Google Pixel “No command” error – FIXED!

I recently received a Google Pixel through my employer to do Android testing on.  It’s a wonderful device, sleek, fast, beautiful screen.  A week ago I had to switch the device off due to traveling on a plane, and when switching it back on again, it did not boot correctly, instead showing a little Android mascot, with the words “No command” underneath.  I was baffled, but after a few hours of Googling and trying different things, I eventually found the fix.

Device

For reference, the device I have is a Google Pixel 32GB, model “2PW4100” it says at the bottom of the back panel, and the build number ended up being “NOF26V”.  This is a stock device, no rooting, no funny bootloader unlocks or anything, out the box, and minimal software installed.

Cause

I can’t be 100% sure.  Haven’t a clue actually.

Solution

So after rummaging around on Google and everywhere it lead me to, I didn’t find an actual “Oh hey, got the ‘No command’ problem?  Here’s the fix: xyz” solution, there were several “try this” and “try that” type things, and as these things go, hardly ever any kind of feedback.  I did end up fixing the phone though, without losing any data.  The solution is to do a manual OTA (Over-The-Air) update.  The steps to follow requires slight familiarity with the command line of your operating system.

Tools you will need

You will need a PC or laptop running either Windows, Linux or MacOS, and the appropriate USB cable for your phone (In the Google Pixel’s case, it’s a USB Type-C cable, the one that came with the phone for charging works just fine.) . You will also need a command line utility called “adb“, which is the Android Debug Bridge.  Luckily, as of this year, instead of having to download the whole Android Software Development Kit, you can download adb by itself here.  Extract the zip file somewhere.  If you’re running Windows, then firstly, I’m sorry.  Secondly, you may need the Google/Android USB drivers which you can find here.

Steps to follow

  • Switch your phone on if it is not already switched on.
  • On the “No command.” screen, keep the power button in, then press Volume Up.  This will present you with the Android Recovery menu.
  • BE CAREFUL!  On this menu, there are some destructive options, such as Factory Reset etc.
  • At the top of the screen, you will see a few lines of yellow text, followed by several menu items in blue.  Look at the yellow text, and look for the version/build number, which will be in a format similar to: “7.1.0/NOF26V/1234567” – That “NOF26V” is the build number you’re after.
  • Go find the build number on the Google “Full OTA Images” page.  The page lists downloadable OTA images for all the currently Google-supported phones.  In my case, the build number “NOF26V” was found twice on the page, once for the Google Pixel XL (codename marlin), and once for the Google Pixel (codename sailfish).
  • Click the appropriate link to download the (as at time of writing) ±850mb zip file for your phone.
  • Once the file is downloaded, copy it to the same location as where you extracted the “adb” tool earlier, open up your favourite command line terminal tool, and navigate to where the adb and the OTA zip file is.
  • If you haven’t done so already, connect the phone to your computer using the USB cable.
  • Confirm that the adb tool can see your phone by typing “adb devices” into the command line.  The output should show a serial number on the left, and “recovery” on the right.
  • On your phone, which should still be on the Android Recovery screen, using the Volume Down button to navigate to the “Apply update from ADB” option, and press the Power button once to select.  The phone will prompt you to start sending the update using ADB.
  • In the command line tool, type the following: “adb sideload <downloaded_ota_file_name_here.zip>“, in my case, the downloaded OTA zip file was called “sailfish-ota-nof26v-4bbb310d.zip“, so my command line was: “adb sideload sailfish-ota-nof26v-4bbb310d.zip”
  • There will be some progress appearing on your computer, and some progress displaying on the phone as well.  After a minute or two, the update should be complete, and you will be able to select an option on the Recovery menu again.
  • NOTE!  Do not be alarmed if you see a warning about “Unknown volume for path” at the end of the update, this is not a critical problem and does not mean the update failed.
  • Use the Volume Up/Down buttons to navigate to the “Reboot” option at the top, and press the Power button to confirm selection.
  • The phone should reboot correctly now and start up as per normal, with all data and everything still there.
  • Once you’ve logged into the phone, there will be a short period of “Completing Android Update” in your notification tray as the last bits of the OTA update is completed.

 

And that’s that.

Let me know if the above worked for you, or if you have any questions.

One comment

  1. OMDogs!! This worked like a charm!
    I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to computers, but it’s been more that 30 years since I’ve used a command line interface…but I was completely able to follow the steps and get everything reloaded. Thank you so much!

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