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How To Video: How to install a custom Android ROM

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How To Video: How to install a custom Android ROM

4:05 /

Now that you've rooted your Android phone or tablet, you can get into some seriously heavy customization like installing a customized version of the Android OS. From better power management to processor overclocking, there are numerous benefits to flashing a custom ROM. Here's how it's done.

You've rooted your phone, congratulations. Now comes the hard part, installing a customized version of Android. Hi, I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET, and today I'll show you how to install a custom Android ROM. There's a lot of reasons you might want to run a custom ROM, Android features that the phone company or hardware manufacturer has decided won't get pushed to your device, or just to get a more robust set of features. You can also run customized themes on a ROM. You're likely to see significantly better performance, basically you get more control over your phone. It's all about you, baby. Oh, and I hope you know this by now, but rooting your phone voids your warranty. Installing a custom ROM pretty much obliterates it. There are a few methods for downgrading your phone back to stock and though they're not simple, CNET TV has a how to do that, too. The mod we're going to be working with today is CyanogenMod which is in use on more than 100,000 Android devices, and is one of the most popular ROMs. I'm going to install it on CNET editor Antuan Goodwin's old Droid 1, mostly because that's the first spare phone that showed up. ROMs can be tricky things, so be careful that you use what I tell you here as more of an introduction or loose guideline for how to install a custom ROM. Definitely go look up how to install the ROM of your choosing on your specific device. So here is how it's done. First, we're going to create a backup of your system. Download and run a backup app like Titanium Backup, then download the ROM manager app from the Market, either free or paid will do. Tap the app, and then choose "Flash ClockworkMod Recovery." Tap "Motorola Droid" and then give the app root permission if prompted. If the app crashes, just allow it to force close and run it again. If the flash was successful, you'll see a box that reads "Successfully flashed ClockworkMod Recovery." ClockworkMod Recovery is a customized version of the Android default recovery screen and it allows for more choices such as Nandroid backups. All right, let's get to the ROM next. If you've bought the premium version of ROM Manager, there's a slightly automated way to do this. Jump into the app and select "Download ROM." Tap CyanogenMod after you install, you can back up existing ROM and wipe data and cache. When the install finishes, it will reboot directly into the CyanogenMod. If you didn't buy the ROM Manager Premium, you can still install a ROM relatively easily. Relatively. Go to CyanogenMod.com and download the latest version. If you use Google Apps like GMail, also download the Google Apps Package. Cyanogen decided to spin off the Google-sourced apps to avoid potential conflicts with Google. Connect your phone to your computer, enable USB mode, and place both the Cyanogen and Google Apps zips in the root directory of your SD card. Next, boot into ClockworkMod Recovery by turning off the phone and restarting it holding down the X key along with the power button. Use the D-pad to navigate. Choose "wipe data, factory reset," then "wipe cache partition," then "Install zip from SD card." Select "Choose zip from the SD card," then go for the Cyanogenmodupdate.zip. Then, install the Googleappsupdate.zip. Once the installation is finished, go back to return to the main menu and choose "Reboot now." Your phone ought to boot into CyanogenMod. If it fails the first time, but you can still navigate, give it another shot. Of course, if it doesn't do anything at all, you've got yourself a pretty little brick and that's how you install a custom ROM on an Android. For CNET, I'm Seth Rosenblatt.

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