[Guide] Step by step guide to rooting your Nexus S (works with NS4G, I9020T, I9023/A)

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Rimmir

Senior Member
Jan 22, 2011
550
150
Ann Arbor, MI
This guide is a slightly modified step-by-step write-up of m.sabra’s one click root guide found at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1589251, so please head over to his thread and thank him! I thought making a step-by-step guide would be helpful in case anyone wanted to see how exactly rooting this phone happens.

This guide is for rooting your Nexus S [works with NS4G, I9020T, I9023, and I9020A variants]. By the end of this guide, your device will have an unlocked bootloader, a custom recovery, root access and Superuser app, and the ability to flash ROMs and kernels.

[Disclaimer! Your warranty is now void. I am not responsible for bricked or damaged devices! You are choosing to follow this guide]


Step 0: Download and extract the file found here http://d-h.st/gcZ to your C:/ drive (for simplicity’s sake).
Plug in your phone and put it into USB Debugging Mode, found by going to Settings>Applications>Development (in Gingerbread) or Settings >Developer Options (in Ice Cream Sandwich).
Extract and install the drivers included if you don’t already have them installed.

Step 1: Turn your phone off.
Then, press both the volume up and power button.
You should now be in the Android Bootloader Interface (with a green Android and the options for Reboot, Recovery, Reboot Recovery, and Power off)

Step 2: Now, we have to open a command prompt and change the directory to the location where we have extracted the files (which, if you followed step 0, should be in the C:/ drive).
Open a command prompt and type “cd C:\Nexus S One Click Root.”
We should now be in the correct directory for using fastboot commands.

Step 3: Type the command “fastboot oem unlock” and press enter.
A screen should pop up on your Nexus S.
Use the volume buttons to scroll and the power button to select “Yes” (as the screen says, picking yes WILL wipe everything on your device).

Step 4: Type the command “fastboot flash recovery cwm.img”.
Press enter.
Then type “fastboot boot cwm.img”.
Press enter.

Step 5: Now we have to mount USB storage to copy over the Su.zip file and install it.
Tap or use the volume keys to scroll and select “Mounts and Storage” > “Mount USB Storage” [you have to scroll down to get to it].
Copy the su.zip file to your Nexus S.
Press “Go Back” twice to return to the main menu.

Step 6: Press “install zip from SD card” [you can also use the volume buttons to scroll and the power/lock button to select].
Press “choose zip from SD”.
Press the “su.zip” file you placed on the SD card earlier.
Press “Yes.”

Congratulations! Your phone is now rooted! Select “Reboot System Now” and enjoy! :)
 

Ashhong

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2011
359
24
Thanks for this, the other guide was a bit out of date and hard to follow.

However, is there any way to root without erasing everything? I know there is a method to root without unlocking the bootloader and saving the SD card contents, but will that also keep all the apps and settings? Don't really want to redownload the programs and set the phone up again.
 

Rimmir

Senior Member
Jan 22, 2011
550
150
Ann Arbor, MI
Thanks for this, the other guide was a bit out of date and hard to follow.

However, is there any way to root without erasing everything? I know there is a method to root without unlocking the bootloader and saving the SD card contents, but will that also keep all the apps and settings? Don't really want to redownload the programs and set the phone up again.

Sorry, if there is a way to this without wiping the device I don't know it. Google backs up your contacts and wireless networks and keys and the Play Store remembers your apps (not their data), but that's it. :-(
 
Last edited:

Moritzio

Senior Member
Nov 19, 2008
358
53
I'm already unlocked from rooting 2.3.7. I then did an OTA update to ICS. I checked that bootloader still says lock status is unlocked. Can I just start with step 4? I don't want to wipe anything as some data still needs to be backed up and I need superuser installed to do that.
 
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Rimmir

Senior Member
Jan 22, 2011
550
150
Ann Arbor, MI
I'm already unlocked from rooting 2.3.7. I then did an OTA update to ICS. I checked that bootloader still says lock status is unlocked. Can I just start with step 4? I don't want to wipe anything as some data still needs to be backed up and I need superuser installed to do that.

Sorry for the late reply.
Yeah you should be able to do that with no problem.


Sent from my Nexus S 4G
 

towelboy

Senior Member
Jun 17, 2012
637
118
When I type in "fastbook oem unlock" , the command window stops at "< waiting for device >" and it's been a couple of hours and nothing has popped up on the phone screen, how can I get past this? I'm on stock ics 4.0.4 :(
 

Warren_Orange

Senior Member
Jun 2, 2011
1,209
174
Does this work on Jelly Bean??

Can I replace the SU.zip file with the latest chainfire release or is the one included in the download ok?
 
Last edited:

Rimmir

Senior Member
Jan 22, 2011
550
150
Ann Arbor, MI
Yes, it should work with Jellybean. Just remember to enable USB Debugging.

You can either use the SU in the download and update it via the play store after you're done rooting or just use the latest one from the start. Whichever one you prefer.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using xda app-developers app
 

Warren_Orange

Senior Member
Jun 2, 2011
1,209
174
Awesome thanks!

Do you think I should wait for the OTA 4.1.2. then unlock and root? I take it that it will boot me back into a factory reset 4.1.2.? Can I then flash a custom kernel??

I'm not really into trying different ROM's, I really just want Voodoo sound on my Nexus S.

What about the clockwork mod in the folder? Will that version be ok?

Cheers.
 

shpalman75

Member
Sep 18, 2011
9
2
Como

Keanu4

Member
Mar 19, 2011
42
5
i9020a with Slim Dark Gapps
Thanks this one is pretty neat. I just rooted a while back but I think this is way better than others.
there are so many ways to root now. this one is pretty straight forward.
and thanks for adding the line "USB Debugging Mode":good: I missed that part on faq links.
so thats great.

Regards


[Nexus S i9020a .. CM10 Nightly + Slim gaaps dark (inverted) 2.7a]
 
Last edited:
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1024k

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2009
134
13
Many thanks!

Step by step very easy for n00b like me, impossible to fail :)

Installed on 4.1.2 stock with TWRP recovery intsead of CMW.

All the best.
 
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1024k

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2009
134
13
Also flashed gapps 4.2 , don't know why I waited so long....the phone is very responsive and CM10, for what i read, is not the fastest rom.
 

Warren_Orange

Senior Member
Jun 2, 2011
1,209
174
ohh bugger I have lost root.

I unlocked and rooted many months ago and have only been using stock with Thalamus kernel. Now root has gone.

How do I enable it again?

I have tried re flashing su.zip (an old version) but didn't work.

Will I have to go through this guide again?

Cheers.

---------- Post added at 12:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:55 AM ----------

My phone is unlocked so I have tried doing the guide from step 4 but it still says I'm unrooted.

Damn.
 

Rimmir

Senior Member
Jan 22, 2011
550
150
Ann Arbor, MI
ohh bugger I have lost root.

I unlocked and rooted many months ago and have only been using stock with Thalamus kernel. Now root has gone.

How do I enable it again?

I have tried re flashing su.zip (an old version) but didn't work.

Will I have to go through this guide again?

Cheers.

---------- Post added at 12:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:55 AM ----------

My phone is unlocked so I have tried doing the guide from step 4 but it still says I'm unrooted.

Damn.

You're sure your phone's boot loader is unlocked? Try booting into recovery. If that works (ie, you are able to boot into cwm try looking for SuperSu.zip and flashing that or try the su.zip from this thread (Step 5). Let me know if you need clearer instructions (Curious: did you do install something that made you lose root or what? )

Sent from my R2-D2 unit on the far side of the moon
 

shpalman75

Member
Sep 18, 2011
9
2
Como
ohh bugger I have lost root.

I unlocked and rooted many months ago and have only been using stock with Thalamus kernel. Now root has gone.

How do I enable it again?

I have tried re flashing su.zip (an old version) but didn't work.

Will I have to go through this guide again?

Cheers.

---------- Post added at 12:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:55 AM ----------

My phone is unlocked so I have tried doing the guide from step 4 but it still says I'm unrooted.

Damn.

Try a newer version of su.zip - that was my problem when at first I couldn't root.
 

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  • 11
    This guide is a slightly modified step-by-step write-up of m.sabra’s one click root guide found at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1589251, so please head over to his thread and thank him! I thought making a step-by-step guide would be helpful in case anyone wanted to see how exactly rooting this phone happens.

    This guide is for rooting your Nexus S [works with NS4G, I9020T, I9023, and I9020A variants]. By the end of this guide, your device will have an unlocked bootloader, a custom recovery, root access and Superuser app, and the ability to flash ROMs and kernels.

    [Disclaimer! Your warranty is now void. I am not responsible for bricked or damaged devices! You are choosing to follow this guide]


    Step 0: Download and extract the file found here http://d-h.st/gcZ to your C:/ drive (for simplicity’s sake).
    Plug in your phone and put it into USB Debugging Mode, found by going to Settings>Applications>Development (in Gingerbread) or Settings >Developer Options (in Ice Cream Sandwich).
    Extract and install the drivers included if you don’t already have them installed.

    Step 1: Turn your phone off.
    Then, press both the volume up and power button.
    You should now be in the Android Bootloader Interface (with a green Android and the options for Reboot, Recovery, Reboot Recovery, and Power off)

    Step 2: Now, we have to open a command prompt and change the directory to the location where we have extracted the files (which, if you followed step 0, should be in the C:/ drive).
    Open a command prompt and type “cd C:\Nexus S One Click Root.”
    We should now be in the correct directory for using fastboot commands.

    Step 3: Type the command “fastboot oem unlock” and press enter.
    A screen should pop up on your Nexus S.
    Use the volume buttons to scroll and the power button to select “Yes” (as the screen says, picking yes WILL wipe everything on your device).

    Step 4: Type the command “fastboot flash recovery cwm.img”.
    Press enter.
    Then type “fastboot boot cwm.img”.
    Press enter.

    Step 5: Now we have to mount USB storage to copy over the Su.zip file and install it.
    Tap or use the volume keys to scroll and select “Mounts and Storage” > “Mount USB Storage” [you have to scroll down to get to it].
    Copy the su.zip file to your Nexus S.
    Press “Go Back” twice to return to the main menu.

    Step 6: Press “install zip from SD card” [you can also use the volume buttons to scroll and the power/lock button to select].
    Press “choose zip from SD”.
    Press the “su.zip” file you placed on the SD card earlier.
    Press “Yes.”

    Congratulations! Your phone is now rooted! Select “Reboot System Now” and enjoy! :)
    2
    Hi.

    Which superuser zip do I get?

    http://hosted.androidsu.com/superuser/

    What is the difference between superuser.zip and su.zip?

    Cheers.

    Ok, I think superuser is the app while su is the binary itself which gives root access. I would suggest that you try su-bin-3.1.1-arm.
    1
    I'm already unlocked from rooting 2.3.7. I then did an OTA update to ICS. I checked that bootloader still says lock status is unlocked. Can I just start with step 4? I don't want to wipe anything as some data still needs to be backed up and I need superuser installed to do that.
    1
    When I type in "fastbook oem unlock" , the command window stops at "< waiting for device >" and it's been a couple of hours and nothing has popped up on the phone screen, how can I get past this? I'm on stock ics 4.0.4 :(

    Make sure you have the phone drivers installed properly.
    1
    i actually managed to root my phone, i tried QBKING77's method on youtube and what i did wrong
    was plug my USB through the front of my tower so it was causing problems, when i plugged it at the
    back, everything worked fine.

    Glad to hear it worked! :)