The Vengeful Polyglot

Make Life Take the Lemons Back! — Adventures in Rooting

Posted on: November 15, 2011

Let it be said that when I got my Droid Incredible I was enamored with it. It did everything I needed, and I wanted for nothing. Recently, this has not been the case, and the fault seems to lie with one of my favorite manufacturers, HTC.

For months I have been plagued by a memory leak issue. It constantly said I had no memory, and occasionally would give a secondary notice that I would be prevented from receiving messages if I didn’t rectify the issue. At no time I have used more than half of the internal memory, the SD card, or the RAM. I uninstalled app after app each time the message popped up, but it continued to come back. I even resorted to deleting text messages once I got down to stock apps and there was nothing left to uninstall. I was doing at least three battery pulls a day, which sometimes removed the secondary warning. I was unable to use my smartphone as a smartphone.

That was bearable, I guess. The phone still did “phone things,” even if the other capabilities were lost. Then, a friend of mine asked if I was mad at her because I hadn’t responded to the four texts she sent me that week. I never got them. Without my knowledge, my ability to receive texts just… shut down. I could send them, but nothing I tried was able to let them come through. My upgrade isn’t until the middle of January — I needed a functional phone.

I called Verizon. Apparently, there was nothing to be done. Both of these issues were known: the memory leak possibly due to HTC’s mail client going nuts, and the text messages due to the most recent Gingerbread update (which has since been re-released, apparently). I was out of warranty on my second version of this phone, and the insurance only covered physical damage. Even if I had been offered an early upgrade, the Galaxy Nexus won’t be out until December, and it may not even be eligible. Excellent.

Since it was a software issue, then, there was only one possible recourse. I decided it was time to grow some cojones and try to root my phone. I figured if I could slap CyanogenMod on there, the HTC-specific issues would disappear.

It turns out that having never rooted at 2.2 made rooting at 2.3.4 with s-off really, really difficult. Sweet. Because this process isn’t scary enough as it is. Even though I typically frequent xda-developers, this time I used two guides from the Phandroid Android Forums to get root, s-off, and Cyanogen: 2.3.4 root, downgrade, and s-off, and [Guide] Flashing CyanogenMod 7/Google Apps After Rooting the Inc.

For those out there who are noobs like me, the process of getting root and s-off generally consists of updating to unrEVOked‘s USB drivers, gaining root access for Android 2.3.4 using an older version of unrEVOked (3.22) with the newest version of ClockworkMod Recovery (as unrEVOked 3.22 would otherwise use an older version which no longer works), formatting the SD card to FAT32 if necessary, downgrading to Android 2.2 with adb using the command line, and then regaining root and getting s-off with unrEVOked 3.32. Flash CyanogenMod requires doing several wipes, then flashing Cyanogen and Google Apps using ClockworkMod Recovery.

And what do you know, it worked! I am now the proud owner of a totally non-bricked, rooted Droid Incredible with s-off and CyanogenMod. I’m liking Cyanogen so far, but we’ll see how it goes. My phone is back to the level of functionality I had two months ago, and I’m thrilled.

Of course, I ran into a few hiccups. The first was during the rooting process still at 2.3.4, which thankfully didn’t cause any issues. When running the unrEVOked 3.22 reflash.exe, I had the phone plugged in, which caused it to run without me selecting the specific recovery first. Easily remedied, thankfully, by unplugging, running reflash again, and choosing the new ClockworkMod Recovery before plugging back in. The second was when downgrading to 2.2; after flashing, I got stuck in a boot loop. Reflashing two times cleared the issue, though. Also, remember to check MD5 checksums!

So, that’s my story. If I can root, anyone can! Best of luck to anyone else who finds themselves with a debilitating software bug — there is something to be done about it, after all!


3 Responses to "Make Life Take the Lemons Back! — Adventures in Rooting"

So… fixed your phone?

I’ve still been unable to understand what the benefits of rooting are. Like, why would I root my Xoom?

But I am glad that you managed to root! This gives me hope!

Well, I never really got it, either. Since I had software issues, though, it was worth it to me to see if I could resolve them by removing HTC’s version of Android in favor of another. 😛 I’m not a hardcore modder, and there aren’t many root-only apps I’d really want (save free wireless tethering — that’s a nice perk!), so I had always avoided it. I don’t have my Galaxy Tab rooted, either. It was an exercise in curiosity and necessity, haha. I suppose the reason to root involves wanting to get even more out of your device, provided you’re willing to take the risk. It provides further customizability.

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Blog by a programmer cum linguist cum writer cum total geek. One who pretentiously uses "cum" in place of any other logical connectives. Direct questions to the Ask Lauren page!

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