Installing a new ROM on any Android phone is both exciting and frightening. You have to root, install recovery, flash the ROM, and cross your fingers. However, if you find yourself dissatisfied with your stock experience or maybe just want to experiment with new user interfaces, it is worth the risk.
Some phones are easier to root than others, but the Motorola Droid X2 is on the harder side. With a locked bootloader, there are challenges and dangers to overcome. This How-To will explain in detail how to tackle this beast and get your X2 up to snuff with your own expectations.
It goes without saying that when you begin the process of rooting, flashing, etc, it’s good to have an understanding of how to begin so you don’t end up with a bricked phone. That said, I am not responsible for any cataclysmic events, bricked devices, or tidal changes in Africa.
The first requirement is that you’re already on 2.3.4 Gingerbread. If you’re not already, do the over-the-air update. (You may have to do this twice if you’re still on Froyo.) It will upgrade you to 2.3.3 then another update gets you to 2.3.4.
I must emphasize: DO NOT FLASH ECLIPSE 1.0+ IF YOU’RE NOT ON 2.3.4. You may not have a phone anymore.
If you’re already using a custom ROM that isn’t 2.3.4 kernel based, you can SBF back to 2.3.4. Follow the instructions here, on XDA Forums. This basically returns you to stock and will get you where you need to be to follow this tutorial.
From stock, we will cover everything from rooting to installing “bootstrap” recovery, making a full image backup, and flashing the ROM. I have chosen Eclipse because it is the ROM with which I most familiar on the Droid X2 (not to mention it’s a darn good one). That said, you can easily flash any ROM once you have recovery working. Just always be mindful of the kernel and ROM versions. They always need to match up.
I’ll be honest: if I couldn’t root my Android phones, I would go crazy. What makes Android different from all the other phone operating systems out there is its flexibility. Backups, overclocking; so many things start with root. Fortunately for us X2 types out there, it’s a pretty simple process literally called the “One Click Method.”
Connect your X2 to your computer using USB. Make sure you place it in “Charge Only.” Do this by pulling down the notification bar. Click on “USB Connection” and then “Charge Only.” Touch OK.
Next, put your phone in “USB Debugging” mode. Visit Settings > Applications > Development and make sure “USB Debugging” is checked if it isn’t already.
Now extract the contents of that Motorola One Click Method into a folder. Run MotorolaOneClickRoot.exe.
Crack open a beer because if you’ve done everything correctly, you’re rooted! First part is done. The command prompt will confirm you’re now rooted and your phone will have rebooted a few times.
Install Bootstrap Recovery
In order to prepare for this step, you need to get your phone into “USB Mass Storage” mode. Again, drag down the notification bar, click on “USB Connection,” select “USB Mass Storage,” and press OK. Next, you want to enable the installation of unknown sources (non-market apps). Go to Settings > Applications and check “Unknown sources.”
Get the Bootstrap Recovery here and place it on your phone’s MicroSD card.
Unplug your phone from your computer and plug it into the wall. The recovery will not work unless you are plugged into a wall jack.
Now, open your app dock and start the “Files” app.
Click “SD Card” and find “Bootstrap_signed.apk” and install it.
Go ahead and open it. Now, click on the “Install Recovery” button and click “Allow” to give it super user permissions.
Assuming nothing went seriously wrong, it will say it was successful.
This is a good time to go ahead and grab the ROM and get it on your MicroSD card. At the time of writing this, Eclipse was in version 1.3RC2. I found that direct link here. However, it’s good practice to follow the XDA ROM Thread and find out which is the most current. Also scan that thread for bug reports and issues.
I was going to explain how to mount your MicroSD card while in recovery but, oddly, it didn’t want to work with me. As with most things Android, there is the occasional bug. So go ahead and get that ROM ready and on your MicroSD card. Remember to plug your phone into the wall again before launching recovery.
Recovery Backup (Nandroid)
After clicking “Recovery Mode,” your phone will shut down and then come up with the custom recovery screen. In here, you will navigate up and down using the volume rocker and select with the power button. Let’s go ahead and navigate down to “Backup & restore.”
Select “External SD Card.”
Open beer number 2.
Once this is finished, you will have a full recovery image that you can access from the recovery screen. This is much more useful with other devices that don’t have locked bootloaders but it still has purposes on the X2. If you flash a ROM and it doesn’t sit well with your phone, this is a quick way to get back to working condition.
Flash Eclipse ROM
This part is simple but can be kind of scary, especially with locked phones. However, if you’ve followed all the steps, you should be good to go. You should still be in recovery. We need to go ahead and wipe everything off the phone to ensure there aren’t conflicts with the new ROM. We will wipe the cache and Dalvik cache, and throw in a factory reset.
Go to “Wipe DATA/Factory Reset.” Click Yes and let it work.
Next “Wipe CACHE partition.”
One more. Go to “Advanced” and “Wipe Dalvik Cache.”
Go Back and let’s ROM this thing!
Navigate to “Install zip from SDCARD.”
Click “choose zip from sdcard.”
Find the Eclipse ROM and click on it.
Click Yes and wait. This will take a few minutes.
Eclipse ROM X2
That’s it. You’re done! Go ahead and go back to the main menu and reboot. Here’s the scariest part for the rookie modifier. It takes a bit to load up the ROM for the first time. However, if you did everything correctly, you’ll see the Eclipse boot animation and that means you’re good to go. Let it load and enjoy your unleashed Droid X2!
This recovery process works with any of the ROMs available for the X2. You can find a list of them on XDA Forums. Just remember, the ROM version has to match the kernel version (ie 2.3.4). Make sure to SBF accordingly.
Keep one thing in mind, this is a risky process. I am not responsible for bricking your phone, the second coming of the Messiah, or your car bursting into flames while driving through a playground.