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Root Rooting explained by an idiot: Experts, can you review? THANKS!

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by CTB6, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. CTB6

    CTB6 Member
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    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.
    :)
     

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  2. Cooper271

    Cooper271 Android Enthusiast
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    To the first question, I've never tried it but when you use Titanium to back up your apps you can copy them to your computer *I believe*. I don't use Titanium much myself.

    To the second question, there are many ways to remove SprintID and other stock apps, but the easiest way is through Titanium backup.
     
  3. CTB6

    CTB6 Member
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    Thanks, Cooper. Hopefully your review means I didn't butcher the info in my post too badly. Assuming something else doesn't come up, gonna take the plunge tonight.
     
  4. Cooper271

    Cooper271 Android Enthusiast
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    It's easier to just dive in and do it than it is to keep wondering man. You can't mess up. If something goes wrong just follow my unbricking guide.
     
  5. CTB6

    CTB6 Member
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    Way to jinx me. :):( You certainly can mess up, and apparently I have. I cannot get the phone to boot into recovery now no matter what I do. It just gives me the "SAMSUNG" logo and sits there. I successfully booted into stock recovery earlier today to see how that worked, so I clearly have messed something up. I chose Vampirefo's 2.0.8 file as the kernel and put that file (still zipped) into the sdx/zip folder I created. When I press Voice/Down/Power, it will not boot into recovery. I've flashed about 4 times now trying to succeed in this. :(
     
  6. Cooper271

    Cooper271 Android Enthusiast
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    Keep holding it down, even after the SAMSUNG logo appears.
     
  7. CTB6

    CTB6 Member
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    Question regarding fine-tuning the "yank the battery out" timing: When do I yank the battery? The SWUpdater says "100%" and then the phone screen briefly turns black. Is this the time to yank the battery? Or do I wait until the SAMSUNG logo appears and then yank it? Or do I yank it immediately after the bar graph on the phone goes to 100%? I've tried as many ways/timing as I can think of, and no luck. (I've flashed and reflashed at least 10 times.) I've also held the buttons ad infinitum after the SAMSUNG logo appears, and no dice. Thanks for any suggestions. At least I learned how to get it to power up again, so it isn't bricked.
     
  8. Cooper271

    Cooper271 Android Enthusiast
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    This
     
  9. CTB6

    CTB6 Member
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    OK, with the fine tuning of the directions above and I think a little luck, I got it to work. However, I can't get Titanium Backup to work. It claims it can't get root access. Superuser loaded seeming ok, and it claims to have given access to both Superuser and Titanium Backup. TiBack asked me about Busybox as well. Any tips?

    On the plus side, for a while there, the phone appeared to be performing much better.
     
  10. Cooper271

    Cooper271 Android Enthusiast
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    I've never gotten Titanium Backup to work for myself.
     
  11. [TheAndroid]

    [TheAndroid] Android Enthusiast
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    Uh-Meh-Ric-Ah
    I like the guide! Good work! ^^
     
  12. CTB6

    CTB6 Member
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    I finally did get Ti Backup to work. I found something online that mentioned an option to check, something like "Use ROM version of Busybox" or similar, which they called a "last resort." Well, it worked, so I'll take it. Might have to buck up for the pay version so I can freeze apps. The phone now functions when you press things, so that's a big step in the right direction.
     
  13. Cooper271

    Cooper271 Android Enthusiast
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    Great tip, thanks!
     
  14. Tasmin

    Tasmin Well-Known Member
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    Grad student (vector-borne disease ecologist)
    Atlanta GA
    To clarify, yes, TiBU is great for backing up your apps and settings to to your card (internal, SD, etc). You can then copy your TiBU folder from where ever it lives to your PC, flash or whatever you need to do that requires a master clear, then reinstall TiBU, copy the folder back from your SD card to your phone, and restore.

    Mostly it's safe to restore apps and app data both when going between ROMs that are based on the same version of Android. If you're going between versions (eg 2.1 -> 2.2) you're generally better off only restoring apps, not app data, because transferring data between versions can cause anything from minor glitchiness to constant force-closing. If that happens you can just reflash the ROM. Occasionally even just restoring apps won't work (eg 2.2 -> 2.3 on other phones).

    And finally, TiBU is useful if you just want to back your apps and settings up off-phone in case of accident. I try to do it at least once a month like (I should) a PC.

    Hope this helps! These sorts of threads are always really helpful.
     
  15. Cooper271

    Cooper271 Android Enthusiast
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    Thanks for clarifying that - I don't use Titanium so I wasn't sure
     
  16. shobuddy

    shobuddy Lurker
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    I'm not clear on what the actual process of rooting entails.

    Does rooting involve flashing the phone with a new, rooted OS or does the rooting process simply tweak the existing OS? I use a Samsung Droid Charge. There is a youtube video on how root the Charge and the video seems to indicate that a tweaked OS needs to be flashed to the phone to root it.
     
  17. interdpth

    interdpth Well-Known Member
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    Rooting is simple, say you have...a house it is your house. But you are not able to do anything to it. You can't paint it, you can add on to it. That's basically what your phone is when you get it, sure you can change a few things...but you get the idea.

    After developers like myself have obtained root, and made sure it's perm we send out little scripts or programs for users to simply click on and run, and it'll root the phone so you can overclock it, theme, whatever! It's simple and easy. Not sure how to root your transform ultra, just head to the rooting section and watch my video!
     

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