday for $40, running on Boost Mobile’s $55 10GB 4G plan. There were quite a few steps and I will try to outline them as best I can, it’s really not that difficult, the most time consuming part (for me) was downloading the 1.17GB tot file. The rest is fairly straight forward, so long as you follow directions.

LG Volt Downgrade & Root

This process is actually very simple and takes less than 10 minutes once you understand the instructions. I am not a phone or Android guru of any kind and most of what I do is via apps and easy to understand instructions.

There are some prerequisites that we need to have completed before you even start the process, it’s best to get all of your tools in place so that nothing comes up and you are unable to complete a key step. So first things first, let’s download the required files.

  1. LS740ZV3_17.33030_Secure.zip – This is for people with the ZV4 update to their LG Volt, to find out what you have, go to Apps > Settings > System > About Phone > Software Information and check the Build Number or Software Version, if they contain “ZV4” then you will need this file as the ZV4 update does not allow rooting. This will downgrade the phone to the ZV3 version, which will allow you to easily root the phone.
  2. LG Flash Tool & DLL files – This is the software that will allow us to flash the older ZV3 system onto the phone.
  3. MegaLock.zip – This is the DLL file that will open the LG Flash Tool.
  4. LGUnitedMobileDriver_S51MAN312AP22_ML_WHQL_Ver_3.12.3.exe – These drivers will allow Windows to recognize the phone in order to flash the ZV3 files.

Got them? Good, let’s get started.

LG Flash Tool Settings

  1. Open the LG Flash Tool archive and run the “Setup_LGFlashTool_1.8.1.1023” file. Complete the installation and that will install the LG Flash Tool to “C:\LG\LGFlashTool”
  2. Copy “LGLS740_20140414_LGFLASHv160.dll” from the LG Flash Tool archive into the LG Flash Tool folder.
  3.  Open “MegaLock.zip” and copy “MegaLock.dll” to the LG Flash Tool folder, overwriting the existing file.
  4. Run the “LGUnitedMobileDriver_S51MAN312AP22_ML_WHQL_Ver_3.12.3.exe” file and install the LG Windows drivers.
  5. Unplug the phone and power it off.
  6. Now, hold the volume up button while you connect the USB cable to the PC. Once it’s on, you should see the device setup in Windows.
  7. Once that’s complete, right click “My Computer” and select Properties then open the Device Manager. Under “Ports (COM & LPT) you should see the LG Volt. (If not, ensure you installed the LG Windows drivers in step 4) Right click and click Properties > Port Settings > Advanced. In the “COM Port Number” field, set it to COM41.
  8. Now browse to C:\LG\LGFlashTool, run “LGFlashTool.exe” and tick the “Select Manual Mode” check box.
  9. In the “DLL” field, browse to the “LGLS740_20140414_LGFLASHv160.dll” file.
  10. In the “S/W” field, browse to the “LS740ZV3_17.33030_Secure.tot” file and click “OK”.
  11. Ensure “BOARD_DL” is selected at the bottom of the dialog.
  12. Click the yellow arrow in the top-left of the window. This part will take a few minutes, it will verify the checksum of the firmware then Port 1 should read “READY!!”
  13. Now hold volume up and the power button until the phone turns off, keep holding the volume up button until you see the Firmware Update screen again. Now the LG Flash Tool will start trying to communicate with the phone. Let it flash the firmware. Do not touch anything while it’s working.
  14. Once the phone has restarted, you will see a “MiniOS” screen. First, press “OK” to close the touch test. Then while pressing the power button, press the “Normal Boot” button on the screen (and “OK” on the following confirmation dialog.)
  15. Once the phone boots, we’re done. You can ignore any messages (including “DOWNLOAD FAIL!!”) from the LG Flash Tool and close it.
    (Note, you will need to do a PRL Update in order to activate the phone. Apps > Settings > System > System Updates > Update PRL)

Congratulations. Your phone is now flashed with the ZV3 firmware which will make the rest of the steps much easier.

The phone will proceed to download the ZV4 update, do not install it. When you receive the update notification, hold the “Install Later” button until the “App Info” button shows up. Press “App Info” button and uncheck the “Display Notifications” option.

Now, the tricky part for me with this phone was that apparently Windows 8.1 does not like ad-hoc networks, there are ways to connect a Windows 8.1 PC to a wireless ad-hoc network, but they are several steps long and all done via the Command Prompt both to connect and disconnect the network every time you want to get online. This was kind of odd to me, since SVTP’s Wifi Hotspot & USB Tether as well as PdaNet+ worked on our old phone just fine with Windows 8.1. Nevertheless, I imagine Sprint/Boost blocked the app in this build, as I could not get SVTP to open after installing it.

I tried nearly every wireless hotspot app in the Play Store and I found one of two things kept happening. Either the Windows 8.1 PC could see the wireless network, but upon connection would get a “Limited Connection” notification (no internet) or it could not see the wireless network whatsoever, this was the case with Barnacle for me.

There are only a few easy steps to get this to work (for me at least.) First, we need to go to www.towelroot.org, download and install Towelroot (note, you may need to enable in Settings > Security and tick “Unknown Sources”); open it and click the “Make it Ra1n” button. You should get a message that the phone is rooted (in ZV4, you will get a message that the phone is not compatible.) Once done, head back to the Play Store, download and install SuperSU and open it. Head back to the Play Store, download and install Barnacle Wifi Tether as well as Mobile Hotspot.

Towelroot for Android

SuperSU for Android
Barnacle for Android
Mobile Hotspot for Android

How this works seems kind of silly and I don’t quite understand what all is going on, but it works for me. Open Barnacle and click “Start.” If you’re in my position, it will work great for Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows, but Windows 8.1 will not even let you see the network outside of the Command Prompt. Now the trick, open Android Mobile Hotspot and enable it as well…. Voila. 4G mobile hotspot for Windows 8.1.

Like I said, I don’t quite understand why it works this way. Without Barnacle, Windows 8.1 can see the “Mobile Hotspot” network, but it will be a limited connection with no internet access. Without Mobile Hotspot, Windows will not even display the “barnacle” network. It seems like it’s able to connect to the “Mobile Hotspot” network and able to get its internet through the Barnacle app. Makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever as they appear to be two different networks, but perhaps something in the apps works the same way making a more robust hotspot configuration… Or whatever.

Note, this works with other apps besides the Mobile Hotspot app, that is just the one I use, I noticed this working before with a different hotspot app as well, but I had no idea what I’d done to get internet access and subsequently uninstalled the app and don’t remember its name. So maybe try it out with a few different apps and find out what works best for you.

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