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228 posts

Master Geek

#53242 9-Dec-2009 20:08

Bought an HTC Hero while on stop-over in Hong Kong. WHAT a phone!!!? (makes a blackberry look like a paperweight)

The only rub is that I don't have root on it ("if you don't have root on it, you don't own it" or "if u ! hav / on it, u ! pwn it"), yet.

Thus far I'm very happy with the device & functionality, had a good play, but now I want more.

Did a bit of homework before I commit to doing anything too drastic (because we all know the surest way to brick a device is not to RTFM or do your homework first, right?):
* seems that the "guide" posted on is for the installation of a root-kit/boot-loader, and not for getting root access on the device (HUGE difference) -
* seems that the famous Cyanogen is not available for the Hero, yet, but only the magic. (unless someone's generous-enough to provide the developer with a device to hack). The custom ROM for the Hero seems to be MoDaCo
* the various "rooters" all seem to make use of the  CyanogenMod Recovery 1.4 tool (presumably a boot-loader/hook & flash tool)

Had anyone here actually gone through the whole (nerve-wracking) process on their Hero and are able to offer assistance?

A couple of points:
* I'm a Linux-user, so making use of the HTC sync tool to upgrade or administer the device it out of the question. (I don't even have a window-machine; the closes I've got is a VM, & controlling hardware that way is a really terribly BAD idea)
* I do not make a habit of it of downloading & running random code from some random site referenced by some random tiny-url on my device that carries all my sensitive information, so some of the executable binaries referenced in some guides is a no-go (probably the biggest reason I've not committed to a rooting yet)
* is there a tool to backup & restore the data & apps on the device? I'd like to (legally, btw) make use of some of the snazzy proprietary HTC & Google apps that was shipped with the device (i.e I paid for them; I'm entitled to keep them), such as the weather/time, radio-control widgets, Google Maps & sync tools. The way to legally deal with it is to backup your device's apps, do your thing & then restore them (ref: the entire CyanogenMod snafu)
* what functionality do I loose on a rooted device/custom ROM? As mentioned before, the cloud integration is simply AWESOME!
* does it affect my ability to load any future "official" updates, such as v.2? (btw, there's a v.2.1 homebrew firmware available from

Any advice would be appreciated.

Some additional references:

- J


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Uber Geek

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  #281100 10-Dec-2009 08:58
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I would use MoDaCo's rom, latest is 3.0 which includes new Teknologist's Kernel (a faster kernel than what HTC has released). You dont need htc sync or anything as long as you can mount the sd card with linux (windows here)

And always do a NANDROID BACKUP :P

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  #281101 10-Dec-2009 08:59
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you might want to update the radio as well after you have done that is what your after



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Wannabe Geek

  #281234 10-Dec-2009 15:51

I used these instructions to format my sdcard
How to manually partition your SD card for Android Apps2SD

i use this bootloader
[Recovery] [08-Dec-2009] RA-hero-v1.5.1

with this radio and rom
[ROM] 02/12 3.0 - MoDaCo Custom ROM Enchanced

with this file manager (capable of backup/restoring apps to the sdcard)
Astro File Manager

there is also this 2.1 rom out, though i have not tried it yet.
HERO21 Community (version 1.6) GSM

2788 posts

Uber Geek

  #281700 12-Dec-2009 08:01
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Once you've got Amon Ra's recovery image installed, you no longer need to partition your SD card manually, just do it via the recovery interface.

The only difficult part of the process is making the "Goldcard" which you'll probably need if the ROM on your Hero is too new for the exploit to work. You'll likely need to do this via the process here;

before using the links MrToken has posted above.

The only benefit to rooting the phone is the ability to flash the upgraded images, beyond that it's mostly unused, and once the Recovery image is flashed you do all the hard work via that anyway.

If you flash a custom firmware, then I wouldn't hold my breath for the auto-updater working when Eclair is released, but there will be a MoDaCo rooted version of it out fairly soon afterwards, so no biggy.

The most stable 2.1 firmware I've used is Lox's "Community" version, the essentials all work, but a lot of other apps don't. Link in Jeb's post above.

Try to use a spare SD card if you're going to test new ROMs to save it stuffing up your working system.

Also - While it's fun, I recommend NOT trying out the newer ROMs, as it will stuff up your Marketplace account and a lot of apps cease to be available on there as the system thinks you're on an incompatible firmware. Sometimes it fixes itself, sometimes it doesn't, and it stores the info in your Google profile so even wiping the phone completely won't fix it.

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  #281817 12-Dec-2009 18:20
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Word of warning on the radio: The version of the radio image needs to match the version of Android intended for use with that radio. Getting them out of allignment can break / eliminate any or all of your functions: phone, 2G, 3G, wifi, Bluetooth. The concept of "upgrading" radio apart from the OS it is intended for isn't a valid one. They need to match. I've been lucky with my ROM installs as they have all been based on Android 1.6 (with large chunks of 2.0 thrown in - but not the radio). Only after several ROM loads did i realise I had missed how important it is to keep the radio version in sync with the version of android.

As for rooting generally, make sure you keep an backup of the 'standard" system. You DO want to able to go back to that at any time in order to get automatic updates (to keep that image current) and to get apps through the market that may not install on your modded version. 

For example: You want the latest Google Maps, (usually "Maps.apk" or "GoogleMaps.apk"), but your modded ROM can't install it due to a 'signing error". 

No problem. You restore your original image backup. Then download the app. Then use "adb pull" to grab it out of /system/app (or whereever the Hero keeps it)...and then reload your phone with a backup of your modded system....and then "adb push" the app into /system/app on the modded system. Even if that pushed version  of Google Maps 'Force Close's, you should then be able to either uninstall it and re-install from the market, or just go to the market and install it as the version now on your system (whether it works or not) does have the correct signing. 

Sounds odd......but it has worked for me. Just be absolutely certain you have a good backup of the original system you can restore if / when you need it. of course as you change that original system over time you will keep the updated versions as your most current reference to the "standard" load.  With nandroid or BART, backing up and restoring ROMs is easy. The hard part will have been setting the PC up to talk to the phone in the first place. 

For that, I use Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit and the Android 2.0 SDK / Sun Java EE SDK / Eclipse. 

Excellent instructions for setting it up with Ubuntu are found here. The only thing I would add to those is to make sure you apt-get install the ia32libs if you're running 64-bit Ubuntu, or you get weird libcurses errors and some stuff just won't work.

I don't mess with anything that tells me I need to change my SPL. I haven't yet worked out how / had the time / to make a "goldcard"....and until I do, the SPL will remain unchanged by me. 

If you order a Tesla, click my referral code below to order your car and get free stuff. 


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