Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Installing custom ROM on HTC Wildfire S

A couple of days ago, my phone (Wildfire S) crashed on me and went into a looping boot screen. After researching till 3 am in the morning, I couldn't find any solution to it. Finally, I gave up and wiped the whole thing to factory reset. Fortunately, I had set the phone to auto-backup every Sunday with Titanium Backup.

As I had posted earlier, I had already been facing problems of low internal storage on my phone. So, I decided this would be a good time to start fresh. Now I only re-installed apps from the backups as and when needed. With Link2SD installed, I still had almost 80 MB free.

During my research to come up for solutions to get the phone out of the boot loop, I came across a few posts on XDA Developers forums. I had done a lot of searching on those forums six months ago for new custom ROMs for my phone. Since it was so hard to root this phone, developers had not been interested in making ROMs for it. During those past six months, HTC Dev site released a way to root the phone. I'm guessing that caused more interest in developers to create ROMs for it.

In those same forums, now I was coming across many posts promoting different custom ROMs. Now, since I had wiped the phone and had confidence that I can restore (most of) my apps and data, I figured I should mess around with some custom ROMs and see what benefits it has. Apparently, installing custom ROMs is all about changing the whole UI plus giving more freedom to overclock the CPU and removing a lot of bloatware which comes with phone.

There were a lot of custom ROMs to choose from. Tigger31337 on those forums compiled a list of all the available ROMs and features of all of them. I went through the list and wanted to install the Cyanogen Mod (the unofficial version) since everyone had praises of Cyanogen's ROMs in general. For some reason, the installation didn't work on my phone. The next one I picked was Hense Mod 7. It has Sense, overclocking, and only uses 52 MB of internal memory.

After installing, the first thing I noticed, was the lock screen. It was similar to the ICS lock screen. I went about re-installing my apps and changing launcher, there wasn't anything different visually. A lot of apps, including most of the Google apps, had been removed. In the background, the overclocking probably increased the CPU speed. It's not apparent in daily use. I guess I have to take the developer's word for it! ;)

Overall, it was a good experience to have changed the whole ROM and the sense of knowing that I could do it! Will probably try another ROM soon! :)