How-To: Root and Install Android 2.2 Froyo On the HTC Droid Incredible

(Update 3: If you’ve already gotten the OTA update to Android 2.2 for your Incredible, the latest version of Unrevoked will still give you root access–as of right now, it’s been pulled down, but there’s numerous ways to keep updated.)

(Update 2: As commentors Asad and Mark pointed out, the latest ROMs require a radio update. Both guys posted some very helpful links down in the comments section.)

(Update: There’s now a working Android 2.2 ROM available for the Incredible that gives you a complete version of Froyo. Check out our post about it for more information.)

On Wednesday, the folks over at Unrevoked released a package that makes it easy to root the Droid Incredible (along with several other HTC phones, including the EVO 4G and Aria). But what does all this mean, exactly?

Last week, we ran through how to install Froyo on a Motorola Droid. While the Incredible technically had a rooting solution available since June, Unrevoked’s package now makes it a breeze to install Froyo on the phone.

A quick warning: when it comes to playing around with your phone’s internals, there’s always the risk of turning your Incredible into a $199 paperweight, so remember to make a backup and follow the instructions. Once you root your Incredible, it’s easy to install a custom ROM and for this guide, we’re going to use Sky Raider, a Froyo ROM made by xda-developers forum member ihtfp69.

Checklist:

  • HTC Droid Incredible running stock Android 2.1
  • Unrevoked v3.1 package (Versions exist for Mac, Linux and Windows, but for the guide, we went with Windows—the general process is still the same, so just adjust the directions accordingly if you’re on a different platform)
  • A custom ROM (You can find Sky Raider here)
  • Unrevoked modified USB driver (which you can find here)

Part One: Phone Setup and Root

  1. Download Unrevoked’s modified USB driver. Save it somewhere that’s easy to locate.
  2. Set the Incredible to debug mode. Under Settings, go to Applications and then Development. Plug in the phone.
  3. Connect the phone to your PC and install the first driver. A Found New Hardware Wizard window will pop up here—direct the window to the folder where the USB driver is located and run through the wizard.
  4. Go to HBOOT. Turn off the phone and once it’s off, hold down the volume down and power button to boot into the HBOOT menu.
  5. Install the second driver. While still in HBOOT mode, plug in the phone again to bring up another Found New Hardware Wizard window. Again, direct the wizard to the USB driver’s folder and let it go automatically.
  6. Open the package and launch reflash.exe. Unzip the Unrevoked package into a folder and look for reflash.exe. Here’s the easiest part of the whole guide. Launch reflash.exe and let the client run automatically. Once it’s done, congratulations—your Incredible now has root!

Part Two: Installing Froyo

Besides root, Unrevoked also also installs ClockworkMod Recovery, a handy replacement to the default recovery client. When you’re installing the ROM, you’ll be spending a lot of there, so it’d be worthwhile to familiarize yourself its functions.

  1. Back up any files through Windows. You’ll be doing a full wipe, so save any files from your phone (ex: photos and videos) you want for later on your PC.
  2. Download Sky Raider. Download Sky Raider 1.7 (click here) and save the zip file directly onto the phone’s SD Card. Later on, you will be able to update to the latest version of Sky Raider.
  3. Boot into ClockworkMod. Boot into HBOOT again by holding down power and volume down once the phone is off. Scroll down and select recovery to boot into ClockworkMod.
  4. Make a backup in Nandroid. Nandroid is a backup management tool that’s included in ClockwordMod. Select Nandroid via the trackball and hit Backup to make a recovery image of the phone, in case anything goes wrong later.
  5. Wipe data. Press the option on ClockworkMod’s main menu to clean off the phone.
  6. Install the ROM. Select “Install ZIP from sdcard” to pull up a listing of the SD Card’s contents. Select the ZIP file and confirm to install.

    Give the installer a few minutes and once you see the screen below, your phone has been updated.
  7. Update to the latest Sky Raider ROM version. After you’ve installed 1.7, it’s time to upgrade to the latest version (as of this writing, 1.9). To do so, you must download the appropriate zip file, store it on your SD card, and repeat steps 3 to 7 above, though you do not need to wipe the phone. The latest Sky Raider update is available here.

How It Works

We installed Sky Raider 1.9 on our Droid Incredible and were impressed with the results, but many features aren’t available yet, since the ROM’s still in beta. Sky Raider’s developer, ihtfp69, says that LED notifications, the Mobile WiFi hotspot and camera aren’t yet shipshape. However, we were able to play Flash content on several websites. Embeded YouTube videos and embedded Flash content on laptopmag.com and homestarrunner.com worked fine, but we didn’t have any success playing video on thedailyshow.com. USB tethering also worked equally well, but with 3G’s limitations, there was still a significant performance bottleneck.

Still, even if the ROM development scene for the Incredible is pretty young—Sky Raider’s first release was on July 10—it’s definitely good to know that the community’s more than capable of picking up and improving the phone beyond the Android 2.1 installation it comes with. If you’re feeling daring enough, try out our guide and let us know how it goes in the comments.

(Very, very special thanks to ihtfp69, xda-developers.com and Unrevoked)

Open the package and launch reflash.exe. Unzip the Unrevoked package into a folder and look for reflash.exe. Here’s the easiest part of the whole guide. Launch reflash.exe and let the client run automatically. Once it’s done, congratulations—your Incredible now has root!
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  1. aquaphoenix Says:

    Rooted & tethered in less than five minutes!! Thanks guys, this rocks!

  2. Ryan Says:

    The install is flawless, easy and all that. Speed performances were awesome.

    But I removed it because anytime you reboot the phone, the phone pushes that SkyRaider background that the package was bundles with.

    I’ll wait for the OTA 2.2 update to have camera functionality and background freedom.

    As far as the makers of SkyRaider, keep kicking ass guys, I appreciate the hard work!

    Another satisfied nandroid user.

  3. road2perfection Says:

    running desire with defrost, pretty darn stable, market FC’s sometimes…
    but the speed.. and the customizeations you can do..
    nomnomnomnom.

    Love it!

    And i can always go back :)

  4. And Says:

    Does anyone here know where can I find information about Incredible’s (or other HTCs) smartphones for development? I mean things like connectors pinouts, volume outpur voltage and current levels, analog outputs, etc.
    Thanks

    A.

  5. ben Says:

    Can anybody tell me if these same instructions (in general) will work for a Sprint Hero? I tried to root and reflash with unrevoked 3 last week and nearly bricked my phone (I’ve never rooted an android phone before, but I loaded a custom ROM on my pocket pc back in the day, so I’m not a total noob), so that was a bit scary and I haven’t tried again since, but these instructions seem to be the most detailed explanation of the process that I’ve seen so far.

  6. quasi Says:

    Ben, no they won’t work, you need to look for instructions for your phone. Each phone has different hardware and will need a different rom.

  7. ben Says:

    @quasi: should’ve worded my question differently. I know the ROM in this guide will not work for my phone. I’m more interested in the steps to complete the rooting process. I’ve downloaded unrevoked 3 for my phone as well as the reflash package. If I can root the phone, I can continue using the stock rom until I decide to download a custom Hero rom (I’ve seen some on XDA that look good but haven’t settled on one yet).

  8. Bobby Says:

    These instructions are useless. Step 1-5 work. The supposedly easy step 6 fails. Do you do this in debug mode? with device powered on? At HBoot? I’ve tried every way, and all I get from reflash.exe “is waiting for bootloader – make sure driver is installed”. Using XP. My device is 3 months old and the effing browser is already corrupted, or I wouldn’t even be screwing with this.

  9. Eric Chiu Says:

    @Bobby

    Both sets of drivers got installed and work fine already, right?

    I rerooted the phone about a second ago and had the phone turned on and in debug mode. After that, reflash.exe worked all right and took the phone to ClockworkMod Recovery.

  10. Bobby Says:

    Got reflash working now. Device has to be set to USB – charge only, not disk drive or other, for adb to work.

  11. Jamie Says:

    yooo which rom 1.9 or 2.0 do i use nd wen it installs abd or wat ever doesnt install correctly is tht the rom portion??

  12. Eric Chiu Says:

    1.9 should be okay if you don’t want to install the OTA radio update, but 2.0 requires the radio for Sky Raider. (and really, there’s not much of a downside to installing the OTA radio in terms of performance)

    ADB’s not the ROM portion either, that’s just for getting root to work properly. Once you root, then you can install the custom ROMs.

  13. Mike Says:

    If I root my phone, will i still receive those updates that are suppose to be released around August 12th.???

  14. Eric Chiu Says:

    OTA updates and root don’t play nicely with each other – versions of the past OTAs are available on XDA, but you’d want to revert back to stock if you want to get the official OTA update from Verizon.

  15. rob Says:

    hey so i have the htc incredible i did this all step for step no problem with the 1.9 zip file everything seemed to be going good when i booted back up it said htc incredible in white(normal) then went to a black screen with like different color moving beams of light/ arrows with a out line of a plus symbol + and wont do anything past there i did the restore so its all good but anyone else get this what did i do wrong ??

  16. tim Says:

    i think the biggest problem for everyone is drivers and patience if reflash.exe doesnt work you r using the wrond drivers open device manager and uninstall the drivers abd check the box to delete them also then unplug and plugback in your device and install the specified drivers then fallow the steps just because the screen isnt constantly changing doesnt mean the device isnt working give it some time mine took up to 15 min on certain steps

  17. Dan Geil Says:

    I love how the “easiest step” is actually the hardest… it goes from being in HBOOT and installing the driver, to telling you to run reflash.exe. What it doesn’t say is that you have to boot the phone normally, turn charge only on, and enable debugging, THEN run reflash.exe.

  18. perogi Says:

    ^ What Dan Geil wrote. I would have saved myself a lot of anguish had I read his post about 30 mins ago. Other than that, the instructions were VERY helpful! Thank you.!!

  19. Mark Says:

    This is a great write-up. It worked well for me. However, I would put something in the beginning of the tutorial about updating the radio. I found that my GPS didn’t work and I couldn’t figure out why. I discovered that the Baseband was 1.x and that was why I was having issues. I had to update the radio, then re-root, then put SkyRaider 2.5 back on. So, it saves time to update the radio before even attempting. Here is a link that has instructions on how to update the radio…

    http://wiki.cyanogenmod.com/index.php?title=Full_Update_Guide_-_HTC_Incredible

  20. Asad Says:

    I agree with Mark. Knowing that I had to update the radio first would have saved a lot of hassle. I found this website really useful: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=737400

  21. atomic pineapple Says:

    Stupid Question Alert.

    Ive recieved my 2.2 update already, if i root my phone or can i continue to use stock rom. If so, do i just stop after rooting and reboot?

  22. Eric Chiu Says:

    Hey A.P.,

    There’s actually a new version of Unrevoked that’ll root any DIs w/OTA Froyo, heading over that way should solve most of your problems.

  23. Tim V. Says:

    Why do you have an update saying that the program you NEED to do this is down (has been for days now) say there are other ways to do it, but don’t mention any of them! I have been going nuts since I got the 2.2 update waiting for a way to root, then they pulled it. I can’t find these “other ways” you talk about, and it’s really starting to piss me off! everyone just shows the unrevoeked way!

  24. frank Says:

    I was able to root my Incredible because reflash/unrevoked worked and showed the “done” status message and I now have Superuser permissions. I uploaded the SkyRaider zip to the sd card but now when I go to hboot and recovery mode, it doesn’t send me to the clockworkmod recovery screen. All it shows is all black with a small strip of white at the bottom. In addition, the clockworkmod screen didn’t pop up automatically after reflash was done. Did I do something wrong? What can I do to fix this?

  25. Mikeeovitch Says:

    I can’t root my Incredible, I’ve tried on mac and pc. On the mac the incredible hangs on reboot after hboot you hear “droid” and then sticks on the red eye screen. With windows it allows the full restart but doesn’t find root. I’m new to android but not os hacking. I can’t find info on current issues.

  26. Jakie Says:

    Mikeeovitch:

    Same here. I have been trying since yesterday for HOURS. I’m stuck at the “waiting to root..(safe to bla bla).” I found a site that says that unrevoked 3 needs to update for Incredible cause the new OTA update won’t work with it now.

    FRANK: Did you install new OTA update?

  27. CW Says:

    Jakie: same problem on a Mac, Incredible hangs at red eye. Do you have URL for the site you mention? Must get these ads off my phone.

  28. Hanksta Says:

    I’m having the same problem with rooting my Incredible. I’ve tried with both PC/MAC with same results as you guys. Any news?

  29. Hanksta Says:

    Never-mind, I found this right after I posted.

    http://phandroid.com/2010/11/24/unrevoked-working-on-fix-for-droid-incredible-root/

  30. Mikeeovitch Says:

    Confirmed that it works on Incredible 3.22 works.

  31. elle gi Says:

    i’m having frank’s problem. did anyone figure out how to make it work from there?

  32. Mike Says:

    would I be able to go back to a factory reset if I wanted

  33. hiniptl Says:

    the device gets rooted after following the steps but,

    >adb pull /data/data/com.sample.test/files/report.xml C:\Report does not work.

    can someone help me with this.

  34. dave Says:

    okay….so how do i get the touch input that i previously had?

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