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How to: Root Android 2.1

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UPDATE: FULL GUIDE TO ROOTING ANDROID 2.1 HERE.

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This is a post I was attempting to avoid over the weekend, but I’ve received enough interest in the process that I figured, “What the heck, let’s do this.”  While the 2.1 update hasn’t actually been rooted, there are some steps you can take to get from stock 2.0.1 to rooted 2.1.  Let me just say that again…

2.1 HAS NOT BEEN ROOTED.  There is no way to go from stock 2.1 to rooted 2.1.

However, if you want to take the risk of returning back to stock 2.0.1 and then applying a new update.zip, you can move forward to 2.1 with root access and fly around the globe enjoying some custom ROM-ness.  So if you are with me, this is how we do it.

*Warning* – The process we are about to layout is extremely risky.  If you choose to do this, we are not liable should you brick your phone or cause any sort of permanent damage.  If you do harm to your phone, please do not email us asking for help as you have already been warned and accept all risk involved. Cheers!

First steps:  Returning back to stock 2.0.1

In order to get to 2.1 rooted, you have to return to stock 2.0.1.  Do not attempt to get to 2.1 rooted without returning to stock first.  There are a few options for returning you to stock below, choose the one that best suits your situation.

1.  If you have already updated to the official 2.1 follow the steps at this post.
2.  If you are running a 2.1 custom ROM like Cyanogen, follow the steps at this post.
3.  If are running DroidMod, follow the steps at this post.

Rooting Steps:  Stock 2.0.1 to Rooted 2.1

DO NOT ROOT YOUR STOCK 2.0.1.  If you root 2.0.1 and then apply this method, you could do some serious damage to your phone.  Please make sure you are STOCK.  If not, do not go forward with this.  You should not have the superuser ninja in your app drawer!

1.  Download the 2.1 update.zip file from our manual update post.  update.zip (alt link)
2.  Once downloaded, name it update-2.zip and place it on your desktop.
3.  Download this file, rename to droid-ESE81-update-2.zip and place it on your desktop.
4.  Open the command prompt (Start>Run>cmd) on your PC and type the following commands:

cd Desktop
copy /b update-2.zip+droid-ESE81-update-2.zip update.zip

5.  If done correctly, this will create a file called update.zip.
6.  Mount your Droid via USB and place this new update.zip file in the root of your SD card.
7.  Unplug your phone and reboot into recovery.  (Hold Power + X)
8.  Once the exclamation pops up, hit volume up and camera button (half way) at the same time.
9.  Using the d-pad, choose “apply update.zip”.
10.  Reboot and BAM!  2.1 rooted goodness!

If you run into bumps along the way, the community here has really grown, so feel free to post questions in the comments and there is a pretty good chance someone has a simple answer for you.

AND IF YOU HAVE KERNEL QUESTIONS, VISIT THIS POST.

Enjoy!

Source:  Alldroid

  • Henkdeboer

    (Hold Power + X)

    X ?

    what button may that be?

  • Bigdaveberg

    when i try to install the sbf file with rsdlite, trsdlite says flash failed platform wrong.
    I have flashed my phone 3 times already before, but now i need to send it in for a repair and i am trying to get back to 2.1 unroot, which i have but the ninja icon is still there in the home screen even though i get permission deny with terminal.. any help… it is verizon droid.

  • Bigdaveberg

    When i try and go back to 2.0.1 with the sbf file rsdlite says the phone is not in the right platform. any help?

  • Bigdaveberg

    when i try to install the sbf file with rsdlite, trsdlite says flash failed platform wrong.
    I have flashed my phone 3 times already before, but now i need to send it in for a repair and i am trying to get back to 2.1 unroot, which i have but the ninja icon is still there in the home screen even though i get permission deny with terminal.. any help… it is verizon droid.

  • Bigdaveberg

    When i try and go back to 2.0.1 with the sbf file rsdlite says the phone is not in the right platform. any help?

  • johnny

    Hey so can I do all of this on a mac?
    thanks

  • johnny

    Hey so can I do all of this on a mac?
    thanks

  • anonomys89894

    there is a way to root 2.1, open your eyes

  • dylan

    will doing this allow me to overclock? i used rom manager to get the stock 2.1 rom with root and it wouldnt let me overclock past 550mhz, the default

    • evltwn

      try uploading a new kernel. there is a link at the top of the page.

  • doublea007

    Okay, I'm here again. It must be bad news. Well I have the super users permission ninja now, but I can't get any roms. I've downloaded that DM Uploader and that's where everything stopped. I'm crushed. Once I downloaded DMU it automatically said I needed to upgrade to 1.1. There was no other choice. Now that doesn't work. It keeps asking me to check a permissions block that never appeared on the phone. I have done a few things searching around on this site and all the recommended ones also. Still no way to fix this? I would've loved to just do the ROM Flash with the sp recovery but the jay rummy links were bad and simply stunning wouldn't load into my droid. CAN ANYONE OUT THERE HELP? Is there a way to get back to stock 2.1 so I can try the SP Recovery thing again? Am I just wasting my time with the whole thing? I'm not an engineer so any help would be appreciated….especially if it works.

  • doublea007

    Finally did it and I'm glad to report “WE HAVE NINJA! I repeat, the NINJA is in the building!” So what next?

  • doublea007

    Okay. As of now I am having nothing but troubles. I've tried the SPflash recovery ROM addition…it didn't work, and now I'm having problems rooting my droid the old fashioned way. I've typed everything into my computer exactly as it says in this post, but at the cmd prompt it just says it can't find these files. What next? I gotta believe that rooting my phone is worth all this hassle! The Verizon wireless site is down now too and I cant even reactivate my phone. :-( Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I'm going to bed. I hope someone can finally set me straight on this process.
    goodnight all!

  • CrushXBeast

    I'm runnin windows 7 I did everything as told. I confirmed the correct spelling and punctuation of both files.

    C:UsersCrushDesktop>copy /b update-2.zip+droid-ESE81-update-2.zip update.zip
    The system cannot find the file specified.

    that is the error that I keep getting.
    I've even pasted the filenames in the rename fields. I've also pasted the command to make sure it was all correct. I bet its probally something simple. Someone lend a hand.

  • giovanni

    the first post for “1.Returning back to stock 2.0.1″ has difficult instructions!!!!!!

  • gregory

    using the above procedure, how do I confirm that my droid is rooted?

  • andrew401

    http://droidmod.org/android/2-1-sp-recovery-sbf/ i found this a little while ago for people who have 2.1 OTA and want to root. i wish someone would tell me how to use it tho lol because i am new to this. in the link it says no more downgrading or anything just flash the image but i have no idea what i'm doing. someone please give me steps that knows their droid well

  • Giovanni

    MAKE VIDEOEOO!!

  • Giovanni

    MAKE VIDEOOOOO
    PLEASEEEE

  • Giovanni

    make a videooooooooooo
    PLEASEEE!!!!!!!

  • Giovanni

    make a video of this shytttt come on!!!!!! videosss are simplier

  • http://www.whatsyourissue.tv/ HeathCliff Rothman

    How before there is a process that is not totally RISKY to go to rooted 2.1?

  • ak1

    i am running Mac OSX on my desktop and i cannot run the command prompt to combine the files.

    is there a reason why this file must be combined on your local computer?

    would someone be so kind as to post this result file “update.zip” so that i can root?

    thanks!

  • Justin Latham

    hey can someone help me out I get back to stock and then I can't install my new update zip file. it gets an error in recovery mode after I push apply update from zip it comes up with an error.

  • Brower

    I would like to tell everyone my mistakes I made so maybe all of you can learn from them. I'm not a genius with this kind of stuff but I know enough. First off it says:

    2. Once downloaded, name it update-2.zip and place it on your desktop.
    3. Download this file, rename to droid-ESE81-update-2.zip and place it on your desktop.

    When you rename them, DO NOT add the .zip part, This is already included in the name as it is a .zip file.
    So just rename then update-2 and droid-ESE81-update-2

    Another thing, I actually reinstalled 2.0 instead of 2.0.1 on my droid. If you get an error when on step 9 you don't have the right version.

    Stupid mistakes? Yes, but at least this might solve some problems people are having.

    By the way Kellex this is my first post and Droid-Life.com is amazing.

    • Brower

      Don't know why that posted twice… lol my bad

  • Brower

    I would like to tell everyone my mistakes I made so maybe all of you can learn from them. I'm not a genius with this kind of stuff but I know enough. First off it says:

    2. Once downloaded, name it update-2.zip and place it on your desktop.
    3. Download this file, rename to droid-ESE81-update-2.zip and place it on your desktop.

    When you rename them, DO NOT add the .zip part, This is already included in the name as it is a .zip file.
    So just rename then update-2 and droid-ESE81-update-2

    Another thing, I actually reinstalled 2.0 instead of 2.0.1 on my droid. If you get an error when on step 9 you don't have the right version.

    Stupid mistakes? Yes, but at least this might solve some problems people are having.

    By the way Kellex this is my first post and Droid-Life.com is amazing.

  • datguy

    When I am applying the update.zip, it says signature verification failed and Installation aborted… Help?

    • Brower

      Are using 2.0.1? If not then this will not work

    • evltwn

      Choose the option to “allow sd card installation.” then try applying the update.zip.

  • datguy

    do i have to extract the files from the zip folder first or just leave them?

  • Billyhouse

    What a scary ordeal. I finally figured out what i was doing wrong an got back to 2.0.1 took the next step and went to rooted 2.1 After i go and change my diaper maybe someone can give me the next step to getting a rom and overclocked. I've had my Droid for almost a month and i've gone from stock 2.0 to rooted to unrooted to 2,1 updated back to 2.0 and then to rooted 2.1 Thanks to those that gave me advice along the way.

  • SteveoC

    can I overclock without having cyanogen and just the rooted 2.1?

  • Mike

    I downloaded all the programs but I cant install any of them…whenever I try to open RSDlite it asks me what program I want to run it with…can anyone help me out on this issue?

    • redbxstr

      Mike, you are trying to run an executable on the mac. It is like apples and PCs :-) You need to do this all on a PC. It works very smoothly.

  • teejaytm

    ok so what if I have a mac??? Does the process go down the same or no? Can you please post a video on how to do this?

  • cylentz

    anyone help? i did First steps: Returning back to stock 2.0.1, then Rooting Steps: Stock 2.0.1 to Rooted 2.1… and i dont have the superninja? i double checked every part that i was suppose to do while doing it… please help!!!

    • radioactive2008

      I have the same problem…

  • DESPREATe

    I keep the error
    E: can't open/ cache/recovery/command
    signature verification failed, installation aborted

    I reverted to 2.0 from official 2.1.

    Help

    • redbxstr

      Here is your problem like I had. Make sure that you use a PC. I was downloading to a mac and using a jump drive to bring to a PC… No good. Do the entire procedure on the PC. Also make sure you change the name right at the point when you downloaded and it says save to desktop.Just change the name and leave out the .zip extension. It is there already. Change it BEFORE it hits your desktop. Also bring it onto your SD card's root by using the usb connect function on the droid. Of course be careful with the command lines, and take your time. It works, My Droid is now rooted. I am using the Barnacle WiFi and it works great with MACs or PCs and it is pretty quick. You may notice that the Verizon update still wants to deliver the 2.1 update, and it gets annoying. I followed instructions by Perigee?, and downloaded an called Best Terminal from the market, so I could change the name on the file. Cost $3.99 but now no update notifications, and accidental installs of an update that would break the ROOT permissions. This forum is great and the procedure is so easy, just follow simple protocols, like I mentioned, and it works.

    • REDBXSTR

      Also I reverted originally from the official 2.1 update 1 to the 2.0.1 before I did anything else like they said.
      Look at your procedure carefully. It is probably a simply little something that gets in the way.

  • Billyhouse

    Can someone give me some advice? I'm about to try and return to 2.0.1 but when i downloaded the files and started to install the 16-bit usb drivers on computer(xp) it would not and said i had a more up to date version already installed. Question is can i still move forward or do i need to install the 32-bit drivers? Last question, when holding up on dpad how long am i holding it and am i waiting for a certain screen to appear?

  • patrick41

    it will not manually return to stock android 2.0.1
    got the update and it unrooted my phone now it is
    unrooted at 2.1
    HELP

  • patrick41

    it will not manually return to stock android 2.0.1
    update unrooted my phone and will root back.
    HELP

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EQWU7NNWKCLGYTMWLF3ZDRNTNU David

    Awesome! Followed directions exactly, and got expected results! Took a couple hours….All to install Barnicle. Now I am not stuck inside with my iPad (which IS awesome)

    Thanks

  • Ian

    Uhh for some reason I downgrade fine and update just fine, all the steps seem to work without a hitch but for some reason it seems I do not recieve root. Any help?

    • Mike

      Same here. I downloaded both files and ran the copy command and the update installed without a hitch. I downloaded ROM Manager and ran Flash ClockworkMod Recovery and it tells me an error occurred attempting to run privileged commands

      • Mike

        Update. I got it to work by going back to stock 2.01 using RSDLite. I was then able to apply the update and I now have root working on 2.1.

  • Dracul

    I finally got this 2 work 4 me & it's working good & I'm rooted…lol Thanks KELLEX. I do have 2 questions 4 u or the droid-life team. 1- how do i get the OTS note 2 stop? 2- Can I get the CyanogenMod on the 2.1 and overclocked? Thanks again.

    • mathewdev

      once your on a custom rom the notices should stop. I'm not sure if you can accept the update and the install will be blocked see the newest article, it says if your on droidmod or something not really sure. I got the notices when I went back to 2.0.1 right away, I just ignored them clicked install later, and then I downloaded rom manager and chose my rom. If you did all the steps it actually gets your phone to a rooted 2.1update-1 with ese81 the newest build of cyanogen is based off of this build you may still have to do a radio update which you will need to activate your phone. Another hickup I had was it wouldn't activate for some reason I thought it had to do with my phone did reset and everything but I later found out that sometimes the activations don't work and you have to wait it out.

      You can't overclock right away, Koush has decided not to add the kernel that let's you overclock, you have to choose your kernel after you've installed the Cyanogen. Go to main menu of rom manager enable developer mode by pressing menu key then hitting the developer, then go to download rom – cyanongenmod – bekit kernels, then choose your kernel. You can read about kernels in the forums aswell and they have an overview on what the kernels are and their settings. An app called setcpu $1.99 will let you overclock your droid in real time there's also a video that kellex made about setcpu..

      • Dracul

        I got the ROM Manager, I haven't did anything w/ it cause it said that I
        have 2 have the clockworkmod recovery installed 2 flash & restore ROM. I
        can't find that, can u point me n the right direction?

        • rberscheid

          if you have rom manager then when you tap it to open it up it is at the very top. it simply reads ” flash clockwork Recovery” Just hit that and it will flash it on its own.

          • Dracul

            i saw that, but wasn't sure if i had the clockworkmod, cuase it said that i
            had 2 have it…lol but i'll tap it & c, thanks 4 all ur help… sry 4 all
            the ?s

      • Dracul

        sry 4 all the questions, as u can tell I'm very new 2 this and want 2 make
        sure I'm doing things right & not end up w/ a brick…lol

  • rberscheid

    For the renaming of the programs all you have to do it right click and hit rename. The first file should show up as “update” and be in a zipped file. Right click, go down to rename and then type in “update-2″ without quotation marks. If it doesnt originally show the extension the you do not have to typ the .zip portion.
    The same goes for the second file “droid-ESE81-updat&#” is how it shows up on the desktop. Right click it go down to rename and type in “droid-ESE81-update-2″ without the quotes. then hit enter. Again if it doesnt show the.zip extension then there is no reason to type it again.
    When you go to start, then go to run and type in cmd. It will bring up the black box witht he command prompt in it. If you are not sure whether or not you are typing it in correctly then copy it form this post.
    Copy this “cd Desktop” witthout the quotes paste it in and hit enter. Then copy this “copy /b update-2.zip+droid-ESE81-update-2.zip update.zip” without the quotes paste it it and hit enter. That is all that you have to do. It will automatically create the file on your desktop. Then just close out the command prompt box and transfer the update file from your desktop to your phone. Make sure to move any other update.zip file out of your root on your phone before you put this one there to make sure you install the correct one.

  • rberscheid

    Here are some of the issues I ran into doing and the workarounds that i found.
    First, it doesnt matter if you download 2.00 or 2.01. The difference is 2.01 is the last updat before 2.1. make sure you save it to a seperate file and not the desktop. it wont work right if it is sitting on yor desktop.
    Second, if you are not sure whether you need 32 bit or 64 bit then most likely you need the 32 bit. You would know if you needed the 64 bit.
    Third, make sure to downlaod and install RSD Lite before you downlaod and install the Motorola USB drivers. If you have downloaded the drivers first then just uninstall, restart your computer, install RSD lite then the drivers. This is where i ran into most of my problems. i kept getting flash incomplete or RAM loader errors and all sorts of things. If you are still having issues, then on the Motorola program click the button for clean and reinstall and then restart your computer.
    Fourth, make sure to connect your phone USB while it is on, then reboot it while holding up on the D pad if you are in landscape mode (wide) and Right on the D pad if you are in portrait mode (tall). You will know if you did it right because you will see a screen that says program mode and i think it says method of transfer USB. At that point you should be able to start RSD Lite, click on the “….” button and direct it to where you saved the .sbf file. double click the .sbf file and hit start. Dont freak out if it takes a while. When you are done it will restart itself and you will have to reactivate it. dont worry the phone makes the call on its own.
    Good luck, i know I thought for a while i screwed up my phone, but with a lot of searching i was able to fix it. The biggest key for me was making sure RSD was installed first and then when I had issues I restarted my computer and it worked.

    • mathewdev

      what os do you have.. I didn't have as many issues as you had, maybe it's due to the os? I'm running windows 7 64-bit. I've also learned reading allot of forums helps.

      • rberscheid

        im running windows xp 32 bit.

        • mathewdev

          I'm glad you worked out all the issues. Maybe it will solve the enumeration issue! And it's good to have a failsafe just incase your droid has issues!

          • Bruce Cambell

            I read elsewhere that the re-enumeration issue is related to older, slower usb ports. If you try the process on a computer that has usb 2.0 ports it eliminates the re-enumeration failure issue.

    • Billyhouse

      Thanks for the information you gave me. I had tried it twice and could not get it to start at all. The problem was i was not in the right program. I didn't hit the dpad soon enough so i kept missing the right area. It failed the first time so i downloaded all the files to my 10 year olds computer and made sure i didn't put the drivers on the desktop and did not install them first and it worked fine. Sign back in and activated the phone and when back to the market and almost made the mistake of updating back to 2.1 Thanks for giving this information it helped alot.

  • durangojim

    I followed the above instructions, and have the little ninja guy, but if I go to terminal and type su I get a response of permission denied, and I can't run barnacle. Any ideas?

    • mathewdev

      from what I've read as long as you have the ninja your rooted. But I could be wrong.

  • Dracul

    I got both files downloaded on my desktop. I do the start>run>cmd, and type n everything u told me 2. I hit the enter key and it say that it can't find the file & doesn't make a update.zip file. what am i doing wrong?

    • mathewdev

      type dir then enter it should give you a list of files if it's not there then right click the file and check the location then you can type “cd (location of the file) eg. cd c:usersdesktopdownloads

      • Dracul

        I have the 2.1 update waiting on my phone, but i want 2 root & get the
        custom roms. do i still follow the step u have n ur blog or is there away 4
        ppl that still has 2.0.1?

        • mathewdev

          Once your at 2.0.1 you have plenty of options, Rom manager is your best bet once your rooted you can pretty much choose what rom you want.

      • Dracul

        is there anomther way 4 2.0.1 users, sorry 4 the misprint