Should I try rooting my HTC One X?
March 17, 2014 5:37 PM   Subscribe

I am a little unhappy with my two-year-old HTC One X, mainly because of HTC's irritating firmware/software "updates" that have reduced the core functionality of the phone. Should I try rooting it and installing a new custom ROM? I am not terribly tech-savvy, but can follow instructions.

The biggest problem at the moment is the fact that my HTC One X does not recognize our home Wifi network. It happened suddenly, and it has happened before. It's also a common problem with the One X (no, it is not the "wireless antenna has jostled loose" problem either). The phone does connect to any and all other WiFi networks, just not our home routers (the problem has occurred on different routers and the easiest fix is to rename the damn router, but that doesn't always work either).

Also, a misconfigured firmware updated on the part of HTC means the battery runs hot and runs down fast.

I'm also not a fan of how slow and unresponsive Sense IU can become. We have a new Nexus tablet with stock Android, and it just works. I'm hoping to somehow replicate that experience on my phone.

I'm not tech savvy particularly, but I can follow instructions.

However, rooting a phone seems quite risky. The phone is out of warranty anyway, so the biggest risk would be bricking the device, which would suck.

Any thoughts or considerations?
posted by KokuRyu to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
BTW I am familiar with XDA -
posted by KokuRyu at 5:38 PM on March 17, 2014

Go for it. Rooting itself is pretty easy, though installing custom ROMs can be a headache. Here are things you can do to mitigate disaster:

- read as much as you can on XDA's One X forum and become familiar with all the terminology if you haven't already
- check for any over the air updates for your phone
- before rooting, copy your images to your computer if they're not already synced to a cloud
- after rooting, flash a custom recovery (TWRP or ClockworkMod)
- make full recovery backup (System, Data and Boot), and copy the backup folder (found in directory TWRP/BACKUPS/xxxxx) to your computer
- go bananas with flashing custom ROMs.

Additional things you can do include backing up your SMS messages, apps, etc. with a utility like MyBackup Root/Pro or Titanium Backup, and copy the backup file to your computer. I use the former, and the backup file directories are in rerware/MyBackup. Instead of restoring apps/settings, I usually just allow the auto-installation the phone goes through after a full wipe, or manually install apps again (sometimes restored apps don't behave right, for some reason).

Keep in mind that most flashes will NOT touch your media data: your images and stuff found on your SDCard or the sdcard folder will not be affected. When performing recommended wipes (Dalvik cache, System, Data, Cache), your sdcard won't get wiped (note: this applies only to custom recoveries such as TWRP or ClockworkMod). Wiping internal storage, performing a factory reset, flashing an RUU _WILL_ wipe everything. If you're totally starting from scratch and want a clean phone, I'd go ahead and wipe everything.

If you're totally boned and you brick your phone, you can usually save it by flashing an RUU. Look for threads labeled as "return to stock" or something similar.

Read the custom ROM threads fully and carefully before deciding what to flash. You can get a decent sense of which ROMs work well and which have problems based on people's comments.

Finally, you might want to make sure that your phone is recognized by your computer and that you're able to run ADB commands _BEFORE_ you start flashing anything. Phones are finicky, and some cables work while others don't. Check this thread out.

One X-specific all-in-one info post is found here.

Good luck!
posted by herrdoktor at 6:15 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't have a One X so I can't speak to the specifics of that phone, but I'm at about your level of tech-savvy from the sounds of it, and I rooted my phone (Galaxy Nexus) and installed a custom ROM with only minor glitches, all of which were easily findable and fixable with a few Googles. Don't freak out if at some point along the way something goes sideways - it's almost always recoverable.

I would set aside a good 2-3 hours to do it the first time; subsequent updates will take substantially less time (like a few minutes), because you'll be more familiar with the process (and a lot of the heavy lifting is done the first time you flash a new ROM). The first time through, though, you need to be deliberate and figure out what you're doing as you do it, so it'll take a while.

We have a new Nexus tablet with stock Android, and it just works. I'm hoping to somehow replicate that experience on my phone.

a wee plug: Cyanogenmod is what I use, and it's pretty damn close to stock Android. I like it a lot. The support community's pretty solid, too, especially for the more popular phones. Don't use the installer, though - do it yourself.

Seconding what herrdoktor said - no matter what you do, back up your stuff first. You may not think it's a big deal, but it can be.
posted by pdb at 8:31 PM on March 17, 2014

You could do this, yes.

OTOH if you don't want the hassle and just want it to be functional again, you can back up everything and do a factory reset. Then never install a firmware upgrade. The downside is that any big security holes that were fixed in the past two years will be open again. But it should work like it did two years ago (a tiny bit slower).

Also... It's been awhile since I had something that wasn't a nexus, but I believe you can clear your home screens and just install a different launcher (or use the basic android launcher) like launcherpro or nova launcher, etc. No more sense. But I think it still runs in the background which is why you need to clear those home screens of shortcuts and widgets. No root necessary.
posted by K.P. at 10:45 AM on March 18, 2014

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