Falling Down the Custom ROM Rabbit Hole
October 8, 2012 9:55 AM   Subscribe

I have a rooted Samsung Galaxy S 4g (model t959v) running Gingerbread. I need assistance with learning about custom ROMs, could you point me in the right direction please?

For various reasons I want to install a different ROM on my phone but I'm almost a total noob at this sort of thing. In order to avoid bricking my phone, where would you guys recommend I look for reliable, clear, concise info? The places such as XDA-Developers seem too advanced for me -- what's Nandroid? What's a kernel? So I tried Lifehacker, they recommended I start with Cyanogenmod, but from what I can tell my particular phone model is not supported. Is there a list somewhere of the ROMs that are supported by my phone? I found this but whoa, is it really that complicated, should I just forget it? Mostly I just want to remove all the bloatware that came with my phone. I keep getting notices that my system memory is low. Many thanks in advance.
posted by miaou to Technology (4 answers total)
http://forum.xda-developers.com/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_S/SGH-T959V/List_of_ROMs is the definitive list with instructions for all. Custom ROMs are not for the faint of heart. From what I understand you can have one installed for $25 or so check on Craig's List.
posted by pdxpogo at 10:21 AM on October 8, 2012

Hmm. They're working on CM10 nightlies for this device so there is some nominal support.

I'm running CM7.2 on my Galaxy S Vibrant (the T-Mobile USA varient) after running some other custom ROM. For me, it wasn't bloatware that was the problem; it was the stupid, stupid, low performance filesystem used by Samsung, which made everything painfully/uselessly slow. I will switch go CM10 when it becomes stable, though a new Nexus phone coming out sooner rather than later will rule out that upgrade.

It's been a while, but, from what I recall, you will want to get Titanium Backup and do a NAND backup so you can restore if something goes awry. You will want to install Clockwork Recovery/ROM Manager and use that to apply the custom ROM. All of this implies rooting the phone.

Actually, the CM wiki has instructions for the Galaxy S line: http://wiki.cyanogenmod.com/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_S:_Full_Update_Guide.
posted by chengjih at 10:35 AM on October 8, 2012

>Hmm. They're working on CM10 nightlies for this device so there is some nominal support.

That's actually a different phone. He has the Galaxy S 4G which is a t-mobile variant of the Galaxy S family.

The t959v is not officially supported by either CM or AOKP. There are unofficial ROMs out there. Here is a thread listing them. It looks like "Release 8" is the newest/stable one:


There are a lot of challenges to installing ROMs. If you're rooted you probably have CWM installed, so ideally you can just wipe the phone and install that release8 zip file. If you properly backup your existing ROM then you should be able to recover if you screw this up. Read up on guides on installing ROMs on the standard Galaxy S phone. Just replace the rom in those instructions with the ROM from this link.

Frankly, its such an old phone it may not even be worth all this trouble. You can probably sell it and get a used galaxy s2 for a song and install a stable CM9 or stable CM10 nightly and have a really nice phone.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:08 PM on October 8, 2012

I don't want to be discouraging, but if you're looking for clear, concise information on custom Android ROMs, you're going to be disappointed. I also have a phone that did not have official CyanogenMod support, and it took me hours of scouring the depths of the messageboards before finding an ICS ROM that worked with my phone. I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, and if reading stuff beyond Lifehacker and the CyanogenMod boards is over your head, I strongly discourage you from attempting this.

That said, my phone also came with a ton of bloatware. You can easily control most of this through your Google Play account, or you should be able to manually uninstall apps. You should be able to track down the offending process in RAM by using the Manage Apps functionality (assuming you're running ICS).
posted by antonymous at 9:31 AM on October 9, 2012

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