How To: Load a Custom ROM on the Nexus One (Updated 1.11.10)

Have root access, but now you want to load some custom ROMs for even MORE features?! We’ll we’re here to help πŸ™‚

Thanks Paul at Modaco!
Thanks Amon Ra!

I. Before You Begin

1. You MUST have root access! Do our How To Root the Nexus One procedure and THEN come back to this procedure and continue.

II. Flash a Custom Recovery Image

1. Download the Nexus One Amon Ra Recovery Image below:

Nexus One Recovery Image (Link under Download in the first Post)

2. Save the recovery image file inside the superboot folder you used to root the phone.

3. Turn the phone off and then plug it in via USB cable.

4. Turn it on by holding down Power and the Trackball to get into fastboot mode.

5. Open a command prompt and type the following with hitting enter at the end of each line:

cd\
cd c:\superboot
fastboot-windows devices

*this is to check that the computer can see the phone (a serial should pop up if it can)

6. Then type:

fastboot-windows flash recovery recovery-RA-nexus-v1.5.3.img

7. This should flash the recovery image onto the phone.

III. Flash the Custom ROM

1. Download the ROM you want from our Nexus One ROMs section.

2. Turn off the phone.

3. Turn it back on by holding down Volume Down and Power until the bootloader screen comes up. Let it finish searching then select Recovery by using the volume buttons and click power to select.

4. Once the recovery screen comes up, select Nandroid Backup (to save a backup just in case, optional)

5. Then select Mass Storage On and plug your phone into the computer.

6. Copy the ROM .zip file to your phone’s SD card then unplug the phone.

7. Click USB MS Toggle.

8. Click Apply .zip from SD Card and then select the ROM you just copied.

9. Wait for it to finish loading and click Reboot. All done!

Reported Issues

Issue: SU Requests brings up a blank black screen.

Solution: Goto Settings > Applications > Development and turn on USB Debugging and then Reboot the phone.

Thanks Peter for sending this in!
Thanks Wagz!

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  • Unlockr, Silly question. What good does rooting my Nexus one phone do? Is there potental harm if I do that. Especially since I don’t know what I would be doing. Thanks, Dennis

  • I will have to come back to this once I get my tax return and purchase my Nexus haha. Then I’ll use my upgrade for something else the actually comes “locked” to t-mobile.

  • rey

    i need a nexus but i dont have 530. i will sell my mytouch, and the cliq. to get me a nexus. and ofcourse i will root it.

    • Rey,

      Nice, do it!
      I was thinking about adding a service to this site to try out, tell me what you think of it (might help you).
      We have a Top Rated eBay Powerseller account, we were thinking about letting people send us pictures and descriptions of their phones and selling them on eBay for them for a small percentage of what they sell for (since we are a powerseller we get better exposure and we handle everything and just tell you where to ship it when it sells).
      Would anyone use such a service?

  • Bakano

    Question: I have rooted my Nexus 1 already, and I booted up into the ROM flashing screen, but now I cannot seem to get back to that pre-boot screen. Holding down power+home doesn’t seem to be working…? Am I doing something wrong? I don’t really even remember what I did in the first place. I’ve tried searching around, but that’s the only solution I can find and it doesn’t seem to be working out for me for some reason.

    • Bakano,

      Be a little more clear. What is the ROM loading screen? The recovery screen? The screen with all the options that you scroll down and select Apply Update on?
      And then if you are on that screen what screen are you trying to get to?

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  • mike

    hey is a possible to take the nexus one rom and put it on a g1..id to do that if possible..or can you suggest a good rom for g1

    • Mike,

      Technically now that the 2.1 SDK is out, someone will be working on it Im sure. Issue is that the G1 wasnt meant to handle it so will be shaky at best.
      There are a lot of good ones, head over to our download section.

  • AndroidPowered

    Unlockr Big trouble here with the Nexus one. Flashed recovery and unlocked the bootloader but as soon as i try to flash Modaco custom rom it says: “E:boot writing error.Not enough space on device.”Plz helppppppppp

  • ElDuro911

    Hey Unlockr quick question…I was having issues wit the SU not opening correctly wen I first rooted, then I did wa u said and loaded the custom rom…but for some reason it still doesnt want to display anythin. It says SU Request but the screen stays black…any suggestions? Thanx

  • AndroidPowered

    Thanks for your reply Unlockr.1st of all i was trying the Modaco zip on Nexus one not on G1 and 2nd thing is the xda forum link is invalid.If you can plz post it again bro.Thanks a lot for helping us fellow Android users….

  • Unlockr, I unlocked and put the new ROM on my nexus. What are the best sites to download apps to use with my rooted phone. Dennis

  • DreDre

    I HAVE JUST ROOTED MY PHONE FOLLOWING YOUR INSTRUCTIONS AND LOADED THE CUSTOM ROM FROM 1.2.2 FROM THE ANDROID ROMS SECTION AND MY NEXUS ONE IS STUCK AT THE START UP SCREEN. PLEASE HELP UNLOCKR!

    • DreDre,

      Dont panic.
      Boot back into recovery, wipe redownload the ROM, and reapply the update.zip.

  • rey

    question can i use wifitether on this rom? i just root my friends nexus but i didnt flash the rom just yet i need a rom with wifitether.

    • Rey,

      Flash the Modaco ROM, Wifi Tether works fine πŸ™‚

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  • varvaro

    I have a problem. I will go to the screen Unlock bootloader, confirmed by the Yes and press Power. The device freezes. Please help Unlocker.

    • Varvaro,

      Sorry, I would just suggest taking out the battery and putting it back in and trying again. Good luck!

  • rey

    thanks

  • jessica

    if u flash the modaco rom not the kitchen kind it doesnt come with wifi tether right?

    • Jessica,

      You can’t flash a kitchen πŸ™‚ That is for “cooking” ROMs on your own.
      If you Flash Modaco’s latest ROM it has Wifi Tether built in (although its a little buggy, he promises to have it fully functional by the next ROM release, 1.4).

  • Peter

    Hi Unlockr
    First and foremost – thanks for this tutorial, which is the most complete and understandable I could find.

    Everything worked fine when I rooted my N1 – I flashed the Modaco-ROM and got all the special apps.

    BUT – I’m still stuck with “SU request” in ANY application that needs a rooted phone.

    Do I have to do something else to grant myself SuperUser access? What did I miss?

  • Peter

    Hi again

    Hanging “SU Request” can be solved by doing this (it worked in my case)

    • Peter,

      Nice, thanks for the solution Ill add it to the procedure!

  • danny

    to UNLOCKR:
    i noticed you didnt partition your card for a2sd in your video. i have to partition to get that working right? and if i do how do u suggest i partition an 8gig card swap size, ext 2 size, fat 32 size.

    • Danny,

      Correct, you would need to partition the card for Apps2SD. I didnt do it because the phone has enough internal memory for me and my sd card is not a class 6 (so it will be slow to access the apps etc).
      If you have a class 6 card and really need the extra space then do it, I usually used 96 swap, 500mb ext2, and the rest fat32. Then convert ext2 to ext3 using the recovery screen when it is done.
      Good luck!

  • danny

    thanx. how do u go about converting ext2 to ext3 i dont think i noticed that option

    • Danny,

      Its there, search a bit for it.

  • danny

    ok ill try it again thank u

  • heni

    About the rom in the download section which links to xda forums, there is also something called Google Addon: ERD79
    (Download: http://www.mediafire.com/file/25jmyn…D79-signed.zip)

    What is that? Should we install it? if yes, how?

    thanks

    • Heni,

      Read Cyanogens instructions in that exact post.
      Install the ROM, then install the Google Addon.

  • MO

    UNLOCKr
    i can’t root my phone since my phone can’t be detected in the bootloader mode…WHY???

    • Mo,

      Your drivers are not properly installed. Reinstall them.
      Good luck!

  • heni

    TheUnlockr,

    XDAforums is too complicated for me and I always follow your updates. (especially in ROM section).
    Please make sure you have the best AND the latest ROM in your ROM’s section.
    Can you maybe put a changelog in the ROM section?
    For example do you have the latest OTA(03.02.10) update in the ROM’s section? Does it link to the the latest ROM?

    Thanks a lot for all your effort.

    • Heni,

      Thanks I appreciate the feedback.
      The OTA update is not a ROM, it is an update to your ROM so won’t be putting it in the ROM section, it should be fine here.
      I update the links to point to the latest ROMs (you can find the changelogs on the pages that I link to). I don’t want to host them here and put the changelogs here because that would take away from the developers who prefer we link to their pages instead of directly to the ROM.

      Again appreciate the feedback! If you have any other ideas how we can improve let me know using the Contact Us form on the site.

  • Lincoln

    TheUnlockr,

    I’ve just run through the ROM update and did the reboot. The phone has been at the Nexus One boot animation for a few minutes now (usually boots to OS much faster). Is this expected when updating the ROM?

    My Specs:
    Nexus One, rooted and RA-nexus-v1.5.3 installed
    ROM is the CyanogenMod 5.0b4 (update-cm-5.0-N1-beta4-signed)

    Thanks.

    • Lincoln,

      Ask that again if it takes 30 minutes… πŸ™‚ a few minutes is normal for a first boot.

  • Lincoln

    Waited and waited, eventually the phone rebooted and went right back to being stuck at the animation.

    I ran the ‘adb logcat’ on it while it was ‘stuck’ and saw quite a few “*** EXCEPTION IN SYSTEM PROCESS. System will crash.”

    Went back into recovery mode, wiped and reloaded the ROM…Now it’s working.

    Now to get the google apps and the like back on and I’m gravy!

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  • dave

    I just installed the rom and now it has been stuck on the start up screen for about 10 minutes. Should i do all the steps over?

  • Shawn

    Hi unlockr,

    I just finished installing the cyanogenmod 5.0 rom and booted it and the market and a few other apps are not there, im guessing that is the google add on but im not sure on how to install it i read the thread and did not find anything can you tell me how to do that or point me in the right direction?
    Thanks…

    • Shawn,

      The thread tells you, but you just grab the add-on and install it just like a ROM. Flash in recovery.

  • Shawn

    Oh ok thanks, do i flash a Recovery Image or just do every step like i would a ROM.

    • Shawn,

      You need a custom recovery image to flash ROMs, if you already have one then you do not need to flash another recovery image.

  • Andrew

    Unlockr,

    First off, great tutorial! I was wondering if you were planning on making a tutorial on how to update to the ERE27 build. I have been looking around for a good tutorial/video but have found little information. Hoping you can shed some light on the process for us noobs. My Nexus One is currently running CM5 beta-3, but my build is ERD79. My understanding is that build ERE27 is more stable.

    • Andrew,

      You just flash the new Cyanogen Beta 5.

  • Bryant

    Hey Unlockr
    I rooted my N1 and flashed the amon RA image to the phone but everytime I get done flashing it the img it will be there that first time i do it but when I cut the phone completely on and use the phone and then try to go back to the among RA img. Its back to the normal img any advice or help.

  • N1-Jhay

    Hey mr. Unlockr,

    I rooted my N1, tried to flash the amon RA image but it says … FAILED

    Did all the instructions correctly, am I missing something here?

    Thanks.

  • N1-Jhay

    It says FAILED remote not allowed…

  • Matthew

    the recovery image isnt working when i type it in the command. it says “error cant load: flash recovery recovery-RA-v1.5.3.img”

    Help…and my wifi doesnt work either. any suggestions?

    • Matthew,

      What you wrote in your comment is not the command. You need an _

  • Matthew

    fastboot-windows flash recovery recovery-RA-nexus-v1.5.3.img
    thats what i typed in. then it says
    error: cannot load ‘recovery-RA-nexus-v1.5.3.img’

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  • Matthew

    i found out my problem. it was put on in my downloads instead of the c: drive. my bad. love your tutorials. went through the g1, MT3G, and now N1. πŸ™‚ thanks.

  • BIXca

    Please HELP!!!! After I installed the ROM (desire) it got stuck on HTC boot screen. I followed the step carefully. Please help me… I dont know what should i do. :(((

    • Bixca,

      First off, dont panic.
      This happens sometimes with ROMs.

      Boot into recovery, Wipe FIRST, then apply the ROM again.
      Good luck!

  • BIXca

    TheUnlockr

    Its Running now smoothly… I love it! Thanks man! love u lol

  • Woody

    Hey Unlockr, thanks for the advice to us noobs. But to clarify, when the rom is flashed and you hit reboot, sometimes the phone will get stuck on the load screen. I’ve read where you say “Wipe first, then reapply the rom” my question is when I boot back into recovery, and select “wipe” there are several choices available to wipe, (Wipe data factory reset, wipe Dalvik cache, wipe sd partition etc) Thanks

  • Ando

    hello TheUnlockr

    need some help here… i’ve successfully flash the Cyanogen mod 5.0.4.1 for my Nexus 1… my problem is…
    i’ve been stuck on boot screen which there’s X google logo… for about 10 minutes… it kept repeating… do u know how to solve this?! do i need wipe or something?! sorry cuz i’m a new android user… πŸ™‚

    THX before

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  • Victor

    Hello theunlockr,

    I’ve successfully flash my nexus one with alpha 12 modacus additions..but when rebooted it..I’ve stuck at HTC quietly brilliant screen..it kept on repeating.

    Thanks before.

    • Victor,

      Format the SD card, Wipe Data, and Reapply the ROM.
      Good luck!

  • lostprophet894

    Unlockr,

    I was successful in rooting my Nexus but when I go to load the Cyanogen rom (or any other for that matter), I get this:

    Install from sdcard…
    Finding update package…
    Opening update package…
    E:Can’t open /sdcard/update-cm-5.zip
    (bad)

    Installation aborted.

    Do you have any idea what the problem is? I’ve asked on several forums and haven’t been helped. Thanks!

    • Lostprophet894,

      Bad means the file is corrupt. Redownload it from the site, format your SD card, put the .zip on the sd card, then wipe data (in recovery mode click Wipe then Wipe Data / Factory Reset), then flash .zip.

  • antoine

    ok i did everything but cant get the custom recovery img to work it said error cannot load recovery

  • antoine

    im going back trying to see what i couldve done wrong heres a question was there anything that shouldve been saved to my sd card from unlock till recovery img i dont think there is but just trying to trouble shoot

  • JA

    theunlockr PLEASe help i can flash a custom recovery img it says /unknown partition error:cannot dermine image file name please help

  • Saul

    Can we root the nexus one straight out of the box, without putting in the sim or anything??

    • Saul,

      Yes you can. Just follow the procedure.

  • Saul Guzman

    Thank You. Also, when i unlock the phone can i put any carrier sim card and then insert my sim card. Would it say sim locked?

    • Saul Guzman,

      Rooting and unlocking are two completely different things. One does not effect the other.
      Rooting allows us to change whatever we want in our phone’s files (change the UI, overclock, Wifi tethering, etc.)
      Unlocking is the ability to use a different SIM card/carrier in the phone than the phone is locked to.

      Just so you know, NO NEXUS ONE IS LOCKED TO ANY CARRIER. You can always put in any SIM card you want into any GSM Nexus One and it will work right out of the box, no need to unlock it.

      As far as this procedure and rooting are concerned, that is if you want to change the phone around (load a ROM, overclock etc.).

      Hope that clears things up for you.

  • Saul Guzman

    Ohh now i understand. That last message cleared a lot of things up. Thank You this information helped.

  • when i try to load a rom i get e:no signature (1781 files)
    e:verification failed help me email me back at keithkmj@gmail.com

  • Sup3rman7307

    how to you load adifferent rom, im tired of the cyanogen rom i want the desire rom

    • Sup3rman7307,

      Just follow this procedure. Put the ROM you want on the SD card, boot into recovery, wipe data, then flash from sd card.

  • Jo

    Unlockr!!
    I rooted my phone and I had installed the Sense by MoDaCo. I had done everything successfully, but I don’t know why it got stuck in the start up screen. I can only get into the fastboot screen and nothing else!! It won’t even turn on without plugging in…Please help!!!

    • Jo,

      Can you get into recovery? Wipe data and reflash the rom.

  • Jo

    Which one is recovery? power with trackball or volume down?

  • Jo

    I just tried!! I can’t get into anything…it just shows the nexus logo and a lock. it keeps on restarting itself. When I press power and trackball together, it keeps on flashing at me with a black screen and the white screen that I should of got in. >_<

  • Jo

    I can’t get in >_<

  • Jo

    Unlockr, did i brick it or something?!?! >_<

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  • Matty

    every time it try to flash the recovery it gives me an error and says

    cannot load ‘recovery-RA-nexus-v1.7.0’

    File is in the Superboot folder fine and computer does recognize device. Any ideas?

  • Jo

    Unlockr,
    Do I still have any luck?

  • Luis

    Unlockr,

    So i was able to install a custom rom but i was wondering if i wanted to install a different custom rom do i have to go back to stock rom or can i just install a new one while running a custom rom?

  • SigmaGears9

    Dear Unlockr, your guides are extremely helpful and I as a novice I was able to Root my N1. I havn’t loaded any Custom ROMs but still havn’t got the OTA 2.2 update so I’ve been trying to do it manually. I tried to just push the update I got an error 7 so I came here looking to load the root version of 2.2 but when I try and load the custom recovery image it says FAILED (remote: not allowed) I’ve tried your process at least 10 times and both methods have produced errors I really want to update to 2.2 can anyone help?

  • Matt

    I’ve just rooted and flashed the rom that I wanted onto my nexus one. After I chose reboot from the recovery screen, my phone rebooted and it went to the htc quietly brilliant screen. It appears to be stuck at that screen. Did I do something wrong? I flashed the recovery image the right way and I flashed the rom the right way after I set up adb/usb drivers. What did I do wrong?

  • jb

    everytime i try to load the recovery img it says unknown partition cannot determine image filename for recovery-RA-nexus-v1.7.0?? what do i do please help??

  • Brandon

    unknown partition cannot determine image filename for recovery-RA-nexus-v1.7.0.1 or 0/

    i just unlocked it and it shows the unlocked symbol and stuff so why is it not working??
    help please

  • Brandon

    never mind i GOT IT to work… make SURE you guys put v1.7.0.1<– need that one(1) if file has that one AND!!!
    you need .img at the end

    hope that helps

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  • Tommy

    i downloaded the recovery image 1.5.3. When i opened the zip file, it gave me an error (internal processing iso image).

    I copied the zip file as it is into the drive and i was not able to flash the image following the above instructions.

    Help!!!

  • Tommy Roberts

    help I loaded the desire rom on my nexuse one phone and love it. But I am having a issue connection to the internet. I can connect using WIFI just fine. But if I turn off WIFI it tells me I need a internet connection I can make and receive phone calls just fine I can even receive text. When I roll back to the nexuse rom I can connect just fine. Please tell me what I need to do on this issue.

    Thanks

  • anthony

    I can’t get past STEP 3 after flashing the rom. Everytime I press the power button on RECOVER option, I get a triangle with an exclamation point and a little android standing next to it. I CANNOT access that green recovery mode. Please help me.

    • Rusty

      I am coming to that same screen. Did you ever figure out a fix?
      rusty804@gmail.com
      Thanks for any help

    • Nirtoms

      i am in the same boat as you.
      i have just given up cause i don’t want to bring the phone.

  • Zyzoul

    i have problem with my power button.its broken already.can anyone tell me how to fastboot (normally u guys do it by pushing the trackball & Β the power button)

  • Inspirationsin

    Need help in fixing my Nexus One..
    Here’s wat happened ..Β  I installed ClockworkMod Recovery image and then tried installing the cynogenMOD ROM.. there was no error, but the installation said..installation aborted..
    Now when I try to restart the phone , it hangs on multi color cross screen.. but the phone is starting correctly in boot loader mode.. Please help