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Video: Installing Stock 2.1 With Root Access

Last week I posted the video on how to install a custom ROM through SPRecovery and it seemed to be a success.  However, there were still quire a few of you out there that like the stock Droid look and wanted an option to keep but also have root access.  So here we go!

*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!


1.  Flash the SPRecovery SBF file.
2.  Download this file to your computer:  ESE81update.zip
3.  Follow this video… (Give it time to process, it’s HD people.)

*Note 1* – You will find a ton of information on overclocking and kernels at this post.

Questions or comments?  Drop them below!

Credit:  Koush for hosting the file in ROM Manager and to Pete for creating it.

  • Dhaw777

    i have the update.zip in my sd folder and it is still giving me the error message. “no such file or directory” what am i doing wrong?

  • Dhaw777

    i have the update.zip in my sd folder and it is still giving me the error message. “no such file or directory” what am i doing wrong?

  • Dj576424

    i get an error saying cannot find file plz help

  • StrayKtns

    My droid won't allow me to put the update.zip file into the root of the SD Card. It only gives me access to the “sdcard” folder. Any tips on how to gain access to the root of the SD card?

  • So, I never got the alfonso website to pop up…not sure what I did wrong? SO frustrated at the moment. Any suggestions would help immensely!

  • andrew

    hey does this work for my UK motorola milestone ?

  • Nick

    Kellex or anyone that has it as well, Ive got BB 1.0 1.2ghz installed with no problems, love it, its awesome. One goofy thing I want is the reboot button like you have on yours. How do you get that? That would be better than holding down the power button for a few seconds. I have the droid life boot screen as well, major awesomeness. Detailed instructions on getting that reboot button on my phone would be great.

  • domsmom08

    im trying to create a backup of my phone and i keep getting a nandroid exited with status 31 has anyone every seen this

  • sanjonny

    After reading everything, I have a few hints. First of all, when naming the file, if you are not a windows expert, make sure you have named it update.zip, not adding in a zip if you don't see it on the windows screen. If you are having problems finding the update file, depending on your windows settings, you might have changed the filename to update.zip.zip. Again depending on settings, you can right click on the file and choose properties and it will tell you the filename or you can change your settings to tell you the filename. It seems to occur over and over again that people have named the file wrong and that is why the system cannot find it.

    Now doing exactly what was in the video worked fine for me, I did this so I could wifi tether to my ipad and that works fine with the stock rom with root and the free barnacle app. So take that Apple, no need for your 3g nonsense.

    But, when you run the video operation, you will delete everything on your phone, so all your settings will be gone. I backed up all my apps using appmanager and astro, but they all start from scratch again. I read that after rooting I can use Titanium backup to keep all my settings and such. But that requires root which you do not have at this point

    I used the simple backup in nandroid before I went to the next step (this video) and rooted the phone. CAn I restore that backup to bring my phone back to how it was before rooting, back to stock 2.1 with the SBR installed? I don't know much about Nandroid but since the next step wipes all your files, I made the simple backup first, or was that just a waste of time.

    Now that I am rooted, I am wondering if I can use SBR and just run the restore on my original simple backup using Nandroid to bring myself back to unrooted 2.1 with SBR. Any Nandroid experts out there? Or does this simple setting just restore a few things or will it work at all. Now that I am rooted, I can use Titanium backup or other things, but essentially once you follow this process, you will have to start over in the initial root. I have info in the nandroid backup that I would like to have and copy, like call logs and such that I would love to get back if possible.

  • freewake

    any reason why it says it couldnt find it when i tried to install?

  • paintballxkid21

    how do i get back to stock 2.1 no sp recovery?!?!?!?!?!!!!!

  • bgardner15

    Tried to do the ESE81update.zip again and this is what I get, E: can't open/scard/update.zip (no such file or directory) what do I need to do about this?

  • bgardner15

    I tried to do the ESE81update.zip and every time that I try I get an error message that says the file has nothing in it?

  • supermandru

    Ugh! Frustrated. I have gotten SPRecovery flashed onto my droid just fine. Downloaded the ese81 file and renamed it update.zip, but when I go to install it in SPR it aborts and says no such file exists. I followed the video exactly step by step and keep running into the same roadblock. Update aborts every time.

  • braydenn


  • droidk

    Okay I have been extemly busy (moving- couple of states away). I haven't been keeping up and all. I am so far behind and plus I wanted to stay rooted that I have not gone through getting the 2.1 update. Then I haven't had the time to update and then root. Anyway my problem is that I am getting a warranty phone in the mail. My phone has had this problem since day one and it just recently got worse. It can't be the MOD I am running cause I have had the same one for about a 2 months. Like I said it has been there since day one before rooting. When I am outdoors my phone, when I make a call the proximity sensor doesn't work. The screen goes blank as soon as I press the call button. So then when I want to hang up I can't. The only way to get the screen back is to plug in to a charger or pull the battery. The power button doesn't even work. And it has been like this but it used to not be that bad. I used to be able to slide out the keyboard and that would bring the screen back. Any way I am being sent a refurbished phone. I need to get my phone back to stock. That I can do.

    But how can I make sure to get rid of all traces of rooting my phone?

  • tharealoc

    ok i'm sure this has come up a bunch…sorry…is there any way i can install 2.1 rooted without wiping my phone? also if i do root what kernel is best for over clocking, and is it possible to have rooted stock 2.1 with overclocking?

  • onetime420

    i need help rooting my phone i was rooted before but i had to get a replacment because mine got stolen…and now im stock and sad please help (kellix)

  • shanehopkins22

    okay so i followed the video and i got sp recovery but when i go to install the rom thru recovery it says it cannot install the rom…anybody got some help for me?

  • i cant get my flash clockwork to match up its saying clockworkmod unknown please tell me what im doing wrong

  • shane

    okay so i wanna try this out but i cant find the rsd lite program anywhere somebody wanna post me a link with one that works? thanks

  • overclock doesent work on this rom tried 4 all hung on reboot

  • ryan

    total newb questiong. if I backup before I install the 2.1 w/root, can I restore after that and get all my app's and stuff back and still have root access after the restore????

  • should i remove update and update-stock on my sd card

  • jayfunk13

    I just rooted my droid from 2.1. I have Jrummy remix red and its awesome but I noticed I no longer have multi touch for web browsing. Can someone please help a total newb. Im sure its an easy fix

  • chefmelv

    cool bean it worked! I've been trying this a couple times now but I said, “I going to get this right tonight!” The one thing that held me up and Im sure many others is the fact that once your rename the ESE81. Instead of naming it update.zip name it just Update.

    If you name it update zip it adds another .zip to it (if you look in astro manager you'll see it would say “update.zip.zip”. So just leave it at “update” and your good to go!

    Thanks Kellex!

  • cardinalpower119

    Im stuck!!!! I went to apply the update.zip on my phone and it says, (No such file or directory) Installation abborted!! This happened when I tried to do JRummy's mod too! HELP@@!!

  • darwinpilot

    I'm a newbie… How do I overclock and how can I add Hebrew or none Roman characters to my beloved Droid? I appreciate all help I can get. Thanks.

    • Tom

      hebrew and nonroman characters should have imes… just search around. you shouldn't need to be root for that.

      as for overclocking… you need to be root. If you are root, go grab yourself a new kernal, I suggest a bekit or p3 standard or low voltage [i favor bekit] with the max you want to go. then go download setcpu. the best $0.99 you can spend on an app. And then set it up. SetCPU allows you to set manually or by rules you create. I suggest creating rules in case of overheating.

      • darwinpilot

        Thank you for replying, however I don't know how to grab a new kernal, nor what to do with it after I do… So please feel free to answer me like I am small mentally challenged child. Thank you in advance.

  • droidocd

    Does rsd lite need to be installed on my computer? Should I trust it?

  • Askanison

    I have a Motorola Droid running firmware 2.1-update-1. Will this method work for me? I've been looking for a way to root my phone but no one can tell me flat out if my firmware can work with any methods I've read about.


    • Tom

      Everyone who owns a Motorola Droid should be running firmware version 2.1-update-1. The only people who aren't are running DroidMod. So this should work, but I'm not entirely sure if this is a rooting method. Kellex should be able to answer that.

      If you want to root, the methods that work on 2.1 can be found

      Those are the two methods that work. Hope that helps. Just remember to follow the instructions to the letter, because not doing so could be disastrous. This is no longer the days of DroidMod and just telling it to root your phone, and the entire process taking less than 5 minutes with little to no thought.

      Good luck. 🙂

  • iammebane

    still following this exactly….. the progress bar still stops at about 1/5 of the way through….the peteralphonso.com does not some up at all… only says install complete….it has done this even whey trying to install custom rom… can anyone help….th progress bar does not move. i still have the ninja, but cant acess rom manager… the allow does not come up… keeps saying that there is an error with user permissions

  • xpedient

    When I attemped to install to SPrecovery ESE81 , I get the following error Platform not defined for CDMA type OMAP chipset, 0X7029 Phone Conneted? If any can help I would appreciate it. Also I apologize if there is a post already in regards to this issue. Thank You Kindly xpedient

    • jaccolli

      I have the same problem. Ive tried on a win 7 64 laptop and a win 7 32 desktop. WTF???

  • Fawzi94

    So I have to do everything detailed at that SPRecovery post and then everything in this video to root? And also, can I download that program (RSD lite?) on a mac?

  • andrew401

    hey kellex, how fast can the cpu in the stock 2.1 rooted go? i was just wondering

  • brimonster

    This is exactly what I've been looking for as I'm happy with the Stock 2.1 (though I'm liking Kellex's theme in this video, especially the black notification bar) but would like to overclock. So, I have a few questions, any answers appreciated.

    1. After doing this, exactly how do I install the new kernel and what app should I use to overclock?
    2. I was thinking of overclocking to 800mhz (really just wanna give Helix 2 a little more snap and quicker response times when multitasking – especially during music playback). Sound safe?
    3. Any recommendations on which kernel to use for my purposes welcome! Obviously I want it to be cool and stable.
    4. How do I get back to unrooted stock in case I have to go back to Verizon, or wanna get the 2.2 OTA, or whatever.
    5. Unrelated question – is it true that the Droid has a separate GPU, and that's part of the reason the CPU is clocked so low?

    Thanks all!

  • romick

    I'm not quite a newbie, but I do have a few questions. I've only had my Droid for a little over a month and started out with a stock 2.0.1.

    I downloaded a bunch of apps from the market (free and paid), including ROM Manager, Beautiful Widgets, ASTRO, AndroZip, PdaNet, DroidRootHelper, Advanced Task killer, HelixLauncher, (well you get the idea) which I would like to keep.

    I rooted the phone and downloaded, but never really installed any custom ROM's.

    Then I got the OTA Update notice for 2.1. I ignored it until I had time to put my full attention to installing it. When I finally tried, the OTA Update failed. So I did it manually from instructions I found here: http://www.droid-life.com/2010/03/31/manual-and
    (side note: The OTA Update worked fine and quickly on my wife's unrooted Droid.)

    So now I'm running on 2.1 and I'm following the threads on how to get root access. So here are my questions.

    My first step is to install SPRecovery? (or do I have to save my app downloads somehow first and how do I do that?)

    Then go through the process with the ESE81update.zip? (I can't seem download it from the link in step 2. Don't know why.)

    I still have the SuperUser Ninga guy in my apps form the previous 2.0.1 root. Do I need to trash him?

    I don't recall seeing an answer to rockymtnhigh's question about reactivating the phone. Does that simply mean resetting the gmail account?

    How do I recover my apps?

    I apologize if this is rehashing, but bouncing from link to link is a bit confusing.

  • Sebastien

    Hello All,
    How can we unroot from that room to get back to the firmware 2.1 the original?


  • AC

    well I've finally decided to root my droid. wish me luck. i do have a question however. can i access rom manager after i do this and install roms like cyanogen etc?

  • palomosan

    Hey Kellex, what happens if I'm running a custom theme and I need to get back to Stock 2.1 + Root, can I use this process, do I have to download Rom Manager, thanks.

    I ask because I'm giving my Droid to my wife to make room for the Incredible.

  • lakerzz

    Sorry off the subject, but I have a noob question…would it be ok to set the set cpu profile to be as low as 250 mhz when charging, or can that create any problems?

    (Now, back to the Laker game…Blazers anybody??…lol)

    • lakerzz

      Sorry about the “Blazers” comment, Kellex…I commented that thinking it was gonna be a closer (better) game 🙁

  • ratz1806

    If I would do this is how would I get back to stock 2.1 if I needed to take my phone into Verizon?

  • nickrad3

    Hey Kellex, I just went through SPRecovery, then I keep getting an Error when I try to install the update.zip. I downloaded it again and renamed it and still doesn't work…keeps aborting. I downloaded Astro and the file is named “update.zip” and is on the root of the sd…WTF?

    • nickrad3

      Never Mind…I'm stupid…it was named zip.zip. You ROCK!!!

  • Tubeaday


    I am sitting at blackscreen Bootloader and my phone doesn't show up in RSD lite. Therefore I am stuck and can't download ESE 81update. Any help to get out of this would be appreciated.

    • Tubeaday


    • cardinalpower119

      YESSS!!! In RSD Lite go to Config. then DeviceID then First-Come First Serve…. I was stuck on this for a month!

  • rockymtnhigh

    Kellex, when you had to “activate” the phone, I am assuming that was just setting up the gmail account? Or did you have to go through Verizon's activation process?

    And could we get a poll about whether 2.1 seems slower than 2.0.1? I am feeling like my Droid is dragging lately; and I am not convinced I am the only one. Would like to see some non-scientific data from the user community. And while we are at it; maybe some followup on what is faster: Launcher 2, Helix 2, Helix 1.

  • shane

    Is anyones led light not working after doing this or is it just my phone?

  • nickrad3

    Newbie question…how do I back up my apps and restore them after I do this? I tried backing up in Astro, but a lot of my apps are “private” and it wouldn't back them up? Also, has over clocking helped with the LAGGING 2.1? I want to root for multiple reasons and one is SPEED! This blog is the best Droid blog on the web!!!

    • kellex

      I think some people use MyBackUp pro but I haven't…I actually use Astro still and just manually grab the ones that it marks as private.

      As far as speed, overclocking will help the lag for sure.

      • palomosan

        Exactly what I use, Astro, back up apps then reinstall them when process finished.

      • Mybackup pro is great, i just used it to factory reset my phone, and it was wonderful! (im still too afraid to root)

  • Kellex! You.. are.. amazing! I was kinda nervous to go ahead and root my Droid.. but now.. oh man.. you gave great instructions on how to do it and it was very simple. Thanks man, now I get to enjoy custom ROMs! WOO! 🙂 Thanks again man.

  • chris

    i tryed from the very begining..downloading the SPR file&update..and than downloaded RSD lite and when i open RSD and open the SPR file it loads but no usb connecting.So i cant start the recovery…what can i do

  • david

    i was about to go to update to 2.1 when all of the sudden it failed so im stuck in 2.0.1 and now i cant update to 2.1 cause when i go to settings and check for updates it says my phone is up to date when is not oh well i guess i stay in 2.0.1 nothing wrong with that im i right oh and by the way kellex cavaliers all the way

  • chris

    some how

  • chris

    so how i cant get into Sp recovery…please help i really what to be rooted and ive been trying all day

  • david

    so after i do this i will be able to flash rom from rom manager

  • Thegoldendroid

    I wish soemone could just do this for me.. Im so lazy right now

    • I would love to do it for you, but then you wouldn't have your phone for like a week

      • Thegoldendroid

        Oh gosh.. I cant even go to the bathroom without my Droid!

  • Jonathan

    OK…so I'm a stock Droid owner…I think I might want to root to be able to add the HTC_IME keyboard skin on Swype and then maybe CacheMate….if I just wanted to do those two things and keep my Rom the same is this my best option? Will I then have issues when the next update comes?

    • kellex

      If you install this and have either SPRecovery or Clockwork Recovery installed, the next OTA update will be blocked.

  • NewDroidOrder

    first time i noticed you rockin the 'Quick Settings' gotta love that app. i dont know what i would do if i didnt have it

  • Ian

    I'm already rooted with 2.0.1, is there a way to get the updated baseband without unrooting, applying to stock 2.1 update, then rerooting..?

    • Dad Man Walking

      Ian, read through this thread over at DroidMod and follow Dwoid's instructions on page 2 of the thread:


      If you use the update file he directs you to, you can flash the new baseband using SPRecovery without affecting anything else on your phone. And you won't have to reactivate (I didn't, anyway.) You will have to register at another site in order to get to the download with the update.zip file you'll need but the whole process still only took me 10 minutes.

      Or you could just wait for the next DroidMod ROM, since they will no doubt be including the new baseband. The updated baseband didn't do anything dramatic for me.

  • kulz

    it's hard to follow up with all the requests this community asks for but you do a hell of a job keeping up and keeping us refreshing this site all day long!!! big ups to you bro!~

  • IMA_210

    I actually did this yesterday to see if running stock with root and a overclocked kernel and with the new Launcher would fix the Cell Standby issue eating up my battery. I am not sure what the deal is when I am running Cyanogen's ROM's Cell Standby is always my top battery user. So far so good my battery is maintaining just fine and cell standby is near the bottom of the list as it should be. Even running stock with the new launcher I am not loosing anything that I had with a Custom ROM.

  • joandy

    So, will this work if you are rooted already?

    • kellex

      If you are rooted already, you can install this through ROM Manager.

      • That's what I did at your recommendation, Kellex. Worked perfectly.

        On a side note: how do you feel about Task Killers/Managers? I'm reading mixed reviews on them. Today, I uninstalled the one that I've been using since I got my Droid and my battery life went to hell! Just wondering what you (and the rest of the Droid-life family) thought about this.

        • kellex

          Most people think they are useless on an Android phone. Not sure exactly how I feel about them.

          Check out one called Auto Memory Manager though. It takes care of the killin' for you. 🙂

        • i just have stock 2.1 running, but have used “advanced task killer” since i got my phone in November, and i find it very useful, especially with maintaining my battery life! No cons about it if you ask me

      • kaeoortiz

        i still can't flash sprecovery to my droid. do you need sprecovery to get root access?

      • AC

        how do you install this stock 2.1 theme from rom manager?

      • freewake

        why wont the SPRecovery find the update file?