Rooting your Droid can be a daunting task and is definitely overwhelming. All-in-all rooting is not that difficult of a process, but I found that some of the nomenclature used when rooting can be confusing a bit when you’re first starting because it’s dealing with some tools that non-rooters don’t touch. So here is a bit of a pre-rooting guide. I hope it helps someone out.
What does “root” mean? The root, is the root of a drive, that is the core of the files system. It is the beginning level of the file system; a file that is saved on a drive (think the C: drive of your computer) without being put in a folder is in the root. On your computer if you put something on the C: drive without putting it in a folder it would look like this: C:\filename.exe. That would be a file on the root drive. ”Rooting” for Android means you are gaining access to that level of the file system which is not normally accessible to users. Gaining root access allows users to make changes to Android system files which can allow them to do functions that aren’t accessible on a stock system.
When rooting your Android device you download and use several software tools. For me they got confusing as well and I had to figure out what was what. Here’s some help with those:
RSD Lite is a software utility that you download and use on your computer. It’s a tool that techs at Verizon might use to fix your phone if there were a problem with it. Once you download RSD Lite you connect your Droid to your computer with a USB cable and use RSD LIte to flash a software recovery utility (SP Recovery) onto your Droid which is the first step to rooting.
SPRecovery is used to install new ROMs and updates onto your Droid. Without it you cannot install a rooted ROM. You’ll flash the SPRecovery_ESE81.sbf file to your Droid to get SPRecovery running.
Nandroid is a special set of tools that are part of SP Recovery. I got confused when reading the directions for rooting and Nandroid was mentioned but nothing was mentioned about downloading it and where to get it from. When you create a backup of your existing system files from SPRecovery it is called a Nandroid backup and goes into a folder called /nandroid on your SD card. Some installation methods require that you put a file in the /nandroid folder to install because that’s where Nandroid looks for those files. If you have not made any backups you will be asking yourself “where is the /nandroid folder?” – well, it does not exist and you must first create it. Of course no one will tell you that.
Once you are rooted and looking at changing ROMs (these will change large parts of your OS) or kernels (these will change more specific parts of your OS) a useful app is ROM Manager. It can be downloaded from the Market and there is a free version which does most of what you need. Another term used in conjunction with ROM Manger is ClockworkMod. What the hell is a ClockworkMod? You got me. Where do I download it? You don’t, or you did if you downloaded ROM Manager, sort of.
ClockworkMod Recovery (its full name) is another recovery tool much like SPRecovery. The advantage of using ClockworkMod is that you can run it straight from your Android system and you don’t need to do the funky reboot while you hold “X” thing. It will do the rebooting for you straight of of the ROM Manager interface. Once you install ROM Manager there will be an option to flash ClockworkMod Recovery which will enable all the other functions of ROM Manger and is very helpful. Once you flash to ClockworkMod Recovery you can always go back to SPRecovery very easily and vice versa depending on what you want to do.
Well that’s the short list of some terms that I had trouble with. I hope some clarification of these terms will help you all out before you jump into the rooters fray and maybe it will quell some of your fears you may have about the process.
At this point in time I’m not going to attempt a full-on how-to guide for rooting your Droid as many better men have done that before me. If you are interested in that then try these links:
Droid Life | My Droid World | Droid Forums
For more in depth information on the Android operating system try this link: http://developer.android.com/guide/basics/what-is-android.html
And as always, Android Delight is not responsible for anything you do to your phone. The root process can damage your phone if you don’t know what you are doing and don’t follow directions. Truth be told there is usually a way out but we are not responsible for anything you try. Happy Droiding!