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Android - Custom ROM guide

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Most people love their Android phone and why wouldn't you they're amazing devices. Some people have heard of custom ROMs, these are basically a custom operating system for you phone, they tend to add features and also remove features that most people don't want like the stock bloatware or the TouchWiz interface. Some ROMs will also have custom Kernals and Radio images in an attempt to either make your phone more stable or in the case of Cyanogenmod allow you phone to interact with a universal O.S.

Rooting (which is necessary to install custom ROMs) for many companies voids your warranty (though you can return to stock in most cases and they won't know) and also their is some risk of bricking your phone (please note it is very very very difficult to hard brick your phone a soft brick is a little more likely but these can be reversed).

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING THAT MAY HAPPEN TO YOUR PHONE DURING THE ROOTING PROCESS OR DURING INSTALLATION OR USE OF A CUSTOM ROM THIS IS ALL AT YOUR OWN RISK!
That being said if you run into any complications feel free to PM me and I will do my best to help you with any problems.

If you get lost or confused about things I'm talking about at anytime I found this great page that explains the terminology and use of each thing.
http://www.addictivetips.com/mobile/...lashing-guide/

Here you can find further information on the benefits of rooting your phone.
http://www.androidpolice.com/2010/04...android-phone/

Here you can find further information on the benefits of a custom ROM.
http://www.40tech.com/2011/03/14/one...you-do-it-too/



When a phone is rooted you will see a new app named Super User, this app manages the permissions for apps that require root access so by default an app can't access everything on your phone. If you install an app that requires root the Super User popup will show up and you have to allow the app access, I also recommend checking the remember box so you don't have to allow it every time you run the app.



____Rooting to run custom ROMs____


I would highly advise you to go over to XDA developers and look up rooting instructions for your specific phones as they may vary slightly from other phones due to all the different Android devices. That being said I will include resources to guides and resources to rooting a vast majority of phones on the market if you are feeling lazy.


Rooting Guide for Nearly All Phones!
This is a constantly updated guide of how to root nearly every phone out, most of the phones will use the method I posted below. If your phone is not explicitly stated on the compatibility list for superoneclick on this page, DO NOT USE IT! Some of the newer phones and certain HTCs are further down. If you do not see your phone or if they have information saying you phone is difficult to root you will need to go over to XDA developers and look up your phone.


For rooting the most common application is called SuperOneClick it has support for many Android phones and as far as I have tested it, works perfectly.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=803682

Guide to finding and installing custom ROMs.
http://lifehacker.com/5596108/how-to...id-rom-for-you

Guide to Overclocking/Undervolting your phone.
http://lifehacker.com/5623510/setcpu...-android-phone

In some cases you may need to be able to access your phone if something goes wrong and you're not in the O.S. this guide tells you how to install the USB drivers for devices these drivers are also nicer than the default ones Vista or 7 uses.
http://theunlockr.com/2009/10/06/how...droid-devices/

After you install ROM manager you are given a great backup utility called Nandroid, it goes deeper then Titanium Backup so if you completely mess up your phone you can get it back. Here is a guide on it.
http://www.androidpolice.com/2010/04...d-rom-manager/






_______Custom ROM installation guide starts here!______

XDA-developers is a forum for a lot of the major ROM developers and is where you will find the best collection of ROMs for your device, scroll down passed the first 6 topics and scroll down until you see your specific phone then click *Phone Name* Android Development. In most cases you will see tons of threads relating to you phone usually the ones with a version number is a ROM.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/index.php
Look through the ROMs and look at both the features listed as well as the user comments as they will give you an idea of the ROMs stability and ease of use.

This is Cyanogenmod a personal favorite of mine and great ROM with wide Android phone support.
http://www.cyanogenmod.com/

Another site that hosts ROMs.
http://theunlockr.com/downloads/andr.../android-roms/



Please note that not all phones are the same. Also some ROMs will not work with this method especially those that are still in a beta phase will have specific installation instructions. Make sure to look into your ROM a little bit before you decide on one.



A little note: after installing a custom ROM it is not unusual for the first boot to take a little time, don't start panicking if 5 minutes go by and the loading screen is still going. If you do get to the 20ish minute mark try removing the battery, put the battery back in and start the phone. This tends to resolve a lot of issues for some reason.



The first part to installing a custom ROM is to get your phone rooted. Some phones already come with root access meaning you don't need to root your phone.

The second thing I recommend is an app available in the Android Market named Titanium Backup, this app will backup all of your apps and user data making it much easier should you get messed up and need to reset and also will allow you to restore you're apps more quickly after a custom ROM is installed. After installing Titanium Backup go in to the app and accept the changes screen you will then see a screen listing most of the thing installed on your phone. Hit your menu button and select "Batch", choose "Backup all user apps + system data". Let the backup run to completion then you are ready to install your custom ROM.


The major app for managing a custom ROM is called ROM Manager and has an icon that is a gear wearing the A Clockwork Orange hat. Install this app.

Next you want to choose your ROM based on the information above (ROM Manager does come with access to some ROMs however most ROMs provided by it are outdated and you are better getting the ROMs direct from the source and simply using ROM manager to install them).

After you find the ROM, download it, it should be a .zip file. Plug your phone into your computer and put the .zip in a file where you can find it on your phone.

**Open up ROM Manager and select "Flash ClockworkMod Recovery" a list may open up and you simply select your phone. After this is complete you are ready to install your ROM.

Select install ROM from SD Card and find the .zip you put on your phone earlier, select the .zip and in most cases select all of the check boxes. After hitting OK your phone will shutdown and boot into your new custom recovery mode that ROM Manager flashed earlier. The recovery mode should then go through a bunch of information about installing the custom ROM, if it does not then use your volume buttons/track ball/dpad (depending on the phone) to move and power/enter/track ball press button as enter to select install zip from SD card and find the .zip file that way. Either way once you see a successful and a menu again simply select "reboot system now".

You should now be all set with your custom ROM, you will likely need to set up your phone like it is new however, once you have access to the market don't let it restore your apps for you instead just download Titanium Backup and use the Batch function to "restore all apps with data" do not restore the system data as this may not work with all ROMs.

Updating a ROM is very similar with downloading the .zip and using recovery but when you choose the .zip you don't need to wipe the caches and in most cases don't need to backup your current ROM.

I would also like to add that if you start getting more advanced you may start to want to install custom kernels or custom radio images, both of these can be done through ROM manager.


____If you have any problems using ROM manager to enter recovery mode___

Once you have used ROM Manager to Flash the Clockwork Recovery mode (the step by the **) it is possible to then boot into recovery mode and bypass any other interaction with ROM Manager (for a small group of phones or if you already have certain custom ROMs this may be manditory). This is done by turning off your phone completely then using a key combination during start up, I will list it mode for as many phones as possible.

Samsung Galaxy S / Captivate / Fascinate / Vibrant (I'm sure I'm forgetting at least one but this line of phones)
1. Press and hold the power button and the volume buttons.
2. Wait for your carrier logo to flash and disappear
3. When it flashes the second time, release the power button continue holding the volume buttons

Samsung Galaxy S 2
1. Hold the Volume Down, Home and Power buttons down.
2. When you see the Samsung logo stop holding the buttons for half a second and then hold them again.
(I found this online and have no way to verify that it works, if someone could let me know that would be great. If it doesn't work then try the method for the other Samsung phones)

Most other phones including Droids and HTC
1. Method 1: Press and hold the X key on the QWERTY keyboard of the phone, and press the Power button until the screen lights up. When the Motorola logo appears, release the Power button but keep hold of the X key until icon describe below appears.
1. Method 2: Press and hold the Camera button on side of phone, and press the Power button until the screen lights up. When the Motorola logo appears, release the Power button but keep hold of the Camera button until icon describe below appears.
1. Method 3: Press and hold the Volume Down button, and press then Power button until the screen lights up. Then select Recovery and press Power button to confirm.
2. A yellow or red triangle with an exclamation mark (!) will be displayed on phone screen. Press and hold the Volume Up and Camera or Power buttons simultaneously to bring out the system recovery menu.
(I have not tried this either but it seems to be a more tested method so I trust it should work in most cases)

If none of these methods work for you phone then let me know and I will hunt down the method that works for your specific phone.


Once in recovery mode use your volume buttons/track ball/dpad (depending on the phone) to move and power/enter/track ball press button as enter to select install zip from SD card and find the .zip file.


_____Additional Resources_____

I will put information regarding specific phones or procedures that other users post here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayzer View Post
I've rooted the HTC Legend and HTC Desire HD and both times I've have to make a Gold Card while downgrading my device. You'll need to make one if the device is carrier-branded. (Telus HTC Desire HD or Bell HTC Legend, etc.)

http://theunlockr.com/2010/03/10/how...te-a-goldcard/
http://android.modaco.com/content/ge...ng-a-goldcard/

When entering "adb shell cat /sys/class/mmc_host/mmc1/mmc1:*/cid", I had to change "mmc_1" to "mmc_0" for the HTC Legend and "mmc_1" to "mmc_2" for the HTC Desire HD.



Thank you all for reading, if you have any further questions or suggestions of things for me to add feel free to reply or PM me I will be happy to do what I can.

Good Luck!
~Scrappy
Edited by Scrappy - 5/18/11 at 8:47pm
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post #2 of 23
I was thinking of compiling a massive list of guides from XDA to sticky, the problem with this sort of guide is the sheer number of phones that can be rooted, what you've done is a good start but every phone is different(sure superoneclick gives you root access, but it means nothing without custom kernels), those solutions aren't a one size fits all. If you don't want to do it, I might start another thread, copy heaps of guides from XDA (with permission of course ) and sticky it

Also, you don't need reserved posts lol. Unless you have pictures you won't get anywhere near the word limit.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Scratch that, you inspired me to do a little more digging and from what I've found it for some reason this method doesn't work for you phone you're pretty much screwed.

I was going for a basic guide for the well designed non beta ROMs as this will work for the majority of good phones and ROMs and just find and link the less common phones or the ones that are more difficult to root

Can you please deleted the reserveds I don't think I'll need them
Edited by Scrappy - 5/15/11 at 2:19am
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post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy View Post
Scratch that, you inspired me to do a little more digging and from what I've found it for some reason this method doesn't work for you phone you're pretty much screwed.

I was going for a basic guide for the well designed non beta ROMs as this will work for the majority of good phones and ROMs and just find and link the less common phones or the ones that are more difficult to root

Can you please deleted the reserveds I don't think I'll need them
Deleted the reserves for you

I think your best bet is getting a list of the most popular android devices, googling rooting guides and linking them here (since installing roms is basically the same for all you can just leave that as it is, although talking about how to flash in recovery might be an idea. ROM manager doesn't support all phones...). PM me if you want any help, I have a talent for using google to its fullest potential
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
The lifehacker is a constantly updated guide for all phones as roots are released, I will super bold that part.
I made it much more noticeable and cleaned and divided things up a bit, going to get a little more done today then hopefully have it mostly finished tomorrow

I can't find the list of phones not supported by ROM manager, are you able to find anything?
Edited by Scrappy - 5/15/11 at 8:15am
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post #6 of 23
Great job for making the initiative to start this Custom ROM guide. I think I can help in terms of general modding and ROM installation tips too. My scope is limited though, since I only have the HTC Desire HD and only played with a handful of devices like the Atrix 4G, Samsung Galaxy S and others.
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post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Actually you're perfect I need someone with HTC experience the big 3 are HTC, Samsung and Motorola I own a samsung so I have that and I'd be willing to keep up with droid if you could help with HTC that would be great.

Whew I think I got the bulk of the information, I'm going to get some pictures of Rom manager, titanium backup and recovery mode as long as I can get the camera to work. My phone is usually the camera.
Edited by Scrappy - 5/15/11 at 8:38am
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post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsoviet View Post
Great job for making the initiative to start this Custom ROM guide. I think I can help in terms of general modding and ROM installation tips too. My scope is limited though, since I only have the HTC Desire HD and only played with a handful of devices like the Atrix 4G, Samsung Galaxy S and others.
All the htc's are quite similar... I have a desire and walked someone through rooting a DHD with no trouble. I have knowledge in similar areas as you
post #9 of 23
Oh sure, thanks all. I'll do my best to help OCN'ers out in Android.
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post #10 of 23
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Alright, other than pictures which I shall try to get tomorrow I think I'm pretty much done here, now I need people to start posting questions or other things so I can see what needs to be added or changed.
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