What if I wrecked it? Could I ever put it back the way it was when I bought it? Could I BRICK my phone and render it dead, useless?
I didn't know anyone locally who had done it, so I took several months and worked out what applied to my phone...and what did not. There is a lot of old information out there. There is a lot of "almost" information out there. It's almost right. This was made even more confusing for me by the fact the HTC G1 / Dream phone most of the relevent ROMs are developed for is almost entirely compatible with the HTC Magic 32B. They are both "32B" phones - but the Dream / G1 comes with an SPL of less capability (smaller system size possible) that matches the much smaller internal storage size of the G1 (96MB vs 295MB for the Magic). These differences require special measures for a G1 owner...but I didn't have to worry about at the SPL or related radio at all an HTC Magic owner. I was already there.
As it turned out, rooting the HTC Magic I got from Vodafone NZ, with an SPL of "Hboot 1.33.0004 (SAPP10000)", was ridiculously easy. It's almost designed to be rooted and doing so takes about 20 seconds once you know what you need to do. You can check the SPL on your phone by starting it in Fastboot mode:
1. Power off
2. Hold down the BACK button
3. While holding down BACK, press the Power / Call end button and release
4. Release the back button
Your phone should boot up into Fastboot mode showing you lots of system firmware details like the version of the Secondary Program Loader (SPL -> Hboot) and the radio.
I also learned it is impossible to brick the phone if you don't flash the radio and SPL. You can always get it going again as long as you have a system ROM to flash onto it.
You can even take a backup of someone else's "Factory Reset" ROM and install it on your phone.......just like the people who made your phone did when they manufactured it. The risk of doing any serious damage is virtually NIL.
You can also UN-do the rooting of your phone in about 60 seconds....putting your phone back to the way it was when you bought it.....or the way it was when you took your last backup of the 'stock' system prior to rooting it.
The most valuable tool for both rooting and UN-rooting your phone is a recovery image packed with very useful backup / restore and other system tools.
A Belgian developer known as "Amon_RA" on XDA has put together (building on the work of others) an almost perfect recovery image in his v1.5.2G for the HTC Magic 32B. Make sure you get the "G" as the "H" is for a Magic 32A and the "R" is for a Magic 32A from Rogers in Canada. Do not use anything but the "G" with an HTC Magic 32B phone.
Using this recovery you can:
- backup the current system system
- restore an entire system (all but the sdcard) from a list of previous backups
- partition your sdcard with scripts prompting you as to size and type.
- repair a damaged partition
- Toggle USB access from a PC on or off while in recovery state: great for getting files on / off your phone if is currently without a functioning system.
...several other, more esoteric things that are useful from time to time.
The basic steps for flashing a ROM or restoring from a backup are:
1. Backup current system.
2. Wipe system / dalvik cache (and ext partition if you're using APPs to SD).
3. Go to Partition SDcard and do a "repair sdcard"
4. Then you either Flash a new from from the sdcard OR do a restore.
Repeat as required. Flash 5 ROMs by lunchtime! What I have NOT covered here is how to get the recovery onto your phone - either temporarily as a kind of 'live' boot - or permanently. My purpose here is to describe how very useful this tool is.
You can get Amon_RA's recovery here. It's 4MB. (Magnet link for a bittorrent client):
Here are some screenshots (sourced from XDA) of v1.5.1G. Get 1.5.2G as it fixes a bug with the restore of any backed up ext partitions.