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Root Questions about rooting and flashing kernels/ROMs/CFWs

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by KaiZ, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. KaiZ

    KaiZ Lurker
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    Hey there, I will likely soon buy a Nexus S, which will be my first Android phone.
    Now, I'm not sure if I'll do it as I buy it, but maybe I'll root it.

    However, can someone explain to me what the differences are between all these terms, rooting, kernels/ROMs/CFWs, etc? That is, if they're not all the same.

    I have some experience with Linux, so I'd assume by rooting it means to get root access to the device. And thus being able to mess around.

    But for example, I heard there is a kernel called Voodoo (if I'm not mistaken) which improves the Nexus S's audio. Not sure if that's the same as a CFW or ROM in this case...

    And as for the risks of rooting and flashing and such, if I brick the phone, can I restore the phone somehow? Without taking it back to the store or manufacturer that is. And if so, how?

    And how hard is it to brick the phone?
     

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  2. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
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    I'd recommend you wait before rooting until you're completely certain that there are no defects with your device so that you can still make use of the warranty. Generally speaking, I like to wait about 2 months before doing any warranty voiding activities with my phone.

    Yes, rooting just means gaining "root" access to the device. You can think of ROMs (also known as firmware) like different flavors of operating systems. Most Custom ROMs (aka Custom Firmware aaka CFW) are essentially tweaked version of the stock firmware, though some are ports from other Android devices to gain features like HTC's SenseUI.

    A kernel is the core of the Android operating system. Linux works the same way and have kernels as well (which makes sense as Android is Linux based). Kernels have to be configured for the ROMs you're installing them with. They provide more system-level function, such as overclocking, and other hardware tweaks.

    As long as you follow rooting directions closely, it is EXTREMELY hard to brick your phone permanently. Generally, if you do something wrong, just flashing a full version of the stock ROM will fix it and let you start over. If somehow you really bugger up, there are tools like Odin that make almost any brick recoverable.

    Note: One term you did not mention that is relatively important to root is "Custom Recovery Image." Android phones have a recovery mode that boots from a separate image file from the system. This mode lets you flash ROMs and updates. Flashing a custom recovery image (generally accomplished with the Fastboot tool from the Android SDK) allows you to install custom ROMs and unsigned software.
     
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  3. KaiZ

    KaiZ Lurker
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    Thanks, pretty good answers there. :)

    I think that's all I have to know for now...
     
  4. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary
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    Guys, I've moved this thread to the all-things-root sub-forum.

    Cheers!
     
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