The first thing I thought I'd do is do a factory reset which I successfully did however when I went to put back on some of the apps that I had before such as Runkeeper, Telstra 24/7 and RSA Security token, none of them were compatible with my old phone. I was able to find old versions of some of the apps but not Telstra 24/7 which I use to recharge. At this point I decided on installing a custom rom which I'd done before on other devices. If it didn't work out then phones with the same specs were selling for $29 at a local supermarket so no real damage if I get it wrong.
The first thing was to root the phone which I found something called Superoneclick. I had to turn off my antivirus on my PC use it as there are some files that appear corrupt but doing some searching gave me confidence it was just an overzealous AVG and appeared safe.
Once this was done it was a matter of picking a Rom which I went for CM11 Kit Kat it seemed ok but not heaps better. The thing was I'd now picked up a real battery problem. I tried various Calibration apps to no avail. My battery was experiencing quite large drops of 20% ie it would go from 89% to 50% and then later from about 35% to 20%. It would then stay on 1% for quite some time.
Thinking this was due to the ROM, I tried several ROMs but they all had the same problem. Eventually i found a thread on the battery problem and although I didn't change all the permissions as advised I did so some of the other stuff to no avail.
At this stage I thought my main issue was now the battery and thought I'd read someone that perhaps a stock based rom might sort it out. I installed MS4Ginger which was really smooth however was still a bit laggy at times. Also I noticed that it wasn't able to support various apps being Android 2.3. After a bit more reading, my minimum requirement was Jellybean 4.1 and I'd read that the more recent the ROM the more RAM intensive so I decided to try ROMs with my minimum requirement ie 4.1
I'm not a fan particularly the way the Cyanogen type rom look so was looking for something with a different look and feel. The main ones were:-
Miui based ones (Wiui, Jiui) which I quite liked however lag was still there and the occasional sudden reboot. Battery problem still there.
Xperia ROM which was also nice but also did a sudden reboot then stuck in a bootloop.
There was still lag which I couldn't really understand.
Last Rom I tried was Motor Gun Ice 4.1, it still had the Cyanogen look about it but seemed to run pretty smooth. One thing I had to do was change the Baseband to Telstra in the 'Advanced' section of settings. This made the phone and internet connection work faster.
At this point I ordered a new battery. While I was waiting for that to arrive I read that Facebook app is really bad at taking up RAM. In found another app called Facebook lite and uninstalled the standard Facebook app. All of a sudden Lag Fixed.
This got me searching other 'Lite' apps. Now for web browsing i use Opera Mini and the launcher I now use is Holo Launcher. I also tried to find a replacement for Messenger but no luck and its not been an issue.
So now my phone is running better than ever. Web searching is fast and apps are running well, not that I use my phone for much more than a phone.
A few days later my new battery arrived and comparing to the old one, it appeared that the old one had a slight bulge. I charged the new one right up, discharged and charged again and now no more battery drops.
One last tweak I wanted was to try change the status bar icons. I found Xposed Installer and was able to change the icon colours to white but not the icon pictures. Good enough for me.
So now I'm very happy with my 5 year old defy, took a bit of trial and error but got there in the end. So in a nutshell: -
- If your battery is dropping upon installation of a Rom, likely need a new battery.
- If you phone is lagging, look what is taking all the Ram and look for a lite option or uninstall. Facebook is bad for that.
Note that there are many old links to roms and other mods so finding things that work was at times a challenge but here's the process that I found worked for me and works if bricked as well, which I did a couple of times.
If Bricked or to get back to stock
Download RSD Lite
Install drivers for the phone
Download an SBF for your region, I used Telstra with 2.2.2
To install custom rom
Install and use Superoneclick to root (may need to turn off antivirus)
Install 2ndinit.apk then run it. May need to reboot phone first
Download the Rom and Gapps and put on SD card of phone
Get into custom recovery
Wipe Data and Cache
Install Rom and Gapps
Wipe Cache and Dalvik Cache (for all but one Rom, I forget which one, read instructions)
Reboot and enjoy.