Rooting your Droid (or any handset) is almost always mentioned when a new device is released in the Android world. So what exactly is rooting and what’s in it for you?
In layman’s terms, it gives you the ability to gain absolute control over your mobile device. Out of the box, your Droid is protecting you the user from altering system files. With this kind of roadblock, why would you root?
Rooting allows the user to set options that you would normally not have access to. For example, you can remove unwanted system applications, overclock your CPU, take screenshots, disable ads, make application backups, and many more useful things that normal un-rooted phones can not do.
For this guide, it is strictly for the Motorola Droid released on the Verizon Wireless network. These instructions will NOT work on any other phone.
This guide assumes you are running at least Android 2.1 (Eclair). This how-to will go through updating to a rooted version of Android 2.2 (Froyo). This guide is written for Windows only, but can be easily adapted to any other platform. Basic knowledge of driver installation is required, some common sense also won’t hurt.
Before we start, let’s run through what the process will entail. Don’t be scared, the steps are very straight forward and are easy to perform as long as you follow each one closely.
- Flash a custom recovery.
- Flash a custom rooted rom.
- Install some apps
To install a rooted rom, you’ll need to flash a custom recovery that will perform the installation of the rom. We’ll be flashing SPRecovery since it’s been proven to perform the job.
Before we begin, make sure you have all your contacts backed up to your Google account and any items that you need on your phone backed up. We will be wiping the data to make the jump to 2.2.
1. Flash a custom recovery
You’ll need three different files, download them all to your computer first.
- Install the correct drivers for your operating system.
- Install RSD Lite by running the .msi file. Administrator access may be asked.
- Power down your phone.
- Connect your phone via your micro-usb cable to your computer.
- Slide open to reveal the keyboard. Hold up while powering on the phone, you should now see a black screen (bootloader) and some text telling you Battery is ok and it’s ok to program.
- Open and run RSD Lite as administrator. You should see the status change in the program once it’s connected to your Droid.
- Click on the browse button (…) and select the SPRecovery SBF file you downloaded earlier.
- Click on start and let the process complete to 100%.
- RSD Lite will reboot your Droid, but if it doesn’t you can do it yourself as long as it shows 100% in the status.
2. Flash a custom rooted rom
You’re half way there, now you just need to grab a rooted or custom rom to finish.
If all you want is a vanilla Android 2.2 rooted rom, grab the release of the VZW Froyo 2.2 rom over at Peter Alfonso’s (of Bugless Beast fame) site. He’s gone ahead and rooted it for your pleasure.
Once you have the file downloaded, perform the following steps.
- Rename the downloaded file to update.zip and place it in the root (main) directory of your sdcard. Do not place it in a directory!
- Power down the phone if you haven’t already. Slide open the keyboard and press and hold X while powering on the phone. You should see the SPRecovery menu now after the M logo goes away.
- Move down with the volume up/down button to “Wipe Data/Factory Reset”. Select this option with the camera button.
- Move down to install, select it with the camera button.
- Move down to “Allow update.zip installation”, select it with the camera button.
- Move down to “Install /sdcard/update.zip (deprecated)”, select it with the camera button.
- Allow the update.zip file to be installed. It should only take a few moments, keep an eye out for any possible errors that may pop up.
- Press the power button up top to go back to the main menu for SPRecovery. Select reboot with your camera button.
- Once your Droid reboots, you will be asked to log back in with your Google account. After that, you are done!
If you prefer to run a custom rooted rom, there are quite a number of options out there. You will want to grab Rom Manager in the Market, we’ll discuss that in the next section.
3. Install Some Apps
Once you are back up and running, it’s time to install some apps to make your life that much easier. Go into your settings and make sure unknown sources is checked. Go into the market and search for the following.
Rom Manager – you’ll want this app so you can load just about any custom rom that’s available out there. It’s also a good idea to flash their ClockworkMod recovery to replace SPRecovery. I personally find CWM easier to use since it allows installation of .zip from any location on your sdcard.
SetCPU - this allows you to overclock your Droid. You will need to grab some higher limit kernels to allow for more overclocking. These kernels are also available in Rom Manager.
Wireless Tether for Root – turn your Droid into a wifi access point. This works great if you are on the road with your laptop.
Titanium Backup – back all data and system apps and restore them when needed.
AdFree – if you custom ROM did not come with a ad blocker, download this app to turn off ads.
Terminal Emulator – this allows you to perform commands via a shell.
Drocap2 – take screenshots!
SwitchPro Widget – a collection of useful widgets (ex: toggle gps, bluetooth, 3G, etc.)
Enjoy your rooted Droid!