Newbs Guide to Android Rooting and Roms – Part 3
Most rooting processes will at some point depend on side loading applications. Side loading applications is the process of copying a stand alone .apk file on to your device and installing it outside the market eco-system. To do this you need to enable what’s called debugging. It’s a simple check box that says you want to install things outside of the Market. To enable this press Menu > Settings > Applications and check the “Unknown Sources” check box.
So first things first is gaining root access. There are too many devices for me to address all of them and it wouldn’t be useful to address just one so I’ll simply tell you that most devices can be rooted via “one click”. Usually this is an application that you can download from the market, side load or follow some set of instructions(possibly requiring using ADB) to gain that root access. In the case of the Nook Color it’s actually a process of flashing an image file to an SD card and then booting off it. Regardless the process for gaining root on Android is pretty simple as long as you follow instructions. Use the above links to find information for your specific device.
Be aware that from here on out you will be doing things that could potentially wipe your phone or destroy data. I’d suggest you have a second SD card on hand to keep your saved Angry Birds games and your backups on. As you’ll see your recovery software has ways to make and restore backups. Make backups before you make any major changes.
Next you need to replace the default recovery with one that lets you do all sorts of cool things. It seems the most common is Clockwork Mod recovery. The easiest and safest way I’ve found to get this installed is to go the Android Market and download the application called “Rom Manager”. There are two versions, a free and paid version. The free version is all you need to get started and get Clockwork Mod installed. Once you have it installed it’s pretty straight forward. Click the first option at the top of the app that says “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery”. It should detect your phone type and prompt you for the appropriate version of ClockworkMod. If it doesn’t detect your phone type properly I’d suggest backing out of the install and start doing some searching for the reason. Now you’ll be able to boot in to a custom recovery that will let you do all the awesome flashing you need. Normally you would get in to this recovery by holding down a button while booting your phone but another neat thing Rom Manager does is provide a button that automatically reboots the phone in to recovery.
Now that you have the ability to boot in to recovery you’ll need a new rom to flash to update your phone. We’ll cover that in the next installment of the guide. Check back soon and often to catch the next part of the guide.
About the author
Currently a tech industry insider working at a Fortune top 20 company, co-founder and creative director of FatHat Games and an avid blogger. He started in what could be considered the coal mines of the tech industry doing phone support for a local ISP. In his 14 year career he has done IT work in businesses ranging from printing, publishing, healthcare and industry.