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14/Jun r6 riskfreeroot - HTC Desire rooting guide - now with HBOOT 0.80 and OS to 1.21 support


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Poll: The Desire rooting poll (1333 member(s) have cast votes)

Did you use this guide to root your HTC Desire?

  1. Yessireee and it's great! (969 votes [72.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 72.69%

  2. No because i'm too scared! (236 votes [17.70%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.70%

  3. No because it didn't work! (128 votes [9.60%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.60%

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#1
PaulOBrien

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Read this whole topic - it contains a ton of useful information as well as the instructions and downloads!

Remember that if you use this guide, you do so entirely at your own risk!!


Welcome to my guide on how to root the HTC Desire!

Compatibility

This guide will allow you to root your HTC Desire, provided it has a bootloader version of 0.80 or below and ROM version 1.21.xxx.x or below (2 different downloads are available depending on your ROM version). To check this, turn off your device, then turn it back on with the 'back' key held. On the second line in green text you will see HBOOT- and then a number. Provided this is 0.80 or below, this guide should work for you.

If you have a bootloader / OS newer than this, please visit this topic for details on how to downgrade.

Desire rooting protection

Back in the early days of Android, rooting was easy. You had several options - you could flash stuff via the bootloader, you could flash an engineering bootloader, you could use kernel exploits - there were many ways of getting the low level access to your device that - in fairness - I think we as paying customers are entitled to. As time has progressed however, the manufacturers have made things harder and harder. The Desire is not a straightforward phone to root, for many reasons, including...
  • a 'perfected bootloader' that doesn't allow flashing or booting of any images (even HTC signed ones)
  • a RUU flash process that does not allow downgrading of the bootloader to earlier versions
  • a kernel (that as yet does not have publicly available source) that as yet has no known exploits
  • a new protection method previously seen on the HTC Tattoo that protects key partitions from having write access. Even with SU access, it is not possible to write to the boot, recovery or system partitions.
In reality, the options for rooting a device this secure are limited. Even if a kernel exploit were found, the key partitions would still be unwritable, rendering su access useless. This was circumvented on the Tattoo very cleverly, using a specific memory address from a confidential Qualcomm datasheet, however this information is not yet available for the Snapdragon chipset used in the Desire (and indeed may never enter the public domain).

And so the root process becomes a process of methodically probing every possible point of exposure on the device, looking for the slightest chink in the armour. I found one and we're putting it to good use! The downside is that it's not as easy or as pretty as rooting a device that is actually DESIGNED to be accessible at the lowest level, such as the Nexus One.

Shame on you HTC for going to such unnecessary lengths (but that's another story for another day).

What this root process provides and does not provide

The root process will...
  • flash your device with a new, generic 1.15.405.4 based ROM that has Superuser access
The root process will NOT...
  • enable you to flash your device with a custom recovery image
  • enable you to have write access to the /system partition in normal use of the device
Both of these limitations are being worked on of course. :D

Pre-requisites

In order to complete this guide, you need the following...
  • a HTC Desire B)
  • a computer running Windows (32 bit recommended, some users have reported issues with x64), OSX or Linux
  • a microUSB cable
  • a microSD card (to be made into a 'goldcard' - only necessary if your device is an operator supplied device)
  • the downloads below
  • balls of steel (actually, I just made that up) B)
Download

To be ready for the guide, download one of the following items...

- If you have a bootloader version 0.75.xxxx or below AND a current ROM of 1.15.xxx.x or below - DOWNLOAD (MediaFire Pro)

- ONLY if the above download is not suitable - if you have a bootloader version 0.80.xxxx or below AND a current ROM of 1.21.xxx.x or below - DOWNLOAD (MediaFire Pro)

Once you have this on your machine, you're ready to start! :huh:

The guide

Follow through these steps, one by one and at the end of it you'll have a rooted Desire with the latest ROM.

Note: This process will wipe your device and there is currently no option to backup your device ROM before you start.
  • Make your microSD card into a goldcard by following these instructions (it's a good idea to back up the contents of your card first!).
  • Unzip the file you downloaded to a directory, then open a command prompt / terminal window at that directory.
  • Copy the 'update.zip' file to your microSD. Do NOT rename it.
  • Turn off your HTC Desire, then turn it back on with the 'back' button held down. You'll see 'FASTBOOT' written on the screen in a red box. Connect the phone to the computer.
  • In the terminal window, enter either 'step1-windows.bat', './step1-mac.sh' or './step1-linux.sh' as appropriate.
  • Navigate to the 'BOOTLOADER' and then 'RECOVERY' option on the menu, using the volume buttons to move and the power button to select.
  • When a black screen appears with a red triangle, press and hold 'Volume Up' then tap 'Power'.
  • Your device should now be at the 'recovery' screen. Select the 'wipe data/factory reset' option, then select the option to 'Apply sdcard:update.zip'. This will take a little while, so go make a nice cup of tea. When the flash has finished, reboot, and you are DONE! :P
Troubleshooting

If you have any issues with the root process, post below, and we'll do our best to help! :blink:

Using a custom recovery image

You can access a custom recovery image by using fake-flash developed by myself and Koush.

And finally!

If you wish to do so, you can express your appreciation by signing up to a MoDaCo Ad Free or MoDaCo Plus Account using PayPal or Google Checkout, as detailed in this post on MoDaCo. As well as donating to support the work that goes into all the various MoDaCo activites, you get cool stuff like free software (there's some great Android stuff coming too!), an ad free MoDaCo site and of course access to the MoDaCo Online Kitchen. All signups are very much appreciated.


Enjoy! :o

P

Thanks to nilezon for his patched windows ADB binary and ChainsDD for his excellent new Superuser Permissions update.

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#2
PaulOBrien

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Optional update zips

Apply this updates after rooting by copying to sdcard any applying from the recovery image (entered using the recovery-xxx.sh method).

32.36.00.28U_4.06.00.02_2 Radio update - DOWNLOAD (MediaFire Pro) - DO NOT USE ON ORANGE

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#3
bcmobile

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Howto looks good. All systems go?

I will give more feedback once I have gone through the full process.

Once again mate..... nice work!

Edit: I'll put together an Ubuntu VM appliance with all of the tools for the WIndows users.

Edited by Paul, 05 May 2010 - 10:35 AM.

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#4
PaulOBrien

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I am working urgently to make it work on all Windows / OSX / Linux independently, rather than needing a specific one.

P

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#5
radshag

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Hey Paul,

I am very excited to get started on rooting my desire. I was wondering if I will be able to load other fonts such as Hebrew once I follow these instructions. I noticed you said I wouldn't have access to the /system partition in normal use mode. Is there another way?

Thanks,

Dov

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#6
The_IMF

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Will attempt later tonight when I can download ubuntu.

Edited by The_IMF, 28 April 2010 - 02:34 PM.

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#7
PaulOBrien

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Hey Paul,

I am very excited to get started on rooting my desire. I was wondering if I will be able to load other fonts such as Hebrew once I follow these instructions. I noticed you said I wouldn't have access to the /system partition in normal use mode. Is there another way?

Thanks,

Dov

Yes, you'll load them on by running recovery and then doing 'adb shell mount /system' before pushing the files.

P

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#8
RcT_DK

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I will test in a couple of hours.

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#9
bcmobile

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I am working urgently to make it work on all Windows / OSX / Linux independently, rather than needing a specific one.

P


All working fine Paul. You are a champion.

bc@bc-xps:~$ adb shell
# su
#

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#10
PaulOBrien

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Post live!

P

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#11
simonk12

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sweet!
thanks Paul!

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#12
afiorillo

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Great news! Going to root my Desire ASAP! :huh:

(and my FriendFeed widget will thank me, I was screwing it up refreshing every second or so... :P )

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#13
IrealiTY

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Nice done mate, now please a 0.80 Version an I'll be happy :>

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#14
pascanu

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Before I jump in: I assume this will void the warranty. How do we return to "stock"? Just flash a normal RUU? Can they tell this device was rooted?

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#15
evilgeenius

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"This process will wipe your device and there is currently no option to backup your device ROM before you start."

So does this mean that once you flash your desire you'll never be able to go back to the original Sense UI?

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#16
xTc is loVe

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I need a Windows machine only?Pr Do i need Linux it a live cd , too? I mean are there both OS needed? Sry for my englisch.....

Thanks for root......

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#17
Karolis

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I'm not an Android n00b, but here comes a fairly n00bish question: what's the advantage of having root at this point besides just the fact of having it? If I can't write to /system, that means I can't use most of the root apps, including wireless tether, adfree android, etc.

Is that right?

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#18
nekromantik

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I think il wait for the Ubuntu VM from bcmobile.
Cheers paul and bcmobile

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#19
PaulOBrien

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Tether, adfree android et al don't need system write access. In fact, nothing does.

This ROM includes Sense of course.

If you can get hold of a standard RUU for your operator, you can flash back to stock, if not you can easily flash back to generic stock.

P

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#20
mardox

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This being my first android device im pretty new to this but tried to read up on things. I was just wondering if it is possible as of now to flash nexus one roms onto the desire? i have just seen alot of people speculating about this but no definate no or yes answer because of there being no method to root before this.

Thx!

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