How To: Root The Motorola Droid (Obsolete)

Motorola Droid

!!!!!UPDATE: PLEASE HEAD TO THE NEW HOW TO ROOT THE DROID PROCEDURE!!!!!

Someone over at AllAndroid has created a .zip file exploit which can allow you to use SU (root access) through ADB on the Droid. Now this is NOT going to load any custom ROMs just yet, BUT it is the first step (and the hardest one mind you) so if you are a developer, enjoy! For the rest of us, I’d wait until there is something to do with the new rooting ability (or until we have a custom recovery image etc.) and just know for now that it has been done! 🙂

I. Gain Root Access through ADB using the Droid-Root.zip Exploit:

1. Download the Droid-Root.zip below:

Droid-Root.zip

2. Rename the Droid-Root zip file to update (please make sure the full name in the properties when right clicking the file is update.zip or that it is update and is a .zip file type).

3. Save it to the root of you SD card (not in any folder, just on the SD card itself).

4. Turn off the Droid.

5. Turn the Droid back on by holding down power and the X key on the physical keyboard until the /!\ screen comes up.

6. When you do push Volume Up and Camera till the menu comes up.

7. Select Apply Update.zip using the physical keyboard and let it install.

8. Reboot when done.

II. Flash a Recovery Image and Add BusyBox

1. Download the following file:

Droid Rooting Tools (Updated 01/07/10)

2. Unzip the file.

3. Plug your phone in to the computer via USB. Pull down the notification bar and click Mount to mount the SD card.

4. Copy the Tools folder from the Zip file to the root of your SD card (do not put it inside any other folders, just put it on the SD card).

5. Unplug the phone from the computer when the folder has been copied over.

6. Open the Market on the phone and download Linda File Manager (if you don’t already have it).

7. Open Linda File Manager and navigate to the Tools folder we just copied to the SD card.

8. Click on the DroidRootHelper.apk and install it using the Package installer. (If it tells you to goto Settings, go and check the box to allow non market apps).

9. Open DroidRootHelper once it is installed and click on the following in this order:

Mount System
Rename Recovery
Install BusyBox
Install Flash Image
Flash SirPsycoS’s .12.0 recovery
Reboot Recovery

III. Setup USB Drivers and SDK (OPTIONAL)

1. Use our Setup USB Drivers procedure then once you can see your phone’s serial number in ADB come back to this procedure.

All set! You have root access and a custom Recovery Image.

Next step is to load a custom ROM.

Goto our How To Load a Custom ROM procedure to flash custom ROMs onto your Droid!

Thanks embeem!
Thanks Zinx Verituse!
Thanks CrotalusFreak!
Thanks Pedro for sending it in!

  • This is HUGE! I can’t wait!

    Why hasn’t anyone been able to do this for the Cliq yet????

  • garrck2007

    Lol im tempted to root my Droiddd, but i love it so much i dot really need to root it, tethering would be nice though

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  • Midani

    Will this allow me to install wireless teathering?

    • Midani,

      If you are not a developer I would just wait a bit. You COULD install Wifi Tethering with this but you’d really have to know what you are doing. Just think of this as a It Has Begun… and there will be a much easier solution for Wifi Tethering soon.

  • amazing 🙂 thats great, now we have all future android updates and software without any limitations 🙂

  • Dave

    Can’t you already tether with pdanet?

  • plextorz

    Wireless tethering will be the shizznizzy when it lands, but no, this is just the first step for TRUE open platform development 🙂

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  • steve

    so i to install and it keeps aborting i think it said something with signature failed. can anyone help???

  • Chris

    Droid Rooting Tools is a dead link.

    • Chris,

      Just checked it and it worked, is it still broken for you?

  • PeDe

    crotalusfreak updated the droid rooting tools to this http://alldroid.org/download/file.php?id=832

    • PeDe,

      Thanks, updated the link in the procedure.

  • rich

    TheUnlockr,

    Droid Rooting Tool link is not working as Chris mentioned. File no longer exist.

    • Rich,

      Thanks, PeDe gave us the new link. It has been updated in the procedure.
      Good luck!

  • Joey

    I tried the link to. it does not work for me either.

    • Joey,

      Updated it just now, thanks to PeDe.

  • Buckoman

    Hey, a little issue… when it says to mount the disk, which one? 3 or 4? or both?

  • Buckoman

    also, how long is it supposed to take to mount the drive(s)?

  • Joey

    Thanks Unlockr!
    Works perfectly now.

  • Jonathan

    Hi there,

    Moto Milestone (Moto Droid) has just launched in Hong Kong. i saw this unlockr site a few weeks ago showing how to root the Moto Droid….so i would like to know if this method works for Moto Milestone or not coz Droid and Milestone are practically the same but i think the main difference would be the band of the phone….. could anyone please tell me if this root method is okay for Milestone?

    thanks in advance
    Regards,
    Jonathan

    • Johnathan,

      We wouldn’t know since we don’t have the Milestone in hand yet. Feel free to try this method though (if anything it will just error and not work).
      Please post here if it works for the Milestone or at what line it errors so we can alter the procedure to work for you.
      Thanks!

  • Joey

    Well i successfully got 2.1 on my droid but i apparently didnt back up right so now im stuck with it…. =/ I was wondering if anyone could upload a rom of 2.0.1?? would really appreciate it!! thanks!

  • PeDe

    @joey, if you didnt back up right, then how were you able to replace your backup with 2.1? do you mean that you forgot to put a copy of your backup onto your comp?

  • Joey

    @PeDe, Yeah I forgot to backup to my computer. Total noob move, Ive been trying to find a 2.0.1 rom but haven’t had any luck.

  • PeDe

    @joey, this is the 2.01 firmware http://rapidshare.com/files/323739285/signed-voles-ESD56-from-ESD20.84263456.zip just use the same method as “gain root access”

  • JP

    Can we get a video of this, i am not sure if i have done the recovery part right as the recovery screen that comes up doesn’t look any different then it did before, also its not Flash SirPsycoS’s .12.0 recovery
    its .14 ?

    • JP,

      Would love to. Can I borrow your Droid to do the video? lol
      That’s fine, means he updated it from 12 to 14.

  • nd

    everytime i click install update.zip on my droid it wont istall and says istallation failed

  • I really was going to try to root my Droid but after reading the comments on your site and other sites I think i will hold off. I have noticed that others have said the same thing about being a developer. At this point in time what are the benifits of rooting the Droid?

  • Joey

    @Pede
    Hey thanks pede but how exactly do I use that to revert back to 2.0.1? I was hoping for a nandroid recovery.

  • PeDe

    @joey, reread my last comment b/c i mention how to do it

    @stvn, the benefits would be uploading a firmware that’s not going to be released for a couple of months and wifi tethering and the use of rooted apps

  • Helen

    I think i am the only one that is so stupid and can’t even manage the first step…

    I have turn my phone off… then i press”x” and power… it just wouldn’t go into the /!\ screen…
    My phone just turn back in like normal.,

  • Greg

    Before I even go down and click “apply sdcard:update.zip” there’s a yellow message in the middle that says “E:can’t open /cache/recovery/command”
    What does that mean?
    Thanks

  • Don

    Droid rooting tools still dead site

    • Don,

      Updated the link, should be good now.

  • Joey

    @pede, hey i did the update like you said but it didn’t revert back to 2.0.1. There was no change as far as i could tell…. im pretty sure i;ll need a nandroid system backup to revert to.

  • Don

    Thanks got it!!!!!

  • GIwunder

    after you root the droid with root.zip can you remove the file from your SD card?

  • Don

    on step 9 I drug the tools file to the SD card when I open it through Linda Manager I dont see DroidRootHelper.apk how ever I do see it in my un ziped file do I need to put it in with the tools befor I drag it in order to see it on my phone, I also dont see all the files you say to click on in a spacific order (for 1 Mount Sysytem) but asuming will after DroidRootHelper.apk is draged over and installed…..

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  • Austin

    The links for the Droid rooting tools don’t work.

  • Chuck

    TheUnlockr:

    Any luck on a Droid rooting tools link??

    • Chuck,

      Ya I fixed it. Is it broken again? lol

  • stvn2569

    Can I un-root my moto droid if I ever need to?

    • Stvn2569,

      Yes, but I have not seen the procedure around yet (but it is always possible). Usually you just use the manufacturer’s (Motorola in this case) resetting tool. They usually have a tool to reset the phone to out of box state, most likely on their support site. If you find it let me know and I’ll do a step by step here on the site for it.

  • stvn2569

    thanks, now i have another question i think i did a bonehead move i was looking at this site on my phone and i hit the Droid-root.zip link and it downloaded to my phone. is this going to screw up my phone when i want to root my phone also i looked for it on my SD card but couldnt find it to delete it wher would it be, how do i find it and how do i get rid of it?

  • Wesley

    Droid Rooting Tools link does not work and it says the file you are looking for has been deleted or removed. Please give another link.

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  • JP

    Unlockr the directions are a little off here are the correct directions to installing the recovery.img

    First when you get into the application click menu then click get the tools it will save to your sd card in the folder downloads make sure you have linda file manager move the .zip file you just downloaded to your sd card not in your download folder, unzip it to your sd card easier to do on a computer, you will get a folder called tools leave tools in your sd card do not put in any other folder

    MOUNT MTDBLOCK3 SYSTEM READ/WRITE
    RENAME RECOVERY-FROM-BOOT.P
    INSTALL AND CHMOD BUSYBOX
    INSTALL AND CHMOD FLASH_IMAGE
    FLASH 99.1B RECOVERY
    UNMOUNT SYTEM MTDBLOCK3
    Reboot Recovery

  • JP

    Also you can download DroidRootPro in the market place to support the dev, it has extra features also then just the DroidRootHelper you get from this site

  • I tried to root the droid..now do I unzip the file or leave it as it is when downloaded?..and when i go to unroot it keeps saying installation aborted..so i dont know where I am going wrong..please reply a.s.a.p thank you

  • Don

    Ive unrooted my phone and removed the SU icon just to see if I could do it. was realy kinda easy

  • Ray

    so everybody keeps saying one of the benefits of rooting the droid is wifi tethering. but you can do wifi tethering with an app called pdanet without having to root your droid. am i missing something?

  • Johnny

    No I mean that I try to root my phone and everytime i try it…it says installation aborted when i try to install the update.zip file from the SD card…what does that mean??..i followed all the steps and it doesnt work..and ever tutorial they dont stipulate whether to unzip the file or not..

    • Johnny,

      What step are you talking about? With the Droid we do not ever install a .zip from the SD card. Where do you see that? What step are you on?

  • Johnny

    When I get to step 7, I select apply update.zip, and I get an error message that says installation aborted.

    • Johnny,

      Ok, so check the following and retry:

      1. Make sure you renamed the droid root .zip file to update.zip
      2. Make sure that your computer did not name it update.zip.zip (you can test this by looking at any other .zip file next to it on your computer. If the other zip file doesn’t say .zip next to it and your update.zip does, then this means the computer is hiding the .zip at the end and that means your file is named, update.zip.zip. If this is the case, remove the .zip).
      3. Make sure you are saving the update.zip file to the root of your SD card, NOT in any folders on the SD card, just on the SD card itself.
      Hope that helps, good luck!

  • johnny

    I already tried that I didn’t save it into any other folder but your not being clear do I have to unzip the file or leave it as it is????…it still aborts installation…makes no sense

  • johnny

    Ok I tried that and it isstill not working…it keeps saying can’t find signature and installation aborted

    • Johnny,

      Try redownloading the .zip file (sometimes they get corrupted when downloading them).

  • Johnny

    The Unlockr,
    i tried what you requested and it comes up in this order:

    the Menu:
    -Reboot system now
    -apply SD card:update.zip
    -Wipe data/factory reset
    -Wipe cache partition

    I clicked on apply sd card and then it comes up with this message in the following order:

    –Install from SD Card
    Finding update package–
    Opening Update package–
    Verifying update package–
    E:Failed to open/sdcard/update.zip(No such file or directory)
    E:Signature verification failed
    Installation aborted

    Now to me this doesnt make any sense because i put the update.zip onto my SD card and followed the steps precisely and I cant figure out where I am going wrong so if you can give me some feedback a.s.a.p. I appreciate it and/or email me at jmaio127@gmail.com thank you

    • Johnny,

      Ok thanks for posting that. I can tell you right now that your issue is one of the things I said before (it says it cannot find update.zip and that error can only mean one thing).

      I know it can be frustrating, but sometimes it is the smallest error and you can over look it over and over and then finally you see it and your like, duhhhh lol Happens to all of us lol

      1. So it is either the update.zip is named, update.zip.zip (you can check this by putting it on the computer next to another file that is a .zip file. If they look like this:

      otherzipfile
      update.zip

      then that means the computer is hiding the .zip on both of them and that means that the update.zip is actually update.zip.zip. To fix it just remove the .zip

      2. It needs to be on the root of the SD, so when you mount the SD card and it pops up on your computer, just literally carry the file and drop it on the SD card, don’t put it in another folder.

      Sorry I can’t help more than that without actually doing the procedure for you 🙁

  • Johnny

    aaahh!!! i got it!…i figured out why already..its all good to go..thanks so much..most helpful

    • Johnny,

      You are very welcome! What was the issue, can you post here so others can see if they have the same prob?

  • Johnny

    Now as far as themes go, how do i get fully functional ones..I mean that changes everything like dialpad etc.

    • Johnny,

      Not sure there are any for the Droid just yet. Usually themes come out when a particular custom ROM comes out and everyone adopts it (since themes are usually specific to one ROM, so theme makers wait to see if one ROM becomes more popular than others).

  • Johnny

    ok when you download the zip file dont name it to update.zip because the file is already in zip format itself..if people are having the same issue as I was..All you have to do when you download it is just name it to update..without the .zip because it is already in zip format..

  • stvn2569

    What do the rooting tools do and do I really need to download them, before or after I root my phone?

    • Stvn2569,

      The rooting tools let you root your phone.

  • stvn2569

    Can I use another sd card to download the update file on for rooting my phone, take it out and put my original 16g card back in it, or do I need to keep the file on the sd card that I download the file on in my phone?

    • Stvn2569,

      Just use the 16GB card, it won’t hurt it. Soon as you are done and have root, you can delete the tools off the card.

  • Johnny

    yeah you can do that but what would be the point?…This is what is not stipulated in the directions which annoys the hell out of people like it annoyed me..you do NOT name the file update.zip because it is already in zip format..just name it update thats it…

    • Johnny,

      Reason I say to rename the file update.zip is because some people have their computers set to show the .* extensions (all Macs, any computer before Vista, and most Vista users). That’s why I put the cautionary words after to check if the computer accidentally named the file .zip.zip. But I see where you got confused.
      I’ll change it now.

  • Johnny

    I am having issues with busybox i must have installed it 3 times and it still saying i need busy box in order to use metamorph

  • Johnny

    Very True I have windows xp..But as far as Busybox is concerned I am having trouble with that i have droid root helper installed and stuff

  • Johnny

    The Unlockr,

    I try to use metamorph and it comes up saying Some files could not be extracted or something like that..I extracted all the files tho..how annoying..

  • Levitus

    Rooting tools doesn’t include SirPsycoS flash, and doesn’t do anything when I press reboot recovery

  • cameron

    when i select a mount option either 3 or 4 it doesnt do anything.

    • Cameron AND EVERYONE ELSE HAVING ISSUES WITH THIS PROCEDURE,

      Someone sent in this procedure and we have not had a Droid in hand to test and revise the procedure. We plan to get one in this week sometime hopefully, will update the procedure and post solutions for any issues I run into.

  • Johnny,

    If you read a few comments up, I am well aware. I put that these directions were given to us, we do not have a Droid to test (hence why there is no video), and that we would be trying to get a Droid ASAP so we could do the procedure and fix it. Just trying to help, at least they are a starting point or resource to help you in the right direction.

  • Johnny

    The Unlockr,

    Well whoever gave you those directions has there head up there back side..Metamorph keeps coming up with the error “Some files could not be extracted or set up,please make sure you have enough space in system/and busy box is installed”. Whatever that means I installed everything with droid rooting tools so I dont know where I went wrong.

  • Johnny

    The Unlockr,
    well any results?..and that update.zip file u have up there doesnt exist anymore..are you going to change that?

  • Ryan

    can’t get root to work. added the update to sd. restarted and installed fine. but it doesn’t seem to be rooted. i followed someone else’s advice to check the root through terminal, and it showed that root was unsuccessful. please help! need to know what to do after i install the update.zip and reboot. redownloaded the zip a few times to check for corruption. still not getting anywhere

  • Ryan

    also sirpschos is not an option. and the only flash is 99.1 b recovery. don’t understand why this isn’t working

  • Ryan

    i’m guessing for some reason i don’t have root access. even after the update.zip installed. please help

  • Deepak

    does this instruction work for european user ?

  • Mike

    It seems the “Droid-Root.zip” file link is broken. Re-post please?

  • Brett

    Droid-Root.zip is broken. Can you pls upload? What is the proper way to root the Droid. I’m seeing so many different things and its getting confusing.

  • ovidiu

    this it will work with Motorola Milestone GSM? thanks

    • Ovidiu,

      It might but we’ve never tried since they dont sell the Milestone here in the US. If you try it let us know if it works!

  • jared

    Root file link is down thanks

  • Sean

    Love how this isn’t getting updated. I’m also having problems getting rooted. As of now the links are down for me.

    • WE ARE NOT ABLE TO UPDATE THIS UNTIL SOMEONE LETS US BORROW A DROID…

  • macuncity

    hello unlockr. i was wondering if you can help me im having a problem with my via bluetooth on my matorola droid it works great but im traying to connected to my psp go so i could use it as a modem but some reason it register to my psp but it dont connect” i was wondering if you can help me with this thank you

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  • Chad

    when i get to the last step where you reboot to recovery from the droid root helper it says can not open recovery image not sure if it is supposed to do that how should it look dont think its right because i do not have a nandroid folder on my SD card

  • Just as a quick question before I dive into this, would this be for android 2.0 or 2.1? It doesn’t specify anywhere on the article so I assume both/either? I’ve unlocked other phones before (namely winmo) but this will be my first for android.

    Thank you!

  • Zach

    Does this work for All Droids such as the Bionic