How To: Root The Motorola Droid (Obsolete)

Motorola Droid


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! ๐Ÿ™‚

I. Gain Root Access through ADB using the Exploit:

1. Download the below:

2. Rename the Droid-Root zip file to update (please make sure the full name in the properties when right clicking the file is 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 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!

104 thoughts on “How To: Root The Motorola Droid (Obsolete)”

  1. 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

    1. 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.

  2. Wireless tethering will be the shizznizzy when it lands, but no, this is just the first step for TRUE open platform development ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 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

    1. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. @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?

  6. @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.

  7. 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 SirPsycoSรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs .12.0 recovery
    its .14 ?

  8. 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?

  9. @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

  10. 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.,

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

  12. @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.

  13. 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…..

    1. 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.

  14. 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 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?

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    Reboot Recovery

  17. 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

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

  19. 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?

  20. 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 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..

    1. Johnny,

      Ok, so check the following and retry:

      1. Make sure you renamed the droid root .zip file to
      2. Make sure that your computer did not name it (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 does, then this means the computer is hiding the .zip at the end and that means your file is named, If this is the case, remove the .zip).
      3. Make sure you are saving the 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!

  21. 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

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

    the Menu:
    -Reboot system now
    -apply SD
    -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/ such file or directory)
    E:Signature verification failed
    Installation aborted

    Now to me this doesnt make any sense because i put the 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 thank you

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


      then that means the computer is hiding the .zip on both of them and that means that the is actually 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 ๐Ÿ™

    1. 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).

  23. ok when you download the zip file dont name it to 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..

  24. 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?

  25. 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 do NOT name the file because it is already in zip format..just name it update thats it…

    1. Johnny,

      Reason I say to rename the file 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 But I see where you got confused.
      I’ll change it now.

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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 annoying..


      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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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

  32. 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 and reboot. redownloaded the zip a few times to check for corruption. still not getting anywhere

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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!

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