Custom Rom – “Why Root?” Part 4

For this part of the conversation about Root we will talk about Custom Roms.

All of the internets are a buzz talking about Custom Roms. You may be asking yourself, “What is a Custom Rom?”  Well (put simply) it is an alternate build of the operating system for your android device.  So let’s describe it this way. Android is an Open Source operating system.  This means that the source code is all accessible to the common man.  So someone (or a group.corporation) can take the source code and make various changes/improvements.  So once installed it could have a different look, removed bloatware, added apps and features.

A couple of great examples of high quality custom roms are Cyanogenmod and MIUI. Both of these are available for a long list of devices and give you some very cool (and very different from each other) features. Cyanogenmod gives you a more Android stock look, preloaded with ADW Launcher and a bunch of preloaded features like tethering and different settings. On the other hand, with MIUI you get a totally redesigned launcher and menu system.  The software doesn’t have a menu tray, it preloads all of your apps into the expandable number of screens. You can sort them however you want, and add widgets too.
Check out these youtube videos.The MIUI videos are all in Japanese, but the software is available in English.

There are a couple ways to install either of these 2 custom roms to your phone, but today I will be covering the easy way, because if there is an easy way to do something why would you do it the hard way? So what is this easy way, you might be asking?  Well it is through an app called Rom Manager.

Rom Manager is a pretty simple looking app that gives you a few cool options. First off, to make it work you have to choose the first option at the top of the app, “Flash ClockworkMod  Recovery”.  What this does is overwrites the phones boot menu.  The manufacturer puts together a bootloader menu to give a few simple options if the phone’s software gets corrupt.  This overwrites it with a different menu that just adds a few options there.  This allows the phone to be easily flashed with non manufacturer software.

Once this is complete you can install a file downloaded from the developer’s website, or browse compatible roms right through the “Download ROM” menu.  Depending on what model phone you have it will give you a list of compatible roms, complete with screenshots, ratings and comments.

Once you choose the ROM it will download it and alert you when finished. Then it will give you the option to backup your current setup, and wipe your data (which I usually do).  Once you hitok it will reboot itself into the bootloader screen and do the options you have specified.  Then it will reboot into your new setup.  Try it out, see what you think, and if you don’t like what you see (provided you chose the Backup option) all you have to do is choose the “Manage and Restore Backups” option (Not shown in screenshots, scroll down on main menu to see it) and it will let you restore to your previous state.

So go out and try it!  Just make sure you are completely backup up before starting.  The cool thing about the recovery is that once flashed onto your phone (through the app) you have an extra step of protection on your phone for backups.  Also remember that we are not responsible for any damage or data loss.

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