Android Rooting Tutorial For Busy People

Table of Contents

I recently needed to remove some bloatware from my LG Optimus T. I wanted to install some terribly useful applications that could not be installed on my SD card, but my phone's internal memory was filled with junk that my phone company thought I might like.

Unfortunately, phone companies actually make money off of installing this space-wasting garbage, so they remove the option of removing software like this. So even though I want to install the 7 MB Weatherbug app, I simply can't because I don't have the space.

I did a little research on this, and I kept bumping into pages that mention a concept called rooting. This sounded very promising to me, but also a little dangerous, so I tried in vain to find a simple, definitive guide that would explain what it meant, how I could do it, and the risks.

To my dismay, I soon realized that about 98% of the documentation on rooting is written by over-caffeinated 13 year-olds with way too much free time. The process is actually very simple, but you would never know it by reading the 12-page, sub-literate forums.

So here's my attempt at writing a "Guide To Rooting" for busy people who really don't want to break their phones. I hope it helps a few other people.

Security Warning

Simply put, I can't guarantee that the steps below won't break your phone. Also, I can't guarantee that your phone company won't send you an update that will break your phone after you root it.

I cannot be held responsible for what happens to your phone after you try and root it. You are responsible for everything that you do. Please don't send me hate mail if the twerp at the T-Mobile store points and laughs at you when you ask him to fix your phone.

All I can do is tell you what worked for me and my unique situation.

The Risk/Reward Tradeoff

Since there is some risk associated with this activity, please make sure that the reward is worth the risk. Ask yourself why are you rooting your phone. Is the problem you're solving worth the risk of making your phone unusable for any period of time?

If the answer is no, you can stop reading. If the answer is yes, then let's continue.

What Is Rooting?

Here's the geeky summary. Behind the curtains, Android is a Linux-based operating system. Linux has the concept of a root user, which is a user that can do anything on the system.

With that sort of power comes the ability to not only remove bloatware, but to royally screw things up. So by default, the account that's used to operate the phone is not the root user. It's a regular user that isn't given enough rope to hang him or herself.

When you root your phone, what you're doing is giving the "regular" account the ability to run commands as the root user.

Is This The Same As Installing A New OS/ROM?

No. "Rooting" does not equal "Installing A New OS". You're just giving your account more access privileges on the existing OS.

The Actual Process

Ok, we went over the risks. We went over what the term rooting actually meant. Now on to the good stuff: how to do it.

Note: Please remember, this is the process that worked for me. I have a LG Optimus T running Android 2.2. It may work for you, and it's my understanding that it works for a lot of people. However, it's in your best interest to research all of the tools below to ensure that they actually work for your particular phone.

Ok, so here's what I did:

  1. Downloaded z4root from the web site onto my SD card.
  2. Navigated to the apk file using Total Commander, or whatever file explorer you like to use, and installed it.
  3. Ran the z4root application and asked it to root my phone.
  4. z4root then rebooted my phone and voilĂ , I was done!

That's it. Seriously, that's it. After all of the research, conflicting information and barely-literate forums, all I had to do was install z4root and use it.

Finally Solving My Original Problem

Now back to the reason that I did all of this in the first place: uninstalling "protected" bloatware. To do this, I actually had to install an application that was designed to use root access to remove applications that you're not typically supposed to remove.

The most universally acclaimed application that I found for performing this task was Titanium Backup. After I rooted my phone, it worked like a champ.

Conclusion

I hope that I have demystified this process a bit. Good luck and don't break your phone :-)