custom rom

The Samsung ATIV S Windows Phone 8 smartphone is favoured among many, including ourselves. We rated the handset highly in our in-depth review and rightly so - it's a top notch device. If you've been wanting to hop on the custom ROM path with the ATIV S, now's your opportunity with a new solution released over on XDA Developers.

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Of all the Nokia devices to have been graced by custom ROMs, the Lumia 900 to our knowledge remains an exception. Before one applies a custom ROM, the so-called bootloader needs to be “unlocked” (and that’s very different from SIM unlocking). We won’t get into the messy details, but that’s the gist of it and so far, the 900 has not been unlocked  for loading some sweet custom work.

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 Although we believe the amount of people running custom ROMs on their Windows Phone is very small, it’s still a consideration for some of you who don’t want to wait until Microsoft (and your carrier, OEM) releases the next big update.

Luckily over the weekend the supposed RTM build of Windows Phone 7.8, version number 8858, has managed to slip out into ROM chef hands, allowing them to create multiple custom ROMS for various devices. Should you be lucky to have one of these phones and brave enough to install, you can find 7.8 ROMs here...

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The Focus gets some life breathed into it

The other day we gave you folks a quick tour of some bits of Windows Phone 7.8. The upcoming OS update is not yet finished but pieces of it are being incorporated into custom ROMs and are hitting all generation 1 and 2 devices, including the HTC Arrive, Titan and even now the Samsung Focus.

The Focus is considered by many to be the “classic” Windows Phone as it had a great design, sold well and many are in fact still using it. For that reason, it’s kind of neat to see it get this cobbled together 7.8 ROM, which has some other nice bonus features like some Nokia apps and USB Video out.

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A custom ROM with Windows Phone 7.8 bits on the HTC Titan

Although Windows Phone 7.8 is not expected to arrive until after Windows Phone 8 launces, bits of the OS are evidently floating around and are being incorporated in custom ROMs for various 1st and 2nd gen Windows Phones.

One of those is the ‘EB Edition’ found at XDA Forums and meant for the venerable HTC Titan. We decided to flash it on to one of our devices and give it a go, so make sure to check out the video after the break…

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File this under shocking, but wonder hacker Dotcompt has gone ahead an managed to port over Windows Phone 7.8 (early build) from a Nokia phone to a the venerable HTC HD7.

The ROM is now live and ready to be downloaded though like all ROMs, there are some caveats and things to pay attention too, including the fact that this has not yet been widely tested. For the most part, it looks like you just get a new Start screen but it's too early to tell.

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The brains over on the XDA Developers forum have cooked up another custom ROM for the HTC TITAN. The Deepshining custom ROM bundles a number of features and improvements on top of the already butter smooth operating system. We previously looked at the Deepshining custom ROM for the HTC HD7, which introduced custom themes among other tweaks.

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…and when we say "borrow", we’re being generous. As it turns out, the HTC Titan over at XDA has been getting some custom-ROM-love and a new one called 'WPV 8779 Nokia Edition v3' has certainly raised the bar.

The ROM of course requires a full-unlock, something that was achieved a few months ago for those who want to go through the somewhat arduous process. But what makes this ROM interesting is the inclusion of some of Nokia’s platform exclusive apps made to work with the Titan.  Such apps include Camera Extras, Counter and Contact Share. That is a fairly nice start even if Nokia would frown upon such practices.

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"Enthusiasts" can now load custom ROMs on devices like this HTC Titan

Good news for those with "2nd generation" Windows Phone like the HTC Radar and HTC Titan, the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have released their custom Hard Secondary Program Loader (HSPL) for those devices, including a "wizard" to guide you through the somewhat complicated process. Announced back in March, the team has made solid and steady progress over the last few months on the project.

HSPLs are needed to "unlock" the bootloader of certain smartphones in order to get custom ROMs to load onto them (think of it as a layer of security). Without this tool-set, modified OS's for those devices simply have nowhere to go. Now that these tools are available comes the second step: the creation of custom ROMs which will require some "chefs" to cook them up,

Second generation HTC devices have been notoriously difficult to crack for DFT so this is a fairly big win for the homebrew community. Unfortunately, devices like the Titan II still won't work with this tool so it's best to still wait for DFT to get that going.

In a well planned release, there are at least two custom ROMs now available too:

  1. HTC Titan by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address
  2. HTC Radar by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address

Once again we need to stress to proceed with caution when attempting these modifications as this can "brick" your phone if you don't follow the directions carefully.  Regardless, it's exciting to finally see some movement on these two fantastic Windows Phones. We're sure the community will be releasing some fantastic creations over the next few months.

Source: XDA Forums; via: WP7.com.pl; Thanks, Tony and dragonide, for the tips

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RainbowMod? Sounds familiar, right? We previously covered a custom ROM for the Lumia 710 sharing an identical name, and now it's out for the Lumia 800. Built on Windows Phone "Tango" (7.10.8773.98) and based on Chinese firmware, RainbowMod is shipped with both English (US) and Russian languages.

It's required that the owner has configured the Qualcomm boot loader on their Lumia 800. So what's included in RainbowMod?

  • Full Unlock from UltraShot
  • Removed OEM applications (Nokia Drive, Maps, etc.)
  • Search key remapping
  • QuickLaunch menu for quick switching state of WiFi, 3G, Flight mode, Power save, etc.
  • Ability to access file system via WiFi/USB
  • Integrated Live ID, DppImplant no longer needed, but new key can also be banned
  • Orientation locker
  • Added multiple colour themes
  • Easy installation xap from browser or file manager
  • Unlocked Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts (limitation of Chinese firmware)
  • Added Google and Yandex search engines
  • xb0xmod cert for cab-updates
  • Cab-updatable
  • Lots of minor changes
  • Updatability via Zune (not guaranteed)

It must be noted that the ROM creator does not own a Lumia 800, and thus this may well bust a cap in your Lumia's ass. Windows Phone Central takes no responsibility for any damage caused to your device. Proceed with caution and at your own risk. Head on over to the XDA thread for more information and support.

Source: XDA; thanks Maersk for the heads up!

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It was only yesterday that we covered the availability of Metro^7, a custom ROM for the Lumia 710. Now we're pleased to announce another custom ROM has been published on the XDA forums - RainbowMod. This custom mod, by XDA Forum member lucifer3006, is based on Windows Phone "Tango" and is available in Spanish, French, Hungarian, Swedish, Czech, German, English US, Italian, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Portuguese (Portugal & Brazil), and Danish.

So what's featured in RainbowMod?

  • Full Unlock from UltraShot
  • Removed OEM applications (Nokia Drive, Maps, etc.)
  • Search key remapping
  • QuickLaunch menu for quick switching the state of WiFi, 3G, Flight mode, Power save, etc.
  • Ability to access file system via WiFi/USB
  • Integrated Live ID, DppImplant no longer needed, but the new key can also be banned
  • Orientation locker
  • Added many color themes
  • Easy installation xap from a browser or file manager
  • Added Google and Yandex search engines
  • xb0xmod cert for cab-updates
  • Cab-updatable
  • Lots of minor changes
  • Updatability via Zune (not guaranteed)

Check out the video below for a quick glance at the ROM.

Two versions are available, the full version and a 'lite' version that strips most languages (leaving English and Russian) and bundled apps away. As always, Windows Phone Central cannot take any responsibility for damaged Lumia 710s, especially if they startup Skynet.

Source: XDA, via: Plaffo

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Metro^7 is a custom Lumia 710 ROM built on the Tango release, and is now available over at the XDA developer forum. The author, XDA member vova1609, states that you need to have your Lumia 710 interop unlocked, but then you should be good to go with flashing. 

Some highlighted features:

  • Fully unlocked
  • Install XAPs using Internet Explorer
  • Bazaar pre-installed
  • Bluetooth File Transfer by DFT pre-installed
  • Exclusive wallpapers "metro ROCK"
  • Added tethering functionality
  • Deleted Nokia's apps (Nokia Music, etc.)
  • Added Google and Yandex as available search engines

As well as the ROM and included functionality, an exclusive pack of 'metro ROCK' wallpapers are included, featuring multiple designs to match the system theme. Please note that Windows Phone Central does not take any responsibility for any issues your device may develop using this (or any other) available ROM. Use at your own discretion.

Source: XDA, via: Plaffo

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The presence of WP7 Root Tools demonstrates this Lumia 800 is interop-unlocked

It has certainly been a very exciting 24 hours for Nokia fans between the early release of the 900 data-fix, that hilarous video from India or the prospect that "the Woz" may pick up a Lumia. And now we can add one more.

Over at XDA they have successfully figured out how to get the Lumia devices into unlocked bootloader mode (or rather, to detect if your phone has an unlocked bootloader). In turn, you can install a custom ROM with build 12070 (RM819_059P453_1600.2487.8107.12070_002) on board plus an interop-unlock.

The interop-unlock method goes deeper than developer unlocked on Mango phones but not as deep as a full-unlock. However, it will allow users to install some more sophisticated homebrew apps (e.g. registry editors) as opposed to just sideloading signed apps.

Unfortunately a lot of Lumia 800's won't have an unlocked bootloader (you'll need to check your phone first) but biktor_gj and the rest of the crew over at XDA will surely get to devices with newer firmware on board and unlock their bootloaders eventually.

At time of this writing, biktor_gj is still uploading the custom ROM for the Lumia 710 with interop unlock, though it should be up shortly and use the same process.

Certainly this is a big day for Lumia owners and just the tip of the iceberg for the custom ROMs to follow on these devices.

Source: XDA Forums; via Nokia HD Blog; Thanks, niccolo, for the tip

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Little over two weeks since it was released, the custom Windows Phone "Tango" (build 8773) ROM for the Samsung Omnia 7 has been bumped to version 3.1. The Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh contains a number of minor changes (most notably lower RAM requirements), including MMS improvements and an SMS bug fix.

The changelog for the v.3.1 custom ROM is as follows:

  • Image update now working
  • Custom apps updated
  • CSC file cleaned
  • Removed HTC drivers
  • Fixed known glitches & carried out optimisation
  • Pagepool set back to 3/1 mb

Be sure to head on over to the XDA thread to download the custom Windows Phone "Tango" (build 8773) ROM for the Samsung Omnia 7.

Source: XDA, via: Plaffo

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So far, custom ROMs for so-called Gen 2 devices like the HTC Titan and Radar are nonexistent. This has to do with changes to the bootloader which has proved to be a difficult beast to unlock and therefore, reflash a new ROM onto. As a result, devices like the HD7 and even the HD2 are getting some of the latest, cutting edge OS builds while Gen 2 devices are left waiting with official releases.

That may (we stress, may) all be changing as the Dark Forces Team (DFT) are reportedly working on getting those custom ROMs for the Titan and Radar, or so says Cotulla (@CotullaCode) who recently tweeted "DFT team is working under ability to flash custom ROMs for Omegenka and Titanchik"

Nothing else was revealed like an ETA or progress of such a project, but honestly what more can we ask other than those fine DFT folks at least try to work on this? DFT has made a lot of headway in making custom ROMs for Windows Phones in the past (and even for Samsung devices), so if any group can do this, it'll be them.

We'll keep you posted if and when any developments occur.

Source: @CoutllaCode; via Windows Phone Hacker

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As a follow up to Monday's story regarding Windows Phone Tango and the reported increase in the number of apps for fast-app switching, the story has proven to be false.

What was seen was a custom Tango ROM for an HD2 where the ROM-chef (HD2Owner) had increased the number of apps in the taskswitcher from five to eight -- but alas, in the official Tango ROM this is not the case and five, sadly is still the limit. From XDA:

"more tasks in taskswitcher is not a tango feature

it's just another useful tweak i implemented into my rom"

Certainly this explains why Microsoft did not convey this information earlier but at least on the bright side, it's one thing to be less excited about regarding Tango.

via: Windows Phone Daily

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Just a few weeks before it officially hits, Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh aka "Tango" (build 8773) has managed to be dumped onto XDA for the world to see (and use). Wasting no time, some chefs have already cooked up some custom ROMs for the HD2 (which will evidently live until the year 2031 with updates) and the Samsung Omnia7.

More ROMs will be expected to follow soon for first generation devices, notably HTC ones and the Samsung Focus. Since there are no custom ROMs for Gen 2 devices (due to a locked bootloader), we're not expecting this Tango ROM to help too much though perhaps some folks at XDA will find a way.

Tango is thought to a "refresh" of Windows Phone 7.5 with only minor, under the hood changes including support for lower-spec'd devices (256MB of RAM) as well as some MMS improvements and a fix for the SMS bug. Like all previous updates, this is expected to trickle out for current phones but only at the discretion of the carrier.

Source: HD2, Omnia 7; via XDA

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Although many of us are yearning for Windows Phone 8107 to grace our devices, Microsoft is still pushing forward with regular builds of the OS, adding new features along the way.

The latest build now seen is 8750 and those hacker cats at Dark Forces Team (DFT) out East have managed to get their hands on it, even loading it on an HTC Schubert/Mozart. OS 8750 is by the far the highest builds we've seen of Windows Phone yet. [Note: 8750 isn't a final build but most likely internal and interim for Microsoft]

Unfortunately, no details yet have come forth as to the changes but we're betting there will be quite a few under-the-hood modifications. DFT are looking to push this out soon and we're sure some ROMs at XDA will appear shortly thereafter. Stay tuned...

Source: DFT; Thanks, mwang!

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If you fancy yourself a custom ROM, you may want to take a peek at the latest version of Nextgen+ which just received a nice little makeover. We covered the previous release here, noting that it offered some very interesting additions, including a stripped down core and new color emoticons for things like messaging and system icons. Version 2.0 looks to go even further and is now available in 'lite' or 'full':

  • Windows Phone 7.5 (Build 7740.16)
  • MultiLanguage (in Full Version)
  • High Speed
  • Full-Unlocked
  • Installing *.xap from IE
  • The easy, optimized and modified ROM
  • New exclusive iconpack
  • OEM apps, Wallpapers, ringtones, sounds from Nokia Lumia 710 / 800
  • Internet Sharing
  • Visual Studio Debugging
  • Colored Themes
  • New, great wallpapers, pictures, sounds
  • Some minor reg Tweaks
  • OEM apps from HTC Omega / Eternity

Not a bad set of features, in fact we may have to fire up our HD7 and throw this on there to see how it performs. Plus you can expect some excellent battery life and the usual speed improvements, which is great for that Gen1 hardware.

Source: XDA Forums; Thanks, volpi3000, for the link!

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