Any advice for rooting an Android phone?

When I was a kid, my grandmother gave me an old clock that no longer worked. I was just sure I could get it to work. I took the case off and looked at all the parts and got my first clue that mechanical repairs of any kind were not going to be in my career path.

I've had better luck with computers. For whatever reason, the ways to upgrade them, from a new processor to a new hard drive or software, have always seemed clear to me. I'm not shy about looking under the hood.

Now, the Android OS is particularly intriguing to me. I've had good luck so far with changing the ungainly version of Android that came on a tablet and I've been playing with a reader that has a mediocre version of Android on it.

But I've left my phone, the original Motorola Droid, alone. Its version of Android was always fine, and it seems like ages ago when the Froyo update was delivered.

This piece on Lifehacker has me thinking, though, that maybe I should give the phone a shot.

There's nothing wrong with the phone as it is. There's part of me that says I ought to leave well enough alone.

So I'm looking for advice, tips, suggestions. Have you rooted and upgraded a Droid, or any other Android-based phone? Was it as straightforward as it seems? Did it work? Are there pitfalls?

 

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Patrick Wade wrote on May 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm
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I'm going to try this now, if only for the wireless tethering capability.

Mike Howie wrote on May 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm
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I will say that's one of the things that got me psyched.

catpaws wrote on May 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I have an Original Droid, and rooting it was very easy, even though I'm not very technical with computers. (I'm a scientist by trade.) I did use a one-click root app, though and not a manual method. If you want to root manually (using adb), you'll need a decent knowledge of Linux commands. For easy one-click rooting, try the app z4 root. I believe it's been pulled off the market, but you should be able to google it.

If you are interested in a custom rom, I use cyanogenmod. After you are rooted, you can download Rom Manager in the market, and it will flash the custom recovery and install cyanogenmod (and a large list of other custom roms as well) for you.

Mike Howie wrote on May 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm
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Thanks for the suggestions. I've seen a few references to z4root. Good to hear from someone with direct experience using it.

What are the advantages to you for having done this? Do you find you use the phone differently than before?

catpaws wrote on May 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

For me, the biggest advantage to rooting is being able to use custom roms and being able to stay up to date with the latest versions of Android. I had Froyo before Motorola and Verizon rolled it out, and I now have Gingerbread. (I think the chances of Motorola and Verizon rolling out Gingerbread officially to the Droid 1 is basically none.) Also, the custom roms have tons of features that the stock roms don't have.

Mike Howie wrote on May 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm
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Cool! I think that will be my weekend diversion. Thanks!

catpaws wrote on May 28, 2011 at 12:05 am

Let me know how it goes, and if you install a custom rom, which one you choose.