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March 6, 2014

How to ROOT Android mobile device, unlock boot-loader, install Custom Recovery and more [NEXUS DEVICES]


So you have got an Android device and like to know about the fashionable yet useful thing called "Rooting" or you own a Nexus device and searching for a hassle-free method of exploring the skeletons of your powerful device ? 

This article will try to explain and simplify the steps that go into unlocking a device boot-loader, enabling root permissions, installing custom recovery software, replacing the kernel with a custom feature-packed one.

Also it will tell how to undo and restore your device back to original.



This article assumes that the reader has a general understanding of the terms like, unlocking boot-loader, custom recovery, custom kernel etc. Lot of content is available online that will help give general understanding of processes and terms involved in such type of android system modifications. Knowing about such technicalities before actually performing on your device, makes it more interesting, safe and helps in the learning curve.

[You may also search in forums like XDA Developers, Android Central, RootzWiki etc for well established and reliable methods and information about rooting and third-party modifications]


Unlocking, rooting, installation of custom recovery and ROMs etc can be done using a combination of adb commands from PC and utilizing the physical buttons of the device. Usage of commands may not be comfortable to all who want to try. So developers have developed device specific Tool-kits which help in hassle-free modifications of the Android OS.

A Toolkit is basically a software that is opened on a PC connected to the android device and helps in performing modifications like unlocking, rooting, flashing custom kernels & ROMs etc.   
    
We'll be using the Nexus Root Toolkit Ver 1.8.1 by WugFresh specially made for NEXUS Devices (like Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 7 (2012), Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 10 etc)

What makes NRT 1.8.1 by WugFresh, a easy tool is that the user need not worry about finding appropriate files online or do manual press of buttons in the boot-loader/fastboot modes. Almost everything is automated and performed by the Tool-Kit using scripts and auto-downloaded files.


Getting ready before rooting and modifying the device:

1. Download the Nexus Root Toolkit 1.8.1 by WugFresh

Visit the official site of WugFresh: http://www.wugfresh.com/nrt/. Download the Toolkit from there. You can also Donate to the developer for helping you out. 

or

Directly Download the NRT 1.8.1 Toolkit here: Nexus Root Toolkit 1.8.1 and save it on your PC.


2. Install the Toolkit on your PC:

Click and install the already downloaded Toolkit file. Allow the toolkit to download necessary files during the installation. It may take time depending upon the internet speed, so keep patience.


[CONNECT THE NEXUS DEVICE TO THE PC USING A USB CABLE]

Go to Settings>>About Tablet/Phone>>Tap on Build number 7 times.

Now go back to Settings>>Developer options>>check mark USB debugging

Also go back to Settings>>Storage>>click on the top-right USB computer connection>>check mark the Camera (PTP)

Note to click OK whenever pop-up asking for permission to activate USB debugging shows up.


3. Driver Installation (will enable the usage of ADB commands later)

Open the Nexus Root Toolkit from Windows button>>All Programs

If the USB and ADB drivers are not already installed on the PC and tested, please go through the steps to install them: Click Initial Setup. Follow the steps to install drivers.




[Disclaimer: Rooting and modifying if not done with care have minute chances of damaging the device. So take full responsibility for your actions] [Learn a little bit in general to raise confidence level] 



4.  Unlocking Boot-Loader

Before you proceed with this step, you may want to back-up all your media, data and apps etc. Automated back-up/restore like given below may not work sometimes, so also consider backing up media data like videos,songs etc manually to your PC or storage.

Back up Data:

Click on Backup button shown below:


On the following window, click on Create Android Backup File :


Following pop up will show up:


Click OK to continue or Cancel to avoid doing a back-up.


Click Save to initiate the back up process:


Click OK. Unlock the screen of your device. Press the "Backup my data" button to start backup:

When the back-up completes, following pop up would show up:




Note that all data on the device will be wiped during Unlocking procedure as part of a standard security measure.

Click on the Unlock button shown below:


  
Click Ok button so that following window opens up:


Click Yes button if you don't want to manually go into the boot-loader mode and the script will take care of that. Click No if you are already in the boot-loader mode.

Following pop-up will be shown:

  

Use the VOLUME button on the device to highlight the "YES" and press the POWER button to select it.

Wait while it processes; It may take some time for the device to boot back. During this time, following pop-up will show up on the PC. Read it:



After the device boots back, the Setup screen is shown. You may skip those and reach home screen. Go to Settings>>Developer Options>>check mark "USB debugging"

If "Developer Options" is hidden, go to Settings>>About Device>>Tap the Build Number 7 times.

and it would show up.

Click OK to finish the script. With that you have successfully UNLOCKED the boot-loader of your device.

Now you may proceed with ROOTING and flashing Custom Recovery (TWRP custom recovery).


5. Rooting and Flashing Custom Recovery

Check mark if you also want a Custom Recovery to be flashed to the device. Leave it unchecked if you don't want to. Custom recovery is basically used to help in flashing custom ROMs, Kernels, taking Nandroid Backups etc.

Then click Root button shown below:



Following pop up would open:



Click OK to proceed with rooting and/or flashing custom recovery.

Wait for the process to complete. Meanwhile following messages will appear indicating the flashing and rooting process:




After successful completion of rooting and/or flashing the custom recovery, the device will boot back and following pop up will show up on the PC:



Open the App drawer of your device. Look for the app called BusyBox and open it. Do as instructed on the pop up or same shown in above picture. When done, click OK to finish the rooting process.

Your Device is now Rooted ! Now you can install those feature apps that require root access.

Also a Custom Recovery has been flashed onto the device. You are now capable of installing custom kernels like FRANCO or ElementalX, custom ROMs like CyanogenMod or AOSP !




Note: Please verify the Integrity of files that are downloaded. Improper files may cause flashing errors on the mobile device. So, use following tool: HashCheck 







 
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