Please don't try to hold me responsible if following anything here makes your phone die. Pretty please!
I have been looking through the forums, rom threads etc, and have seen a lot of questions cropping up again and again. Therefore I decided to start this project!
Basically I hope this will become a reference for newbies to get themselves accustomed to android and the galaxy s II! I will try to update it regularly with information about ROMS, Flashing and general android/samsung terminology.
If you think that I have given a wrong definition or think that anything needs clarifying more please tell me! Also, if you think that I should add anything then feel free to suggest.
Here we go...
- Rooting your phone
- Guide to using Odin
4. Custom ROMs
- AOSP ROMs
- How to Backup/NANDroid
- How to Restore
- How to install a ROM using CWM
- What it is
- How to back it up
7. List of Custom ROMs
8. The Forums
10. To Do list
Rooting is the process of getting 'root access'. In a nutshell this means that you can edit the system partition of your phone. The best analogy of this I can think of is if you imagine a tree! The tree you see above the ground is what you can edit on your phone normally, for example you can add music files, edit text files, etc etc. The 'roots' of the tree are the android system files themselves, they are unseen and are not usually meant to be messed with. It can also be seen as the equivelant of having administrator privilages in windows - with them you have better access to your computer.
Rooting voids your warranty! But you can un-root your phone by flashing a 'stock' ROM and Kernel.
Gaining root access however allows us to customise our phones even further, for example you can:
- Edit files to create themes
- Backup usefull system files
- Remove bloatware and unwanted apps
Several guides already exist in the development forum on how to root you phone - it involves a custom kernel:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1103399 (by Chainfire)
Or, here is the Noobs Guide:
And an extremely detailed thread from wibbsy:
Busybox is basically a set of commands that aren't built into android to begin with, but are part of Unix (which android is based on). They add additional functionality for root application to perform their job! To be honest this is all I know about busybox, but it is very useful, and lots of root apps need it, so download it!
This brings me along nicely to Kernels! Kernels are basically a bridge between your apps and your hardware. It controls everything that apps send to the processor, and everything the processor sends back.
This, as you can imagine, makes kernels VERY important. On XDA, you might see a kernel posted in the development forums. The are usually identified as [Kernel] in the thread title. You will probably also see more brackets in the title, these identify what modules the developer has added to the kernel, or what features it includes. For example [OC/UV 1.5GHZ]. This means that the kernel will enable the phone to be overlcoked to 1.5GHz, but also means the processor is undervolted (meaning it draws less power from the battery).
For more details look here:
And here for more details on 'govenors':
It is perfectly safe IF USED CORRECTLY!
This is a general guide for using Odin, take a look at this picture (thanks to screamworks):
To get Odin to connect to your phone, you need to boot into 'download mode' by pressing volume down, home, and power keys at the same time, and connect your phone to your PC via USB.
Everything in red:
It's that simple! I would be more specific but most Roms, Kernels and CSCs have methods on their respective threads for using Odin with their ROM, so it best to look there.
Wait... (I hear you say...)
Why bother flashing a custom ROM if there is a risk of damaging your phone? Well, they usually come with the following benefits:
- Deodexed, basically allows deeper theming of applications
- Zipaligned, reduce the amount of RAM used when running an application
- Optimisations, meaning that the developer has tweaked the roms system files for bettery speed, battery life and stability
- Quicker Updates, Rom developers will more often then not update their rom to fix bugs FAR quicker then samsung ever will
- Additions, Developers also like to add their own additions to their ROMs, such as themes and applications
The benefits far outweigh the risk!
This is a build straight from Google's sources and does not contain any modifications whatsoever, other then those that make it run on the particular device. Here is the AOSP project website for more information:
This is an extremely popular AOSP build that provides endless customisation to the user. The builds are fast, stable and reliable, and nearly every android device has a cyanogen mod ROM built for it. It is also popular for its 'nightly' (literally) updates. More information can be found on the Cyanogen website here:
MIUI is a chinese rom that has been heavily customised, and is influenced by iOS. Think what would happen if an android phone and an iPhone had a baby... Despite commiting the henious crime of trying to be an iPhone, it does work. MIUI Roms are essentially all about speed and looks, if that is what you are after! Here is the MIUI website for further information:
Clockworkmod is a 'custom recovery' made by xda member koush. Every phone had a recovery partition designed so that if the user messes up a ROM installation, they can recover their phone. CWM is a modified recovery installed into the recovery partition that allows advanced control over ROM recovery, installation and much more.
Features of CWM include:
- NANDroid Backup, This allows you to completely back up your existing ROM with all its files, data and apps
- Restore Backup, Restores a previous backup (obviously...)
- ROM installation, Allows you to install a ROM contained inside a flashable .zip file
- Wipe data/Factory reset, completely erases all of your data contacts, apps etc, leaving your phone 'as new'
If you have already rooted your phone using the CF-root Kernel, then you already have CWM! If not, then just install the kernel linked to above in the 'how to root your phone' section
To make a backup, you need to boot into CWM recovery (done through the 'cwm' app installed onto your phone when you flash the cf-root kernel). Then, you need to navigate down to 'backup/restore' using the volume keys, and select it using the home key. From here, just click 'backup' and you are all set! Leave your phone make the backup (its takes some time) and then just reboot when it tells you its finished. To restore your backup, do the same but instead of clicking backup, click 'restore' instead. Choose which backup you would like to restore and leave the phone to do its magic. Done.
How to install a ROM using CWM
1. Boot into CWM as described above
2. Navigate to 'install zip from sd card'
3. Select it, and then navigate to 'install zip from sdcard' again!
4. Select the ROM you downloaded from your sd card
5. Navigate down to yes
6. Let CWM install you new ROM!
Note: The same process applies for flashing a kernel
Therefore, it is important to make a backup! Instead of just regurgitating guides on the forums already, here is a link to a very good one by Rawat:
The easiest way of doing it is by using terminal emulator rather then ADB (unless you have ADB all up and running and are confident with it)
Thank you to Godutch for suggesting this, I was never actually aware of it!
- Pushing .apks to your phone
- Pushing files to your phone to specific locations
- Rebooting to download and recovery
And I haven't even scratched the surface! It does a lot more trust me...
You will see guides on this forum saying 'this guide assumes you have ADB set up', which you definitely should do! However, there is a downside - it can be horifficaly complicated and fustrating to install for a newcomer to android, you have to mess around with SDKs, EXEs, Drivers, Paths, Yawwnnn....
So I'm going to let an expert describe how to do it! Here's the hard (but proper) way:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=879701 (Captainkrtek and Adrynalyne)
And here's the easy way, all nicely pacaged up for you:
I would write a short explanation of ADB installation for you here but it would just confuse you, so im gonna let other people do the work!
Custom Rom List
Well, Swi7chblade has done a far better job at doing a custom Rom list then me so I will give you a link to his instead
Intratech has a collection of stock ROMs, Kernels and Radios all compressed up nicely for you. Link is here:
Why stock I hear you say? Flashing back a 'stock' ROM usually helps fix random issues you might get whilst switching ROMs, like bootloops. Also, some people prefer the stock experience!
Well, I'm not going to patronise you by telling you how to be nice to people etc, but there is often a lot of confusion with regards to the forum rules:
I often see moderators with dangerously high blood pressure stressing the following points in particular:
- Use the search button
- Post in the right forums
- Use the search button
- Don't spam/ Flame
- Use the search button
- No ETAs
- Use the search button
If you have owned a device that is supported by XDA before, or have had a look at other device forums, you may of noticed that the development forums for the GSII are slightly different. They are split into two sections:
- Original Android Development
- Android Development
This is an experiment being done by the moderators of the forum that (regardless of my own opinion) is meant to distinguish between 'original' Roms and 'derivative' Roms. For instance; cyanogenmod is a rom built from AOSP source and has been actively developed with added applications, improvements to code etc etc. It is therefore classified as 'original' and placed into the 'original android development' sub-forum. Roms that either use another Rom as a base or do not have any 'original' components are deemed 'derivative' and are placed into the 'android development' forum. Despite this, I urge you to look in both forums! The both have excellent Roms and just because some are deemed 'original' this does not mean they are superior to those that are not. There is great development going on in both forums
CF-ROOT and CWM: http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1103399
Galaxy S II FAQ:http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1065995
Korean Galaxy S II Thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1097347
Android Terminology (from the CM Wiki): http://wiki.cyanogenmod.com/index.php?title=Terminology
Flash - Put new firmware onto your phone
Firmware - A piece of software
OC - Overclock (the processor)
UC - Underclock (the processor)
Odin - Used to flash new ROMs to yor phone
ROM - a piece of firmware, usually modified by a developer
CWM - ClockWorkMod recovery, a very useful tool used to falsh new roms, kernels etc
Nandroid - A method of backing up your existing 'Rom' with all its apps, data, contacts etc. Done through CWM
.apk - The file type that android apps are contained in. To install just click on it!
AOSP - A ROM built from the original google android source, not a customised version of a manufacturers ROM
CyanogenMod - A very popular, customised, AOSP Rom
- Finish glossary
- Expand ODIN section
- Forum etiquette
- Custom boot animations