Root and flash custom ROM on Motorola Droid

This is a quick guide to rooting and flashing a custom ROM onto your original Driod (aka OGDroid). I’ve played with a few ROMs and found CyanogenMod to be the best. Its a bit rough now, but as time permits, I’ll polish it up later. Let me know if you have any questions/tips in the comments.

Disclaimer: This may void your warranty and brick your phone. Proceed at your own risk!

Step 1:  Root the phone

Rooting Instructions

  •  Use the link above to root the phone to give you super user access. After all the research, this was said to be the easiest, sure fire way to do it. It was quite easy once you installed all the required software. Just be sure to type everything in exactly and it should work perfectly.

Step 2:

  • Download Titanium Backup Root from Market. Use this to back up all your programs and user data. There are tons of tutorials on how to do this on the internet. It would be best to only backup user apps (you’ll know by what color the title is in the app). If you try to restore certain system files, it may slow the new rom down.
  • Backup all individual apps that may have a backup feature. This shouldn’t be necessary, but you can never have too many backups.
  • Contacts, calendars, etc should be backed up to Google. If not, you’ve done something terribly wrong.

Step 3:

  • Download ROM Manager. This is the guy that builds the custom recovery. You’ll need this to set up the ROMs and stuff. Install it from the Market.
  • Once installed, open it and click on the first option “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery”. This will install the custom recovery. I would then click the next option and log in to the recovery (there’s other ways to do this, but this is easiest).

Step 4:

CyanogenMod’s Instructions

  •  Go to the link above. It gives an in depth guide on how to root the phone and everything, but I’ve done that in the above steps. I’d start at “Flashing CyanogenMod”. It’ll tell you to download the Rom and the Gapps. Do that.
  • Hook your phone back up to your computer and mount the SD card. Load the two files you downloaded onto it.

Step 5:

  • Once in the recovery, do what’s called a Nandroid backup (on the above instructions, its the backup Optional step). It’s like making a complete system image backup so you can restore it to exactly like it was before you changed roms (it doesn’t undo root, but it puts whatever rom you backed up back on it. For example, if you nandroid backup your stock rom, you can restore it back exactly like it was).
  • To do a Nandroid backup: click “Backup and restore” (use d-pad and center button to move up and down and enter). Click “Backup”. It will back it up and put it on your SD card. Make sure there’s about 2-300MB free on the card.
  • Continue with the instructions by wiping your data. Once you do this, there’s no going back (unless you restore your nandroid backup).
  • Install the rom as the instructions say.
  • Reboot the system. It may take a while…don’t be alarmed

Step 6:

  • Once at the home screen, go to the Market to get Titanium Backup and restore your apps. If you don’t get the paid version, it may take a while, but I’m cheap and just dealt with it.
  • Customize and play around with your new, fast rom.

I know that’s a lot, but I was verbose to help you know what to expect.  They say there is little to no way you can irreparably destroy your phone, especially once you have it rooted and the recovery installed, but you’ve been warned.

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