Well, after lots of research to make sure I understood what I was getting into, making sure I had enough lingo to ask a good question should I run into trouble and most importantly clearing up time in my schedule to do so, I finally took the plunge and rooted my Telus (130) Hero. Why? Well the 2.1 update to Android had been promised by HTC and by extension Telus since I got the phone at New Years and to date, there is nothing official. What’s worse, the dates for the HTC “unbranded” release keep getting pushed back and that means that the branded releases are certainly not on any fast lane out of the compiler.
So what did it take for me to get root and start seeing what Android is about today rather than when it first came out? Well, Telus uses a very up to date firmware build for 1.5. This means that many of the easier (read – less step intensive) processes are not possible. So that means if you want to root this phone, you need to create a gold card. Now before I go any further, I’ll say what every other guide out there says… do this at your own risk… you could brick your phone and I am not going to be able to do anything for you other than say “it worked for me”.
So what’s a gold card? Well, it’s a card that has had part of its file system modified slightly. The process is rather simple and of everything, outside of setting up Apps2SD (which I’m doing tonight before bed), is what takes the most time. it is also the step where you might have to lay out money. I wanted to get a faster card and so I managed a deal on a 4GB Kingston Class4 and I used this guide and created my gold card on my second attempt. What went wrong on the first try? Well, I didn’t read the instructions – I chose the wrong disk to change – Choose Physical Disks! You’ll notice that the guide is one that tells you how to root the same phone, so why am I spending electrons on typing more out? Well, the guide is good, but only as a high level guide, other than the gold card process, it felt weak to me. It also suggest updating the radio, but I didn’t and it work fine. This process could take 20 minutes depending how long it takes for the gold card server to email your disk image back to you.
After the gold card, you have to downgrade the firmware – don’t worry, the 405 version that is suggested works just fine if you chicken out at this point or want to go back to some thing “official”. This took some fiddling for me as I needed to get a virtual machine that would actually let the sync app see my phone. It seems that XP is your best be here. Install the RUU exe and wait out the 5-10 minutes that it takes. The guys at The Unlockr have written up the guides that will take us the rest off the way – and this stage is outlined here. There is also a decent gold card method here, but you can choose the one that you want.
After you’ve downgraded, you have to install a new recovery image. Not hard – follow along – but if you are like me, you’ll have tried to see what the stock recover is and been met with a caution sign on boot. Don’t worry – I think the carriers are trying to keep their phones “protected”. Be sure you adjust your input to reflect the file names/numbers that you are planning to use. You’ll spend about 2 minutes on this stage and after this you can flash the ROM of your choice – I’m a fan of Villain 5.4. Oh yeah, if you are running an unlocked phone, it’s still unlocked.
Once all this is done – maybe an hour later – you’ll have the bigger job of putting together all your screens and logging into all your services, but that should be just as much fun. Mybackup Pro was a wonder agent to allow me to get most of my data back and FYI – reboot the phone a couple times and make sure Google has done its syncing before you pass judgment on the ROM.
I’m certainly happy I went through with this – I was scared at the outset, but I so dearly wanted to be free of Telus that you can not image how it was hurting to be bound to them again even for this little thing. Can I live with a few extra bug and hiccups that were not there before I started – sure, because the trade off is that so much more of what the system is capable off is open to me and in the end, it’s Android – there are at least two ways around every bug, more if you start looking at them as features or challenges.