WP7 Root Tools

Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 is announcing the immediate availability WP7 Root Tools 0.9 today. 'Root Tools is a suite of tools for Windows Phone that we've been following since inception and already features a full blown registry registry editor, file system browser, and certificate injection capabilities. But the new version comes jammed pack full of additional new and exciting features that will no doubt re-energize the homebrew community. I'm talking about features such as:

  • True and unfettered root access
  • Better performance
  • Increased device support
  • A new policy editor
  • A new software development kit

The more exciting news here, however, is the shiny new SDK (0.1) in tow, offering homebrew developers a set of APIs that tap into the same root-level features that the tool relies on. An application wishing to wield such power, however, must first seek permission from the user. That is, the users must explicity mark a particular app as "trusted". Grumble all you want, this gate is in place for obvious and serious security and privacy reasons. You don't want all those private photos on Twitter, right?

With no shortage of gullible install-everything phone users out there (see Android) policing root-required homebrew applications, Heathcliff74 admits, "will be tough." At this stage, we'll have to rely on the attentive homebrew development community to continue sniffing out crapware. In the future, however, a more centralized model complete with app certification may be in order.

All that serious stuff aside, Heathcliff74 was kind enough to let me play with the SDK prior to release and let me tell you: it's easy to use and full of awesome. Working with Delphi aficionado [ed -- *snicker*] David Golden (@GoldenTao), of MetroTwit fame, we decided to retry the implementation of my grandiose hackathon idea -- to create a complete backup the phone, including Marketplace apps. And succeed we did.

 

Screenshots of the upcoming Complete Backup app.

While the app isn't quite ready yet -- we still need to button up some networking code, resolve app guids to names, create a restoration app, etc. -- it will support the complete backup (and eventual restore) of Windows Phone application data to the PC via native sockets. And better yet, it'll be completely open-source and available on GitHub.

So at this point, you're probably thinking: "Where do I get this spoonful of delicious?" Simple. Head over to Heathcliff74's new home on the Internet, where he will blog about and host the WP7 Root Tools XAP. But be warned: The software drills deep into the phone. I can't recommend enough that you use Zune to backup your device prior to install. Oh, and you need to have a device that's "Interop Unlocked" (or flashed with a custom hacked ROM). Sorry.

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Well known Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 announced an upcoming revision to his homebrew suite of tools on Twitter today. He noted WP7 Root Tools 0.9 will bring additional device support and allow homebrew developers to mark their applications as "trusted", opening up unfettered access to the file system and Windows APIs.

He also noted that he'll release a mini SDK, allowing developers to use both Windows APIs and use model-specific functionality without infringing on the copyright of any major carriers, OEMs, or Microsoft [ed: like Julien Schapman's TouchXperience].

Keep your ear to the ground, we'll let you know the moment it's ready!

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