As of July 2011, I am no longer updating this guide.
Please feel free to check here for updates (if any are made).
STEP ONE – RETURN TO STOCK JFD - USING ODIN
FOLLOW STEPS 2 - 4 :: THIS IS A GUIDE TO GO BACK TO JFD.
IT HAS ALL OF THE FILES NEEDED
I encourage you to use HashTab to verify the MD5 (verify it is a good download). These are large files – if it is NOT a good download you could really cause some issues. It takes 10 seconds – do it.
Once you are done, come back and proceed to ROOT.
GREAT, I AM ON JFD - HOW DO I ROOT?
You are likely still connected to your PC and booted up to the T-Mobile jingle. Great, drop the notification bar down and mount your phone...
There are two options here. Choose which is best for you, before you start.
ROOT ONLY METHOD:
A – This is an update.zip (633KB) that roots your phone only. You can then install Rom Manager from the Market to flash CWR (Clockwork Recovery) and install custom ROMs.
INSTALL CLOCKWORK RECOVERY AND FLASH A ROM THAT WILL GIVE ROOT ACCESS (MY PREFERRED METHOD):
B – use the other update.zip (1.7MB) and this will flash CWR for you – allowing you to immediately flash a custom ROM.. I do this because it's faster.
A: Download this update.zip file to root your phone. You plan to install Rom Manager to flash CWR and a new ROM later.
B: Download this update.zip file to flash CWR... you will need to flash a custom ROM for Root. I prefer this method.
NOW DOWNLOAD THE ROM YOU PLAN TO FLASH
Copy the update.zip (and the ROM) to the INTERNAL SD (not the external SD Card). sdcard/
Unplug the USB (assuming you are still connected after using ODIN)...
Hold down volume up + volume down + Power for about 9 seconds.
If you prefer, you can power off your phone, then hold in all 3 buttons to boot into recovery, I don't see the point in waiting for the phone to power off.
This will get you to a recovery menu (blue/purple text) after some yellow text.
In this (the stock recovery menu) select 'Reinstall Packages'
Use volume to navigate + power to select.
It will cycle a bit, you will see that yellow text again, then it will return to the stock recovery. Select Reinstall packages again.
You are now in CWR (clockwork recovery).
You can either reboot, flash your new ROM or make a backup now...
I COVER HOW TO FLASH ROMS LATER – JUST KEEP READIN BELOW
Yeah, it is that easy!! Read below for more information if needed.... but at this point you probably are done with what you came here for. I would encourage reading below for general knowledge and making sure you are doing things as easily as possible.
OKAY, I HAVE ROOT - NOW WHAT? BACKUP!!!
** Below are a list of several things I suggest backing up **
Titanium Backup – APPS
Download Titanium Backup from the Market and Open it. The Paid version is worth it's weight in gold... it does everything automagically. Buy it if you plan to flash a lot or have a lot of apps.
Click Menu > Batch
Click on "Run" by backup all user apps
Click on Run the batch operation
All your apps are now backed up.
Please note that if you backup/restore System Apps, you are asking for problems. I do not ever mess with system apps and do not encourage it - unless you plan to stay on the same build. If you do, be smart about it.
Clockwork Recovery / Nandroid Backup!
Reboot into CWR (both volume buttons held in) while booting until you see “Vibrant'
Once there, go to Backup and run that. Should take about 5 minutes, maybe more.
If all hell breaks loose, this is a snapshot of your phone at that point... it's important to do this before flashing a new ROM!
Backup your Alternate Launcher (if you use one)
If you use a home replacement like ADW or LauncherPro, you can backup your home screen settings/icons (widgets cannot be restored however).
Launcher Pro: Click Menu > Preferences... scroll down to the bottom and click on backup.
ADW EX: Menu > ADW SETTINGS > BACKUP.
Once you flash your ROM, you can now RESTORE your settings.
Rooted... Got a Backup... let the fun begin!!
WHAT ROM SHOULD I FLASH?!?!?!
This question is asked a LOT. The most often answer? Read the development section and pick the one that seems to fit you... if that does not work, backup your apps and try another. This is a very liquid process. Things change, phones are different, people tastes are different. Try and try again.
I will point out that if you have backed up your apps, moving from rom to rom is NOT a hard process. You can ODIN to JFD and have a new ROM booting in 10 minutes. Easy.
OKAY, HOW DO I FLASH A ROM?
* I typically root/flash immediately after using ODIN. This is assuming you did not.
1 – Download the ROM to your PC. ROMs are typically 140-190+MB’s. So yeah, it’s a big file.
2 – Check the MD5 if so inclined (Using Hastab – linked above).
3 – Mount phone to PC
4 – Drag ROM to root of internal memory (the large SD card where folders like the DCIM folder appears).
Should appear as: sdcard/TheRomName.zip
You DO NOT need to rename the ROM
5 – Unmount and reboot into clockwork recovery (using Rom Manager, or by pressing in both volume buttons and power… holding… and releasing power once the Vibrant logo is up).
6 – OPTIONAL (in CWR): Do a Factory Wipe, Wipe Data, & Wipe Dalvik Cache (advanced menu)
7 – Go to “install zip from sd card”, select zip from sd... choose your ROM and flash it (volume keys move up/down, power selects)
8 – OPTIONAL (I do not do this): After flashing, choose to wipe data and dalvik cache
Do NOT factory wipe again
9 – Reboot phone
10 – Your new ROM is going to boot. Initial boot will take a LONG time (10 minutes maybe).
You may hear a lady's voice (Linda) converting your file system – this is normal if your ROM has the Voodoo lagfix. No worries.
Do not touch the phone for 5-10 minutes after it has booted... Seriously, Do Nothing!. . This helps clear any possible bugs. Once you've waited, reboot phone by holding in power for about 9 seconds (rough guess)... And then....
After the phone boots and you waited, go to Market, Sign-in, Approve terms, Re-install Titanium Backup. I strongly suggest the Paid version (MUCH better)
Restore all Missing Apps+Data.
Again, I really do little with System apps.. too many issues, but the green ones may be fine to restore.
Restore anything else you have. (ie launcher)
I dont use Facebook, but I've been told you need to remove it and add it sometimes?
WHAT ABOUT IF THERE IS AN UPDATE TO THE ROM?
Let's assume you flashed Axura 2.2.6 and then a week later 2.2.7 is released... well, how do you update?
Easy, just download it, place it on your internal memory, backup using titanium backup, reboot to recovery, make a nandroid backup, flash the new rom and reboot.
Now... if you are going to try a new rom (not an update to your existing ROM), you may want to go back to stock first, then flash the custom rom.
Why go back to stock? Some say that if you are on one rom and go to another rom there may be ghosts left behind from the previous rom. Using ODIN to get back to stock and then flashing a ROM ensures this is not going to happen.
RECONDITION YOUR BATTERY
AFTER FLASHING A ROM IF BAD BATTERY IS NOTED
Use phone til it dies on it's own, completely dead.
Charge phone completely, plus 30 minutes longer.
Unplug phone from charger
Reconnect, you'll notice it's not full, charge till it is again.
This is bump charging and NOT something you want to do often, a few times is okay, in my opinion. You could skip the bump charge if you like.
Phone remains plugged in.
Boot into recovery (volumes + power)
Advanced > wipe battery stats, reboot.
Use phone til it's literally about to shut off (or does)
Charge till full +
Use phone like normal
Everyone has a method, that's how I feel it works best.
WORSE CASE SCENARIO - YOU BRICK YOUR PHONE - WHAT TO DO?
Almost always a phone is not actually bricked. If you can get into download mode or see ANYTHING you can ODIN back to stock and your phone is good to go.
If you are NOT able to get into download mode, please read the thread below to make a Jig!
TRY A NEW KERNEL/MODEM
New modems can increase signal and data speeds. Here is an incredible list of each thanks to XDA user scrizz.
Please pay notice to the version of android you are running (2.1, 2.2, etc.) CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF VIBRANT MODEMS
Kernels can overclock your processor, undervolt for battery, or remain stock but optimize things so the phone is snappier. These are always changing and there are always new builds coming out, so PLEASE review and make sure what you installing. These should install just like a rom... download, move to internal memory (sdcard/ ) and flash in clockwork recovery like you would a rom (install zip from sd).
NEED THE STOCK APPS BACK?
1 - Use the app BLOATER by Roman, it is found here!
THIS IS FOR THE MINORITY OF PEOPLE WHO CAN NOT GET INTO DOWNLOAD MODE OR STOCK RECOVERY. This used to be much more detailed, but is no longer an issue. Links saved here, just in case.