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Quick INTRO TO ROOTING for those new to rooting

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by cabbie, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. cabbie

    cabbie Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Heard about rooting? Have no idea where to even start? This thread is a starting point for YOUR education in how to take control of your phone!

    Benefits of rooting:

    *Removing bloatware placed on the phone by Sprint (Peep, SprintZone, Sprint NASCAR, etc)
    *Overclocking: this will let you use your phone at faster than the 998mhz speeds by default
    *Underclocking: huge battery saver because it will throttle your phones processor down when its not in use
    *Loading custom bootscreens while the phone is powering up
    *Flash ROMs that will let you do a variety of different things. An example is the Cyanogen ROM will let you hook up a bluetooth mouse to your phone to interact with the phone that way.
    *Flash Kernels that will increase performance. These are the ROMs that will do things like break the HTC-set 30 FPS (frames per second) cap in addition to allowing over/underclocking.
    *Use a variety of apps that require root to work. An example is 'ShootMe', which lets you take screenshots of your phones screen. Another is 'Titanium Backup', which can back up all your apps+data (even protected apps). Yet another is 'CacheMate', which will clear your phones cache to improve performance.
    *Create full system image backups (nandroids)
    *Need more convincing? Here are some apps only available to root users. (credit to earlymon for the link!)

    A few common courtesies/norms exist for this. Rooting requires READING! READ READ READ up on everything you can get your hands on as much as you can! Read the 100 page threads, watch the videos, all of it! People here are more than willing to help but its tacky to ask a question thats already been asked on the first page of this forum! Use the search function, do your due diligence to find an answer, and if you turn up nothing on here or the EVO Development forum on XDA (where the people who make all this possible reside), only then ask. You are big boy (or girl), and hacking your phone is a grown-up task so act accordingly!

    What this thread DOESN'T do is explain particular methods of rooting or flashing particular ROMs. This is merely a primer to get you up to speed on the terminology and basics so it doesn't look like quantum physics gobbledygoop that melts your brain.

    No matter what method you use, read through it fully till you know it by heart and follow the directions EXACTLY!

    1) Rooting gives you superuser access to your phone. Think about your computer at work: the IT guys are in control of it and can limit your actions to what programs can be on it and what you can modify. They can do anything from disable copy/paste to censoring websites. Now, you are in control. Rooting can be done in a variety of ways, I used the SimpleRoot method, a lot of others here use unrevoked.

    2) Rooting lets you 'flash' things to the phone. "Flashing" means either replacing or adding to the current operating system:

    ROM: Read Only Memory - The ROM is the firmware/software on your phone which act like the operating system (OS) for your phone. Popular ones are BakedSnack, Fresh and Cyanogen. think of ROMs as different 'flavors'. Each has their own pros and cons. Large file (usually over 150 megs)

    Radios: is referred to the phone radio portion, for the EVO it is CDMA (Code division multiple access). The Radio is essentially a ROM that controls the phone function part (as oppose to PDA function part) of your phone. In the field of Radio ROM upgrading, may have effect on your phone reception quality, battery life (optimized phone function), signal strength, etc. Small file (usually under 10 megs)

    Kernels: is the central component of most computer operating systems; it is a bridge between applications and the actual data processing done at the hardware level. Small file (usually under 10 megs)

    RUU: a ROM that will bring your phone back to unrooted, stock condition. As rooting voids your warranty, this is a great ability to get back to out-of-the-box condition. Large file (usually over 150 megs).

    Apps: some applications can be flashed to the phone to make them part of the system so they cannot be removed. An example of why you might do this is the 'Mobile Defense' app. It is a phone locating software using GPS, so when this is flashed it will make itself invisible and a thief/etc would not be able to uninstall it. Small file (usually under 10 megs)

    bricking: When things go terribly, terribly wrong and your phone becomes a paperweight. This is always possible though if you take the time to read and follow directions EXACTLY can be minimized.

    adb: Android Debugging Bridge. Certain things like installing a custom bootscreen require use of ADB to accomplish. Once you download it to your PC, you open a command prompt (for PCs go to Start and enter 'cmd' in the 'run' prompt), then change the directory using DOS commands to the folder ADB is saved in. For simplicities sake, I saved mine to "SDK" on the root of my C: drive. Then I type "cd c:\sdk" to get to the folder I can run the ADB from.

    bootloader: A small program that loads the operating system into the computer??s memory when the system is booted and also starts the operating system. The ideal one for the EVO is the 0.76 bootloader, referred to as the 'engineering bootloader', which lets you utilize fastboot commands.

    fastboot: This is something you can do when your phone is rebooted into the bootloader while its plugged into your computer via USB, open a command prompt on your PC then execute commands (ive only ever done it to replace my splash screen). Fastboot is protocol used to update the flash filesystem in Android devices from a host over USB. It allows flashing of unsigned partition images

    Deodex & Odex: A ROM can have either, a deodex ROM is more customizable than an odex one to allow theming. Themes are customized appearances for things like the notification bar.

    3) You flash things by placing the zip into the main directory of your sd card. Then you reboot the phone into whats known as 'recovery', which is like hitting F3 (or whatever your computer requires) while its booting up to get access to system info or boot into safe mode, etc. There are multiple ways to reboot into recovery. The main way is to hold the volume button down, then power up. Programs like ROM Manager and Fresh Updater let you reboot into recovery from your phone while its powered on. Recovery will give you multiple options, like flashing from a zip, creating/restoring a nandroid, etc.

    4) Rooting lets you create nandroid backups. These are full system image backups like your computer can make, which let you restore fully to the point where you made it. The first thing you do after rooting is make a nandroid, so you can always go back to ground zero. Its always a good idea to make a nandroid before flashing anything in case something should go wrong. With nandroids, you can go back and forth between any ROM you wish with ease. Also a good idea is to copy the nandroids from your SD card to your computer just in case.

    5) Flashing a new full ROM (ie. cyanogen) requires a complete wipe of your phone! (usually factory reset, data, cache and dalvik cache). Since a nandroid backup requires root access, you will have to backup your phone piecemeal to get things back the way you want it once you root and flash a new ROM. Flashing radios/kernels/apps by and large do not require wipes. Backing up usually requires a tandem of apps that can be found in the market. I personally use:

    MyBackup Pro: Allows you to backup apps and data (SMS, MMS, call log, system settings, android home, dictionary, etc) to your sdcard or their online server.
    Astro File Manager: Lets you backup apps to your sd card. I use both for apps for sake of redundancy should something screwy happen.

    For more redundancy on what apps you have, try out the AppBrain Market app and website. Install the app and enter your gmail into it, and choose to 'sync with appbrain'. This will make a list show up on the website you can view on your computer of currently installed apps, which is useful since you aren't going to be able to make backups of protected apps. Be sure to move the list of your apps to a separate list (not default one) so you don't lose it when it resyncs after you root/flash and log in.

    An example of how one might proceed with backing up and restoring:


    READ READ READ! Have fun, and set aside an entire, full evening before you root! It is possible to go through the complete process of rooting/flashing in less than 20 minutes but something almost always goes wrong. Be patient, and you will prevail having learned a ton and having a badass, unrestrained beast of a phone.

  2. sag7392

    sag7392 Well-Known Member

    A gentleman or woman and a scholar...nice job! I use Titanium as my backup app and Astro like you stated for redundancy.
    citizen1231 likes this.
  3. Caltus

    Caltus Lurker

    Thank You, very informative just what I was looking for.

  4. Drew5150

    Drew5150 Android Expert

    nice job, we need something like this :)
  5. NxtGenCowboy

    NxtGenCowboy Lurker

    Great Writeup!
  6. cabbie

    cabbie Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    no problem, show it some love with the 'thanks' button and maybe we can get a sticky ;)
  7. FyrFytr998

    FyrFytr998 Newbie

    Thanks for this. I just got an EVO yesterday and my wife got a Hero today. Looking to get rid of bloatware, but have a lot of questions that need researching.
  8. cabbie

    cabbie Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    rooting the Hero for your wife's phone is fortunately an extremely easy task compared to the EVO since its been out far longer. FreshKitchen for hero by flipz (who does Fresh for EVO as well) has a program that auto-roots it, which is what I used: Hero CDMA Geek For Me – Sprint Evo 4g & CDMA Hero.

    Flipz is making a FreshKitchen for the EVO now and the beta should be released soon, though!

    If anyone has ideas on what might be added to this thread as far as bare basics on terminology and such, post them and I could add them.

    OP updated with benefits of rooting
    Trident18 likes this.
  9. Sim-X

    Sim-X Member

    Very useful write up, thanks! This should be a sticky, I was looking at the top and didn't see anything like this. Don't know if I am ready to root yet, my first WM phone I waited for quite a while.
  10. cabbie

    cabbie Android Expert
    Thread Starter

  11. GirlGoneGeek

    GirlGoneGeek Well-Known Member

    Mods/Admins, this would be a great sticky! The definitions alone are so helpful to us new folks who get on here and try to shuffle through this "flash a ROM" stuff when all we think we want is wireless tether.

    Thanks, OP!
  12. colusaboy

    colusaboy Lurker

    This is fantastic! I'm a sub-noob. I look up to noobs. This will help me get my head around rooting the phone.
  13. Haris

    Haris Well-Known Member

    Thanks Cabbie!!! I've been with my EVO now for about 6 weeks and I think I'm about to propose to it... LOL my girlfriend hates how much time I spend with my EVO!

    I've been on this forum since I got my EVO and I've been slowly learning this stuff the hard way, you just made this very easy.

    I'm having a Sprint technician root my EVO (off the clock obviously) tonight at 6 pm! I can't wait! I'm too chickenshit to do it myself...
  14. cabbie

    cabbie Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    thats really cool that you know a sprint tech who knows wtf they are doing :D everyone i talk to is really clueless about the phone, but part of that i think its because they aren't allowed to buy the evo till some date after the release so the customers get it first.

    is there anything i could add to the OP that would be helpful?
  15. DucatiDude

    DucatiDude Well-Known Member

    How did the root go last night? Did you watch what he did? Any pointers you can give us noobs? Thanks.
  16. Considering this is a noob thread, and I've read all I can understand about this, I have a few questions. i posted this in another thread a few days ago but have not gotten any answers. All I want to do is to get wifi tether, use setcpu, and maybe get froyo running. I have a few questions though:

    1. Is this a "full root"? I've been reading, and some people say this isnt a full root, meaning there's no way to get froyo running on it.

    2. I would like to get rid of the stock crap apps. From what I gather, the only way to do that is to completely wipe all apps, and start over one by one?

    3. I understand you can get a ROM manager, does this allow you to switch between roms or what?

    4. This can be completely undone right? I've had problems with 2 evo's, i just now got a working new evo. But if i have a problem, i can take this off correct?

    5. If I don't install froyo with the root, and want to wait til its officially released from sprint, will I have any problems installing it then?
  17. VDub2174

    VDub2174 Newbie

    I used this before and it worked out perfectly!!

    [How To] [FIXED!!] Unroot and return to stock
    Mom-of-4 likes this.
  18. joeboxer

    joeboxer Lurker

    This is a great overview, and I like how it gets into the definitions of various elements involved in rooting.

    One problem I have found with many "posts for noobs" is that they are just tutorials, which I'm sure is fine for most people, but the geek in me wants to know what's going on.

    I have rooted and unrooted two Evos now and installed multiple roms and troubleshooted my own problems a hell of a lot, and so I don't consider myself a noob anymore, but I still have questions about the nitty gritty of what's actually happening with my phone. If anybody can provide any answers or point me in the right direction to a post that answers these questions, that would be much appreciated. And I will certainly answer any noob questions to the best of my ability.

    1. My biggest question is, why do different parts of the OS have to be rewritten separately? I.e., the data, system, cache, dalvik cache. If a nandroid backup is an image of the ROM, why wouldn't it take care of everything? Are different parts of the system stored in physically separate memory chips?

    2. And what about the bootloader? Is that stored separately? It seems that the conceptual starting point for any full rooting is to get the engineering build (version 0.76) installed on the phone as opposed to the stock build (version 0.79), and all the rooting techinques are just ways to do that.

    4. How about the radio part of it? Why is that separate?

    5. I used the Simple Root method to get full root. Does anybody know how the Bloons game from Ninja Kiwi (a great flash game) exploits the system to gain root access?

  19. i.have.droid

    i.have.droid Android Enthusiast

    Awesome post except one thing. You don't mention any negatives of rooting at all. Like, when will it have 4g support...etc.
  20. GirlGoneGeek

    GirlGoneGeek Well-Known Member

    It has 4G support. Some custom ROMs do not, like the Froyo one that's floating around right now - it supposedly screws up the 4G and the camera. But it's not the root that does that. I'm rooted on stock ROM and have had no problems with 4G, camera, or anything.
    Mom-of-4 likes this.
  21. chrismmm

    chrismmm Member

    awesome post! very timely! thanks sent...
  22. chrismmm

    chrismmm Member

    good point. most dev team let you know what works and what doesnt as part of their release notes.
  23. cabbie

    cabbie Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    methinks this is going to help a few folk over the next week or so. may god have mercy on us.
  24. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    I Like Soup likes this.
  25. Evo_Pimpin

    Evo_Pimpin Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info.

HTC EVO 4G Forum

The HTC EVO 4G release date was June 2010. Features and Specs include a 4.3" inch screen, 8MP camera, 512GB RAM, Snapdragon S1 processor, and 1500mAh battery.

June 2010
Release Date

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