How to root the HTC Desire

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CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Some of you may think that the only reason to hack into a smartphone is because you're unhappy with said smartphone. Last week I did exactly this with the HTC Desire, but the truth is I hacked it because I love it.

Rooting an Android phone refers to gaining root permissions on the phone, which in turn gives users access to parts of the phone that are otherwise held back from the general public, mostly so inexperienced users can avoid doing anything to break the software on their handsets.

The reward to match the risks is the ability to install custom firmware on the phone. These tweaked firmware packages, or ROMs, are compiled by independent developers hell-bent on getting the best performance out of their Android phones. Custom ROMs tend to be built on original source code, like an official HTC firmware upgrade, for example, so the resulting ROMs tend to be similar to the standard firmware but with bits added and subtracted as the designer sees fit. This process will also give you access to software before it is officially released, like the new Android 2.2 firmware for the Desire.

The following tutorial is based on my experience, and though the process is mostly easy to follow, you do run the risk of turning your phone into a very sexy paperweight, and even if you are successful, the process will void your warranty. Only proceed with this guide if you feel confident you can complete the task. I suggest you read the entire guide before proceeding with the steps outlined.

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grover69 posted a comment   

Hey Guys,
Here is the best link to root your HTC, it worked a treat on my telstra HTC desire, no more telstra apps and now have 2.2 on it.. woohoo!!!


steve posted a comment   

what size sd card do i need for rooting please help


Ozoneocean posted a comment   

I used the "gold card" method for doing my phone. It was actually quite simple, but made me pretty nervous anyway, and I did get the endless loop thing happening when I let it update to 2.2 without the gold card in at the time, (a specially modified SD card). So I had to do it all over again, but after that I've got a nice fast HTC Desire running the HTC customised Android 2.2 and no rubbishy teslstra apps!

Forget the silly "malware" worries, as long as you install stock roms from the supplier you've no need for concern.


Glen posted a reply   

Hi Ozoneocean,

can you please plate the links you used for the goldcard and the rom you are using for the customised anroid 2.2



Glen posted a comment   


Has anyone used unrevoked successfully.

I keep getting an error message "Failed to push recovery"


arnie posted a comment   

thanks for the guide? wonderin if you need to install the radio that leedroid has on the xda webpage? if so any guides available?



JoeH2 posted a reply   

If you're installing from the stock 2.1 ROM then you will have to flash the radio too. The process is identical to flashing the ROM, you just install zip from sdcard in the recovery menu, but choose the radio file install of the ROM file.


Paul posted a comment   

Hey guys, could someone help me out with rooting and updating my htc desire to froyo 2.2 here in Sydney? I have got it from Telstra with plenty of preinstalled crp which I really want to get rid of... anyhow, let me know if you could help me with rooting....
eimaitis (at) yahoo com

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