custom roms

 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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"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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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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Dark Forces Team (DFT) are quite busy these days seemingly playing with every unreleased, in development build of Windows Phone that's out there.

It was just a few days ago that we heard they have Windows Phone build 8750 in their hands and now they have 8757 too. Of course we're lacking details just what (if any) changes there are on board but this branch is presumingly steaming towards the final "Tango" release which is expected to drop in a few weeks. What makes it neat too is that they squeezed it on to a Samsung Focus instead of your regular HTC phones--that's thanks to their other tool out there.

No word if DFT will pack this into one of their custom ROMs but we imagine if they find enough goodies, they'll put it out there.

Source: DFT;Thanks mwang!

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Today's a big day as DFT have released their HSPL RSPL tool version 3 for Windows Phone. Previous versions allowed access to GSM editons of Generation 1 HTC devices which is why they're able to run those custom ROMs that we've reported on previously. This latest version of the HSPL RSPL tool released today now enables support for two CDMA phones: the Verizon Trophy and Sprint Arrive (7 Pro). From the changelog:

  • Added support for 'SCHU1000' and 'PD291200' MIDs
  • Removed OTA update inside RSPL and HSPL, this allows to keep HSPL after
  • HTC OTA Zune update.
  • Added warning screen about 4.XX and 5.XX
  • But still NO support for 4.XX and 5.XX
  • Support for CDMA devices: GoldC and SparkW (Edit: Gold_C is the codename for the Sprint Arrive and Spark_W for the Verizon Trophy)
  • Wizard UI: only WWE support remains

This tool is the first needed to unlock the bootloader allowing the loading of custom ROMs onto the device. That means "ROM chefs" can now begin the cooking and testing of custom builds, eventually getting to the point where a stable version can be released to the public.

That's good news for those who don't want to wait for the latest build of the OS to get "officially" released (assuming it will even happen). In short, whether Verizon or Sprint officially release 8107 to fix the keyboard, you should be able to load a custom ROM with it in the near future.

Stay tuned for those custom ROMs over the next few weeks as we'll report any that come forth.

Source: XDA and DFT; Thanks, DavidinCT, for the tip!

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Looks like Dark Forces Team has done it again. Just last night we reported on how they managed to flash the RTM build of Mango (7720) on an HD7 and now today, they've released RSPL/HSPL tools need for flashing custom ROMs.

These tools won't be of much use to you regular folks out there, but instead are meant for those daring and brave ROM Chefs (a term we haven't used in about a year), who want to flash their own versions of Windows Phone 7 to their devices (first generation). It is currently limited to only HTC phones, specifically HTC Mozart, the HTC Surround, the HTC HD7, the HTC Spark/Trophy, and the HTC 7 Pro, but no love the for the Sprint Arrive nor Verizon Trophy.

It's a big step in many ways, even if more symbolic, just because of the difficulty in working with Microsoft's more "locked down" OS and bootloader. We say symbolic because we're still not too sure how much of a market there is for custom ROMs--bloatware barely exists and can be uninstalled, there are few if any differences in builds, etc. So it remains to be seen what this willl actually bring to the table, nonetheless, we're a bit excited to see what devs can come up with.

Source: XDA/DFT; via WindowsPhone Hacker

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Windows Phone 7 custom ROM development got a big boost today with the advancement in two areas:

  • Custom ROM Image Editor (by AnDim)
  • Mixing of HTC ROM images & different radios (by ansar.ath.gr)

The former is what you see above and is basically a simple GUI for manipulation of ROM images, making custom ROM development that much easier. Basically it allows for the "...extraction, replacement, addition, removal" of ROM files. This is still in testing and therefore limited (only read and extract functions) but it's a big step in the process.

The other news comes by way of XDA member ansar.ath.gr. A few days ago, he garnered some attention by successfully swapping ROM images from one HTC WP7 device to another. Today, he has gone further by manipulating radio images as well. He notes:

This is a custom ROM not signed with the new and yet not completely hacked MS WP7 signer. If this is true for all operators and spl's then the game just started.

...Now there is a way to flash only the radio from other operators

Once again, for practical matters, this means little for even those who are itching to flash a new ROM. What it does mean is that progress is being made to allow custom flashing of different regional ROMs, radios and mixing and matching. Although significant, we have to wonder just how much improvement will come down the pike from such maniuplation. Still, it's fun to watch as we know these guys will keep at it, no matter what obstacles they face.

Source: XDA 1, XDA 2

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