Unlocking the HTC Desire 601

Published Mar 5th, 2014 by slunky

Introduction

This document will guide you through the steps involved in unleashing your handset's full potential. Why gain root? A rooted phone allows you to modify crucial system files that are otherwise locked away. The most popular thing to do with a rooted phone is install a custom ROM package, and while there aren't many available at the time of this writing, a core of active developers are working on some. What else can you do? Block adverisements, remove/freeze bloatware, use a firewall, capture screenshots, and much much more. Take note, although rooting is 100% legal, it may void your warranty!

Please read the entireity of this document before deciding whether you understand it enough to attempt the procedures.

Disclaimer

Please proceed with caution. Although the art of rooting is fairly safe to do, all after-market software modifications have the risk of bricking your device. By proceeding below, you recognize and accept the risk involved in these processes. Nobody except for yourself is responsible for any gain, loss, or harm done to you, your device, or your data. I will not be held responsible in any way for what you decide to do with your handset, and I will not provide support if you mess up!

Gather nessesary software

You will need to install a few software packages:

  • Android SDK Tools - Installing Android SDK Tooks is out of scope for this document. There are lots of guides to help you set this up. Consult them for setup.
  • TWRP Recovery - Save this somewhere you'll remember it.
  • SuperSU and JMZZara_Kernel or a ROM of your choice - Copy these to your sdcard. If you don't have an sdcard, you'll need to use the sideload method. (I'll add this later.)

Enable Developer Options

On your handset, go to Settings > About > Software Information and tap the Build Number Version 7 times. You'll see a little toast informing you that Developer Options have been enabled and a new menu will appear under settings. Scroll to the new Developer Options menu and enable USB Debugging.

From this point forward, what you do may void your warranty! If you accept this risk, proceed. If not, stop here!

Unlocking your device

The first step you must take is to unlock the hanset's bootloader through HTCDev. If you don't already have an account, register for one now. On that page, you need to select 'All Other Supported Models' from the drop down list on the right side of the page and then press the 'Begin Unlock Bootloader' button. HTC documents the process impecably and I'm not going to duplicate them. Just follow their instructions, and your bootloader will be unlocked.

Flash the Custom Recovery

You should have learned how to get to Fastboot mode while unlocking your handset by following the steps provided by HTC. Let's put the phone back into Fastboot mode now. So we get flash the custom recovery. Once you're sure you are in Fastboot mode, from the command line enter:

fastboot flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-2.7.0.0-zaracl.img

Give it some time to work, and before you know it, TWRP will be flashed to your phone.

*There are two ways to proceed from here. You can install a custom ROM or you can modify the stock ROM. If you'd like to use a custom ROM, simply substitute the ROM's zip in place of the SuperSU zip and you're done. No need to flash a new kernel if you don't want to.

Flash superuser and get root!

Time to get back to the bootloader. Once you're there, use the volume rocker to start Recovery. Recovery is touch driven, so you won't need to worry about the volume rocker and power button here. Press Install. Find the SuperSU file you added to the card earlier (probably somewhere in /system/sdcard1/) and install it. Reboot and you've got root! Congrats!

Flash a custom kernel

Now we have a problem here: While your phone is rooted at this point, the kernel has write protection enabled. What does this mean to you? You can make all the changes to the system you want, but when you reboot your phone, all the old stuff will come right back. The solution? Install a new kernel!

This pretty much follows the same steps you took to root the phone. Get back into Recovery mode, find the kernel zip you downloaded and flash it. Once it's successfully flashed, you're a rockstar!

Gaining S-OFF

So you're a rockstar now. Look at you! The next step, and one I'd recommend taking although you've got root now, is to gain S-OFF on your device. What the hell is S-OFF? Well, it's a new protective measure by HTC that basically locks the NAND portion of your device and makes it read-only. If your device is S-ON, this protective measure is active and you cannot access certain areas of the handset's system nor can you guarantee permanent root. Another security feature of S-ON is that signature checking for firmware images is forced on. You may not need S-OFF now, but while the method of hacking the device is so simple, it's better to do it now just in case HTC decides to patch the exploit making S-OFF harder to do if not impossible.

Once again, enter Recovery mode, select Mount, then select System, then back back out to the Main Menu. Press Advanced, then File Manager, navigate to system/bin and delete the file called 'hcheck'. Do not touch anything else! Once you've deleted hcheck, your phone should no longer bootloop.

You will need to follow the instructions for rumrunnerexactly as you are directed to. If you read, understand, and follow the directions, you're golden and you will gain S-OFF.

At this point, you may want to flash the RUU or reflash your ROM. If not, you're done. Enjoy.

Thanks

This guide is only possible through the hard work of a handful of individuals who share their knowledge and talents to make this possible. If you want to thank them, head over to XDA Developers and show some love to -Duir-, jmz, and kairi_zeroblade.