Root and Flash Custom ROM on Motorola Milestone running Android 2.1
Please refer to Motorola Milestone Official Android 2.2 (Froyo) upgrade for updating your Motorola Milestone.
Recently, I have purchased Motorola Milestone mobile running Android 2.1. It was a nice device, however I was annoyed to see that it was lacking the Android market. Instead there was Motorola’s Shop4Apps application which was fine but not as good as Android market was. It was also running the Chinese ROM and lots of applications were in Chinese which were no longer usable since I don’t understand Chinese.
Finally, I have decided to take the risk and flash some other English version rom which can allow me to customize my device with the applications I understand and includes the Android Market also. Below is the post about the details how I flashed my Motorola Milestone with new rom:
Note: Before we start I would like to say that, these instructions will only work on Motorola Milestone (GSM version) not on Motorola Droid. I have browsed couple of websites and found number of posts explaining the process. Here I would be doing a drilldown of working one’s from all of them.
Lets start now,
About the device
My Motorola Milestone was running Android 2.1 update 1 at the time of flashing. So these instructions will work on the devices having same configuration.
To flash the device with custom rom, we would be requiring some tools and utilities.
1. OpenRecovery v1.14 – OpenRecovery is a nice and advanced utility above ADBRecovery which allows you to run your device in the recovery mode so that you can do nice thingy on devices such as rooting it, taking backup, restoring etc. Download Link
2. RSD Lite v4.6 – RSD Lite is used for flashing/upgrading or feature programming Motorola products. Download Link
3. Vulnerable Recovery SBF image – This is a little file which is essential for our process. The bootloader process in Motorola devices running Android is locked by Motorola so that in case of any firmware flashing over the device, it should be digitally signed by Motorola with company’s digital signature. To overcome this limitation, we have to flash a vulnerable recovery image (SBF) to Motorola milestone to make the unrootable firmware, rootable. Download Link
4. Android SDK – Android SDK is required to install the USB drivers for the device and run some command via adb shell on our Milestone device. Download Link
5. Custom ROM – Finally, a custom rom which is EU rom in our case as the GSM bands of EU is equivalent to mine’s. Download Link
Required Steps for Flashing Custom ROM on Motorola Milestone:
1. Install Android SDK – The first step would be to install the Android SDK on your local computer. Installing is simple, just extract the SDK archive in your local system say C:.
2. On your mobile, goto Settings->Applications->Development and enable USB Debugging.
3. To verify everything’s working, connect your Milestone to the system using USB adapter. Install the Motorola USB drivers which come with the popup.
4. Open command prompt on local system and type following commands:
cd c:\android-sdk-windows\tools\ adb devices
You will see the output with the serial number of the device connected.
4. Install RSD Lite 4.6 on your computer.
5. Extract OpenRecovery v1.14 archive on your local computer. You will find a folder named OpenRecovery and update.zip. Copy these file and folder to the SD card root folder.
6. Turn off your phone. Don’t unplug your Milestone from USB.
7. Run RSD Lite on your PC and wait…
8. Now, you have to start your mobile in bootloader mode. To do this, press UP key on your D-pad and then press Power button of your mobile until you see some text on the Phone screen like
BootLoader 90.73 Battery Ok. OK to install Connect USB ....
9. On your computer, in the RSD Lite application, browse and select the extracted vulnerable recovery SBF file and click Start. RSD Lite will start processing and you will see the message saying “Phone is rebooting”. You have to keep pressing UP key on D-pad during this time so that you always gate the bootloader screen, not home screen of the mobile. RSD Lite will now show PASS message, which will complete the process of flashing the vulnerable recovery SBF image. Close the RSD Lite application and switch off your Milestone.
10. Now we have to start the Motorola Milestone device in recovery mode. This one is slightly complicated task to do. I have found lot of instructions saying, press camera button and power button but I was not able to get the recovery screen with that. At this situation, the Android SDK came handy and I was able to start the device with simple adb command. In command prompt, run the following command
adb reboot recovery
This command will start your device in recovery mode. (The recovery screen will have Exclamation mark in triangle.)
11. Now, we have to get the recovery menu on our Milestone. To get that, press VOLUME UP button with CAMERA button. This will show you the recovery menu with different items as shown below. Select the “Apply update.zip” item from menu. This will install OpenRecovery application on your device as shown in the second image. Switch off your device. We will again start the device in recovery mode. Repeat step 10 again. Now, again press VOLUME UP and CAMERA button at the same time to get the OpenRecovery menu.
12. Before we start flashing with our custom rom, it is good practice to backup everything so that we are able to restore our device in case something goes wrong. We will also root our device before taking the backup so that we don’t have to do it again on our base image of the mobile. To do that, select “Root Phone” option from the menu. This will root the Milestone device. If you only want to root your device then you can stop from now because rest of the steps will deal with installing new rom.
13. To backup you Milestone image, select “Nandroid Backup” from the OpenRecovery menu. This will create and save your Milestone image into /sdcard/nandroid/adbrecovery/ folder. Select “Reboot System” from the menu to restart your Milestone.
14. After restart, open your command prompt and run the adb pull command to take backup of your mobile to your computer. The command is
adb pull /sdcard/nandroid/adbrecovery/<backup-name> c:\milestone-base\
In the above command, backup-name would be the name of the folder in which your images files are stored and milestone-base is a folder where we are copying that backup folder.
15. Once backup is complete, we are ready to put flash our milestone with custom rom. Extract the custom EU rom which we have downloaded earlier and copy the folder “BbcS-20100318-1808” to your Milestone’s /sdcard/nandroid/adbrecovery folder under same name. We will do that using adb again but this time with adb push command. The command would be
adb push c:\BbcS-20100318-1808 /sdcard/nandroid/adbrecovery/BbcS-20100318-1808
16. After running this command successfully and copying all the files into sdcard, restart your mobile in the recovery mode again with following command
adb reboot recovery
17. Once Milestone is started in recovery mode, navigate to OpenRecovery menu by pressing VOLUME UP button with CAMERA button. On the OpenRecovery menu, we will first wipe all the data which we have earlier so that it doesn’t interfere with the new rom. Run all wipe commands one by one i.e. Wipe Dalvik Cache, Wipe Data/ Factory Reset, Wipe Cache Partition from OpenRecovery menu.
18. Finally, now we can flash our Milestone with new EU rom. Select “Nandroid Restore” from the OpenRecovery menu and select the “BbcS-20100318-1808” folder for the path to get the restore images. This will flash the Milestone with the new rom. Once completed, also run “Root Phone” to root the new EU rom image also which will enable you to do more customization on the Milestone device.
Phew, Reboot your Milestone with Reboot System in OpenRecovery menu and now you can get the new EU Motorola Milestone device packed with Android market, Google applications and completely rooted so that you can overclock it any time you require.
Hope, this will save your time.