Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Experiences On Rooting My HTC Wildfire

CyanogenMod 7 running on my HTC Wildfire
Couples of posts earlier I wrote about my experiences on rooting and flashing a new ROM to my Samsung Galaxy Tab GT-P100. Since everything went well and relatively without a hassle my hunger grew and I started to consider doing the same thing for my phone. So, I own an old HTC Wildfire and it never has had a very good performance. Having used the phone for couple of years the OS responsiveness of the phone became rather sluggish and prone to crashes. It did not help that the geocaching application had "secretly" hogged space by storing every geocache that I had viewed into a hidden folder on my SD-card. Clearing up all the hidden files from SD-card helped a bit, but I wanted more.

Here is how I rooted my phone:


First of I had to back all my data. I synced my contacts to my Google account and used some free sms-backup software to take a copy of my messages. There are a tons of free apps that you can use to backup your messages. I did not think I had any that important apps on my phone so I did not bother with backing up my apps with Titanium Backup.


Google Car Home - YES!
First item on the list is rooting. I used Revolutionary to gain root access and s-off. It was a piece of cake. The only problem was that all the rooting guides tell you that you use the volume keyes to navigate when you are using Revolutionary. At one point I was sure that my phone was bricked. This is not the case. In fact you can use the optical track ball navigate inside revolutionary.

The basic flashing procedure was very straight forward. I chose to flash the latest version CyanogenMod7 since the Wildfire doesn't have very powerful processor. So now my Wildfire runs Android 2.3.7. Great!

After rooting I noticed that GPS reception was not working. Crap! Again this was quite easily fixed by reflashing the radio part of the OS. I flashed the version of Wildfires radio software and now my GPS work quite fast.

I think the phone is a little bit faster with the new custom ROM, but the performance increase isn't that big. The slight increase in performance, however, has improved the way how newer navigation apps work. The FM radio app works much better now. Before you had to be very careful with your headphones when you wanted to listen to the radio and each and every little movement of the headphone wire caused crackling. Now you can actually listen radio on the go, while biking or walking it doesn't matter. Second nice new feature is that Google Car Home is included into CM7.

Overall benefits


Overall, again, I would say that rooting and flashing a custom ROM to my HTC Wildfire gave it a new lease on life (?!?). I think that I am able to use this a while longer and I am not in a hurry to upgrade my phone SGS3 (drool) or even iPhone. Actually, the fact that I'm able to modify and upgrade my old phone by myself, makes me like my old phone even more. I think this is were the true power of open source/ Linux based systems lies. You control the software of your devices and not some company that may or may not release an update for your device. I know that this sort tinkering is not for everyone but I do feel that if you spend couple of nights familiarising with the basics of rooting and flashing custom ROMs to Android devices anyone can learn to unleash the full potential of their Android devices.

There was one problem, quite a big problem, that emerged after flashing the new custom ROM. The battery of my phone seemed to drain out really fast. I charged the phone up, went to bed and when I woke up the phone had powered off. I had to use terminal emulator to delete the batterystats.bin file and reboot the phone and after few cycles the battery seems to (almost) back to normal. The information on the forums says that this is quite a common problem. Otherwise my HTC now works much better.

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