Android OS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 74 Posts

Premium Member
3,386 Posts
Post One: Unlocking and Rooting
Post Two: Installing Roms / Kernels / Tweaks
Post Three: Panic Section / FAQ / Miscellaneous

Unlocking The Bootloader And Obtaining Root
*This part of the tutorial is geared towards Windows users. I have a windows machine and will post instructions only on methods I personally have tested. This guide will assist other users. Once we unlock and root your device: this guide will be relevant to everyone.*
Time required:
20-40 minutes.

Setting up ADB for our device:
Download the AndroidSDK onto your computer.
Note: Google changes their mind every other week as to if this will be distributed as a .zip or an .exe. If you get an .zip file, simply extract the contents to your C:\ drive. For an .exe install it like you would any other program, but set the path directly to the C:\ drive when the installer asks. can use this page to download the "ADB for Dummies AIO App."
This will automatically install ADB for you to your C:\ directory. It's very very simple this way.

If your platform-tools folder doesn't have a fastboot.exe, place this fastboot.exe file in your C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools (or possibly simply called tools, if you set up ADB ages ago) folder.

Now you have ADB installed! Congratulations.

Unlocking the Bootloader:
This will perform a factory reset on your device. You'll lose all applications. You'll lose everything. Even the data on your SD Card! Backup your SD to your computer BEFORE performing this. There is a method for backing your applications up, detailed HERE.

Get the drivers:
Uninstall any previously attempted drivers if they don't work and move to the next.
Samsung's website has a download here under "Manuals & Downloads > Software."
Option Two: Try this one as well. Use CyanogenMod's Guide for installing ADB - Steps 16 through 27 replacing the file/location with the naked drivers.
PDAnet's drivers may work if the above options don't. Simply install PDAnet (after uninstalling any previous attempted driver installations) to get the drivers.
While that is downloading, on your Galaxy Nexus: turn USB debugging on.
This can be found in Settings>Developer Options>USB Debugging
Once the drivers are installed, navigate to the C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools folder on your computer.
Hold shift and right click. Select "Open Command Window Here."
On your phone: turn USB Debugging On. This can be found in Settings>Developer Settings.
Plug your phone into the computer. Now in this command window type:

adb reboot bootloader
(Hit Enter)
Your phone should now boot into a screen with a green android with his chest exposed.
Type this:

fastboot oem unlock
(Hit Enter)
If your Command Prompt displays the message "waiting for device" your driver wasn't successfully installed.
Close the Command Prompt window and open Device manager while your phone is still plugged in. (Search for it using the search option).
Right Click the "Android" option and select Update Driver. Choose to "Browse My Computer" and "Let Me Pick From A List." Pick the Samsung driver with the newest date and install it. Now retry the code above.
Your phone will ask if you want to unlock it. Select "Yes" by using the volume keys and use power to select it.
Now, navigate to "Recovery Mode" with the volume keys. Use power to select.
A screen with another Android will pop up. Press Volume Up and Power at the same time.
Select Factory Reset. This process may take a few minutes. Be patient and let it work.
Once finished, select "Reboot."
Your phone is now unlocked!

Obtaining Root Access and Custom Recovery:
Turn on USB Debugging in Settings>Developer Options>USB Debugging.
Download the following:
SuperSU (CWM .zip)
CWM (Pick the version for your device [GSM/SPRINT/VERIZON])

Place the recovery-clockwork-VERSIONNUMBER-toro.img (or the recovery-clockwork-VERSIONNUMBER-toroplus.img if you're a Sprint user. Or the recovery-clockwork-VERSIONNUMBER-maguro.img if you're a GSM user) file into your C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools folder.
Put the on your phone.
Open another Command Prompt if it isn't still open. (Navigate to C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools and shift + right click. Select "Open Command Window Here.")
With your phone plugged in type:

adb reboot bootloader
(Hit Enter)
And wait for your phone to boot into the android again.

Now type:

fastboot flash recovery IMAGENAME.img
(Change the file name to the correct file name and Hit Enter)

Once that is finished: select the "Recovery Mode" option again on your phone.
You should get a new recovery menu here. Select "install zip from sd card" and "choose zip from sd card."
Find the that you transferred earlier and select "Yes" to installing.
Navigate back to "Reboot" and reboot your phone.
You're now rooted!
However, ClockworkMod Recovery won't continue to load after this.
To fix this, find "Rom Manager" from the market. (The free version is fine.) Use the "Flash ClockworkMod Recovery" option.
If your recovery still doesn't stick around after a reboot, you have another couple options. Find a file explorer that allows root access, such as Root Explorer. Use this program to rename /system/etc/ to /system/etc/install-recovery.bak. You'll need to mount the system as r/w to do this. Root Explorer provides a button at the top to do so.
Or, you can do this completely manually by firing up ADB again and running a few commands:

adb shell(Hit Enter)
su(Hit Enter)
mount -o remount,rw -t ext4 /dev/block/mmcblk0p1 /system(Hit Enter)
mv /system/etc/ /system/etc/install-recovery.bak(Hit Enter)

Your phone is now unlocked, rooted, and has a custom recovery!
Continue reading the next posts for info on getting custom roms, kernels, tweaks, and more!

***I take no responsibility for what happens to your phone due to following this guide! That being said, not only am I sure you'll be fine...but there are an endless amount of users who would be glad to help if you need it.***

Google, for making Android a reality.
VanillaTbone, for the ADB AIO app.
Efrant, for posting about a bootloader locking utility without USB.
Droid-Life, for a previous guide that I used as an outline while writing this one.
ClockworkMod team, for being a part of making our phones as awesome as they are.
The assorted developers, who continue to push out amazing material for us to use.
The awesome community, for endlessly supporting both Android itself and its users.

Premium Member
3,386 Posts
Installing Custom Roms Kernels and Tweaks
All of the instructions below require your bootloader to be unlocked. Please follow the guide above and return here when you're done.

Backing Your Files Up:
Time required:
15-25 minutes.

Making a Nandroid
The first thing you're going to want to do is back up your phone's entire system. This is done by making a "nandroid."
To do this, boot into ClockworkMod Recovery. To accomplish this: Turn your phone off. Once it is completely off: hold both volume buttons and the power button until the Android with his chest exposed is displayed. Navigate to the "Recovery Mode" option and select "backup."
This will take some time. Be patient and let it finish. This process is important! You should always have a recent nandroid available on your device.

Backing Your Data Up
Install Titanium Backup from the market.
Open Titanium Backup. A Superuser request should pop up. Allow it. Note: if Titanium Backup then says it failed to obtain root access; press the menu button and select more>reload application.
Press menu>batch. Select "Backup all User Apps." Select all and "Run the Batch Operation."
Let the process complete. This may take quite some time: depending on how many applications you have installed.

You can now backup your Text Messages, Bookmarks, and WiFi addresses with Titanium Backup as well.
Press Menu>Backup Data To XML to do so.

Backing Your Contacts Up
Note: This process may or not be useful to you. The Google servers should automatically import any contacts you have stored back whenever you install a new rom. Also note that Facebook/Google+/etc contacts will need to be synced again through their respective applications.
Open the Contacts application.
Press the Menu button.
Select import/export.
Export to storage.

Installing A Rom (Or Kernel/Radios/Tweaks/Themes/etc.)
Time Required:
5-10 minutes.

Follow the guide above about backing your phone up before attempting!
This guide will also work for flashing kernels/radios/themes/tweaks/etc. Simply ignore the part about wiping data and wipe whatever the thread says you should. You only need to restore data after a rom install.

Find a Rom You'd Like To Try:
Verizon Development
Sprint Development
GSM Development

Download the rom you'd like to try on your device.
Most roms also require you to install "gapps" as well.
You can find the correct ones for the rom you're using in the rom thread.
Make sure the Rom and Gapps are on your SD card.
Now, open Google Wallet (if you have it installed) and press Options>Settings>Reset Google Wallet. This will prevent the "Secure Element" errors some users have experienced.
Boot into ClockworkMod Recovery by turning your device completely off. Hold volume up, volume down, and power until the green Android with the open chest is displayed. Navigate to "Recovery Mode" with the volume buttons and select using the power button.
Remember to have a recent nandroid before continuing!
Navigate to "wipe data/factory reset" and select it. Select "yes."
Wait for the process to complete. This may take some time. Be patient!
Once complete: Navigate to "Install Zip from SD card" and "Choose zip from SD card."
Find the rom's .zip and install it. Once that completes install any applicable gapps' .zip.
Select the "Reboot" option.
Congratulations! Your phone should now boot into the custom rom!
Follow the prompts to re-activate your phone.

Restoring Your Applications / Contacts / Nandroid
Time Required:
5-15 minutes.

Restoring Your Applicaions
Install Titanium Backup. Note: you may want the pro key. If you have it, you won't have to manually click "install" on each application. The process is completely automated. Open Titanium Backup (grant root access. If titanium says it failed to obtain root access, press menu>more>reload application). Press menu>batch>restore missing apps with data. Now, here you have a choice to make. Do you want a completely clean install? Select "app only" and run the batch operation (Deselect Google Wallet first. We don't want to risk restoring wallet in any way. Install it manually through the Play Store.). Do you want all of your application data (saved games/settings/etc)? Select "app+data" and run the batch operation (Deselect Google Wallet first. We don't want to risk restoring wallet in any way. Install it manually through the Play Store.). This MAY cause you problems or it may not. Personally, I often restore application data and seldom run into any trouble. If you do find that restoring data caused problems, follow the guide above to re-install your rom and restore without data. This process will take some time. Be patient (I'd suggest turning your screen off so the screen doesn't burn, but that's just me.) It will vibrate upon completion.

You can now restore your Text Messages, Bookmarks, and WiFi addresses if you backed them up by pressing Menu>Restore Data From XML.

Overclocking/CPU tweaking applications should never be restored with data. Simply deselect it from the list.
Facebook/Haxsync/Google+ may have problems restoring your contacts when installed through Titanium Backup. Simply uninstall and reinstall through the market (and be sure to log in and select to sync your contacts again).
Also, if you have NFC Task Launcher successfully launching Tasker tasks with your stickers: they may not immediately work.
Through my testing, it's as simple to fix as uninstalling NFC Task Launcher and Tasker. Restore Tasker first. Then restore NFC task launcher.

Restoring Your Contacts
If google fails to restore your contacts (not facebook/haxsync/google+/etc) you may import them manually if you backed them up.
Open the contacts application and press menu>import/export>import from storage.

Restoring A Nandroid
If your phone is acting funny or won't boot...restore a nandroid from a previous rom or working set-up.
You may also use a Nandroid to switch back to a previous rom if you decide you don't like the one you're on.
Do this by booting into ClockworkMod Recovery (hold volume up, volume down, and power while your phone is off and navigate to "Recovery Mode").
Simply select "restore" and find the most recent (or relevant) backup.
This process will take some time. Be patient and let it complete! Once done, select "Reboot."

Nandroids are stored in the "clockworkmod" folder on your SD card. They take up quite a bit of space. ALWAYS have at least one recent one on your SD card. However, since these are huge files: you may like to delete old ones to save space. You must delete backups by booting into CWM and navigating to Backup and Restore>Delete.

Important Notes About Restoration
I outline the method of using Titanium Backup above for a reason. Restoring system applications and data is the most common cause of problems on custom roms. For this reason, always ONLY restore "missing applications" from "user applications" that were backed up when restoring onto a new rom. Every time you restore system data or applications a narwhal sodomizes your favorite childhood cartoon. This is FACT.

Installing Alternate Custom Recoveries
If you find a custom recovery (such as the touch-recovery options) that came as a .img file:
Use these instructions to flash. Plug your phone into the computer. Open up ADB. Move the .img to the C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools folder.
Type the following:
<br />
adb reboot bootloader<br />
(Hit Enter)
You can also manually boot to the bootloader by powering off and holding volume down, volume up, power buttons until the green Android with his chest exposed is displayed.
Then type:
<br />
fastboot flash recovery FILENAME.img<br />
(Replace the file name with whatever the .img is called and Hit Enter).
Wait for the process to complete and reboot.

***I take no responsibility for what happens to your phone due to following this guide! That being said, not only am I sure you'll be fine...but there are an endless amount of users who would be glad to help if you need it.***

Premium Member
3,386 Posts
Panic Section! (Something is Wrong)

Q: My phone won't boot!
A: The easiest option is to get into recovery and restore a nandroid using the above guide (pull battery to put phone in an off-state if needed).
However, more advanced options are available if you don't have a nandroid available (You're naughty).

Do you have another rom .zip available on your SD card? If so, simply use the above guide for installing a rom to get you booting again.
If not, you can download one on your PC. Boot into fastboot (the green Android with open chest menu). Navigate to recovery and select it with the power button.
Move the .zip to the C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools folder.
Open ADB.
Change the below to the correct file name...and perform the action.
<br />
adb push /sdcard/<br />
(Hit enter)
You may have to reboot recovery to get the file to show up. Now follow the guide above for flashing a rom to get you booting again.

Did you install a tweak that modified only a file or two on your phone? (Find this out by opening the .zip and looking in the folders (ignore META-INF). Good news! We MAY be able to recover you completely. If this doesn't'll have to follow another method.
Get your phone into fastboot (the boot-menu that allows you to select recovery/reboot/etc). Navigate to Recovery. Start up ADB. Pull the files that were modified out of the stock rom's .zip (using whatever tweak you were installing as reference to find what was changed) that you're on into the C:\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools folder. Now we're going to push these files onto your phone...replacing the tweaked ones and hopefully getting you booted again. Use this code, but change the values of the file name and where it should reside. This is only an example!

adb shell
(Hit Enter)
(Hit Enter)
mount -o remount,rw -t ext4 /dev/block/mmcblk0p1 /system
(Hit Enter)
This will mount your system so you can write to it.
(Hit Enter)
This should exit shell and allow the use of adb commands again. You may need to type it a couple of times (until the #_ changes back to the platform_tools> prompt).
<br />
adb push framework-res.apk /system/framework/framework-res.apk<br />
(Press enter after each file that you need to replace).
Note: This last option probably won't work. I'd just skip over it unless you're absolutely adamant about restoring your current setup and want to try everything possible.

Q: I want my SDcard files from my phone...but I'm in a situation where I need to flash stock images! This will erase my SD content. What can I do to save it?
A: Do you have a custom recovery installed? If not, download a custom recovery from post one in this guide and flash it using those instructions. You'll need to be in a custom recovery in order to obtain ADB access without booting your phone. Boot into recovery (With phone turned off: hold Power and Volume+ and Volume- until the bootloader pops up and navigate to "Recovery"). Run the command:
adb pull /sdcard/ /SDCARD/
(Hit Enter)
This will put all of your files into a folder called "SDCARD" in your C:\ drive. Keep in mind that this will take a LONG time. Maybe a couple of hours.

To restore once you're booting again:
Move the "SDCARD" folder you created from your C:\ drive to the platform-tools folder. Then input:
<br />
adb push SDCARD /sdcard/
(Hit Enter)

Q: How do I make an "ADB Backup?"
A: An ADB Backup will backup your phones data (applications and their settings). Follow the guide HERE about ADB Backups.

Q: My phone gets really sluggish and often turns off or reboots on its own.
A: Without knowing anything about your situation...I'd say you either have severely bad data somewhere or some bad kernel tweaks. Use the rom install guide above, paying close attention to the part about backing up and restoring if you haven't already. In the case of a kernel problem, you're likely undervolting too low. Restore the stock kernel values and see if your problems subside.

Q: My phone screen won't turn on! This requires a battery pull to fix.
A: This is called a "Black Screen of Death" or BSOD. This is generally due to using a governor such as InteractiveX or HotplugX or possibly undervolting your device too low. Change governors or up your slots a bit.

Q: My phone is doing really weird things. Regardless of kernel/rom and even if I don't restore any data at all! Either that or I simply cannot boot up! My phone is possessed no matter what I do!
A: Razorloves has made a wonderful guide on restoring your Verizon phone back to stock. You can find it Here.
Shabbypenguin made an ODIN guide for Sprint users located Here.
Evostance made one for the GSM users, found Here.
Verizon/GSM images can always be found Here in the case that the above guides aren't updated.
Change the file names in the above guides, and you'll be good to go. *At the time of writing: Sprint images not available directly from Google.*

Q: My USB port is broken. How can I return to stock and re-lock my bootloader?
Follow the instructions in THIS post.



Q: What is the best rom?
A: The "best" rom is a matter of opinion. Do you like a certain customization and can't live without it? Use a rom that has that option.

Q: What is the best rom for battery life?
A: Roms themselves really shouldn't impact your battery all that much. They can have an impact, but if you're really looking for better battery I'd suggest swapping kernels or tweaking yours.

Q: What is the best rom for stability?
A: All of the roms out are "stable." They may have options that don't work correctly, but generally: this is user error. If you follow my advice on installing a rom, you'll end up with MUCH fewer bugs.

Q: What is the best kernel?
A: The best kernel is a matter of opinion. Some users may love one, while others swear by another. Find one you like and tweak it accordingly.

Q: How do I tweak a kernel for better battery?
A: Generally, you'll want to either change your governor and or undervolt and or underclock your kernel. This is done either by using SetCPU or similar apps, or with an option in your rom (usually labeled "performance" or something similar). Take note: extremely high/low voltages may cause instability. Never "set at boot" until you've thoroughly tested the options you've set. Testing includes low strain (like turning your screen off for an hour) and high strain (like playing a game for an hour) scenarios. To be extra safe: run the values for a couple days before setting them at boot. Follow the users ideas in the kernel's threads for some guidelines. However, remember that not all values will play nicely with all phones.


Q: Why does my phone perform so bad on benchmarking tests?
A: This depends on what you define as "bad." Does your phone feel fine? Ignore it. If your phone is really're running bad kernel settings or have bad data somewhere. That being said: our phones aren't going to be FANTASTIC with these benchmark tests. Sorry, but they aren't. We have a huge screen. And huge pixel density. And our GPU isn't the greatest of greats. This isn't bashing on the nexus at all. I'd rather have a phone that performs in every day use than a phone that gets a "FANTASTIC" benchmark but feels groggy when I perform simple tasks.

Q: How can Verizon users get Google Wallet?
A: Scan this with Google Goggles. Open the link with the Play Store.

Q: Why isn't Google Wallet working at [store]?
A: I'm not sure if it's a Google Wallet problem, or a problem with the terminal. But I personally struggle to find a terminal that consistently works in my area. Something that has generally worked for me is to open wallet and go to Options>Reset Google Wallet. You must then re-add any cards you had.

Q: Does my ass look good in these shorts?
A: Yes.

Neat Ideas / How to Show Off the Galaxy Nexus
-Get some NFC stickers. Tagstand has them available.
You can use these to make your phone perform certain tasks when you touch the sticker. Use NFC Task Launcher to define the tasks. These are capable of doing simple things like muting your volume to the more complex like turning on Tasker tasks that do things like auto-reply to text messages while you're at work.

-Do you have any suggestions? Submit them below!

***I take no responsibility for what happens to your phone due to following this guide! That being said, not only am I sure you'll be fine...but there are an endless amount of users who would be glad to help if you need it.***

Premium Member
3,386 Posts
No love for liquid?
I'm not going to do this often, but am simply using the roms I see posted about a lot.
I have seen that one quite a bit.

802 Posts
"Hold shit and right click. Select enter command window here' ".

Usually its when I let go that I enter the command line,

Just a little typo, figured I'd point it out. I'll take this post out not trying to make light of your thread. Def looks really helpful and its the most detailed one I've seen. That's exactly what beginners need. This is the most detailed step-by-step I've seen.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk

Premium Member
3,386 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think I'm done for the time being. That took a while

I'll look for minor edits later.
I need sleep.

Please post suggestions for questions that people generally ask and I'll include them if I feel it's needed.

Just Some Guy
1,436 Posts
This is a very nice guide that will help noobies out a ton...if they read it, lol... nice write up :)

Should be stickied

Android Beginner
62 Posts
Thanks for this post! Worked like a charm. Got my Nexus today and rooted and unlocked. Now to get Miui on a working phone. (bye bye Thunderbolt)

1,173 Posts
very nice, its just what this section was missing, props homie.
  • Like
Reactions: Jubakuba

Android Beginner
28 Posts
Ok, just a quick question... I followed your instructions to unlock the bootloader, and I got to this point, "Now, navigate to "Recovery Mode" with the volume keys. Use power to select." , I selected recovery mode, hit power, then my daughter woke up so I left the room, and my phone. When I got back to my phone, it was on the Android welcome screen, as if you just bought the phone or preformed a factory reset.

Is it safe to assume that my bootloader is unlocked? Im guessing yes, but I just wanted to make sure, as this is my first attempt at rooting this phone. Is there a way to check to make sure it's unlocked?

Edit... Nevermind, I figured it out.

The Jittery Gentleman
1,760 Posts
Haha I've got a couple thing I'll write up if you don't mind me contributing.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using RootzWiki

Android Beginner
25 Posts
Many thanks for this. Just came from a Fascinate a week ago and this had me hitting the ground running. Everything worked perfect.

Android Apprentice
29 Posts
I just want to add something in case someone or anyone else has the problem I had. I read your directions multiple times, followed them in order; however, when I got to the point of "waiting for device", I couldn't find the drivers I needed to update to 'Android 1.0'. I searched other forums and came across this:

After installing the PdaNet file in the above link, the rest of the process went smoothly!

Would it be possible to elaborate more on this in your instructions? Meaning, either including downloading the PdaNet file, or a more detailed way of finding the drivers needed? I installed the drivers stated directly from the Samsung site and put them both in the default path as well as at the root of the C: drive and my computer still couldn't find them until I downloaded the PdaNet file.

Outside of that minor issue, everything went wonderfully and easy, even for a semi-newb myself! I am joyfully unlocked AND rooted!

Thank you soo very much for your tutorial! :-D

Premium Member
3,386 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Glad to hear it worked for you.

Did you use the same method of trying to manually locate the driver as you did with PDAnet?
That should have worked...
But noted.
And I WILL add pda net a least.
That seems to be a popular second source of drivers.

Android Apprentice
29 Posts
Did you use the same method of trying to manually locate the driver as you did with PDAnet?
That should have worked...
The interesting thing about that is, I didn't have to 'direct' it to anywhere. PDAnet automatically found it! Not sure how or why! It was almost like as soon as I downloaded PDANet, it just 'took off' and everything worked! Wierd!!
1 - 20 of 74 Posts