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Oct 30

Root a Defy without a desktop pc using Gingerbreak


Rooting a device can be dangerous. It modifies system files, which are intentionally write-locked by manufacturers. They won’t always repair a smartphone, which are broken during or because of a rooting process. So, be aware of what you do and what consequences it may have. The Guys from DroidLessons have posted a nice overview of advantages and disadvantages of rooting.

Old Icon from SU AppThere are many one-click solutions for an instant root on your smartphone, such as SuperOneClick, z4root and Universal Androot. Some programms work only with a limited number of devices or only for specific Android versions. Please check their websites or threads on xda-developers to find the best solution for yourself.

In this blogpost, I will describe my rooting operation on a Motorola Defy with Gingerbreak. I chose this solution, because I don’t have any Windows PC available. Before you start, ensure you made a backup.

Okay, when everything is saved we’ll start with this setup:

Smartphone: Motorola Defy
Android Version: 2.2.2
ROM Version: Version.34.177.3.MB525.Retail.en.DE (stock ROM)

1) Check prerequisites

  • Allow unknown sources in Settings – Applications – Unknown sources
    Allow unknown sources
  • Activate USB debugging in Settings – Applications – Development – USB debugging

Allow USB debugging

  • Insert a sdcard (it may not have to be formatted)

2) Download and install Gingerbreak

  • Download the actual Gingerbreak.apk from the xda-developers forum (current version: v1.20)
  • Save the file on your sdcard
  • Install the packageInstall Gingerbreak
  • Check the existence of your backup again
  • Open the installed app and press “Root device”
    Root Device
  • Now your smartphone will be rooted and reboot on finish. This might take up to 15 minutes, because the cache needs to be wiped.

3) Check success

  • After the reboot, you’ll notice a new app called Superuser. This is responsible to grant access for apps on demand.
    App Superuser
  • Additionally you can doublecheck a successful root operation with Root Checker

Optional apps

BusyBox is a toolset which provides a lot of unix utilities. Several apps use some of these utilities and thus requires BusyBox. On the Market are two installer available, both are referencing on the same BusyBox binaries but offers a different number of versions. In some boards you’ll find discussions about that topic – lastly, it’s a philosophy question. If you’re not familiar, I would recommend you the installer of Stephen (Stericson), because it’s more popular.

With a Terminal emulator, you’ll be able to send console-based commands to your smartphone. Basically all of those apps do the same: They give you access to your internal console, sometimes decorated with a modified interface. I use Android Terminal, which is more popular. Alternatively you can also take Terminal Emulator. These emulators can also be used on a non-rooted device, but then don’t provide the full list of commands.

After rooting, you’ll notice that nothing has changed in the phone properties. The Android Version is identical and also the ROM is the same. Custom ROMs like CM7 or MIUI can be installed now – if you want. You’ve just gave yourself the permissions to do administrative tasks, like modifying system files or even install Custom ROMS. As a conclusion: You can have root without a custom ROM, but (mostly) no custom ROM without root. More on this maybe later on.


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