Extending the life of the HTC Desire
It’s the same old story, you buy a computer and within a year you need more storage/RAM/juice to run the latest software. It’s the same for the HTC Desire, released in February 2010 it was pretty much THE phone that really got Android in front of people’s faces and into their pockets. Now that Android use has ballooned exponentially, unfortunately so has device requirements, so you may find yourself with that annoying “Low Disk Space” notification icon more frequently than you’d like.
Fortunately, there is something you can do to extend the life of your beloved HTC Desire, and ensure that your fellow Desirees (I just made that up) coo with space-restricted envy.
- You need to be rooted; this involves giving yourself “full” access to your phone, rather than the restricted user access you have as standard. If you’re wondering what this means, this step by step may not be for you, Google it and see if you fancy giving it a go. Otherwise, have a read of this, and come back here when you’re done. I’d strongly recommend using Cyanogenmod as your Android build of choice, specifically version 7.
- Next, you’re going to replace the bootloader on your phone; think of this as the piece of software that fires up the Android OS. It also controls the partition sizes in android and stops you fiddling with them from within the OS. The main partitions we care about are system (where the OS is stored), data (unsurprisingly where your data is stored, ie apps, email) and cache (where market downloads, OTA updates and other stuff is stored). As standard on an HTC Desire, they are 250mb, 147mb, and 70mb respectively. Cyanogenmod is about 80mb and installs into system. You’ve rooted, so you won’t be downloading OTA updates, leaving a load of redundant space in cache. Are you seeing a potential gain here yet?
- Go to http://alpharev.nl. Alpharev is a custom bootloader that allows you to do clever things like fiddle with the partition sizes – we’re going to do this to pull all of that redundant space into the data partition, giving us loads of space to install lots more juicy apps. Download his utility and follow the instructions to get the custom bootloader onto your phone. Your Desire is now S-OFF – Security OFF, ie, you can fiddle with the partition sizes to your heart’s content.
- Now do a nandroid backup – you do this from the recovery image that you installed when you rooted your phone.
- Install the Android SDK
- Download the relevant HBOOT image file from Alpharev for the rom you flashed when you rooted. If you used Cyanogenmod 7 as I suggested, get the HBOOT for “Bravo CM7″ (the Desire was codenamed the HTC Bravo)
- Follow the instructions on Alpharev to flash the HBOOT relevant to your rom. Specifically, make sure you run an md5sum against the file you downloaded. If this file is dodgy, you will turn your phone into an expensive paperweight! The commands mentioned in the instructions should be executed against your phone using adb (from the Android SDK). The method that negates the use of a PC didn’t work for me.
- Once flashed, boot into your bootloader, and do a nandroid advanced restore. Restore the System and Data partitions only, and you’re done. Say hello to 302mb data space!!
I’ve been running my HTC Desire like this for a few months now, and I have to say, it’s given the phone the extra bit of storage it needed to make it useful once again.
NB: If you brick your phone, don’t blame me, you’re doing this at your own risk!