How to upgrade your Sprint HTC Hero ROM. How to root your Sprint HTC Hero.

Is your Sprint HTC Hero slowing down? Do you have a sluggish Sprint HTC Hero? Do you want to improve the performance of your Sprint HTC Hero? I was thinking of getting a new phone as I had just about had it with my Hero.  It was constantly rebooting, slowing down and the keyboard had a terrible delay after using it for only a few hours.  It used to be great but when I upgraded to Android v2.1 it seemed like that is when the troubles started.  At first I think the upgrade worked fine, but then another OTA (over the air) update popped up on my phone.  So..  of course I upgraded trusting that Sprint wouldn’t push out crap to my phone.

This weekend I decided I had enough of my sluggish Sprint HTC Hero!  I decided to try and fix my phone by rooting it and installing a new ROM.  If that didn’t work, then I was going to ditch and upgrade to a new EVO.

I did a bunch of research and my upgrade was very successful.  It is like I fell in love all over again with my HTC Hero.  It is fast now and runs great.  It is so funny, because I feel like I have a new phone.  I’ll share the details for you here in my blog and give credit to those on the internet who provided the information.

If you decide to upgrade your phone be very careful and make sure you watch these YouTube videos and pay close attention to the instructions, because if you don’t you could completely “brick” your phone.  Meaning your phone is not a phone anymore and is now a paper weight.  Fear not if you can follow directions and have a little technical skill, as a fast, nimble HTC Hero is only an hour or so away.

If you are like me and blindly accepted the latest OTA update from Sprint you are now running on Version 2.27.651.6.  I can guarantee you your phone is running like crap if you are using this version.  To check it go to Settings About Phone Software Information …  then look for the “Software Number”.

If you are on Android Version 2 ending in .6, here are the steps you need to update your phone to a new ROM running Fresh ROM 2.1.2.  It seems to be the user consensus that Fresh ROM 2.1.2, as of writing this article today 8/15/2010, is the more stable and faster Fresh ROM version.  There is a newer 2.3.3 but it seems there are still issues to be worked out.  There are other ROM’s out there for the CDMA Sprint Hero, but after some limited research I chose the Fresh 2.1.2 ROM for my Hero and I LOVE it!

***Please note I upgraded and rooted my phone using Vista Business 64-bit and it appears the blogger at www.AndroidAdovcate.com where I got part of this information is using XP.  I searched the forums before upgrading and it appears some are having trouble upgrading / rooting using Windows 7.  I can’t confirm or deny this so you may want to research further if you are attempting this process using Windows 7.***

***You also need to make sure you have sufficient space on your SD card for the install files.  The files aren’t huge but if you have very little available space on your SD card you might run into issues. ***

General Outline of what you are going to do:

1. Check your Version and if you are running the latest Sprint HTC Hero ROM 2.27.651.6 then downgrade to 2.27.651.5.

2. Root your Sprint HTC Hero.

3. Flash the phone with a new ROM called Fresh ROM version 2.1.2.

4. Patch Fresh ROM 2.1.2 with the latest patch.

5. Enjoy your new and improved Sprint HTC Hero!

1. Check your Version and if you are running the latest Sprint HTC Hero ROM 2.27.651.6 then downgrade to 2.27.651.5.

If you are on version 2.27.651.6 then you need to downgrade to version 2.27.651.5.

Here are two links to the needed file called: “RUU_Hero_C_Sprint_2276515_R_si.exe”

(first one is an exe and second is a .rar)

http://www.4shared.com/get/2uQunBaV/RUU_Hero_C_Sprint_2276515_R_si.html

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=ZECABKEU

Here are the instructions directly from the HTC site as to how to upgrade.  Just make sure you are using the “RUU_Hero_C_Sprint_2276515_R_si.exe” file listed above when you upgrade.  The HTC site has you installing the .6 version which I know is CRAP and the .5 might be CRAP also, but the point of this is to upgrade you to the Fresh ROM.

HTC HERO (SPRINT) 2.1 SOFTWARE UPDATE | 05.19.2010

WARNING: Installing this software will erase your current user data. Please see instructions below for details.  less

The software upgrade posted below provides several key enhancements for your HTC Hero:

  • Upgraded OS to Android 2.1 Éclair
  • Includes enhancements to Sense UI
  • Includes enhanced corporate email support
  • Includes a variety of minor bug fixes

Please read the following important notes before starting the upgrade:

IMPORTANT – Back up your data before you begin

This software update will delete all information from your device.  It is necessary to ensure that you back up your information before proceeding with this update.

Calendar and contacts

  • If you are syncing your device with your Google account, log into the Gmail service and verify your data is up to date
  • If you are syncing your device via HTC Sync, log into your PC and verify your data is up to date
  • If you are syncing your device via Exchange Activesync, log into your Exchange account and verify your data is up to date
  • If you are using another backup solution, verify the data is up to date with that solution

Text and picture messages

Text and picture messages will be deleted with this software update.  You can back up text and picture messages by forwarding them to an email address.

  • Open the Messaging application
  • Tap and hold on the desired text or picture message
  • Tap Forward
  • Enter an email address then tap Send

Applications

Applications will be deleted with this software update.  You will need to re-download the desired applications from the Marketafter this update completes.

Pictures, Video, Music, Media, and other files

Pictures, video, music, and other media saved on the microSD card will not be affected by this update.

Getting Started

Before you run the ROM Update Utility (RUU), make sure you have done the following:

  • Backed up the data on your device
  • Standby or hibernation mode of your PC has been disabled
  • Close all running applications on the PC
  • Set aside approximately 25 minutes to allow the device to update
  • Charged the battery to at least 30%

Installation instructions

1. Download and install the HTC Sync software available here: http://www.htc.com/us/support/hero-sprint/downloads/

2. Download the update file for the HTC Hero available here: http://www.htc.com/us/support/hero-sprint/downloads/

3. Connect your HTC Hero to your PC using the supplied USB cable

1. If the HTC Sync application appears on the screen of your PC, you may simply dismiss the wizard by pressing the Cancel button

4. Run the RUU update file for the HTC Hero

5. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the update for your HTC Hero

WARNING: During the upgrade process, do not attempt to make/receive calls, press any buttons on your device or disconnect the device from the USB cable as this will stop the update and your device may be rendered inoperable!

Ok now after downgrading to version ending in .5 we can root your phone.  We have to gain “root” access to the phone so that we can install the new and improve ROM called Fresh.

2. Root your Sprint HTC Hero.

I found these instructions here and thanks to this contributor for his help!

http://androidadvocate.com/?p=196

*** Please note I upgraded and rooted my phone using Vista Business 64-bit and it appears the blogger at AndroidAdovcate.com is using XP.  I searched the forums before upgrading and it appears some are having trouble upgrading using Windows 7.  I can’t confirm or deny this so you may want to research further if you are attempting this process using Windows 7. ***

Instructions from AndroidAdvocate.com …

Step 1: Download the Android SDK here

Step 2: Extract the Android SDK zip. Move the contents of the extracted zip to C:\ (note when I unzipped in Vista it created the folder “android-sdk_r06-windows” I then had to go into that folder and move out the “android-sdk-windows” folder to the root C:\ directory.)

Your Android tools folder path should now be C:\android-sdk-windows\tools

Step 3: Download HTC Sync 2.0.33 here

Run the installer, and reboot your computer when it is finished. Move on to step 4 once rebooted.

Step 4: Download the hero-root.zip. This zip contains everything you need to root your Hero.

(md5: c6e5058ed14f71c68fb099e10be142fb) (this MD5 number is used to check and make sure there were no lost packets or corrupted data in your download, you can use this toolhttp://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/MD5-Check-Download-75154.html MD5 Check for windows if you want to check, but more than likely you are fine)

Step 5: Extract the 3 files inside hero-root.zip to the C:\android-sdk-windows\tools folder on your computer.

Step 6: Make sure USB Debugging is ON (checked) on your Hero. Go to Settings > Applications > Development > and make sure it is checked.

Step 7: Plug your phone into the computer via USB, Make sure that the connection type in the Notification Pull-Down Bar is “Charge Only”, not “Disk Drive” or else this won’t work.

If your computer asks you to restart after the new drivers were installed, do that now.

Step 8: Open a Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button and typing cmd into the search box and pressing enter.

It is also found under Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt

Step 9: You will now enter the commands that I have put in code boxes followed by pressing ENTER, one code at a time.

You may also copy/paste these commands in to the Command Prompt, pressing ENTER after each, one at a time.

Comments will be outside of the code boxes (do NOT type these into the Command Prompt as they just are to help describe the root process)

1:

Code:

cd C:\android-sdk-windows\tools

You should now see C:\android-sdk-windows\tools>

Now type

2:

Code:

adb devices

If you’ve been following this guide you will see your phone’s serial number. If you get “device not found” error, you either need to make sure you the drivers were properly installed or make sure you enable USB debugging on your phone. Continue on once you get the proper phone serial output.

You will now push the files needed to gain root to your sdcard in your phone with these following commands:

3:

Code:

adb push unrevoked /sdcard

4:

Code:

adb push recovery.img /sdcard

5:

Code:

adb push boot-patched.zip /sdcard

Now we run the exploit. Be patient, this may take up to 40 seconds.

Now we run the exploit. Be patient, this may take up to 40 seconds.

6.

Code:

adb shell

7.

Code:

sh /sdcard/unrevoked

You should now see output that says this:

Code:

# sh /sdcard/unrevoked

sh /sdcard/unrevoked

Unpacking, please wait…

88   88 88b 88 88″”Yb 888888 88 dP dP”Yb  88  dP 888888 8888b.

88   88 88Yb88 88__dP 88__   88dP dP   Yb 88odP  88__    8I  Yb

Y8   8P 88 Y88 88″Yb  88″”   8dP  Yb   dP 88″Yb  88″”    8I  dY

`YbodP’ 88  Y8 88  Yb 888888 YP    YbodP  88  Yb 888888 8888Y

==================================================================

unrEVOked: root for HTC evo and hero (http://unrevoked.com)

$

Now, on your phone, go to your app tray, and you will see that the Superuser Permissions app is in it.

Open the Superuser Permissions app. You will see a blank screen.

In the Command Prompt on your computer, type:

8.

Code:

su

A prompt will appear on your Hero asking you to give /system/bin/sh privileges. Click Allow.

Go back to your command prompt, and you should see

Code:

$ su

su

#

Now type:

9.

Code:

flash_image recovery /sdcard/recovery.img

Flashing the recovery may take many seconds to complete. Wait until the # symbol returns to proceed.

You should now see

# flash_image recovery /sdcard/recovery.img

flash_image recovery /sdcard/recovery.img

#

This means it was a successful flash.

Now type

10.

Code:

reboot recovery

Your phone will now boot to the custom recovery image you just flashed.

If that doesn’t work, (ie you get errors or it stays at the white/green HTC screen) try using this recovery image, put it on your sdcard, and try code #9 again.

In the Recovery Menu on your phone, choose the option:

Code:

Flash zip from sdcard

Then select

Code:

boot-patched.zip

and press the Home button to apply.

Once Recovery says “Install from sdcard complete”, you need to make a nandroid backup!

In the main menu or the Recovery Screen, you will see an option that says

Code:

Backup/Restore

Choose that option, and then choose the option

Code:

Nand backup

This can take up to 5 minutes, so be patient while you see the

Code:

…………

Once done, a nandroid backup of your phone will be created and saved to your sdcard in the folder directory:

Code:

/sdcard/nandroid/(your serial number)/

When it is complete, hit the back button to return to the Main menu, and hit “Reboot system now” from the menu to reboot normally!

DISABLE OTA UPDATES!!!!

To disable OTA updates that will patch this exploit, (after rooting and booted after creating a nandroid backup) run the following commands from Command Prompt.

Code:

cd  C:\android-sdk-windows\tools

Code:

adb remount

Code:

adb  shell

Code:

mv /system/etc/security/otacerts.zip  /system/etc/security/otacerts.zip.bak

After doing this, the OTA updates WILL still download, BUT they will not pass signature checks to flash because of the code you just entered.

You now have full root access on 2.1!

OK now that you have successfully completed rooting your phone and DISABLING OTA UPDATES, lets load a new ROM.

I’m using another example from AdroidAdvocate.com, he chose his own ROM but I’m giving you instructions on upgrading to Fresh ROM 2.1.2 because I’m using it and it works great!  If you want to watch this video before you try the process yourself go here but remember this is for a different ROM but the process is exactly the same. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6pEgihWOc8

3. Flash the phone with a new ROM called Fresh ROM version 2.1.2.

Here are the general instructions for upgrading to Fresh ROM 2.1.2  You can learn more about this fantastic ROM at www.geekfor.me .  The developer on this ROM did a great job and he gets all the props.

Learn more about the Fresh ROM here: http://geekfor.me/hero/android21/fresh-rom-212/

Download the Fresh ROM 2.1.2 here:

http://link.geekfor.me/freshrom212

As of 9/9/2010 Geekfor.me site is down.  Here is an alternate link: http://www.4shared.com/file/_WJ2YWch/fresh-cdma-hero-212.html

MD5: ebcadca3522c1872fa594ace0d9b4f2e (again you can use the tool listed above to make sure the file has no corruptions before you put it on your phone)

Step1: Connect your Android to the computer and make sure its on Disk Drive, Put the ROM zip file (fresh-cdma-hero-2.1.1.zip ) on the root of your SD card (NO NEED TO UNZIP)

Step 2: Turn off the phone and hold down the bottom of the volume button and power button, When the screen comes on press “Home button” to boot in recovery mode.

Step 3: Go to “Wipe” –> “Wipe data/factory reset” then hit the “Back key” and go back to “Flash zip from sdcard” flash zip and select your “fresh-cdma-hero-2.1.2.zip” ROM, after it installs go back and reboot the phone and now the phone has the ROM installed.  (Be patient this process can take some time.  Once the screen boots to the dancing Droid, wait a few minutes and hit the power button (do not hold it down!) eventually the phone will come up.  Be patient and wait, at first the dancing Droid looks cool and then it seems to take forever to get the phone up and running.)

Once the phone restarts be sure to step through the first install screens and BE SURE TO SIGN IN AND SYNC YOUR GOOGLE ACCOUNT.  The author of the ROM thinks there is a bug present if you do not sign in immediately to your account once you flash the phone with the new ROM.

Last step!

4. Patch Fresh ROM 2.1.2 with the latest patch.

One of the really cool features about rooting your phone and using custom ROM’s is being able to do things that Sprint doesn’t want you to do, like tethering your phone to another Wifi device.  After installing this last patch below you can now use your phone as a wireless hot spot!  That is right, you can connect one or more machines to your phone’s internet wirelessly as if it were a wireless router.  Once you have it patched realize that the Wireless Tether application installed isn’t the newest one and the the ROM creator identified networking issues with the newest version and purposely downgraded the software due to this issues.  So… don’t upgrade it, it works fine!

Download the 2.1.2 patch here:   http://geekfor.me/fresh-rom-2/bug-su/fresh-2.1.2-su-fix.zip

As of 9/9/2010 Geekfor.me site is down.  Here is an alternate link:

http://www.4shared.com/file/WhbPXB_2/fresh-212-su-fix.html

If you are interested information about the patch can be found here: http://bugs.geekfor.me/view.php?id=18

To patch the ROM:

Step1: Connect your Android to the computer and make sure its on Disk Drive, Put the ROM patch zip file (fresh-2.1.2-su-fix.zip) on the root folder of your SD card (NO NEED TO UNZIP)

Step 2: Turn off the phone and hold down the bottom of the volume button and power button, When the screen comes on press “Home button” to boot in recovery mode.

Step 3: Go to to “Flash zip from sdcard” flash zip and select your fresh-2.1.2-su-fix.zip ROM, after it installs go back and reboot the phone and now the phone has the ROM installed.  Once the screen boots to the dancing Droid, wait a few minutes and hit the power button eventually the phone will come up.
You have now patched your Fresh 2.1.2 ROM.

5. Enjoy your new and improved Sprint HTC Hero!

Some other thing to note about installing a new ROM.  You will lose your text / picture messages, but not your contacts if you have them Synced to your Google account.  If you aren’t doing that or don’t know what that means, this process might be too technical for you to attempt.  You will also not lose your regular pictures.

You will also lose the following applications installed from Sprint by installing this version of FreshROM.

Removed:

  • Amazon mp3
  • GSD (HTC test program that was draining battery)
  • HTC Footprints
  • HTC Navigation Panel
  • HTC Ringtone trimmer
  • HTC Stocks
  • Quick Office
  • Learn more
  • pdf viewer
  • Sprint navigator
  • Sprint Nascar
  • Sprint NFL
  • Sprint TV
  • Teeter

I may research how to install them for another blog post as I’m pretty sure you can install them again, as the apk files are located herehttp://geekfor.me/downloads/fresh21removedapks/and provided by the Fresh ROM’s creator, but as of now I have no use for them.   The only one I really used much was Sprint Navigator and I like Google’s Navigator much better than Sprint Navigator.

So that is it!  Once you complete all these steps your HTC Hero will be very fast with very little delays and mine also seems to have better battery life.  Much cheaper than buying an EVO, although I must say the EVO is an amazing phone.

I also recommend the “Better Keyboard” app from the app store.  It is not free but to me it is a much better keyboard.  The ROM comes with an improved keyboard but I still like “Better Keyboard” over all the keyboards I have tried.

Enjoy!

This entry was posted in Android, Gadgets, HTC Hero, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How to upgrade your Sprint HTC Hero ROM. How to root your Sprint HTC Hero.

  1. Lonnie says:

    I am trying to do this and I guess through my network, I cannot access geekfor.me. My guess is that .me sites are restricted. Any other locations for the fresh ROM and patch?

    • roy says:

      Lonnie, thanks for letting me know that web site with Fresh ROM is down. I’ve uploaded my own personal copies of this ROM and patch to a file sharing service and updated the blog with these additional links.

      Let me know how the update works!
      -Shelton

  2. Lonnie says:

    This was a lot of fun and I like my Hero much more now. A couple of things people should probably know about doing this though before they do it.

    1) I did not see an improvement in battery life. When I upgraded from 1.5 to 2.1, my battery started draining much faster. This did not improve it.

    2) If you are going to use the mail application to connect to an Exchange Server that has security policies, you need to install lockpicker. The “Fresh 2.1″ does not seem to be able to handle the security policies forced by exchange server. Thus, if you have an account, and your phone goes into lock screen mode, you will end up in an endless boot loop if lockpicker is not installed. It took me about six housr of work to figure this out. The steps I used are:

    a) after doing everything in this blog, change the time to lockscreen to the desired settings (menu/settings/sounds and displays/screen timeout

    —optional add pattern to unlock (menu/settings/security/set unlock pattern)

    b) set up the mail app to your account on the exchange server.

    c) before the screen locks, go to the market and install lockpicker and enable it.

    ***note: unlike 1.5, the exchange policy settings will be pushed through in 2.1. You cannot use a pattern unlock or change the lock screen time with the exchange server settings policy unless the pattern is added and/or the time is changed before you add the account. If you add a pattern, and use lockpicker, you can still use pattern security for the time you set. In other words, set up all security and lock screen info before adding the exchange server. Then add the exchange server. Then use lockpicker. This will get you back to your pre-exchange server settings. They cannot be changed unless you remove the Exchange account.

    3) 2.1 has many more sync issues with gmail and exchange server. I have not worked them all out yet, but make sure that you do not use a task killer/manager that kill gtalk services. If you do, you won’t get your gmail automatically. Also, it seems that you cannot kill the mail app and get updates. I am not sure about these, but that is what I have observed thus far.

    4) Launcher Pro should be updated as the newer version is better.

  3. Lynne says:

    Shelton,

    I’ve been asking about Hero upgrades since I got my phone Nov. a year ago; I also search regularly for upgrades and my phone tells me none are available. I’ve even asked at Sprint and Best Buy when the 2.0/1 upgrade for Hero was coming, and no one ever knew. So now I see it’s here, it’s queer and alternatives are suggested. I can’t figure out why my phone hasn’t picked it up, but now I guess I’m glad it didn’t. Right now, I messages and voicemails have quit working. Can’t figure out why. I’m afraid if I call sprint, they’ll talk me through the upgrade. I’d follow your instructions, but I have a mac. Any advice on how to do it with a mac?

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