The Nexus One Oracle

This is a discussion on The Nexus One Oracle within the Nexus One forums, part of the Google Phones category; *** DO NOT POST IN THIS THREAD *** This is a work a in progress, and until it starts to come to fruition, I would ...

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Thread: The Nexus One Oracle

  1. #1
    Android Lurker danger-rat's Avatar
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    The Nexus One Oracle


    This is a work a in progress, and until it starts to come to fruition, I would appreciate it if no one posts in this thread.

    My plan is to build (with the help of Dude Random21) a 'master thread' which I will use to compile all the various bits of info that are floating around. This will hopefully be a go-to source for a lot of issues that appear on a regular basis. Once it takes a bit more shape, then I will welcome other contributions, but as long as the big red letters are above, please don't post here (or I may zap you with the magic eraser).

    Welcome to the Nexus One Oracle
    Hopefully, everything you want to know can be found by consulting the Oracle; in reality, this may not be the case, though in time the Oracle may grow to meet your needs...

    PM me if you have any suggestions: danger-rat

    List of (intended) Topics:
    Booting Options
    Connecting to a Computer
    System Updates
    Restoring to Factory Settings
    Custom ROMs
    Recovery Images
    Radio Images
    Hboot Images

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    Booting Options

    The Nexus one can be booted into the following modes:
    1 - Normal Boot (System)
    2 - Bootloader (Hboot and fastboot)
    3 - Recovery
    Each of these modes can be accessed by both root and non-root users. The reasons for booting into these modes can vary from performing simple updates, restoring you N1 back to stock, or (for root users) installing and making changes to the system software.

    Key combinations:
    Power = Normal boot
    Power & Vol- = BOOTLOADER (HBOOT)
    Power & Trackball = BOOTLOADER (FASTBOOT)
    POWER & Vol- & Trackball = Reboot (useful when boot-looping)

    Normal Boot:
    For day to day operation of the N1, the phone is booted by simply pressing the power button. Should the power button on your N1 fail, the phone can often be booted by following these steps:
    A - Connect the phone to a charger
    B - Remove the battery
    C - Re-insert the battery
    This may need to be done a few times before it succeeds.
    Removing and replacing the SIM and SD cards in between steps B and C may help.
    The method of booting without a power button can also be used in combination with other key presses to boot into other modes, such as recovery or bootloader (see below).

    Bootloader (Hboot and fastboot):
    The bootloader is a very simple front-end interface for the phone. The bootloader has two screens or interfaces, known as HBOOT and FASTBOOT. The bootloader can either be locked (stock) or unlocked (done by the user).
    * A locked bootloader cannot be used with the fastboot interface to install software.
    * Unlocked bootloaders can be used in conjunction with the fastboot interface on a PC to install software.

    The FASTBOOT and HBOOT screens are very similar in appearance. Both the HBOOT and FASTBOOT screens have a white background with colored text and three Androids on skateboards at the bottom of the screen. The text on the screen is presented in 4 blocks:
    The 1st block of information on both FASTBOOT and HBOOT screens is information about your phone.
    The 2nd block of information displays whether the phone is in HBOOT or FASTBOOT.
    The 3rd block of information displays the keypresses used to navigate.
    The 4th block of information displays the options available.

    The phone needs to be at the FASTBOOT screen in order to communicate with fastboot from the PC.

    Bootloader HBOOT screen:
    To access the HBOOT screen, with the power off, press power and volume-down and hold both buttons for a few seconds (tip: pressing volume-down slightly before power may help).
    You can access HBOOT from the FASTBOOT screen by selecting BOOTLOADER.
    The text on the HBOOT screen will typically look like the following (the numbers may vary):
    Jun 14 2010, 12:02:27


    <VOL UP> to previous item
    <VOL DOWN> to next item
    <POWER> to select item

    Bootloader FASTBOOT screen:
    To access the FASTBOOT screen, with the power off, press power and trackball and hold both buttons for a few seconds (tip: pressing trackball slightly before power may help).
    You can access FASTBOOT from the HBOOT screen by selecting FASTBOOT.
    The text on the FASTBOOT screen will typically look like the following (the numbers may vary):
    Jun 14 2010, 12:02:27


    <VOL UP> to previous item
    <VOL DOWN> to next item
    <POWER> to select item


    Recovery mode is another simple front-end interface for the phone. Recovery can either be stock, or rooted users may have a custom recovery. There are two custom recoveries available for the Nexus One (Amon Ra and
    Clockworkmod), each available with different versions.
    * Stock recovery has limited options and can only be used to install official files signed by Google.
    * A custom recovery has a number of additional features, and can be used to bypass the signature requirements on files (i.e. can be used to install files from sources other than Google).
    Recovery screens are similar in appearance, in that they have a black background with colored text. The color of the text varies depending on the actual recovery and revision level.
    * Older stock recovery has white or very pale green/blue text.
    * Newer stock recovery has mid/dark blue text.
    * Current Amon Ra has slime green color text.
    * Clockworkmod 2.x has mid/dark green color text.
    * Clockworkmod 3.x has orange color text.

    Recovery mode can be accessed from the BOOTLOADER, by using the option on the HBOOT screen. For users with a custom recovery, this will boot the phone directly into the recovery interface. For users with a stock recovery, this will first show an Android and a triangle with an exclamtion mark (this is normal, don't panic). Stock recovery users will then need to press the power and volume-up buttons together, and hold both buttons for a short while (tip: pressing power slightly before volume-up may help).

    Recovery is typically navigated with the trackball, however some custom recoveries may require the use of either the power button, volume up, or back button to navigate to a previous screen (depending on which recovery
    is being used).

  5. #4
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    Connecting to a Computer

    For me, the Android SDK (Software Development Kit) setup is the most arduous part of rooting a phone. The SDK is intended for developing software on, and provides a lot of unnecessary files that you typically don't need to just hook your phone up to the PC. With that in mind, I've attempted to simplify the process.

    In order to do this, you will need a working phone.

    USB Debugging
    USB debugging will need to be enabled on the phone (Menu> Settings> Applications> Development, and enable USB debugging).

    You will also need to be able to boot into FASTBOOT. From power off, hold volume down and while still holding, power the phone up. This will then show a white screen with 3 Androids and some text. The screen you are seeing is HBOOT. Follow the instructions on the screen to select the FASTBOOT option (volume keys to change selection, and power key to select). The FASTBOOT screen will look much like HBOOT; you can tell them apart because the text above the menu options will say HBOOT or FASTBOOT. (note: If you want to return to the HBOOT screen from FASTBOOT, you need to select BOOTLOADER)

    You will also need to download the following zip file:

    To set adb/Fastboot:
    1. Download the file (above)
    2. Extract the file (I recommend C:\)
    3. That's it (but you will need to install the drivers for the phone)

    To install the drivers:
    1. Boot your phone into FASTBOOT
    2. Connect the phone to the PC via USB (the FASTBOOT screen should now say FSTBOOT USB)
    3. Windows will ask you to install a driver; select the manual option, and point to the usbdrivers folder from the zip extracted above.
    4. Windows will install the drivers, and may ask to reboot
    5. Done

    That's it, you should have your PC setup to talk to your phone...

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    (provided by Dude Random21)


    What is it and what's it for??
    Root is a term used in android to represent superuser access, which is simply read and write (RW) access to all the file saved in the system partition, the system files, this is the ROM/OS itself.

    Once you have root access the possibilities are endless you can do nearly anything with your phone, you can do anything from using apps that require root access to changing the entire ROM. Just a few examples are changing the ROM, the boot animation, the recovery, getting FM radio, installing all apps on the SD card, etc.


    Rooting or modifying with your phone in ANY way is grounds for HTC to rescind the warranty. Additionally, unlocking the bootloader will cause the phone to display an explicit statement that it will “void your warranty”, which you have to accept in order to proceed. HTC have been very good about honoring the warranty on the Nexus One, even with modified OSs or unlocked bootloaders, with very few reports of HTC declining a warranty claim. This is ultimately HTCs decision - your decision is whether you want to run the risk.

    How do I get root access??

    To get root access there are a few ways; one way involves unlocking the bootloader, another may involve running an exploit (exploiting a security gap in the software). These are explained in more detail below.

    To get root access, you simply need the su (superuser binary) installed into the /system/bin or /system/xbin folder of the OS and enabled with the necessary permissions to allow it to be used. While this may seem simple, installing the file is a little more complicated.

    Android has 3 basic operating environments (bootloader, recovery, and the main Android operating system), each with different levels of functionality. Each one of these environments has the ability to modify the other two environments, although there are security measures established to inhibit this. These security measures are there to prevent rogue apps (virus’, etc) from also gaining complete control over your phone. In order to root your phone, you need to bypass these security features. This is done by unlocking the bootloader or running an exploit. (Note: there is currently no way to break security on the stock recovery, however the recovery can be completely replaced once security is broken on the bootloader or OS).

    Root without unlocking the bootloader (using an exploit)

    Since the exploit method relies upon a security gap in the software, and these security gaps (once identified) tend to get plugged, the exploit techniques vary between different versions of Android. If no exploit exists for the current version, then there is also the option of downgrading to a previous version of Android. The method to root with an exploit varies depending on the exploit being used - make sure you find the right exploit for your version, and read the instructions on how to use.

    To root without unlocking the bootloader is very simple you just need to use the right exploit. Some older exploits can be run directly from the phone, but most of the newer exploits will require the use of a PC (Windows, Mac, or Linux). To use a PC based exploit you will need to set up the drivers (refer to Connecting to a Computer).

    Here is a list of some of the current exploits:
    2.2 superoneclick (rageaginstthecage), universal androot
    2.2.1 superoneclick (rageagainstthecage)
    2.3 superoneclick (gingerbreak)
    2.3.3 superone click (gingerbreak)
    2.3.4 you must downgrade using the passimg method first (see Restoring to Factory Settings)

    These may also be done manually instead of doing it with superoneclick refer to this thread Simple SDK setup guide

    Root by Unlocking the bootloader

    This is a very simple method. Break security on the bootloader by unlocking it. Install a custom recovery, and use the recovery to either install the su binary or install a completely new ROM.

    What are the advantages of unlocking the bootloader??

    The bootloader is specifically designed to allow unrestricted access to the phone - you can unlock it. Google designed it this way; this is the official way to root the Nexus One, and unlocking the bootloader will always be available to the Nexus One. ONCE YOU UNLOCK THE BOOTLOADER IT CANNOT BE RELOCKED (except by HTC).

    Once unlocked, you bootloader will remain unlocked. That means you can ALWAYS root your phone, anytime you like. Unlocking the bootloader will give you fastboot access (allow you use the fastboot executable), which is one more tool to get you out of a pinch, should you ever need it. Using fastboot is also safer for flashing radios (refer to this post for more details***************).

    Unlocking the bootloader

    To do this you will need to have the drivers set up and fastboot on the computer so please refer to Connecting to a Computer

    Boot your phone into fastboot (refer to Booting Options)

    Open a command prompt in the directory where you have fastboot by navigating with cd (change directory) followed by the directory you want EX: cd c:/sdk/sdk/tools

    Then issue the command "fastboot devices" (no quotes) it should return you S/N number this is to verify that you have a fastboot connection - no S/N means no connection.

    Then issue the command "fastboot oem unlock"* this will bring up a prompt on your phone to unlock the bootloader use the volume rocker to select and the power button to confirm. After that your phone should reboot.

    *Note: “fastboot” is the name of the executable, in some instances the executable may be named fastboot-windows, fastboot-mac, or fastboot-linux. Additionally, the syntax will change for Mac and Linux, so the following commands may be more appropriate:
    Windows alternatives:
    fastboot oem unlock
    fastboot-windows oem unlock
    Mac alternatives:
    ./fastboot oem unlock
    ./fastboot-mac oem unlock
    Linux alternatives:
    ./fastboot oem unlock
    ./fastboot-linux oem unlock

    Getting Root Access

    Download these one of the following custom recoveries and put it in the same directory as fastboot and SU and put it on the root of your SD card:
    Amon Ra 2.2.1
    (Note: I do NOT recommend using ClockworkMod 3.x, however I do use the earlier version of CWM provided above

    Now you will need to boot into fastboot and open a command prompt like when you unlocked to bootloader.

    Then in the command prompt issue the command "fastboot flash recovery recovery.img" (where "recovery.img" is the name of the recovery file you downloaded earlier)
    Then "fastboot boot recovery.img" (same goes for this)

    Then you will need to navigate using the trackball to "flash zip from sdcard" then select the su file from earlier and wait for it to flash. Then just reboot and you’re done.

    Your recovery will revert back to stock after boot to get it back you can simply flash it through ROM manager (clockworkmod or Amon RA) then to prevent it from reverting back to stock you need to delete /system/etc/ this can be done either through a file explorer with root access, through adb commands, through terminal commands or by flashing the Fix-Recovery scrip from recovery.

    Through terminal:
    rm /system/etc/

    Through adb:
    cd (directory where you have adb)
    adb devices
    adb shell
    mount -o remount,rw /dev/null /system
    rm /system/etc/
    (the window will then close)

  8. #7
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    Restoring to Factory Settings
    (provided by Dude Random21)

    Factory Reset

    A factory reset is an operation that will wipe your phone and like the name suggests will set everything back the way it was when it came from the factory. The only exception to this is that what ever ROM (or version of android) you are running will stay the same.

    The most common way of doing a factory reset is to go to settings -> privacy -> factory reset.

    You can also do this from recovery by clicking wipe data/factory reset but this is much less commonly used.

    Passimg Method

    The passimg method is a way to restore a previous android version on to your phone, it can also be used by rooted users to get back to stock as well as by people on videotron's ROM who want to get off.

    NOTE: Using the passimg method will wipe data the same way as a factory reset.

    The passimg method is done through the following steps:

    1. download the passimg file you wish to flash

    2. rename that file

    3. place that file on the root of your SD card (not in any folders)

    4. turn off you phone and reboot into bootloader by holding down the volume down key at the same time as power button.

    5. you should wait a second for the SD card to mount then you will be prompted to flash the passimg file accept and wait for the file to flash.

    "Main Version is Older" Error

    This is an issue that will cause certain passimg files to not work correctly.

    The main version is a value used by the bootloader it could be stored on either the bootloader image or in the misc partition. To find the main version you need to boot into fastboot and enter the command "$ fastboot getvar mainver" (no quotes) and it will return "mainver:" and you version number.

    You then need to passimg using a file with that version number or higher.

    Where to Download the Files

    FRG33 (this is the most commonly used one)
    FRG83 (this is the file to fix the "main verison is older" issue)

  9. #8
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    Custom ROMs
    (provided by Dude Random21)

    What are they??

    The ROM is essentially the Operating System (OS) for the phone. The term ROM means Read Only Memory which, as the name suggests, means that it can only be read and not written, this is because it is the OS itself.

    Typically, the standard/stock ROM for a phone is provided by the phone manufacturer, and in the case of the Nexus One the stock ROM comes direct from Google. Phone manufacturer's (HTC, Motorola, etc), and some carriers (Vodafone, Videotron, etc) have applied their own slight modifications to the stock Google ROM. Phones getting their updates from Google are usually the first phones to recieve any updates, while phones with carrier modified ROMs have to wait for carrier to modify and issue their own updates (which can happen months after the official Google update).

    The ROM itself is written to the /system partition, which you have limited ability to change. Rooting the phone (getting root access) gives the ability to modify or replace the ROM. Once you have root access these files are just like any other and can be read and written at will.

    With custom ROMs you will not get any automatic updates like you would on a stock ROM. Instead you need to manually download and install every update. The advantage is the updates usually come much quicker, and you get to choose when to recieve and install them.

    Where do they come from??

    Custom ROMs can come from a number of sources, such as Google's AOSP (Android Open Source Project), ports from other phones, or Android SDK (Software Development Kit) releases.
    * AOSP builds are made from Google's source code, which is released to the general public as part of it's Open Source nature. These are then modified by ROM devs like Cyanogen to add features and options aimed at increasing the functionality and operability of the phone.
    * Ports are modified versions of ROMs released for other phones. These will contain features, such as the HTC Sense interface, which wasn't released for the Nexus One.
    * SDK builds are created from developer software which is meant to run in the SDL emulator. The developer software is not specific to any phone, and lacks optimization for phone hardware (chipsets, drivers, etc). As such, SDK builds may be subject to instability and functinality problems. Good examples include Honeycomb ROMs, which are built from the SDK release because the official Honeycomb source code from Google has yet to be released.

    Since custom ROMs are modified versions from other sources, they are usually very similar in terms of structure, though they may vary considerably in appearance.

    Installing a Custom ROM

    NOTE: At this point it is assumed that you have root access (and a custom recovery installed if not usung adb/fastboot).

    Backing and installing ROMs up may take quite a while, so it is recommended to have a reasonable charge (at least 50%) before attempting.

    The typical process for installing a custom ROM is:
    * Perform a backup of your current information (optional, but recommended)
    * Wipe (as specified by the ROM dev)
    * Flash/install the new ROM
    * Flash GAPPS (Google apps or add-on package), as required.

    NOTE: GAPPS packages contain the Market and other Google apps such as Gmail, Search, etc. Some ROMs already include these and do not require a seperate install. Other ROMs may require these to be flashed seperately by the user. Refer to the specific guidance provided by the ROM dev.

    Nandroid is the term for a system backup, performed by a custom recovery. Before installing a new rom, it is advisable that your current system is backed up, to give you something to fall back on, should anything go wrong. The backup may be done directly from the recovery, or through the use of a GUI (Graphical User Interface) based app such as ROM Manager, or by issuing commands from a computer using adb or fastboot. The recovery is capable of backing up and restoring the entire system, so you can return your phone to the exact state it was at the time it was backed up.

    Apps and Settings
    This type of backup will allow you to save your apps and data, so you can restore them back into another ROM. This is porformed with apps such as Titanium Backup (root users), or MyBackup Pro (non-root users). Root users are capable of creating a more comprehensive backup than non-root users. For root users, as long as you have a current backup of your apps and data, you can usually recreate a ROM by reinstalling the ROM from scratch and restoring your apps and data.

    Here are some of the more commonly methods to backup and install custom ROMs:


    For more guidance accessing and using recovery, see this post ***********************

    Backup from recovery is done by simply selecting the backup option from the recovery menu. The backup option will be labeled something like "backup and restore". Performing a backup will produce a complete image of your phones software onto your SD card, so make sure you have at least 100mb of free space. The final location for the backup image will vary, depending on the recovery used:
    Clockworkmod will be located at /sdcard/clockworkmod/backup/<name-of-backup>
    Amon Ra will be located at /sdcard/nandroid/<S/N number of your phone>/<name of backup>

    The name of the backup is usually a combination of the time and date that the backup was made.

    Wiping from recovery is again done by selecting the appropriate menu option, such as "wipe/factory data reset". The factory reset (full wipe) clears the /data, /cache, /dalvik, and /sd-ext partitions on your phone. A factory reset is recommended when switching between different ROMs, or even for significant changes to the same ROM (say, CM6 to CM7). Each of the partitions can also be wiped separately from the others - this can help rectify problems such as boot loops and performance issues.

    Wiping the /system partition can be useful in resolving problematic installs. This can be done directly from the menu in Clockworkmod, though there is also a zip that can be flashed from recovery to perform a complete wipe:
    Extreme Wipe - provided by temasek

    The developer will typically specify if you need to wipe, the type of wipe, and may also recommend multiple wipes (just for good measure).

    Installing (flashing) from recovery is again done by selecting the appropriate menu option. Most custom ROMs are available in a flashable zip, which is compiled specifically for flashing. There are usually two options to flash a zip from recovery. Typically the option to "flash zip from SD card" is used, because it allows zips of any name to be installed (which provides better file management options). The option to "flash" provides no advantage over the other method, and is less flexible (you can only flash files named "" that are located on the SD card).

    Flashing GAPPS from recovery is performed similar to installing the ROM.

    ROM Manager

    ROM Manager is an app available from the Android Market, and requires Clockworkmod recovery to be installed (available through the app itself). The app provides a simplified way to flash ROMs, using a familiar graphical interface approach, which some people may feel more comfortable using.

    ROM Manager has the option to download ROMs through the app itself, and then install them, or you can install ROMs already downloaded to your SD.

    The options and functions of ROM manager are similar to the options available within Clockworkmod recovery.


    This is the final way to flash a ROM although to do this you will have to have an unlocked bootloader.

    Place the files in the directory where you have fastboot on your computer then boot your phone into fastboot and connect the usb cable. Then in a cmd prompt go to where you have fastboot and the files and type the following commands:
    NOTE: "//"are comments on the last line
    fastboot erase system
    //this will erase the system data so you can flash the new ROM in it's place
    fastboot erase userdata
    //this will wipe user data
    fastboot update (then the filename of the ROM you want to install)
    //this will flash the ROM
    fastboot reboot
    //this will reboot the phone

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