Hours ago, I completed rooting my Motorola Droid with CyanogenMod6. It was definitely a learning experience as I spent about 4 hours in the process. I hit many walls and came across resources I wish I had read at the beginning. In order to help those Droid fans who want to root their device, I wanted to share my experience so that hopefully you can avoid the pitfalls I fell into. Here are some notes from rooting my Droid.

  • The instructions at CyanogenMod’s Wiki page are by far the best and most detailed. Follow it and don’t bother with the other sites.
  • When Android 2.1 rolled out, it broke the old process for rooting the Droid. I went into the experience not knowing that and tried to do everything based on what I memorized from articles written before 2.1. Again! Follow the instructions as stated above. They are constantly updated.
  • You will have to wipe all data from the device. This means you will lose some data that applications save. All data on the SD Card is preserved though. Photos, movies and music are all safe as long as you don’t format the SD card.
  • If you don’t want to lose your app data, you can backup your droid and restore it though using the instructions in the wiki page noted above.
  • Google apps aren’t included with any ROMs. This means that you have to install Google apps separately. Be sure to grab the right file for your device and OS from here if you’re rooting with CyanogenMod. For my Motorola Droid, I used Google Apps (FRF91) for HDPI devices since I installed CyanogenMod 6.
  • When placing the ROM/ZIP file on my SD card so that I could load it, no matter what I tried, I had to rename it to update.zip before it would work. I couldn’t get the Droid to find anything unless it had that filename. That meant that I had to rename the CyanogenMod file to update.zip, copy it to the SD card, then load it. Then for the Google apps, I had to delete the existing update.zip from the SD card, then rename the Google Apps file to update.zip to load it afterward. Many instructions on the web say you don’t have to do that, but I just couldn’t get it to work otherwise.
  • Once the ROM is loaded and running along with Google apps, you can go into the Market app, then choose Menu > Downloads and the device will automatically re-download all of the apps you had install prior to the root.
  • If at any point you mess up and the phone won’t boot, don’t worry. You can always access Recovery Mode to perform a factory reset and revert back to the default ROM. I had to do this 3 times and try again.

Rooting was well worth it with all the customizations. Here are the most notable features:

  • Change the color of the almost anything. The notification bar, icon background, clock, etc.
  • You can rotate the device 270 degrees and the screen will flip 3 ways with CyanogenMod.
  • Apps like LockBot (available in Android Market) can be used on rooted phones to change the lock screen.
  • Things seem to run much smoother and faster.
  • Pinch and zoom the Home screen.
  • Wallpaper can be modified. You can change the behavior and color of many of the familiar Droid wallpaper.

After 4 hours of learning and struggling, I have CyanogenMod running on my Droid. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the hundreds of new settings I can use to personalize my Droid. I hope these notes help you. Happy rooting!