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[TUT] THE guide to modding and tweaking your Arc

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Step666
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(Last edited by Step666; 25th September 2011 at 05:50 PM.)
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Default [TUT] THE guide to modding and tweaking your Arc

This guide is now dormant as of the 25th of September and will not be updated again.
The information contained within still holds true, the guides to the likes of unlocking your bootloader, flashing using FlashTool etc are all still correct even with the release of newer firmware updates but I won't be adding anything further to it.



Purpose:
This thread is my personal attempt to provide Arc owners with a guide to getting the most out of the handset.
It draws upon the combined expertise of the Arc userbase here on XDA-devs and collates it in a simple, easy-to-follow format.

I am in no way claiming this as all my own work, full credit is given where due and my thanks go out to all of the wonderful, knowledgeable contributors whose work I am honoured to be able to showcase here.


Words of warning::
As with any modding or tweaking of a mobile phone, there is always a risk attached that you end up bricking, killing, blowing up, disintegrating, shrinking, beaming your handset to an alternate dimension or sending it forwards or backwards through time.
The risks are slight, countless people have undertaken the procedures listed in this thread with no problems at all - I myself have unlocked the bootloader on my Arc, rooted it using Bin4ry's image-flashing method, deleted some of the pre-loaded apps, flashed the 2.3.3 update using FlashTool are re-rooted again using Bin4ry's method... and my Arc is absolutely fine.

However, if you somehow manage to mess up or break your phone in any way, neither myself nor the authors of any other threads or resources I link to accept any responsibility or blame for what happens.
No-one is forcing you to do any of this, it's your own decision. If you're uneasy or nervous, just don't do it.


Also, whilst unlocking the bootloader is supported to a degree by Sony Ericsson, rooting, flashing custom ROMs, all the rest of it is not and there is always a chance you'll end up voiding you warranty.
As above, no-one else accepts any responsibility for your decisions and actions.


Also, on a personal note, please don't PM me asking for help.
I don't wish to sound rude or ungrateful but I'm not a developer, I'm not coming up with new tweaks/mods/ROMs or anything like that, everything I know is laid out in this guide in a manner that should be plain and simple to follow, if there's something that isn't covered here chances are I don't know either.

There is a whole section here for the Arc literally teeming with people happy and willing to answer any/all questions you might have, so you'd probably find your question answered quicker that way than if you were to contact and individual and ask for help.
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Step666
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(Last edited by Step666; 25th September 2011 at 05:13 PM.)
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Default Contents

The bootloader:Rooting:Recovery

Updating firmware/flashing ROMs:Theming using UOT Kitchen
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(Last edited by Step666; 2nd July 2011 at 08:32 PM.)
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Default Bootloader - Unlocking

What you need:
A factory-unlocked Xperia Arc
Your handset's unlocking code from the SE unlocking webpage
Fastboot and drivers (if necessary)


What you need to know:
Handsets with unlocked bootloaders cannot be updated via SEUS.
Though if you re-lock your bootloader, you will regain this ability.

Handsets that have their bootloader unlocked will stop working with SE's various music-related services (TrackID and the Facebook-inside 'like music' function).
This is due to the unlocking process rendering DRM function inoperable and cannot be recovered by re-locking the bootloader


How to do it:
  1. Back up any important information from your handset - unlocking the bootloader wipes the handset
  2. Download Fastboot and, if necessary, x86/x64 Windows drivers
  3. Retrieve your unlocking key from Sony Ericsson's website:
    • Follow the link
    • Click 'Continue'
    • Click 'Yes, I'm sure'
    • Agree-to/accept the terms and conditions
    • Enter your name, e-mail address and first 14 digits of your IMEI, not the whole thing
    • Copy the code into a text file or similar for use later
  4. Extract the contents of the fastboot rar file you dowloaded in step 2 and open the folder that is extracted
  5. Open a command prompt and change directory to the folder that fastboot.exe is in (in Windows, the easiest way to do this is to hold shift and right-click on the background of the folder and select 'Open command window here')
  6. Connect your phone:
    • Switch it off
    • Press and hold the Menu key (the right-most of the three)
    • Connect the USB cable whilst still holding the Menu key
    • The indicator LED next to the USB port should turn blue to indicate your are in fastboot mode - if it doesn't, then try again; if it completely refuses to enter fastboot mode, then you may well have a locked/branded handset in which case you cannot unlock your bootloader
  7. If your computer fails to find or install the drivers automatically, download and install the drivers included in step 2
  8. Once your phone is connected in fastboot mode and any driver installation has finished, type fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce getvar version into the command prompt you opened in step 5 - this should return a value such as 0.3 or similar, if it doesn't then the phone is not connected properly, start again from step 5
  9. If step 8 worked, then type fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0x[key] into the command prompt, [key] being substituted for the unique unlocking key you retrieved in step 3 (I told you you'd need to keep it safe...)
  10. You should see some text output by the command prompt stating that it is erasing certain blocks and then that it is finished - congratulations, your bootloader is unloked


Credits:
lollylost100 - Source thread
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(Last edited by Step666; 27th June 2011 at 01:35 PM.)
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Default Bootloader - Re-locking

What you need:
An Arc with an unlocked bootloader
FlashTool
Blagus' relocking ftf


What you need to know:
Relocking will allow you to use SEUS to update firmware and restore your handset.
You will still be able to use FlashTool to update firmware if you wish though.

Re-locking the bootloader won't reactivate the DRM-based music features like TrackID, they're permanently gone


How to do it:
  1. Download and install FlashTool (for those of you who don't speak French, you want to click the 'Extraire' button)
  2. Download Blagus' re-locking ftf and place it in the /firmwares sub-directory of where you extracted FlashTool to
  3. Download this file, rename it to LT15.sin and place it in the /loaders sub-directory
  4. Switch your handset off
  5. Run FlashTool
  6. Press the 'Flash' button and select the .ftf file you wish to flash
  7. When prompted, connect your handset in 'flash mode' - FlashTool should explain exactly how to do this but just in case, press and hold the 'back' button while connecting the USB cable
  8. FlashTool should automatically detect your handset and start flashing it - if it doesn't however:
    • Disconnect your handset (it should remain switched off)
    • Close FlashTool
    • Go to the /drivers sub-directory and run/install ggsetup-2.2.0.10.exe
    • Now go back to step 6 and follow the instructions once more, everything should work ok this time
  9. When FlashTool finishes, disconnect your phone and switch it on - don't worry if it's a little slow the first time it boots after flashing


Credits:
Blagus - Source thread
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(Last edited by Step666; 26th June 2011 at 09:00 PM.)
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Default Rooting - GingerBreak

What you need:
An Arc running 2.3.2 - and with a locked bootloader if you wish to update to 2.3.3 OTA
GingerBreak


What you need to know:
GingerBreak will not directly root 2.3.3 (or later) ROMs. The exploit it uses, which was patched by Google in the vanilla 2.3.4 release was patched by SE in their 2.3.3 release.
This is not a deliberate attempt to prevent rooting, the exploit in question was to the best of my knowledge the same exploit that led to the widely-publicised security hole through which personal information could be intercepted on unsecured wi-fi connections - Google and SE are just looking out for us, it's merely an unfortunate coincidence that they 'broke' GingerBreak.

As it happens, there is an indirect way to root 2.3.3 using GingerBreak but I'll come back to that.

Do not follow steps 5 and 6 if you have an unlocked bootloader - updating a handset with an unlocked bootloader OTA is fraught with issues.
If you have a handset with an unlocked bootloader, follow these instructions instead


How to do it:
  1. Download GingerBreak v1.2 (older versions are also available)
  2. Transfer the apk file to your phone's memory card
  3. Install

    Optional:
  4. Download and run BusyBox installer



    To get your 2.3.3 bootloader-locked handset rooted using GingerBreak, follow steps 1-3 then...

  5. Prepare your handset:
    • Make sure you've got a decent charge or better yet connect the handset to a charger
    • If possible, connect to wi-fi for best data speeds and to avoid the signal dropping out
  6. Update your handset to 2.3.3 OTA:
    • Menu > Settings > About phone > Software update > Update now

    NB: as mentioned in the 'what you need' and 'what you need to know' segments above, GingerBreak will only root 2.3.2 handsets so if you've already updated to 2.3.3 you'll need to revert back to 2.3.2 prior to following these instructions - this can be done using either FlashTool or Wotan
    Also, some people have reported issues with the OTA updates if they have modded their handsets, again this can be sorted by flashing back to stock 2.3.2 immediately prior to following these instructions.


Credits:
Chainfire - source thread
kistigun - source thread
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(Last edited by Step666; 3rd July 2011 at 12:05 AM.)
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Default Rooting - Bin4ry's flashing method

What you need:
An Arc with an unlocked bootloader
Fastboot and drivers (if necessary)
The appropriate image file based on your handset's firmware version - available from here and/or here


What you need to know:
Only compatible with handsets with unlocked bootloader (obviously)
You must ensure the image file you flash is the correct one for the ROM you're running, if you flash the wrong one you'll end up stuck in a boot-loop


How to do it:
  1. Unlock your bootloader (in doing so, you will have downloaded and installed fastboot and, if necessary, the drivers)
  2. Download the correct image file and move it to the same folder as fastboot.exe
  3. Open a command prompt and change directory to the folder that fastboot.exe is in (in Windows, the easiest way to do this is to hold shift and right-click on the background of the folder and select 'Open command window here')
  4. Connect your phone:
    • Switch it off
    • Press and hold the Menu key (the right-most of the three)
    • Connect the USB cable whilst still holding the Menu key
    • The indicator LED next to the USB port should turn blue to indicate your are in fastboot mode
  5. Type the following into the command prompt:
    • Windows: fastboot flash system [image file]
    • Linux: fastboot -i 0x0fce flash system [image file]
    • Mac: fastboot-mac -i 0x0fce flash system [image file]
    ...where [image file] is the full filename of the image file you downloaded in step 2 - including the '.img' at the end

    Optional:
  6. Download and run BusyBox installer


Credits:
Bin4ry and zdzihu - source thread
kanzone - source thread
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Default Rooting - Recovery update method

What you need:
An Arc with recovery
Bin4ry's root zip file


What you need to know:
Recovery is still in beta, not all functions work fully - use of the recovery solution is very much at the user's own risk


How to do it:
  1. Download Bin4ry's root zip file and save it to your handset's memory card
  2. Boot into recovery
  3. Install the root zip:
    • Select 'install zip from sdcard'
    • Select 'choose zip from sdcard'
    • Navigate to where the zip file is on you handset's memory card and select it
    • Confirm you wish to install the zip
    Optional:
  4. Download and run BusyBox installer


Credits:
Bin4ry - source thread
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Default Recovery

What you need:
An Arc with an unlocked bootloader
Fastboot and drivers (if necessary)
Bin4ry's beta recovery image


What you need to know:
Recovery is still in beta, not all functions work fully - use of the recovery solution is very much at the user's own risk
DO NOT flash the image file, follow the instructions exactly as listed.


How to do it:
  1. Unlock your bootloader (in doing so, you will have downloaded and installed fastboot and, if necessary, the drivers)
  2. Download the recovery image file
  3. Open a command prompt and change directory to the folder that fastboot.exe is in (in Windows, the easiest way to do this is to hold shift and right-click on the background of the folder and select 'Open command window here')
  4. Connect your phone:
    • Switch it off
    • Press and hold the Menu key (the right-most of the three)
    • Connect the USB cable whilst still holding the Menu key
    • The indicator LED next to the USB port should turn blue to indicate your are in fastboot mode
  5. Type 'fastboot boot recoveryARC.img' into the command prompt
  6. Your handset will now boot into recovery
  7. To navigate through the menus, use the volume keys to scroll up and down and the power key to select an option


Credits:
Bin4ry and the rest of the FreeXperia Team - source thread
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(Last edited by Step666; 26th June 2011 at 08:56 PM.)
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Default Updating firmware/flashing ROMs - SEUS

Handsets that still have their bootloader locked are able to perform software updates using SE's own updating program, SEUS - Sony Ericsson Update Service (link included system requirements - Windows only).

However, handsets that have had their bootloaders unlocked cannot use SEUS.
Also, obviously, as SEUS is Sony Ericsson's official update program, it can only be used to flash official SE updates - no custom ROMs.
 
Step666
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Default Updating firmware/flashing ROMs - Flashtool

What you need:
An Arc
FlashTool
The ftf file you wish to flash


What you need to know:
Not much to be honest.
FlashTool is, to the best of my knowledge, compatible with pretty much any Arc.


How to do it:
  1. Download and install FlashTool (for those of you who don't speak French, you want to click the 'Extraire' button)
  2. Download this file, rename it to LT15.sin and place it in the /loaders sub-directory of where you extracted FlashTool to
  3. Download the firmware you wish to flash to the /firmwares sub-directory
  4. Switch your handset off
  5. Run FlashTool
  6. Press the 'Flash' button and select the .ftf file you wish to flash
  7. When prompted, connect your handset in 'flash mode' - FlashTool should explain exactly how to do this but just in case, press and hold the 'back' button while connecting the USB cable
  8. FlashTool should automatically detect your handset and start flashing it - if it doesn't however:
    • Disconnect your handset (it should remain switched off)
    • Close FlashTool
    • Go to the /drivers sub-directory and run/install ggsetup-2.2.0.10.exe
    • Now go back to step 6 and follow the instructions once more, everything should work ok this time
  9. When FlashTool finishes, disconnect your phone and switch it on - don't worry if it's a little slow the first time it boots after flashing


Credits:
Androxyde and Bin4ry - source thread
itskapil
Nimche

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