The Root Community Origins

The Root Community Origins

A few days ago we asked why you rooted your first device and how it went, your responses flooded in and we quickly came to see a common trend. Most of us ended up here because of the same reasons, whether it was to fix an OEMs flawed device or lack of updates, impress others or just to sate a desire for more from your device. We took a few moments to round up some of the best of your answers that represent these best.

“I bought a HTC Desire HD just when it came out. Was all good and dandy until it started giving me problems with the sound. It had this headphone symbol in the status bar that would appear when you htc-desire-hd had headphones connected, I guess that was part of HTCs GUI back then. Anyway my trouble was that whenever I didn’t have headphones connected that symbol would just blink, as if I was constantly connecting and disconnecting a pair. This led to me not hearing the signal when people called or texted, and also me and whoever called wouldn’t hear eachother if I managed to notice a call and answer it.

I figured maybe it was a software issue, and I guess I also wanted a reason to just mess with the phone, so instead of RMAing it I started reading up on rooting, S-Off and Cyanogenmod here on XDA. It probably took me around 12 hours, but I finally had managed to install whatever version of CM there was back then. It didn’t help.

All I had to do now was to get it back to stock so that I could RMA it and get a new one. I reckon it took a good four days before I was 100% sure that there was no sign of me tampering with the phone.

I RMAd it the usual three times; all the service company did the first two times was try and factory reset the phone and claim it worked fine. See the issue could disappear for a few minutes here and there. The third and final time I sent them a guide, together with the phone, in which I instructed them on how to reproduce the issue. Voilá, a new working phone and also a new found love for tampering with devices in general.” – fritzhy

I can really empathise here, my second Android device was a Desire HD, it was plagued with hardware and software issues including the one mentioned above, other issues included the proximity sensor turning off the display permanently during phone calls, meaning the battery had to be pulled. I got through 3 of these in 2 months under the warranty before selling it, If I had known about XDA back in 2010, it may have made the device tolerable.


“Mine started out when my brother and I coincidentally bought the same phone (Samsung Galaxy S around 2011) on the exact same day. It was my first smartphone. Anyway, a few days later, my brother started showing off some cool UI animations, new sms designs, samsung_i9000_galaxy_s-17 (3) basically looked like a whole new UI to me.. well, I was a total noob and I was absolutely stunned at how pretty and fast it looked. So I started rummaging over the internet trying to learn how he did it. I eventually ended up here in XDA and “custom ROMs” seemed to be a norm. Every time I read a thread, it would involve a quote like “must be ROOTED with CUSTOM RECOVERY”.. and that really confused me. Googled everything, slept really late, softbricked my SGS at least 3x, just trynna understand and familiarize myself with these new techie terms then BOOM!!! I became addicted and everything lol. A couple of weeks later, I showed off to my brother how my phone’s UI look like with a custom ROM and kernel. He looked at me, puzzled, then asked “What the hell did you do?!”. I answered, “I rooted it and flashed a rom and a kernel, changed the cpu governor though since the default one was buggy for me, and yada yada yada… Isn’t that what you did?” Then he replied, “No. I just installed GoLauncher and GoSMS from the Playstore.”” – saywhatt

We’ve all shown off our latest modifications and ROMs at some point and saywhatt is no different. It’s a great feeling when someone is showing off an app they downloaded from the Play Store that makes a minor change to their UX and you pull out the device you have spent months or years tweaking to perfection.

“I got a 7” Amazon Kindle Fire HD for Christmas of 2012. I had enjoyed jailbreaking my 4th generation iPod touch quite a bit, and was curious as to how I could go about doing something similar to my new toy. So after a bit of Googling, I wound up in amazon-kindle-fire-hd-7-inch-lock-screen-ad the Kindle Fire HD subforum here on XDA. After much reading and a bit of the “I really don’t want to mess anything up” internal debate, I took the plunge and downloaded KFFirstAide. It rooted my Fire, blocked the annoying lockscreen ads, installed the Play Store, and disabled the forced OTA updates that were always killing root. I was simply amazed at all the cool things I could do with root access, a lot that I couldn’t even do on my iOS device. At one point, I installed Xposed and replaced my softkeys with LMT pie controls. Eventually, a bootloader work-around was developed, and soon we had TWRP. I installed my first custom ROM, Chameleon OS (based on CM10.1), but eventually moved on to CM10.2, and later CM11 (right now she’s got CM12.1 🙂 )” – Ph0enix_216

It’s perfectly understandable that Kindle Fire users would root, the concept of ads on your lockscreen is a horrific thought and a fairly major faux pas. Of course CM is always going to be superior to a minor OEM like Amazon’s ROM and it’s no real surprise that after a month of going on sale, the fire phone had only seen 26,400 units activated (data by ComScore).

“I bought the htc explorer a few years ago and to my surprise it had only 150 megabytes of available internal storage I would htc-explorer-ofic
just install 2 apps and then the phone would start prompting low memory. I had to find a way to fix that luckily I found out about rooting without reading any disclaimers and without knowing anything about bricking I rooted it. After I rooted it successfully then I proceeded to read the comments and people were like “I did this now my device is not turning on”, “my device is dead” then I found out how stupid it was of me to proceed before reading anything. and the rest as they say is history. Now whenever buying a new phone I check if the phone is heavily supported on XDA if not I don’t buy that phone.” – talhamsood40

It’s hard to imagine a phone with only 150mb of usable storage but it’s true, the 2011 HTC Explorer whilst accepting up to a 32GB microSD shipped with almost no available storage. And it always helps to have a solid developer backing before purchasing a phone as the old saying goes “XDA dares where tech support fear to tread.”.

“Galaxy S2 – I went to a Samsung store to buy a battery (the previous one was ‘fluffed’ or whatever) and there the retailer told me about upgrading my phones firmware to 4.0.2. It sounded good (I was a noob back then). The retailer took 1500rs from me and added the battery + firmware. I was happy but also full of curiosity, I thought ‘the retailer must have done it somehow, why can’t I’. So I Googled it but ended up with the about phone > software update procedure. When I clicked back the second google suggestion was ‘Download Samsung firmware’ and found my galaxy s2 with some modals supporting 4.1.2. I went back to the retailer and said that “why didn’t you install the 4.1.2 instead of 4.0.2″ and he replied ‘it is not supported in our country.” I was enraged by it. (Even though the retailer told me the truth.). I sat down and felt as if I was robbed. I took my time and went on the internet to see ‘how to install 4.1.2 on galaxy s2’ there I first encountered the term ‘ROM’ for android device. Further searching revealed me other ROMs for many phones and things like rooting, recovery mode etc with there benefits and risks. galaxy-s2-i9100

Custom ROMs were way out of my league and I was afraid of rooting because of the “I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BRICKING YOUR DEVICE”. So I thought of an alternative I went to a torrent and downloaded a gti9100 4.1.2 ROM (It was silly and risky but I didn’t know then) and then I googled how to install it, which was where I saw the whole ODIN thing. I successfully booted the 4.1.2 on my device.

The need for root came when I got to know about lucky patcher and its abilities. So I googled for rooting my s2 and found about galaxys2root, Its video gave me an idea of the whole procedure. So I faced the “I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BRICKING YOUR DEVICE” and took the risk, which was a success.After 6 months, I flashed my first custom ROM cyanogen 10 and thought why didn’t I do it before. After 3 years of flashing CM 11, 12, 12.1, Slim ROM, PAC-ROM, Stock custom ROM and rooting Note – Note 4, S2-S5, Nexus 4 and 5 and other devices, here I am writing my experience (I learned a lot but I’m still a noob at heart).

It went all good. Thanks to XDA and its members for making it possible.” – Ravkirat Singh Mann

Hearing the news that your stock ROM will never see another OTA, is always disappointing. Nonetheless many devices that have not seen an OEM update in years are still receiving updates by third party developers and for that we thank you!

It’s not too late if you didn’t share your story the other day, leave a comment below!

About author

Mathew Bloomer
Mathew Bloomer

He fell in love with Android after buying a T-mobile G1 in 2008 and hasn't looked back since. He firmly believes the future of technology lies within bio-hacking and is an NFC implantee.

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