Hi everyone. As you know, I've been quite a pain in the butt with regards to understanding this whole rooting thing. I've done some research and think I have a handle on things now. So I thought I'd type up an idiot's guide BY an idiot (me) and see if some of our experts can give it the sanity check. The experts use many terms and phrases that were quite confusing to me, and that kept me from trying anything on my phone just yet. Here are those terms and what I think they mean. ROOTING To me, this doesn't make sense as a verb, i.e. "Root your phone." It's more of a description of your user access level to the phone. If you have done nothing to your phone, there are certain areas of the Android OS and file system that you cannot view, alter, or access. "Rooting" really means "gaining complete admin access to everything on my phone." I would equate this to our computers at work: Standard access levels mean we, as worker bees, cannot install applications/software/etc. because we do not have IT Admin rights on the machine. "Rooting" is like gaining those admin rights. As such, "rooting your phone" makes essentially no changes to how it will operate. Expecting any speed/functionality differences after rooting is an incorrect hope since you haven't changed anything other than your access. Rooting is, however, what gives you the ability to access the things that will help with speed, functionality, etc., so it is the necessary first step in improving your phone. BACKUP "By rooting my phone, will I have completed what I need to in order to have a backup of the phone in case I want to reverse?" Answer: NO. As a standard user of Android, you don't have the proper accesses to back everything up. However, once you gain root/superuser/admin rights, now you are able to use programs/apps which CAN back everything up - i.e. Titanium Backup. So, first thing I'm going to do once I root is install Titanium and back up all my apps, files, etc. At this point, NOW I will have what I need to restore my phone later, if need be. Question for experts: Can Titanium back these up to a PC, or does it only back up to the SD Card? RECOVERY "Install custom recovery on your phone." I never knew what the heck that meant. As I understand it: ALL our phones have a "recovery" mode that you can access by powering up with Power, Voice, and Down Menu pressed. When you do that, you'll see menu choices. (I have not tried this yet, so I'm still guessing.) "Install custom recovery" simply means changing/adding to the menu choices you'll see when you do this. The various custom recoveries all have new, useful choices on this menu, some of which are required for the stuff coming up. This is why the experts always ask, "what recovery are you using?" That way, they know what choices you have to work with on your particular phone. ROM "Flash this ROM on your phone." The ROM is the operating system that runs the phone. Flashing a new ROM is kinda like installing Windows 7 instead of Windows XP, if I understand it right. That is, different ROMs will have different features, speeds, etc. KERNEL Still a bit foggy here, but from what I understand, the kernel is what talks between the ROM and the hardware of the phone. The kernel is where you can tweak battery life, speed, etc. THEMES If I understand it right, themes are only mentioned in rooting discussions because you must have the superuser level of access to change them. Themes are merely different graphics for your phone. If you like the standard Android graphics, you never have to mess with the theme. If you want something different, then you find a theme and flash it into the phone to get new graphics for the interface. SO NOW WHAT? My goal is this: I want my phone just like it is now, but without SprintID and with everything else removed that nukes the speed. I'm happy with standard Android graphics and don't need a new theme. I'd be happy with more battery life, but first and foremost, I want this POS phone to actually do something when I try to use it. So, what I need to do is: 1. Gain root access. Can't change any of this without this first step. 2. Download Titanium Backup, back everything up. Need the answer to my Q above, just to know how secure my backup files are. 3. Select a kernel that can improve speed and/or battery life. 4. Learn what it takes to remove SprintID. Does this require a new ROM, kernel, or both? Again, I want as little lag as possible with this thing now. It's downright painful trying to use the phone to call someone, trying to get to Messaging to text someone, or call up MyTracks to record my mountain bike ride for the day. This is the stuff I really want to fix. Whew...sorry that was so long, but hopefully the experts can chime in and correct anything I have wrong. This info is probably all already here on the board, but I was never able to find something to really explain it in a way that I understood. I wrote this hoping to help other people make the journey I made today in researching this stuff. Thanks to any inputs you smart guys can add to this, and thanks for all your hard work on development and helping morons like me.