Rooting HTC Desire + Flashing Gingerbread ROM with Sense 2.1/3.0

Just like the title said, in last the weekend I was trying to root my HTC Desire since I want to have HTC Sensation look and feel by using Sense 3.0 UI. At the same time, I also want to have Gingerbread (Android 2.3) features. I am writing this post in case I need to re-do it again some day.

HTC Sensation Sense 3.0 UI

My HTC Desire initial specs:

  • Unrooted
  • HBOOT 93.0001
  • Frozen Yoghurt (Android 2.2)
  • HTC Sense 2.0
  • AMOLED screen (not SLCD)

So I searched on how-to and required files. Basically here’s the source of my method and reference. Thanks to below sites that has guide me through overnight.

Step#1 Download Required Files to your PC

Yes, this rooting and ROM flashing process requires you to have your PC ready with its internet connection. Here’s the required files to download:

  • Unrevoked 3.21 (Latest Unrevoked available in the official site is version 3.32. I have try to use this latest version but it stuck on “Validation Error: Backup CID is missing” (CID: Carrier or Region ID) at the end of rooting process. I don’t know what exactly becomes the problem, and I can not find others in the net that could solve this. But one of recommendation is to use older version of Unrevoked which is version 3.21, luckily it still can be found on the net. I attach it here.
  • Android USB Driver (for both HBOOT and ADB mode of your phone, modified by Unrevoked team). Download.
  • ROM with Gingerbread (Android 2.3) with Sense 2.1/3.0 UI. I use the Insert Coin ROM with Apps2SD.

Step#2 Installing and Preparing Downloaded Files

Now after you got your files ready, its time to install the Unrevoked and USB Driver to your PC. While the ROM itself should be copied to your HTC Desire SD Card root folder (keep it in .zip format).

  • Install Unrevoked 3.21. Well, its not actually installing the program. The downloaded program itself is executable, you can run it instantly (always right click and run as administrator if you are using Windows Vista).
  • Install USB Driver. I am using Windows Vista and its complicated. When installing this driver, you will need your phone to be connected via USB cable to your PC. First, install it in HBOOT mode of your phone. Follow instruction on this link. In my case, after I follow the steps on the link, when my phone is in HBOOT mode, the driver works well, but when my phone is in normal mode, the PC keeps searching for the driver (Android ADB Driver not found). If you have the same thing, do this: Open Control Panel, Open Device Manager, in Other Device you can find Android 1.0 and below it, there’s Android ADB driver that could not be found. You just have to right click and update the driver, but not direct it to the downloaded driver as we do for HBOOT mode, select the “help windows find the driver”, then you can find some drivers already there, select the Android Bootloader Driver. Test it by connecting your phone to your PC using USB cable, if the Windows find the driver and not searching it again, then it works. 
  • Copying your ROM to your phone SD Card root folder. Just connect your phone into your PC on Disk Drive mode and copy the (do not unzip) ROM into your SD Card root folder.

Step#3 The Real Work: Rooting and Flashing

  • Rooting. In the phone Setting>Connect to PC, select Disk Drive mode as default (not charge only) and untick the Ask Me option. And in the phone Setting>Applications, tick the Unknown sources option, while in the phone Setting>Applications>Development, tick the USB Debungging option. Rooting itself is easy, simply connect your phone (in normal mode, not HBOOT mode) into your PC. Run the Unrevoked program and it will automatically install Unrevoked program into your phone and root it instantly. The process involves your phone rebooted automatically several times, so don’t worry. Just pay attention to the Unrevoked log displayed in the program, when it says it’s done, then it’s done.
  • Flashing ROM. Flashing ROM is also easy, after you copy the into your root folder of SD Card, you can choose the ROM in the recovery mode of HBOOT just after you finished rooting your phone. In the HBOOT mode you can use your volume button to choose options and power button to select your options. After you choose the ROM, the flashing process will be started, just keep monitor your phone screen for the logs. It will tell if it is finished.
  • After flashing finished, choose reboot option in the HBOOT then you will have your HTC Desire running Gingerbread with Sense 2.1/3.0 UI, fantastic!!!

As visual aid, video below gives overall guide of the process, its just the ROM loaded is not the, but the main steps are the same (download mp4).

UPDATE MAY 23, 2011: I have found another great ROM from RCMix: try both if you want to compare. For me, I like RCMix better compared to Insert Coin, RCMix has working Google Talk 1.3 with video and voice call inside.

UPDATE MAY 30, 2011: I am now a big fan of RMixS ROM. Keep monitor his thread on XDA Forum. I am now using RCMixS v1.8.



  1. Kenny · June 15, 2011

    nice one. thanks

  2. mike · June 15, 2011

    does it work fine? if i did it on my desire will it work ok? and will it affect my network so will i be able to call and recieve calls and text people? thanks 😉

  3. mike · June 15, 2011

    does it work fine? if i did it on my desire will it work ok? and will it affect my network so will i be able to call and recieve calls and text people? thanks

  4. sigitp · June 16, 2011

    Hi Mike,

    It will work just fine, you will have your normal desire, it just get better with 2.3.3 and sense 2.1/3.0.
    So yes, you can still be able to call/receive call, text, wifi tether, etc…

    But extensive research before doing all these things is necessary, the risk of making your desire into brick is always there…

  5. sigitp · June 16, 2011

    thanks for your comment

  6. mike · June 16, 2011

    one more question what research should I do? and when i do the custom rom like you have done will I have to wipe every thing on my phone? will android market still be there if not how do I get it.? one more thing 🙂 can you make a video on how to do it because the one you linked isn’t very clear? thanks.

  7. sigitp · June 17, 2011

    Hi Mike,
    Sorry I don’t have facility and enought time to create video 😀
    XDA forums is very good research source, try this:

    yes, all the cache and data should be wiped, but market and everything is within the new ROM, so no worries.

  8. mike · June 17, 2011

    so is your desire working smoothly is it lagging? if i do the update wrong what will happen?

  9. mike · June 17, 2011

    i think my htc desire has got a slcd screen what do i do?

  10. Steven · June 22, 2011

    I don’t have a ext1/2/3/4 partition, is this crucial for this rom? and can someone tell me how to do this?

  11. sigitp · June 23, 2011

    no problem, but i think it is either amoled or lcd, no slcd for desire

  12. sigitp · June 23, 2011

    yes it is smooth. i am no using cool kingdom v7 rom with sense 3.0, place systems apk, lib and dalvik-cache in internal rom, while apk, lib and dalvik-cache for user-app place at sd-card

  13. sigitp · June 23, 2011

    hi steven, you can use your laptop, using micro-sd to sd converter and then partition your sd-card using mini tool partition wizard home edition, download it here:

  14. mike · June 23, 2011

    have you got any more gingerbread custom rom with htc sense 2.1/3.0 for htc desire with a super sensitive lcd screen?

  15. sigitp · June 24, 2011
  16. ashwin · June 29, 2011

    i have flashed the above rom but HTCsense facebook and my Peolpe(contacts) application is not working :(…any suggestion please

  17. sigitp · July 22, 2011

    try to wipe dalvik-cache and wipe cache
    everytime you flash new rom, better to wipe data, cache and dalvik-cache

  18. hipitihop · July 23, 2011

    I currently have rooted Desire with ClockWorkMod Recovery , RomManager & MoDaCo 2.2 rom, to run the RCMixS m’s do I still need to go through the hboot and unrevoked steps or can I just flash the rcmix rom using Rom Manager?

  19. sigitp · July 26, 2011

    no need to redo the unrevoked, just flash using Rom Manager or using CWM in recovery mode 😉

  20. Samuel · August 2, 2011

    Hi, ive flashed the rom and when i reboot it, it gets stuck at the splash screen 😦
    Any ideas what i did wrong?

  21. Husaini 'Sane' Tajjul · August 6, 2011

    Hey, im stuck after rebooting itself couple of times… the unrevoked program is always stuck at ‘waiting for root’ and my phone rebooted itself to normal made… and nothing happened afterwards…
    Any help?

  22. Teqkie · August 17, 2011

    i jus updated my phone to android 2.3.3 htc sense 2.1…i downloaded the htc sense themes from my android market and its not showing in my skin choosers…HELP please!!! im using htc inspire 4g :{

  23. sigitp · August 19, 2011

    Hi Samuel, no problem, just wipe data, cache and dalvik cache in recovery mode, sorry for late reply

  24. sigitp · August 19, 2011

    Hmm strange, try older/newer version of unrevoked, mine too was failing using latest unrevoked, so I use older version of unrevoked and succeed

  25. sigitp · August 19, 2011

    Hi Teqkie, have you try rebooting your phone??

  26. Natiq · August 31, 2011

    hey dude i doesn’t understand that which rom should i move to sd card; InsertCoin Sense 2.1 1.1.2 CM7 or InsertCoin Sense 2.1 1.1.2 A2SD!!!!!!!!!! which one!!!!!!!!!

  27. Natiq · August 31, 2011

    should i move both to sd card or single!!!!!!!!!! please help

  28. bairie · September 6, 2011

    do i need to prepare ext2/3/4 in SD card? you didnt mentioned it in the step. If yes, how i gonna copy the file to SD cause it cannot be detected by computer and handphone after partition the SD.

  29. bairie · September 6, 2011

    i have already installed gingerbread 2.3.3 but it just a basic one. I want to install back with the insertcoin. How i’m gonna do that?

  30. sigitp · September 14, 2011

    Hi dude,

    Just keep in mind:
    CM7 only stores apps in SD Card
    A2SD also only stores apps in SD Card
    but A2SD+ stores both apps and dalvik-cache in SD Card

  31. sigitp · September 14, 2011

    Yes, sorry I miss that one
    for HTC Desire better to prepare ext2/3/4 SD card for apps and dalvik-cache

  32. sigitp · September 14, 2011

    yups, some ROMS are just AOSP ROM means original android without Sense

    try InsertCoin ROM, it uses latest Sense 3.0 from HTC

  33. Zaid · October 9, 2011

    Hi, I followed the steps you have mentioned and used the insert coin rom. after installation when i reboot my desire, a screen with android robot came up with insert coin mentioned on it……. nothing happened as i waited and waited…… can you let me know what happened?

    I ended up installing cyanogenmod but I would rather have gingerbread with htc sense 3

    Can you please help?

  34. hitesh · October 31, 2011

    Hi Sigitp,
    My htc desire model is A8181 and before a month i installed android 2.3 from htc site. Now Hboot is 1.02.001. I tried to root as you mentioned in this thread, but error message came saying that your firmware is too latest. Please help me what to do ?

  35. smn · January 13, 2012

    I am not able to download or RCMixv1.8.

    Could you provide URL for download ?

  36. sigitp · June 26, 2012

    Hi, better to download directly from XDA forums, it will be the latest updated one

  37. sigitp · June 26, 2012

    Hi, seems my method is obsolete, please check at XDA forum

  38. sigitp · June 26, 2012

    yes, you actually made it, in the insertcoin display, just click play (or something else, i forgot) but it will work after you do that

  39. Prabir Sarkar · November 4, 2012

    Hi Hitesh try alpharev to S-OFF and root your phone. I have done it and is now using CM7 successfully. alpharev is the only solution if you have installed android 2.3 from htc site to your desire.

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