HOW TO: Unlock your HTC Hero on Orange UK


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  1. Iggy82

    Iggy82 Member This Topic's Starter

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    I've posted this as a reply in another thread, but I realised this could come in handy for loads of people having issues with the buggy Orange firmware. Enjoy:

    OK so it took me a night without any sleep to work this out but I have successfully unlocked my HTC Hero locked to Orange.

    I found out what to do after trying to obtain an unlock code from unlock-now.com and receiving this message

    "The default HTC Hero ROM from operator Orange UK contains a bug that prevents the unlock code from being accepted by the phone. In order to unlock your phone you should change the ROM firmware to MoDaCo v2.9 which is an unofficial firmware that fixes this bug.

    Flashing an unofficial firmware on your phone will void its warranty and it's not recommended. Please do not purchase the unlock code unless you have already upgraded your Hero's firmware to MoDaCo v2.9 Custom ROM, otherwise you won't be able to unlock it and we will NOT refund your payment because the codes are valid"


    So I visited the MoDaCo Android forums and downloaded the 'Core Download of the 2.9 custom ROM.

    To get the ROM to install, you have to patch the recovery image of the phone. This is basically a fail safe which the guys @ MoDaCo have realised they can exploit to install thier own ROMs. HOWEVER, following the instructions on thier website on how to patch the recovery image did not work when using the adb command 'fastboot', this is due to the lovely chaps at google trying to close the exploit by updating the recovery image in version 2.73.4xx.x ROM's!

    Do not worry though, there is a little application which you can load onto your phone called flashrec to install the special recovery image. You copy the recovery image file (cm-hero-recovery.img) and the flashrecblablabla.apk file onto your SD card, then install the flashrec utitity onto your phone with the "adb install flashblablabla.apk" command from the adb directory in a command prompt window (with phone attached via USB and SD card in phone). This will install the software on the phone (make sure phone is in usb debugging mode - Settings>Applications>Development, otherwise adb command from command prompt wont work!)

    Now that the flashrec program is installed, it'll show up as flash recovery or something similar to that in the main applications menu, run it (now from your phone) and delete whats in the text box and type "/sdcard/cm-hero-recovery.img", ensure the cm-hero-recovery.img is actually in the root of your SD card! More details on this here

    OK so now switch off the phone and hold down home and on buttons until you get to a green & black screen with some options, this is the newly installed special recovery image which allows you to install the MoDaCo firmware! Rename the zip file you downloaded of the MoDaCo 2.9 rom to 'update.zip' and put it on the root of your SD card using your PC, insert in phone and then select 'wipe/factory reset' option, this clears the phone of all your settings, its good practise to do this, when this has completed, select 'apply sdcard:update.zip' to install, the update takes a long time and seems like its hanging at times but be patient. More info here

    When it has finished it will say it has been sucessful, reboot the phone and now wait at least 5 minutes, this takes a long time as its the first time its ever run this new firmware so please be patient, it wont do a lot except show HTC and hero images animations which sometimes don't animate for ages!

    Once the phone has booted, enter the time/date, language, etc and patiently wait for it to boot (much slower than normal), once its up and running and not loading anything else, switch the phone off. Now insert the sim card you want to use with the phone. Visit an unlocking site and get the code for your IMEI, now switch phone on and wait for it to notice the sim is not an Orange one, it will now ask for the 8 digit code, enter it, it always says unlocked successfully regardless of the code, but now it should have a little "Unlocking sim card" message but this time, it will dissapear on its own (It just hangs on this screen in the buggy Orange ROM) and the phone will be unlocked for life!!

    I personally wanted a original release HTC ROM but after using the MoDaCo ROM for a while, I think its actually better than the standard HTC version! MoDaCo recommend you update the 'radio', this is on the same page where you download the ROM, click here to visit the radio's page, ignore the ROM's at the top of the post, scroll down to the radio's section and get the latest one. Download it and rename it to 'update.zip', now remove the other update.zip from your SD card we used for the ROM and replace it with the radio one, follow same instructions as above regarding booting into recovery image and install update.zip, when its completed, remove battery, re-insert and switch on. You may get a little image of a box with an arrow coming out going to the phone, this is normal, another game of patience, wait for bloody ages, when the phone finally boots you should now have an unlocked, debranded custom firmware with the latest radio release (better reception and reliability!)

    HOPE THIS HELPS YOU ALL, PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH, I AM UNABLE TO ANSWER PM's!
     

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  2. mitch

    mitch Member

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    thanks for this but i dont know how to use the adb command :/
     
  3. o7who

    o7who Active Member

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    Alternately ....

    1) buy a rebel sim card
    2) insert along with non-orange sim card
    3) switch phone, and use with provider of choice.

    saves on invalidating warranty, easier for the less technically minded, quicker (with the exception of delivery times), and potentially usable in your next phone at no extra cost.

    just my view.
     
  4. Scy

    Scy Member

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    Thanks for this.

    I have the same problem but I'm slightly reticent to go the Rebel sim route as I've had problems with similar devices in the past. These problems included the phone recognising the home network as a 'roaming' network, dodgy reception (no signal where other phones have full signal), inability to use 3G networks, an apparent inability to switch cell mid-call and also higher battery drain.

    I'd like to try Iggy's route, but before I embark on that procedure could I ask if it's still possible to flash a stock HTC ROM after you've done all of this? I'd ideally prefer to end up with a stock phone rather than the MoDoCo ROM.
     
  5. Iggy82

    Iggy82 Member This Topic's Starter

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    Yes you can revert to the stock ROM's. MoDaCo even provide links to these on their site. Try the MoDaCo ROM for a while though as most people find it a lot more faster/reliable than the stock ROMs
     
  6. Scy

    Scy Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I'll give this a try and then post any observations I turn up.
     
  7. madej

    madej New Member

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    Iggy82, is it possible to use your unlocking method without actually having Orange UK sim card? I don't have my phone yet, but it should be shipped to me in a matter of days and I wonder if I can unlock it without having valid Orange UK sim card.
     
  8. Scy

    Scy Member

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    I went through these instructions and managed to flash MoDaCo to my phone and successfully unlock it. Thanks Iggy.

    However, I'm still trying to find the right firmware for my phone. I found MoDaCo to be very slow, taking too long to open and close apps while also taking an age to perform portrait/landscape transitions. So, I flashed the rooted version of the HTC Generic firmware and that's much faster. Unfortunately, a bunch of apps are now missing from the market, including Google Voice Search. The weather widget won't download data for my location and WiFi tether (the main reason for my choosing the rooted ROM) refuses to share data with a connected laptop.

    I'm still working at it though. I may try the official Orange ROM next, see if that works and then try rooting it at a later date.

    @madej: I know the Hero won't let you access it without a valid SIM, but I don't know if that would necessarily prevent you from performing any of these steps. I suspect it would. Worst case scenario, you could always get a PAYG SIM...
     
  9. pinn

    pinn Well-Known Member

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    hi,

    it would be iseful if you posted what fw version and build number you were on initially so we can see if this is repeatable.
    Didn't work on my 1.6 / 2.73.61.5 as couldn't get into recovery mode
    Thanks
     
  10. Scy

    Scy Member

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    Like I said, I'm still working at it. I must have flashed my phone 20 times in the last couple days, so if I had posted a build number it would have been out of date by the time you read it. Thanks for checking though.
    I've now taken the MoDaCo 3.1 ROM and pared it down, removing WaveSecure, Spare Parts, WiFi Status and other sundries. I performed a wipe / factory reset before flashing it and that seems to have done the trick. It's now running pretty fast, all my market apps have reappeared and WiFi tether even works (awesome app).

    The only remaining problem is the Weather app and associated widgets. The 'Current location' reports 'No weather data available', though preset locations work fine. A little Googling has revealed that this is a common HTC problem, but then I didn't have it before I started messing with the firmware. It could also be something to do with the network as I've also shifted from Orange to Vodafone. I'm still working on that one, but I can do without it if push comes to shove. Quite chuffed on the whole.

    This build is apparently based on 1.5 / 2.73.405.66.
     
  11. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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  12. Glassy80

    Glassy80 Member

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    Hi Slug,

    My Hero is on its way so ill need to go through this process. Does it work with the latest firmware from madoco 3.1 or does it only work on 2.9. Silly question I suppose, but just want to make sure I do the right thing.

    Do you know if there is anyone that can do this for me? Like connect to my machine and do it for me over the phone? I just dont want to break anything (a paying service?)

    Cheers,

    Glassy
     
  13. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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    Welcome to Android Forums, Glassy!

    It'll work with the latest MoDaCo offering, no problem.

    Remote access isn't possible, at least not until the handset has been rooted.

    That's understandable, but it's well-nigh impossible to actually kill the handset doing this. Best spend some time reading and absorbing the guides, and then decide whether it's for you.
     
  14. Glassy80

    Glassy80 Member

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    Great, thanks Slug. I'll have a bash at this. Just glad to get rid of my bloody iPhone.
     
  15. pinn

    pinn Well-Known Member

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    Well, I tried the goldcard method too and got to the last stage with the RUU, but it just tells me "
    error[131]: customer id error

    the rom update utility cannot update your android phone

    please get the correct rom update utility and try again"

    I then tried this method but there seem to be some discrepancies, for instance the recoery flasher doesnt allow me to type in the dialogue box, rather it downloads the file from the server. After that I flash, although it only takes a second or two, and then I can't get into recovery. I press power + home, but it just hangs at the hero logo.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers
     
  16. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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    The only thing I can think of is that you're using the wrong RUU. Did you d/l the one released specifically for Orange handsets?

    It should take longer than that.... I've never bothered with FlashRec so I can't be of much help.
     
  17. pinn

    pinn Well-Known Member

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    I just used the RUU that the unlockr linked to. Do you have a link for the Orange one at all?

    Thanks
     
  18. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

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  19. pinn

    pinn Well-Known Member

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    that's the version I'm already on. I was trying to downgrade to a previous version in order to root.
     
  20. Glassy80

    Glassy80 Member

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    @Slug - I hot my Hero - I need to run flashrec on the device and looking at the instructions its telling me I need some sort of file browser to browse the DC card to run the flash tool. From what I understand a file browser will need to be downloaded from the market, but im not sure how im supposed to do that when I cant connect to the market on my SIM card as its locked to Orange.

    Any ideas how do get a file browser on the phone as I cant find a default on on the device.
     
  21. Glassy80

    Glassy80 Member

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    Ok I managed to get to the point where I apply the update.zip using the recovery utility and I got the error

    E:Cant open /cache/recovery/command

    Install from sdcard
    Finding update package...
    Opening update package...
    Verifying update package...
    E:No signature (762 files)
    E:Verification failed
    Installation aborted

    Any ideas? HELP!
     
  22. Scy

    Scy Member

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    That sounds like a dodgy update.zip that you've got there. Try downloading MoDaCo directly from the MoDaCo forum, copy it to the SD card then use the recovery utility to flash that.
     
  23. Glassy80

    Glassy80 Member

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    Hi scy - I've tried to latest BETA from the Modaco website and get exactly the same issue as I do with 2.9 thats posted on here.

    The error "E:Cant open /cache/recovery/command" is actually there is soon as I boot into the recovery utility before i've even asked it to run the update file.

    I imagine im doing something wrong, but ive not idea what. One thing that confuses me about the instructions above is this bit:

    "Now that the flashrec program is installed, it'll show up as flash recovery or something similar to that in the main applications menu, run it (now from your phone) and delete whats in the text box and type "/sdcard/cm-hero-recovery.img", ensure the cm-hero-recovery.img is actually in the root of your SD card! More details on this here"

    What this actually telling me to do? The instructions are quite vague, but ive done what he's written there, its just when you run that app do you need to press any buttons other than changing the entry.

    I wish i'd paid the extra
     
  24. Scy

    Scy Member

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    Hi Glassy. Don't lose hope just yet!

    This bit confused me a bit as well. Just to be safe, I'll start from the top.

    Once you've installed the flashrec apk, it should appear in your program launcher. On my phone this program was called 'Recovery flasher'.

    Copy the recovery image to your SD card. I downloaded my image from the MoDaCo forum, a link for which is provided on the same page as the MoDaCo downloads. I also renamed it to 'recovery.img', just to make the name easier to type into the phone's keyboard.

    Copy the recovery image to the root of the SD card (i.e. don't put it in any directories), then mount the SD card and disconnect the phone from any PC you might have it connected to, then open flashrec.

    You should be presented with a single text box and a couple of buttons. Clear whatever's in the text box and replace it with '/sdcard/recovery.img', assuming your recovery image file is called 'recovery.img'. Once you've done that, press the button directly under the text box which should read 'Download recovery image'. There are a few different versions of flashrec floating around so it might say something different, but give it a try anyway. The phone should then go about the business of flashing the recovery image.
     
  25. Glassy80

    Glassy80 Member

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    Hi Scy,

    When I do that the only options I get are

    "Flash Recovery File" Which is greyed out
    and
    "Backup Recovery Image".

    Any other ideas?
     

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