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My first Android rooting experience

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Earlier this week, I rooted an Android device for the first time. My Nexus 7 is now free from the shackles that prevented it from doing virtually anything I would ever want it to do. I thought I’d share my rooting experience with you today, and possibly ease the minds of some people who, like me, are terrified by the thought of potentially breaking their devices.

My first urge to root started shortly after the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 review units were upgraded to Android 4.2. I knew Google was going to release the update for the Nexus 7 soon, but I didn’t know how long it would take. Besides, at that time, Google hadn’t released the .zip file containing the Android 4.2 update for the Nexus 7 yet. I hoped for the best and went to sleep.

The next morning, I saw several outlets reporting Google released the Nexus 7 update for those who wanted to upgrade manually. More importantly, this news meant anyone who’s rooted can fire up the update quickly. Part of me knew the over-the-air update wasn’t far away. However, at that time, I couldn’t help but remember how envious I was of everyone who received the 4.1.2 update before me. The update took several days to reach me, and I was very anxious.

I then started flirting with the idea of rooting. I had no idea how to begin, so I did a few searches for articles and videos. You can imagine how overwhelmed a novice such as myself felt after looking at all the complicated instructions involving the Android SDK, manually typing code in Windows and the combination of button presses required to prep the phone for rooting. I had just about given up until I discovered a wonderful YouTube video called “Idiots Guide to Unlocking and Rooting the Google Nexus 7 Tablet” by reverendkjr. It was this video that taught me about the Nexus Root Toolkit and its automated rooting process. I followed the video’s instructions and was rooted within minutes. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I felt fantastic even though I didn’t do any real hacking. I suppose my elation was mostly due to conquering a fear more than exercising my brain muscles.

Then came the task of manually installing Android 4.2 on my device. Once again I was faced with terminologies and methods that were completely foreign to me. Flashing ROMs? ClockworkMod recovery? What the heck did all this mean? I spent a lot of time trying to avoid the ROM flashing route because I didn’t (and still don’t) completely understand it. Again, right before I was ready to call it quits, I learned about an app called ROM Manager. It was to my understanding that ROM Manager would put the ClockworkMod recovery on my Nexus 7 automatically. All I had to do was put the Android 4.2 .zip file on the device and tell ClockworkMod to install it for me. As luck would have it, it worked perfectly. Another round of self-congratulatory pats on the back were in order.

Even though Android 4.2 broke root, I was confident enough to use the Nexus Root Toolkit to root my Nexus 7 again.

Now I’m sitting pretty with a rooted Nexus 7 that runs the latest version of Android. I need some help though. I want your recommendations on some of the best root apps and features that can only be done on a rooted device. I am particularly interested in an app that can back up my game saves so I won’t lose all progress once I uninstall games. If that little problem of mine can be solved, I’ll become overwhelmed with excitement once again.

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  • Stanley

    Titanium Backup is the app that will make a backup of all of your apps – not just the app itself, but also the data attached to it. This way, if you need to restore an app – be it a gaming app, list making app, alarm app, you name it – it will also restore the data and all of the ‘saves’. It is a must-have app for people with rooted phones. There is a free version and a paid for version.

    Can I work for technologytell? :)

    • Jeremy Hill

      Thanks Stanley. I’ll check out Titanium Backup. Oh, and Robert (robert@gadgetell.com) is the guy to talk to for possible employment opportunities.