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March 20, 2010

Droid 2.1 - From start to finish.

Written by David Kennedy
Penetration Testing Security Testing & Analysis
I'm like any other guy, I hear exciting news a few months ago about the Droid 2.1 features and how soon it's going to be released. I wait patiently, then wait patiently, then wait more patiently, then hear it's coming in the beginning of April! Ok so that didn't happen, but wait its coming in early March! Wait ok that didn't happen.... OK Verizon posts that it's coming out last Thursday, OK that didn't happen either. I got sick of waiting and there's a ton of development already being done in the community through leaked 2.1 ROM's that are actually turning out to be better then any other release Verizon/Motorola will be rolling out this time through the OTA. So here's what I got: Droid 2.1 running a heavily modified ROM called "Bugless Beast" version 0.9 running from the leaked ESE53 from Motorola. This is actually a pretty easy process, and if you don't jack it up you can be running in under thirty minutes. After the "Bugless Beast" there are heavily modified kernels that allow overclocking, the one I'm currently using is Chevy's 5 Kernel 1.25ghz overclocked kernel. I've noticed some insane improvements over my Droid in speed, its pretty amazing. So what does Droid 2.1 get for me? First thing I love is the "Live Wallpapers" which give you animation to your backgrounds which is pretty slick. The second is the "pinch to zoom" functionality which is really nice with Google Maps. No flash this release, but that's rumored to be somewhat soon. My personal favorite is the voice activated everything.... You can go to text messages, select the microphone button and talk and it will translate it to your text message or anywhere else you can essentially type. There's also a news and weather app that's decent, a new and improved music application, better battery life, speed improvements, and much much more.... OK here's the deal, I'm doing this from memory but it's pretty simple and hard to forget what I did in order to get to here, I'm typing this out because the information and tutorials online are a complete train wreck and are highly confusing. NOTE THAT DOING THIS WILL ERASE EVERYTHING ON YOUR DROID! If you got Google sync setup (settings, accounts) then most of the stuff will be saved, but applications, etc. will be nuked. To me this wasn't a big deal, but if you want to keep your stuff, make sure you grab a backup tool from the market and back up everything before you do this. You can do all of these steps from your Droid if you want to, will probably speed it up a bit if you do a combo of USB connects. Before you begin, make sure you have the "ASTRO" file manager, this will help you out as you go through the steps. Let's begin: STEP 1 ROOTING YOUR DROID In order to do all of this your going to have to "root your droid" which essentially means grab admin/root access on the device. This is probably the hardest step (which is actually really easy). First, download the "" from here. If you download this onto your Droid itself, go into ASTRO and browse to the "download" folder, and press on the filename with your fingers and select "edit" move your finger a little upwards and select "Copy" and paste it to the root of the sdcard path (looks like a home button). If your using USB, mount the Droid and copy the to the root of your SDcard. Next power off your Droid. While it is powered off, press and hold the "X" button, while the X button is still being held, hold down the power button as well. You should see the "Motorola" logo as normal, keep holding. You should get a weird logo that has an exclamation point on it. Let go of the "X" and power button, and now hold the "Volume Up" button thats near the power button on the right side of the phone, and press the camera button on the same side as the volume button.  This will bring you to the update menu stock in Droid. Next do the "apply sdcard:" option. Once it's finished, you've now successfully rooted your Droid! Reboot. STEP 2 Getting your Droid ready for 2.1 Next, click on "Settings, Applications" and make sure the check mark for trusting unknown sources is allowed. Also, to make sure your root was successful, download any terminal program you want, I use "Better Terminal", and just type "su", you should get an allow or deny popup, hit allow and your now running as root on your Droid. Also check the applications menu and you should see a "SuperUser Permissions" application. If you don't see these you did something wrong, check back on the prior steps... Next download "Droid Root Helper" from here. Extract the zip file in the root of your SDCard, and from the ASTRO file manager, open the apk file (DroidRooterHelper.apk).  Hit open, launch, etc. One little bug, don't open this up with the keyboard open (half screen), it looks buggy and gets whacked out. Click the "Mount System read/write" if you get a "Force Close/Wait", force close it and re-open and do it again. I've noticed the first time doing this doesn't always work, sometimes need to do it 1 or 2 times. You should get back a message stating that the filesystem was mounted as read write. Next scroll down and select "Install and chmod busybox", then "Install and chmod flash_image (busybox must be installed and chmodded first)", then Flash 12.0 recovery (flash_image must be installed first), then unmount system, then sync. Once you've done that, exit the application, do not reboot yet. If you want to do a full backup through Nandroid, you can, its optional, if you want to back everything up in case you jack something up, you can simply do the reboot into recovery option, and select the backup through nandroid. This will place a folder in the "nandroid" folder on the root of your SDCard, copy that folder off onto your computer if you want to make sure you can restore later on. After you've finished that, remove the folder from the SDCard and follow on to the next option. STEP 3 Getting 2.1 onto your system Next on the root of your SDCard, create a folder called "nandroid". In the "nandroid" folder, create a folder called "21" (or whatever you want doesn't matter). Next download this file: This is the ESE53 Droid 2.1 ROM, extract the contents of the .rar onto your Desktop and copy them over to the Droid and inside the "21" folder you created earlier inside the "nandroid" folder. Or if you have an unrar type application, you can extract it on the Droid as well and extract it to the "21" directory inside "nandroid". Once you've done that, go back into the "Droid Root Helper" and select "Reboot Recovery" or if you want you can do the standard  Power Off, hold down X and power button, then volume up and camera etc, either way it will do the same thing. You should now notice that your inside of a modified version of what you saw before (Droid picture, etc.). Select the backup/restore option and select the restore option. It will automatically find your "21" folder because it checks the "nandroid" folder on the root of the SDCard. THIS IS WHERE ALL YOUR STUFF GETS ERASED! Go through the install, and everything, and then when its finished hit the power button to go back in the menu, and select reboot now. STEP 4 Getting and installing "Bugless Beast" Now that your inside your newly created 2.1, your not done yet. Next download the "" for Bugless Beast v0.9 here. Like usual, move the to the root of your Droid folder either through ASTRO or through USB. Next, follow the same steps, either through the Droid Root Helper or through the reboot X + Power + Audio + Camera method, and now instead of a "restore" you will click the "install" option. This will install the Bugless Beast updated ROM with everything you need on it. STEP 5 Overclocking your Droid OK phew! Your almost done, reboot the phone and lets overclock the Droid. You will need to download ChevyNo1's custom kernel for overclocking here. Same ritual, rename it to "", move it to the SDCard root, and reboot into maintenance mode. Same thing, click the "install" and reboot. Lastly, go to the marketplace and buy the "SetCPU" app, it's worth the $1.99, your original Droid had the capacity of working at 600MHZ, this one now will support up to 1.25 GHZ. I use the "Set on Boot" and CPU Governor set to "ondemand" to make sure it boots up when I restart and that it uses as least amount of power when its not needed. Step 6: OMFG I'm done That's it your done! If you want a pretty sweet launcher that mimics the Nexus One launch, do a search in the MarketPlace for "HelixLauncher 2", install it and when your backing out, click the check mark to always make it default, and select the HelixLauncher2, should notice a big difference now :-) Lastly, check out the new features, if you hold down your finger on the open area on the desktop, and select "Wallpaper" there is now a "Live Wallpaper" section you can mess with. If you notice something weird when you go to log into Google Maps and such where it says "Logon Failed", while in Google Maps click the little line button on the Droid for additional options and select "Join Latitude" on your task bar on the top left, you should see a prompt to Allow/Deny access to this application, click over it and hit accept. You don't have to join latitude but found that when I did this it got rid of my bug. Overall, this should take you about a half hour or so, it took me like 4 hours trying to find the relevant information on what to find and what to use as there's a million different people posting different ways. This was the easiest that I've found and the least way you could really jack your phone up :-) If you've messed something up along the way don't worry, download the 2.0.1 ROM from Verizon, place the on the SDCard without booting your Droid up (i.e. remove it from the back and plug it into a computer) and just do the same "X" + power button Maintenance mode and put it back to your factory settings. Thank you Verizon.... Good luck and enjoy 2.1... Verizon really bummed out on how this overall process was handled, I almost switched to Sprint and the Nexus One over this but decided to take the above route instead. I hope for future updates they get their stuff together!