Sprint HTC Hero Root and ROM Replacement


The Sprint HTC Hero seems like a decent phone. Unfortunately it runs HTC's Sense UI which is a bloated hog, even though it looks decent. By default I consider the phone nearly unusable- even typing on the soft keyboard is extremely laggy at most times and it doesn't give you immediate feedback as to which key you've pressed.

A coworker with an android phone recommended the Cyanogen ROM 6.0 stable which is based on Anrdroid 2.2 (Froyo) which Sprint/HTC are not porting to this phone officially.

These instructions were written by someone who's rooted/touched/flashed an Android phone for the first time. I was using Cyanogen's instructions as a guide but they're horrible and miss several things so I'm writing my own to document.

  • Note that when this mod is installed the phone cannot be activated. You have to install a stock rom to activate.


  • Backup
  • Install original official Sprint Android 2.1 rom (HTC_Sprint_Hero_MR_2.27.651.5.exe).
  • Root it using Universal Androot
  • Install 3rd party stuff using ROM Manager (Rom Backup, Cyanogen ROM, Google Apps)
  • Enjoy

Detailed Instructions

  • Backup data on your phone (pictures, etc).
  • You must downgrade your phone to an older official Sprint ROM. This is because newer ones aren't consistently rootable. Google HTC_Sprint_Hero_MR_2.27.651.5.exe which is the original Android 2.1 Sprint ROM. Connect your phone to a Windows computer and run it. It will take about 15 minutes.
  • Install the ROM Manager app. This will be used to install various software packages below.
  • Apparently you must update firmware for your cell phones radio for the entire procedure to work. Download the radio update named and place in root of your SD card.
  • Launch Rom Manager and Click on Flash ClockworkMod Recovery. It downloads a recovery ROM. When I did this it performed the download and then gave me an error. I clicked on the recovery option again and it gave me a new message requesting root access. I granted it and it worked.
  • In Rom Manager choose Install ROM from SD Card and point it to your radio updated named I clicked the checkbox to make a ROM backup.
    • It will ask you to reboot and install, choose OK and your phone will reboot
    • It should boot into a text screen with green menu choices. Using the scroll ball I chose apply
    • The following screen has 'Yes' somewhere on the list, choose it. It fairly quickly told me it was successful.
    • It returned to the menu and I chose to Reboot.
    • We now have a new boot screen with a white box pointing to the head of the Android robot character. It flipped between this and an HTC logo a few times, shortly it booted back to our standard HTC Sense UI Sprint image.
  • If you run into any issues at this point you now have the ability to power on your phone by holding VOL DOWN and POWER (red) simultaneously. This will boot you to a recovery page and also allow you to install zip files.
  • Download the Cyanogen ROM. The latest stable at the time of writing was named Place it on the root of your SD card.
  • Launch ROM Manager again and choose Install ROM from SD Card, browse to Choose Backup existing ROM as well as the Wipe data options and choose OK, then OK again.
    • The phone will reboot into a text screen and automatically display status of backups it's performing. Filenames scrolled by for 5 minutes or so. It then generated an md5 checksum for something then continued to welcome me to "CyanogenMod-6.0.0-Heroc". It paused here for about a minute then went back to a green/white HTC logo for a few minutes.
    • You then should get a new cyanogen (mod) logo with lightning and a skateboarding Android bot (radical, dude).
  • Your phone should now be functional.
  • However, the Cyanogen mod doesn't come with Google apps that you likely want (Maps, Google Talk, etc).