[Guide] How to root the Desire S

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  1. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    Didn't see a guide here to root the HTC desire s, but there are plenty out there.

    Here is a guide I wrote to get it done in excessive layman terms.

    Section 1 - How to root the Desire S

    Disclaimer: Be warned, there always a risk that your phone will end up bricked as a result of procedures like this. I take no resonsibility for bricked devices. Do your own research and if it all makes sense in your head proceed.​

    !!! Before you proceed, read through the whole post !!!

    Always take note of your phones details before you root - Build number (Software number), Baseband version (Radio), and Hboot, you never know whenyou may need them.
    Make a goldcard if you have a spare memory card, better safe than sorry!!! (use mmc2, not mmc0/1) see here on how to.
    Leave USB debugging on after you have done what you needed, you mayneed it on down the line.

    Firstly, before you can root, you need to get S-off, to do this we use Revolutionary.

    S-On is basically a security check on HTC phones that prevents unauthorized access to the system memory/NAND, so first it needs to be disabled/by-passed.

    Step 1) - Revolutionary method to get S-off

    -Turn off fastboot menu/settings/power/fastboot (on the phone)
    -Turn on USB debugging menu/Settings/Applications/Development/USB debugging (on the phone)
    -Boot into Hboot (switch phone off and the press power+vol down) and write down the Hboot number (will need it later) and check the phone is S-On (currently only v0.98.0002 and 0.98.0000 are supported, if your phone is neither of these you need to either downgrade or unlock using HTCDev (not true s-off))
    -Download Revolutionary app here
    -Ensure HTC sync is UNINSTALLED on the PC!!!!!!!
    -Install HTC fastboot drivers (can get them on this page)
    -Plug phone in and run Revolutionary app (when plugging in select CHARGE ONLY (i.e. leave on the home screen) and copy the serial that the app gives (this is your phones serial)
    -Copy phone serial to Revolutionary.to website select which Hboot your phone is, operating system and copy the beta key generated to the app
    -Does its thing, asks to install clockworkmod, say YES or NO, [If NO, and you rather install it yourself (and not the Revolutionary branded one) follow step 2 to install in manually, if YES continue to step 3]

    Phone is now S-off but not yet rooted and is running a custom Hboot (v6.XX.XXXX) that doesn't check the security flag which is stored on the device’s radio.

    Step 2) - Install Clockworkmod using fastboot

    *only follow Step 2 procesure if you selected NO when Revolutionary asked you to install Clockworkmod Recovery, this is to install in manually
    -Download attached file titled "android-tools.zip", it has the adb and fastboot files needed to proceed
    -Extract the file to "c:\" so that the path looks like this C:\android-tools
    -Install HTCDriver (Fastboot drivers) (should already be installed from revolutionary step) but here's the link again
    -Open cmd and type "cd/"
    -then type "cd android-tools"

    *To test whether you have set up all the files correctly and your phone is connected correctly you can do the following;
    *Plug your phone in (when plugging in select CHARGE ONLY (i.e. leave on the home screen)
    *In cmd type "adb" and press enter, it should show a list of commands, then type "fastboot"and press enter, it should also show a list of commands)
    *If both these commands work you have extracted the files to the right place and have setup cmd right.
    *then type "adb devices"
    *Should show connected phone serial if not then try get the latest HTCdrivers

    -Download clockworkmod (here) for your phone and place .img in C:\android-tools folder (i.e. where the files adb.exe, AdbWinApi.dll, AdbWinUsbApi.dll and fastboot.exe are)
    *To make life easier rename the file to recovery.img
    -start fastboot (boot Hboot, plug phone in "HBoot USB plug" shows once phone is plugged in and press the power button (fastboot is highlighted by default) then it says "Fastboot USB")

    *(As a test to ensure you have put your phone into fastboot type "fastboot devices" in cmd, it will show your phones serial, if it shows nothing you have not put your phone into fastboot yet)

    -run command "fastboot flash recovery recovery.img" in cmd
    -then run "fastboot reboot"

    Phone now should have recovery installed, you can now install custom roms and/or root your phone. I suggest CyanogenMod/MIUI,, plenty to choose from though.

    Step 3) - Root phone using Clockworkmod and Superuser

    -Copy su-3.0.5-efgh-signed.zip to sdcard root (Current latest version, get latest from clockworkmod site)
    -Start clockworkmod recovery (Hboot/recovery)
    -Select install zip from sdcard"
    -select Choose zip from sdcard
    -Select copied file
    -select Yes - install su-3.0.5-efgh-signed.zip to confirm
    -Go back
    -Then reboot.

    All DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I do suggest you flash the ENG 0.98.2000 in in Section 2 Step 1 as a precaution if you ever need to flash a RUU.

    Step 1 and 3 Video
    Here's a video of step 1 and 3 that covers all the points mentioned above.
    How to S-Off and Root the HTC Desire S, Sensation, Wildfire, Evo, Flyer HD - A step-by-step tutorial - YouTube

    In step 2 I got the info from here over at the XDA forum. The rest form video's and looking around

    android-tools.zip File Details;
    417.38 KB | MD5: 4A740A80F611F781681094CBB6657D74

    Some troubleshooting tips;
    1) If your phone won't boot into Hboot, try switching off your phone and take out the battery for 30 seconds and try again.
    2) If your phone isnt recognized by your PC try the HBoot drivers in this guide here and follow the Prerequisite steps point.
    3) If you are having problems with the adb/fastboot commands follow this guide to setting adb and using it as an alternate the the steps/files mentioned above in STEP 2.
    4) To boot directly into fastboot from home screen run this command in cmd 'adb reboot-bootloader'

    Section 2 - How To Get Your Phone Stock Again (UnRoot/S-On)

    Okay, why would you want to return to stock?
    1) The main reason is for warranty reasons,
    2) or to fix a problem you are having.

    The easiest and most direct way to get back to stock is to install a RUU (Rom Upgrade Utility).

    What is a RUU?
    RUU stands for Rom Upgrade Utility, these are ROM upgrade utilities (released by HTC that are leaked) that are used to upgrade your phones ROM, and thus we can use them to get the phone back to stock.
    The catch is 1) that when you S-off by revolutionary you you are replacing the phones Hboot with a custom one. And this Hboot cannot be overwritten by a RUU and 2) you use the right RUU (one that is compatible with your phone and/or the one you had a stock). If you don't use the correct RUU you will need to to check your misc version and use a GoldCard.

    Before you S-Off/Root/Unroot/S-On your phone get/do the following;
    Always take note of your phones details before you root - Build number (Software number), Baseband version (Radio), and Hboot, you never know whenyou may need them.
    Make a goldcard if you have a spare memory card, better safe than sorry!!! (use mmc2, not mmc0/1) see here on how to
    Leave USB debugging on after you have done what you needed, you mayneed it on down the line
    Your CID (cidnum) (Boot into fastboot (on the phone) and run command "fastboot getvar cid" (on the computer)

    In order to overcome the write protection you need to first replace the Hboot by one that can be overwritten by a RUU, to do this you need to flash a ENG Hboot, the current one is ENG 0.98.2000

    Step 1) - Flash the ENG HBoot

    Do not skip this step!!!

    -Turn off fastboot menu/settings/power/fastboot (on the phone)
    -Turn on USB debugging menu/Settings/Applications/Development/USB debugging (on the phone)

    To flash the ENG HBoot you can use one of these methods;
    1) Fastboot
    -Place the .img file (extracted from PG88IMG(ENG 0.98.2000).zip) in C:\android-tools (Setup in Section 1-Step 2 First two paragraphs)
    -Boot phone into fastboot (to start fastboot (boot Hboot, plug phone in "HBoot USB plug" shows once phone is plugged in and press the power button (fastboot is highlighted by default) then it says "Fastboot USB")
    -Run command "fastboot flash hboot engHBOOToverARX.img" in CMD
    2) Android Flasher
    -Download from here
    -Select phone, select Hboot .img (bootloader)
    -Boot phone into fastboot and select FLASH
    3) Updater file (PG88IMG.zip)
    -Rename PG88IMG(ENG 0.98.2000).zip to PG88IMG.zip EXACTLY
    -Place file on your SD card root, and boot into HBoot, and follow onscreen instructions
    4) adb shell (LAST LAST resort, one typo and you can brick your phone, do some reserch before doing it
    -Place the hboot on your SD card and remane it to "hboot.img"
    -Boot into recovery
    -adb devices - Must show your serial
    -adb shell
    -su (it should show #, that means you have the right permission, if it shows $ afterwards you dont have permission)
    dd if=/dev/block/mmcblk0p18 of=/sdcard/backup.img (backup your current hboot)
    dd if=/sdcard/hboot.img of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p18 (flashes new hboot)
    If you have any problems first check out this thread for answers

    If all you did was run revolutionary to get s-off and root (i.e. no custom roms etc.) the you should be able to follow the above steps to re flash your stock hboot (0.98.0000 or 0.98.0002) and not use the RUU.

    Step 2) - Install the RUU

    How to check if downloaded RUU is compatible with your phone:
    To avoid errors etc, you need to confirm your phone is unbranded, i.e. check if your CID matches the CID check list in the RUU you downloaded.
    To do this Run the installer, then go to your Windows Temp Folder, sort the folder by date and pick the folder with the latest date, and locate the rom.zip file inside, open it up and open the android-info.txt file. Your CID should be in the list, if not then you need to create a GoldCardto install that RUU.
    Here is a list of RUU's you can download for your phone [ROM]Shipped Desire S ROM Collection - xda-developers

    If you wish to downgrade your current stock phone you can follow this guide.

    Here and here are two great threads for HTC Desire S Guides

    Attached Files:

  2. TheAndroidUser

    TheAndroidUser Active Member

    I can't get into hboot mode. Any idea why?
  3. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    have you turned off fastboot? if yes switch off your phone and pull the battery and try then.
    TheAndroidUser likes this.
  4. TheAndroidUser

    TheAndroidUser Active Member

    Thanks!Can you tell me the benefits of rooting and the risks? Could I return it to normal so no one would know it was rooted?
  5. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    It isn't that easy to get s-on and unrooted again, you can do it though, although I'm not sure cause I haven't looked into it myself but I think you can use RUU to revert back to s-on and unrooted, you will need your RUU for your phone, not sure what else.

    benefits include being able to install custom roms, change CPU speed, removid bloatware apps from your phone, and many more, so look into it.

    By far the main reason is to install custom roms and for that you only need s off and recovery.
  6. TheAndroidUser

    TheAndroidUser Active Member

    So what's a Rom. I know roughly but need it clarified.
  7. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    Think of a rom as an operating system, all the files needed for the device to run/function

    Here's a FAQ
  8. TheAndroidUser

    TheAndroidUser Active Member

    May wait til this phone's contract expires , then get a new one and root this one to try it all out instead of taking the risk.
  9. TheAndroidUser

    TheAndroidUser Active Member

    But what will changing the ROM actually do to the phone? Does it do anything visually or is it just internally... etc.
  10. notebook

    notebook Well-Known Member

    Both, although this varies between ROMs. There are custom ROMs based on Sense 2.1, 3.0 and 3.5; there are Android only ROMs; and there are ROMs that allow custom themes and other UIs.

    Internally, many ROMs allow for a range of tweakability and geekiness, more so than the standard HTC ROMs, e.g. clocking the processor speed, enhanced UI management, enhanced app management, back-up and restore, VPN, enhanced audio/video/camera, etc. They also often come bundled with 'useful apps' and the ability to add-on other features as and when required.

    Custom ROMs for the Desire S will have Ice Cream Sandwich long before, and if, HTC ever get round to it.
  11. thaiphoon

    thaiphoon New Member

    Revolutionary.exe is forever stuck on "waiting for device..."

    What to do?

    HTC Desire S
    Android 2.3.3
    Sense 2.1
  12. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    Have you tried/checked the following;
    -Ensure USB debugging is ON (ticked).
    -Phone is on and in charge mode (not in Hboot)
    -uninstalled HTCsync and installed the HTC drivers linked?
    -run Revolutionary as admin.
    -Install and uninstall the drivers.
    -Plug you phone in before you run the exe.
    -Try these steps (III. (Optional)) here.
  13. boleh2

    boleh2 New Member


    I've followed the steps

    Step 1. My phone now is S-Off
    Step 2. I've installed the Clockworkmod recovery.img ...I did the test as mentioned, and all running correctly
    Step 3. Now the problem, i did exactly you told, i put the superuser zip file in to sd card root ....but i can not go into the recovery mode in hboot ....my phone just keep restarting (showing the htc logo and the welcoming sound) over and over again until i need to pull the battery out to stop it ...thank god i still could use the phone with no problem, but my phone isn't rooted yet and i can not install any rom :(

    Do you know how to fix this problem? i repeat the step 1 and 2 then 3 but still no luck

  14. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    You could try and run Revolutionary again (if it will allow it) and install clockworkmod like that and ignore step 2 alltogether.

    You can also have a look at this page to see if anythings pops up.
  15. notebook

    notebook Well-Known Member

  16. thaiphoon

    thaiphoon New Member

    Found the problem. Old drivers weren't completely uninstalled from my pc.

    Now all good and running Android 2.3.5 with Sense 3.0.
  17. boleh2

    boleh2 New Member

    Phewwww....i did what you suggested ...run Revolutionary again ...though it says "your phone is already S-Off, what exactly you're trying to do?" :( ...skip the step 2 ....and i could go into the recovery mode ...now my phone is rooted :)

    So what exactly step 2 for then?

  18. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    Just so we are clear, you have installed recovery from Revolutionary?

    If you read the last point of step 1 it says if you rather want to install it yourself (clockwork) you can follow step 2, but if you want the app (Revolutionary) to rather install it , select yes and skip step2. I have made it more clear now, with the use of some fancy bold text.
  19. boleh2

    boleh2 New Member

    My fault :( ...got a bit mixed up ...so YES i installed recovery from Revolutionary, and kept going to step 2 :s

    Thanks for making it much more clear :)
  20. 1st_Paladin

    1st_Paladin Well-Known Member

    Here's how I rooted recently.

    1. Installed HTC Software package from HTC website.
    2. Remove Synch.
    3. Run USB Deview USBDeview - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Download.com
    Deleted all HTC drivers. I found that this is necessary I also have a Desire. Some of the drivers don't seem to work well.
    4. Turn on USB Debugging on the phone.
    5. Connect to PC and all detection of phone and drivers.
    6. Run Revolutionary to S-Off. Said no to default Recovery.
    7. Flashed cwm- recovery using Flashboot (that's my preference)
    8. Unroot using Superclick. I tried installing the su-3.0.5-efgh-signed.zip but it did not work.
    9. Installed Virtuous Affinity. It features Sense 3.5 and Android 2.3.5. Very smooth installation. Run very well and is smooth to use. Highly recommend it.

    Hope this helps. Thanks to notebook and Fox777. They are very helpful while I contemplated rooting and asked all sorts of n00b Questions. Just wondered why I did not do it sooner.
  21. Sinuce

    Sinuce New Member

    Thanks a lot ^^
    It worked fine on my HTC Desire S. The procedure was, however, a bit different from your guide, FoX777.

    ---My specs, before rooting---
    Android version: 2.3.3
    HTC sense version: 2.1
    HBOOT version: saga-0.98.0002
  22. aidinb

    aidinb Member

    My HTC Desire S is running on Android 2.3.5 and Sense 3.0
    Revolutionary asks for HBoot version and there are only two options for Desire S (0.98.0000 and 0.98.0002) but mine is 2.00.0002!!

    Any suggestions?

    Does anybody here have had a successful rooting for the device described above??
  23. FoX777

    FoX777 Well-Known Member

    You can either unlock your bootloader using HTCdev, that allows you to flash roms, kernel and recovery (not radio's and hboot)


    Downgrade to an older hboot.
    Have a look at this thread over at xda to downgrade, this post gives the steps
  24. aidinb

    aidinb Member

  25. aidinb

    aidinb Member

    I need Root access for my device. As you mentioned, HTC is offering Bootloader Unlocker for some of its products, not including Desire S. Unlocking a Bootloader is totally different from Root accessing. so it might not be helpful.
    On the other hand, downgrading to an older HBoot does not sound logical. I'm looking for a solution to Root while keeping the existing situation.
    SuperOneClickv2.3.2 does not work either!

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