How to update HTC Desire to Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Find out how to install Gingerbread on an HTC Desire without losing any data

So you've decided to bite the bullet and update your HTC Desire to Android 2.3 Gingerbread . Here's a step-by-step walkthrough to make sure you don't go wrong -- it's a little more complicated than the usual over the air upgrade.

Before you proceed you should understand that all data will be wiped from your phone's internal memory. The Flashlight and Teeter apps won't be automatically reinstalled after the Gingerbread update due to space constraints, but they're supplied in the download should you want to squeeze them back on to your phone.

Backup your phone

It's essential that you backup any important data on your HTC Desire before attempting to sample the sweet delights of Gingerbread. Updating to Android 2.3 will wipe the phone's internal memory. Data stored on any SD cards is safe. Here are your options:

Complete backup: If you don't mind stumping up £3, MyBackup Pro offers a complete backup solution for all your messages, apps, application data and more. You'll need to check the documentation to see if there's anything that can't be backed up.

Text messaging: Text and picture messages can be backed up using the free SMS Backup+ app. It will export your SMS, MMS and call log entries to Gmail using a separate label and can later restore all but MMS back to your phone.

Syncing with Google: You're most likely already syncing important data, such as calendar, email and contacts, with Google apps. If you're not sure exactly what's being synced, check Google's configuring account sync and display options article to set it up.

Download the software

Get ready to give your broadband connection a thorough workout. Visit developer.htc.com and look for the ~161MB 'Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Upgrade for HTC Desire'.

HTC Desire Gingerbread download

You'll have to agree to the terms and conditions first.

HTC Desire terms

Download it to your Windows PC and unzip it. Then unzip the HTC Desire Android 2.3 Upgrade.zip file within that. Sorry, Mac users, this won't work for you. If anyone knows of a way of installing this via the SD card or some other method, let us know.

HTC Desire unzip

Those .apk files are software that won't be automatically installed with Gingerbread due to storage constraints. They can be added manually later if you want them. There's also a ZIP file containing the original wallpapers.

Run the installer

Ensure you're logged in to your PC as an administrator and that the HTC Sync software is installed. If you don't have it already, you'll find it here.

You'll also need to ensure the phone is set to sync when it's connected to your PC, rather than simply charging or acting as a storage device. Press the menu button, tap 'Settings', scroll down and tap 'Connect to PC', tap 'Default connection type' and then tap 'HTC Sync' and 'Done'.

HTC Desire done


It's essential the upgrade process is not interrupted, so to be safe, quit any other software running on your PC and ensure your phone is set not to receive calls or messages. The quickest way to do this is to enter Airplane mode. Press the menu button, tap 'Settings', tap 'Wireless & networks', then tick the 'Airplane mode' box.

Connect the HTC Desire to a spare USB port on your PC. Ensure your computer recognises the phone, then double-click on the 'RUU_HTC Desire Android 2.3 Upgrade (Gingerbread).exe' file and follow the on-screen prompts.

The first dialogue box tells you everything the software update will do for/to your phone, warns you (yet again) about its limitations, and ensures you are 'expert' enough to install it. Click 'Next'.

HTC Desire agreement

Tick the box that says you understand that your phone will we wiped, then click 'Next'.

HTC Desire gingerbread agreement

Tick the box that says you've connected your phone to your PC, then click 'Next'.

HTC Desire ROM update

Click the 'Update' button to update your phone's current version.

HTC Desire update button

Verify that's what you want to do by clicking 'Next'.

HTC Desire image version

Press 'Next' to confirm that your phone will be updated.

HTC Desire ROM image

A progress bar will appear showing how the installation is going. Don't use the phone or PC during this time.

If you're not logged in as an administrator the installation process will fail with no warning at all. You won't even get a chance to type in an admin password. If this happens, log in as an administrator and try again.

Restore your phone

Once the process is complete (it can take around 10 minutes, but ours updated more quickly) you'll see the following message on your PC.

HTC Desire congratulations

The HTC Desire will reboot and act like a brand new phone again.

All applications you previously downloaded from the Android Market should automatically restore to your phone once you supply your Google account information. You may have to sacrifice some apps if there's not enough room on the internal memory.

You'll need to restore your data from backup. If you used software such as MyBackup Pro or SMS Backup+, ensure it was reinstalled on your phone and then follow the instructions to restore the data you need.

Enjoy Gingerbread

The advantage of running Gingerbread on the HTC Desire, other than 'because you can', is negligible. A couple of apps (Flashlight and Teeter) have been removed, but can be reinstalled via HTC Sync, while Facebook fans will need to grab that from the Android Market.

Despite the warnings, SMS and MMS work just fine, and a quick perusal of the other standard apps suggest no problems with performance. The camera app crashed and caused a reboot on one occasion, but we don't think that's indicative of the phone's overall stability.

HTC Desire Gingerbread crash

We had about 128MB of internal storage spare after the upgrade.

HTC Desire Gingerbread space

Have you installed Gingerbread on your HTC Desire? Let us know how you're getting on in the comments section.

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About the author

    Andy Merrett has been using mobile phones since the days when they only made voice calls. Since then he has worked his way through a huge number of Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson models. Andy is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.

     

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