Few questions before rooting


  1. CoreyV

    CoreyV Well-Known Member

    I think I'm ready to root, but have a few questions before I do.

    Background
    I've had my S2 (i777) since March - bought it with 2.3.4, and am still there today. I bought my wife's S2 in April with 2.3.6, had terrible battery experience, and rolled her S2 back to 2.3.4 via the instructions on galaxys2root by zedomax (I think I rooted on 2.3.6 and then unrooted back to 2.3.4 - but it's been so long I don't remember for sure). I've read enough horror stories about carrier/manufacturer upgrades that I've stayed away from them - and today both phones are unrooted at 2.3.4, kernel 2.6.35.7.

    I have a Nexus7 tablet with JB and a Toshiba Thrive with HC (stayed away from Toshiba's ICS after reading bad reports). But I just rooted the Thrive (it was very easy) and installed an ICS custom ROM - and all seems to be working well. So I think I'm ready to root our phones and install a JB custom ROM.

    Questions
    1) Can someone point me to the current/best/safest method to root? Should I use zedomax's instructions since it will install CWM (I used CWM during the Thrive root, so I'm at least familiar with it)?

    2) If I flash a JB ROM and eventually want to unroot myself back to 2.3.4, can I? Would I just need to make a Nandroid backup of 2.3.4 immediately after I root that I could flash back to, and then unroot via zedomax's instructions?

    3) I'm a little unclear on backups via Nandroid vs Titanium. Which should I be doing - both, why? Which backup would I use to flash back to 2.3.4? For the Thrive I made backups via both methods (Nandroid and TB) - when I rooted and was still on HC and immediately after I installed ICS.

    4) When flashing a new ROM, how do I get all of my apps and maybe settings on the new ROM? Is this where Nandroid or TB come into play - or should I use an App Backup/Restore app (I've used an App before when needing to do a Factory reset).

    5) This may be a subjective question, but what is the "best" JB ROM to try first? It looks like there are half a dozen on XDA.

    One other note - XDA kind of scares me. There's lots of technical talk and doesn't appear to be a ton of kindness/patience for noobs. I think most conversation there is geared towards devs, not people like me that might need step by step instruction.

    Thanks for any help.

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  2. Digital Controller

    Digital Controller The Real Bass Creator Guide

    I can't answer all of your questions but here are a few...

    First off here is an unrooting guide if you get cold feet: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1286432

    Secondly, I would suggest trying out Cyanogen Mod, they make some good guides too, fairly easy to follow, let me see if i can hook you up with a link.

    Samsung Galaxy S II (AT&T): Full Update Guide - CyanogenMod Wiki

    Be wary that this will Void your warranty with AT&T.

    Hope some of this helps. I can surely try and assist you to the best of my ability :)
  3. maxmaxter

    maxmaxter Well-Known Member

    Here you go:

    Questions
    1) Can someone point me to the current/best/safest method to root? Should I use zedomax's instructions since it will install CWM (I used CWM during the Thrive root, so I'm at least familiar with it)?
    Use Zedomax's instructions, but use this kernel http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1592228 (it's the most stable one and works excellent)

    Just saw this thread:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2050297 (claims to be the easiest way to root - confirmed). Still, the website I gave you above for the kernel is the best for the i777.

    2) If I flash a JB ROM and eventually want to unroot myself back to 2.3.4, can I? Would I just need to make a Nandroid backup of 2
    .3.4 immediately after I root that I could flash back to, and then unroot via zedomax's instructions?
    You could revert to 2.3.4, but you will decide not to (no gain). There are stock AT&T roms going around for you to do that (just google it). I am really happy with stable cyanogenmod 9.1. CM10 is not stable for SGSII yet (but as soon as it comes out I'm getting it)


    3) I'm a little unclear on backups via Nandroid vs Titanium. Which should I be doing - both, why? Which backup would I use to flash back to 2.3.4? For the Thrive I made backups via both methods (Nandroid and TB) - when I rooted and was still on HC and immediately after I installed ICS.
    I have never done a backup with any of them. Who cares about the apps anyways (you can reinstall them directly from google play no issues). Your partition with the OS will be wiped out. If you have anything important there (unlikely), save it. The other partition (with "other" data such as pictures/videos/app settings, remains untouched)

    4) When flashing a new ROM, how do I get all of my apps and maybe settings on the new ROM? Is this where Nandroid or TB come into play - or should I use an App Backup/Restore app (I've used an App before when needing to do a Factory reset).
    Google play takes care of this as soon as you log in the first time (or nandroid or tb too). The problem is if you flash several new ROMs back to back (same day), the server will get lost and you will have to install the apps manually (just extra work). What you already payed for, remains payed for. Some settings will disappear (oh well... worth the upgrade)

    5) This may be a subjective question, but what is the "best" JB ROM to try first? It looks like there are half a dozen on XDA.
    Here you go http://galaxys2root.com/category/att-galaxy-s2/. Note that some ROMs are for i777 and others are not. You need to be 100% sure that you are installing the correct one for your model or you'll have issues. Right now there are no perfect JB ROMs (debatable) but ICS ROMs are more than stable and for everyday use. galaxys2root.com is a great place to keep updated with upcoming ROMs.

    One other note - XDA kind of scares me. There's lots of technical talk and doesn't appear to be a ton of kindness/patience for noobs. I think most conversation there is geared towards devs, not people like me that might need step by step instruction.
    I agree with you on this one, but they are also correct: "your question was likely already answered somewhere else, so google google google". Phandroid forums are better for people with less technical knowledge :D

    Hope all this helps,

    cheers!
  4. alexv13

    alexv13 New Member

    First of all, In my opinion there is really no need to be afraid of AT&T OTA upgrades (if you device isn't broken that is). My phone is a year and a half old and I installed all the upgrades up to the latest 4.0.4 without any problems. Just make sure the phone is fully charged and wait patiently until the upgrade is complete - many people freak out if nothing visible is happening for minutes and start pushing buttons, rebooting the phone, etc - and mess up the process.

    I used the ExynosAbuse method described here
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2050297. I do not know what might be easier than installing the app and clicking the (correct!) button.

    I vaguely recollect that that method left too many people unhappy and is not recommended on XDA. Much easier way to get CWM is after you are rooted install Mobile Odin from here http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1347899 (don't forget the i777-specific add-on), than use it to flash the CWM-enabled kernel which is compatible with your system. If you have the latest ICS from AT&T (as I did), Siyah 4.3.3 from here http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1592228 works well (it did for me). Just extract the zImage - which is the kernel itself - from the file, then install it using Mobile Odin.

    Needless to say, read all the documentation on the tools you are using, there is plenty of it in those threads. Don't rely on step-by-step recipes alone, make sure you understand what exactly each step does so that if/when something goes wrong, even if you don't know how to fix the problem yourself, you have all the information to pose a right question so that others can help you.

    By the way, the instructions on CM wiki on how to install CWM are wrong, the current CWM distribution package for i777 does NOT include the kernel itself (that zImage file).

    I haven't done that, but presumably you'd have to restore the system with nandroid restore in CWM, then reinstall the stock AT&T kernel which you'd have to download from XDA. There is a thread there on how to prepare the phone for warranty service, etc.

    It looks like I exceeded the size of a single post, see the next one.
  5. alexv13

    alexv13 New Member

    Part II

    CWM nandroid backup copies entire system including user data (the data partition). In Titanium you can selectively backup/restore individual apps with/without data, do scheduled backups, etc. There is another new app for backups called Carbon backup which is a little more user-friendly (and cheaper if you want pro version) than TB. I like TB more.

    That is exactly what TB is for. You may also want to backup/restore your contacts, SMS, call log, etc. There are additional apps for that. But be very careful with saving/restoring settings for system apps as the newer versions which will come with your new ROM might have different configuration files.

    I can only recommend what I did - start with Samsung-based ROM. That way you can hope that all device-specific parts work. My pet peeve is HDMI output via MHL adapter which only works with Samsung-based ROMs. The most popular seems to be Shostock3 http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2005266. I went one step further and installed JB-compatible Siyah kernel (now called AJK) on top of that ROM since I was already familiar with settings for that kernel.

    If you want to go with more Google-like ROM, you'd need to read the developer's section on XDA and decide for yourself. The keywords are AOKP, AOSP, CM. I am planning to install AOKP at some point. See which one has more active development going on and fewer bug reports.

    Having development experience myself (not on Android though), I can certainly relate to that. As with almost all free software there is a need for simpler documentation, people who have expertise, time, and patience to explain advanced matters to beginners, etc. Teaching is a valuable talent and a skill on itself.

    Android is deceivingly easy to use and all the complexity is carefully hidden, but if you want to start fiddling with the system, the complexity would become visible and would have to be dealt with, and that's what leaves so many people who try and fail to install new kernels, ROMs, etc unhappy. There is no way to avoid the "technical talk" if technical matters are discussed. Would you replace an engine in your car if all the parts, tools and workshop were free and easily accessible? Would you just approach a mechanic and ask for easy non-technical step by step directions? :)

    HTH
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