The HTC First is a fantastic smartphone if you want a high-resolution display, high pixel density screen, dual-core processing power, fast 4G mobile data support, NFC and all without breaking the bank.

Its main phone rivals include the Moto X, HTC One X, Galaxy S3 and the HTC One mini. However, there’s something this handset can use that all of the others can’t, and that is this new WinDroid toolkit that will unchain and unlock the OS, allowing enhancements such as creating extra storage space, increasing the battery life, installing custom ROMs, overclocking the CPU and much more. Subsequently, if you want to have all those options and more, follow the guide below.

HTC First

What Is Rooting the Android Operating System?

When you buy a new smartphone, you might not know it, but the Android operating system is in a “locked” state. For the most part, it will not make much difference to you: most apps are still available to use, and there are benefits to this locked state such as better security. When you root the Android operating system, you are gaining full administrative rights over the OS.

Why Would You Want to Root Android?

Gaining full administrative rights over the operating system has some perks to some people. For example, out of the millions of applications available on Google Play, some of them will not be able to run on your device unless it has root access. Until you have a specific need for wanting Android rooted, you probably want to leave Android as it comes out of the box. But if you need to unlock an app, then that is when you want to look into rooting methods. Using more apps is only one example of why you may want root access, here is the full list of benefits:

  • Unlock more applications. Some of the apps available for Android cannot run unless you have root access. This is because the app’s features cannot run without the root permissions because the features require the full system access before they can be useful.
  • Better battery life. Smartphones are great, but they have one caveat, which is each time you recharge the battery, it loses some of its overall lifespan. That means smartphones, in general, do not make great investments, and if your weekly paycheck is low, you will want to limit the number of smartphones you go through. One of the ways you can do that is by removing bloatware and creating a better battery life.
  • Bolster performance. If you are the budget-conscious shopper, you may want to increase the device’s performance. This can be done by removing the bloatware as well. The more processes you have running, the more memory that is used. By removing some of the apps, it can help lighten the load on your hardware.
  • Customize Android with themes. With root access, you can download and install any theme that’s at your disposal. That includes any customized theme you can find.

What Are the Risks of Rooting?

If you are buying a smartphone that is not running iOS, then it is probably the Android operating system that you want running as the ideal software to pair with your shiny new hardware. It is, in fact, the Android OS that offers you the chance to customize the OS considerably more than iOS: custom themes, run any app you know about, the works. For many users, the “openness” of an operating system is important, because it offers them more freedom which means running into fewer problems with their investments. But there is a reason iOS likes a far more locked approach: the ability to customize is not for everyone, and if you do not know what you are doing it can lead to a lot of problems which can define your time with the OS rather than freedom.

With power (full admin permissions) comes greater responsibility. Here are some of the main risk factors when it comes to rooting:

  • Malware becomes a larger threat. You might read the occasional news article about how new malware is wreaking havoc in parts of the world on Android. But the Android operating system with root access becomes considerably more vulnerable to exploits because applications are no longer prisoned off in their own sandbox environments. This means if you accidentally download malware, it can do more damage because it can spread throughout the operating system and even jump into other applications and potentially view sensitive data.
  • You can accidentally brick the smartphone. There is always a chance that you end up bricking the smartphone before you had the opportunity to use it with root access. That is because if you are going to brick it, it is going to happen during the rooting process.
  • You may void the warranty. Most manufacturers do not allow you to root the Android operating system and still get to bring it in for repairs under warranty. Whether they are legally meant to do that or not is another question, but it is now common knowledge that most do not want to help you if they find out you have unlocked the OS with root access.

Details of Note

  • People must have a Windows PC to use the Toolkit in the steps. It will not work for any Linux system or a Mac. Likewise, you should know that security programs can interfere with the kit. Therefore, it’s a great idea to temporarily disable any spyware, malware and virus protection until we get to the end.
  • There are lots of magnificent possibilities to unchaining the OS, but there’s also some downsides too. Take the manufacturers warranty for instance, that will become void once we move the flash counter. All modern devices install the flash counters that tick over and there’s no way of us preventing it from happening. The main purpose is for the companies to see if the internal system is tinkered with or not. The good news is you can restore and flash the stock software back over the top of the root access and the root is taken away.
  • The new toolkit used last year’s edition of Visual Studio to come up with a way to unlock the bootloader, flash a custom recovery and gain root via the SuperSU. However, the recovery mentioned is TWRP for the One M8 and that is not our model so today we are just showing you the steps for gaining root. When you visit the XDA Developers thread to download the tool you will see a screenshot that shows the setup. You can use this screenshot to get to know what you are about to see and familiarize yourself with the buttons.
  • Make sure you have USB Debugging Mode enabled from Settings > Develop Options. Furthermore, have the HTC USB Drivers up to date. It will be fine as long as you plug the mobile in the computer on a regular basis.
  • Moreover, take the time to create a full backup of the OS, including market applications, contacts, music and audio files, photo galleries and any other data you do not want to risk losing. When following a tutorial like this, you always run the risk of encountering problems. if bricking occurs or you need to apply full factory reset the data is wiped in the process. Our readers like using apps such as Helium or Titanium available from the Play Store.
  • All users need to have a notebook, laptop or computer running Windows that comes with a USB slot for plugging in the First phone. In addition, a USB cable is required for the connection. Don’t fuss about having a lot of battery power saved up because the HTC First comes with USB charging as a stock feature. That means when the connection works, it will start charging the battery without the need of a phone charger. We recommend starting with a minimum of 40% battery power just in case you have draining problems or the charging feature is not working.

How To Root The HTC First (Facebook Home)

1. Turn the computer on.

2. Download the new rooting package here to the desktop or C: Drive.

3. Retrieve the USB cable from the phone charger.

4. Plug both ends in the corresponding slots on each device.

5. Establish the connection.

6. Open the WinDroid toolkit.

7. Click the ‘gain Root” button.

8. Take note of the following instructions on the screen and follow them.

9. Do not touch any keys until the handset reboots automatically.

10. Stop the USB Mass Storage device from the ‘safely remove hardware’ icon in the Windows system tray.

Install the Root Checker app from the Google Play Store and see if it worked.