Thursday, June 27, 2013

General tips for Rooting and Romming your Android Phone

I was going to do step by step instructions again, as I just re rooted and upgraded to a new ROM. However, the instructions are so similar to my last tutorial, I decided sharing the tips that have saved me time and hair pulling when rooting and romming my phone would be more useful.

I am absolutely loving my new ROM though. My phone is so much faster with CyanogenMod 10.1.0-RC5 which has the latest Android 4.2.2 otherwise known as Jelly Bean. The camera no longer glitches, apps load thrice as fast and I love the new camera features and functionality. 


***This is not a specific guide to follow for your device. These are just some helpful tips to know before you attempt to root and ROM your device, whether it's your phone, tablet or whatever.

**First and foremost, always understand that there is a risk of bricking your device when you root and ROM it and rooting will likely VOID YOUR WARRANTY.

(Bricking a device means making it unusable, an expensive paperweight.)

What is rooting. Rooting is a way of obtaining full access to you device and all its settings including ones hidden or disabled by your carrier or the manufacturer such as hot spot capability.

What is a ROM: A ROM is basically a new operating system for your device. So, switching to a new ROM can be much like going from windows XP to Windows 7 on a computer.

Before you do anything research.

After you do all the research, backup.

So, one of the easiest ways to make sure you root and rom your phone correctly is to remove the external SD card so there is no confusion about which card your using.

  • Everything should be going on the internal SD card so the external card is just a distraction.

  • Look online to find the ROM and if the ROM doesn't come with Google Apps as a package then get the Google Apps package as well. 
  • Then save it/them to the internal SD card.

  • Next, download appropriate rooting software and save it to the internal SD card.

The XDA Developer forum has rooting instructions and downloads, custom ROM's as well as step by step instructions for your model of Android phone.  

Be sure to spend enough time researching the steps involved so you feel comfortable with the process. When looking through the forum make sure you view the most recent updates, topics and comments so you can get up to date instruction.

Find the drivers for your version of windows if needed, most tutorials will tell you whether they are needed or not.

If the instructions say to put your phone in download mode what they want you to do is this:
  • have the USB cable plugged into the computer, ready to go
  • make sure your phone is off
  • hold down both volume buttons while plugging in to the USB
  • release buttons when you get to the android screen

If the instructions say to go into recovery mode, have the phone shut off, then, hold both volume buttons as well as the power button until you get to a boot menu.

  • If at first you don't succeed try, try again. Then Google it.

  • After you have your shiny new ROM up and running and your favorite apps downloaded don't forget to move them to the SD card to free up memory.

Then, enjoy having your device under your full control. If you just rooted without adding a new ROM you will be able to remove bloatware installed by your carrier, completely backup your device, enable settings that have been disabled by your carrier such as tethering and you can now tweak all the settings to get the most speed, power and battery life out of your device.

If you went and added a custom ROM, you likely picked one with all the specific features you want such as improved camera software, added security or a slimmed down super speedy ROM with no frills but you'll still be able to make adjustments you would never be able to on a stock ROM.

You may love the new ROM forever and ever but once you see how easy it is to root and flash a new ROM you may want to change ROM's as often as your undies. For Rom addicts, I suggest using a ROM manager to help you make backups, install new ROM's and fine tune your device.

Hope these tips helped and if you have any questions or input please leave a comment :-)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Next Project - From Cognition to Jellybean

I haven't taken the time to play around with any new Rom's lately so I'm going to take the time to root and Rom into the latest version of Jellybean.

I'll post updates and a walkthrough soon and with any luck this will fix my phones camera issue of periodically shutting the phone down if I hit the "take picture" button too soon after booting the phone up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

From 2.1 Eclair to Cognition 4.2.

Before you proceed, you need to understand one thing: you are doing this at your own risk!

This tutorial is for stock 2.1 Eclair Samsung Captivate only...

  • Next, download ROM Manager from the android market.

  • Choose "Flash Clockwork Mod" which will put an (holding clockwork recovery) on the root of your internal SD card.

  • Open Rom Manager, choose "Install ROM from SD Card", navigate to your, and watch the magic happen!


  • If this is your first time installing clockwork, it may fail at stock recovery and reboot. Simply choose "reinstall packages" once more, and it should work properly.

  • You can then copy the to you comp and when you flash back to stock just copy that back over to the internal sd card and reboot to recovery and reinstall pkgs

Full instructions can be found here:

Friday, October 1, 2010

My StealthMachines Review - Part 1

When shopping for electronics of any kind, considerable time is often spent researching the various products and the companies that make them.

The critical points that inevitably make the decision to buy one product over another are:

  • the reputation of the company
  • reputation of the product line
  • the quality of the parts
  • the overall specs
  • price of the product
  • the warranty

I was recently going through the process of buying a new computer and had narrowed down my decision to one of five companies:

  1. StealthMachines
  2. Falcon Northwest
  3. Puget Systems
  4. Alienware (now owned by Dell)
  5. Apple

After spending close to 6 months researching build ideas and various companies, I decided to go with StealthMachines because of the company's stellar reputation with the Better Business Bureau and past and current customers, competitive pricing, high quality parts, inexpensive 3 year warranty and free trade in program.

“StealthMachines rewards return customers and is a participate in renewable business practices. For this reason, trade-in your old StealthMachines or other electronic equipment and we'll give you credit towards a new StealthMachine.”

BBB Accreditation

StealthMachines LLC has been a BBB Accredited business since January 2009. This means it supports BBB's services to the public and meets our BBB Accreditation standards.

Based on BBB files, StealthMachines LLC has a BBB Rating of A

Customer Complaint History for StealthMachines LLC

BBB processed a total of 0 complaints about StealthMachines LLC in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period.

BBB Program Participation

This company has agreed to use special procedures including arbitration, if necessary, to resolve disputes through their participation in the following programs: BBB Identification, BBBOnLine.” ( )”

I read reviews about StealthMachines on the company website, competing websites and various forums and the consensus was that the owner, Josef Kulovany, consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty in regards to customer service.

When I went to the StealthMachines website to use their system to configure a build, I played around with a few ideas and then saved a build I liked and emailed it to myself. The next day, Josef emailed me asking if I had any questions or would I like any advice on parts.

When I replied with a few questions, he emailed me back within 20 minutes and had several money saving suggestions, as well as suggesting a different case that would be easy to clean and maintain and included more options for future upgrades.

Every question I asked Josef was answered quickly and concisely, his prices are competitive with shopping at NewEgg and building it yourself. (I'm taking into account the individual shipping and handling charges for the parts that had shipping charges, as well as the cost of smaller items such as thermal paste and custom cabling.)

I'm expecting to receive my new computer Oct 2 and will post a review of the packaging, the condition it was received, the set up and my first impressions, as well as some basic benchmarks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Netbook Security Tips

Recently, a friend asked me for advice on internet and laptop security and that got me thinking about all the security habits I've picked up over the years.

The following are some of the best products and services I've used that I can't live without because they work so well and are free or very affordable.

The first thing I did when I recently re-installed the OS on my netbook, was to set the BIOS to only boot from the hardrive and then password protect the BIOS.

Next, in the BIOS, I locked the hardrive and password protected it.

The benefit of these first two steps is that if my netbook is stolen, someone can't just turn it on and easily brows my files and other information or re-install the operating system.

Next, I used Truecrypt to encrypt the entire drive with triple layer 256 bit encryption. This ensures that if someone pulls the drive out of the machine they still won't be able to access my information.

Then, I set a user password.

To protect myself online I use ESET's Nod 32 anti-virus, which I love because it works amazingly well, is small and takes up very few resources while requiring very little hands on maintenance or tweaking.

When surfing online I will often use Sandboxie, a sandbox program, that allows me to surf in a virtual environment. This way, even if I do pick up a virus, everything stays in the sandbox and I can simply delete the sandbox when I have finished surfing. Thus, deleting any and all viruses and malware that I may have come across.

I use Firefox for browsing and have a master password enabled to protect the passwords I use online. However, I don't save important passwords in Firefox. Instead, I use a technique where I create easy to remember passwords by using ordinary English words translated into L337 or Leet, which is an underground computer language. I then have a different password for each category of online use, such as Email, forums and hardware.

When logging in using a wireless hotspot I often use a VPN. I like HotspotVPN as a paid service but as a broke student I use Logmein to remotely access my home computer or I use Logmein Hamachi free VPN.

I hope that you find these tips to be helpful and if you know a product or service that you love, please let me know so I can test it out and possibly add it to the list.



Leet Translator:



Friday, April 9, 2010

Well I'm back. Finally.

If your wondering why this blog has been sitting here inactive for so long let me explain. I had my senior thesis to write, an internship to complete and to top it off halfway through the term I wiped out on my Yamaha xvs 1100 going over wet railroad tracks in Lake Oswego.

Thankfully I'm smart enough to throw myself under the bike so the bike is fine except for a broken brake lever. I on the other hand have been limping around for the last month or so but as I said. I'm back.

In the next few weeks I plan on playing around with several new Linux distros as well as virtual machines, Backtrack 4 and who knows what else.

Stay tuned :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

How do you recover your Windows password if you forget it?

Ever wake up and decide that today you're going to beef up your digital security? Maybe you heard about all the scary crackers and identity thieves out there and decided to give your laptop a really strong password...except now you can't remember what it is and your locked out of your own computer. So, what do you do? Take it to a professional and pay $50.00 while waiting 24 hours? Not me...

All you need to do (if you're running Windows) is go to and download the ISO file for either (or both) Windows Vista or XP in the LIVE CD version.

Check the hash with Winmd5sum which can be found here by right-clicking the ISO file then:

  • Click Send To, then winMD5Sum.

  • Wait for winMD5Sum to load and finish the checksum.

  • Copy the corresponding hash from the source's website into the bottom text box.

  • Click Compare.

It's important to verify the hash after downloading the file because of the possibility of errors during the download process. It is a very good idea to run an MD5 hash comparison check when you have a file like an operating system install CD that has to be 100% correct.

Cryptographic hashes such as MD5 allow you to verify that the data you have downloaded is the original file and hasn't been altered, corrupted or poisoned in any way... (as long as the hash you use for comparison comes from a trusted source) you can verify the status of a file downloaded from anywhere.

After you have checked the hash and seen that the two hash files match go to Sourceforge at and download tazusb by clicking on the link about halfway down the page under the heading “How to installl the LiveCD on a USB stick?” Then connect your USB, launch tazusb.exe and follow the directions.

Tazusb will create bootable usb media with a few simple commands. It can also compress and backup the entire current file system to the media, thus preserving all modifications for future use. You will also download SliTaz which is a free operating system, working completely in RAM and booting from removable media such as a cdrom or USB key.

Once this is finished just decompress the iso file you downloaded to the root of the USB stick with your favorite decompression software (like 7-zip). There should be two directories on your USB stick (boot and ophcrack).

  • Execute the script bootinst.bat that is in the boot directory.

  • Reboot your computer and make sure it boots from the stick.

Easy Peasy. Now all you need to do is plunk it in your computer, turn your computer on, log into the BIOS and change the boot order to boot from your USB drive and then continue the boot process. Slitaz will load automatically and you can even have Ophcrack run automatically.

Within minutes pwdump will have given you the password hashes and Ophcrack will be cracking away. (note: Vista is much, much harder to crack so use a dictionary attack not brute force)