There seems to be a lot of people out there who are either new to android or new to rooting, so I thought it would be helpful to post something explaining the right way to flash a rom, kernel, or theme on the Thunderbolt.
Most of this guide applies to other devices with unlocked bootloaders as well...just fyi. I only own a d1 and TB though, so I can only speak for them.
Rooting, installing custom roms, overclocking, etc. if done incorrectly can damage your device. It will void the warranty (unless you cover your tracks well), and will most likely shorten the life of your phone. I am in no way responsible (directly or indirectly) for any damage done to your device. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU DO TO YOUR DEVICE. This is entirely to help those who decide to proceed.
There are different ways to do it, and you will most likely find those who may disagree with what I recommend. I am not a developer, but I've been flashing roms on my D1 for what seems like forever (at times daily) so I'm speaking from what I've learned over this time as well as what I've picked up from some of the developers I've had the pleasure of speaking with.
I RECOMMEND YOU NOT TRY TO FLASH A ROM UNLESS YOUR BATTERY IS AT FULL CHARGE. YOU CAN DO IT WITH LESS, BUT I'D RATHER SAFE SIDE IT. Kernels, themes, patches, just make sure you're above 50%.
1. BACK UP EVERYTHING
I recommend backing up all your apps and settings as well as doing a complete nandroid backup before proceeding.
A. TITANIUM BACKUP is a MUST if you plan to flash roms. It will save you time and hastle. First make sure you have USB Debugging checked under settings/applications/development. Open Titanium and let it load all the apps from the os. If you get an error message saying it can't find busybox on your device, touch the problems button and it will give you an option to install busybox. This will install it in the Titanium folder, so it will not replace what you already have. It will not affect your system in any way. Once all the apps are loaded go to menu and select “Batch”. It will give you a bunch of options, select the run button next to “Backup all user apps + System data”. Let that finish then we'll move on.
B. NANDROID BACKUP Make sure you have the rom you want to install on your sd card and know it's location. Then boot directly into recovery. You can do this from Rom Manager selecting “Reboot into recovery” or by powering off, holding down volume while powering up. Then from hboot select recovery. From recovery select “Backup & Restore” then select “Backup”. It will start to do a nandroid backup. Don't be allarmed if it takes a while. I've
never seen a backup freeze. After that return to the main menu.
2. WIPE DATA
There are 3 things you should wipe for a normal installation of a rom. This is not an absolute, you may need to format partitions in some situations, but you're usually fine wiping data, cache and Dalvik Cache.
A. Select “Wipe Data Factory Reset”. This may take a short while, be patient.
B. Select “Wipe Cache”. This should be quick.
C. Go down to “Advanced”. In the advanced menu, select “Wipe Dalvik Cache”.
3. INATALL ROM
Now from the main menu, select “install zip from sdcard”. This will allow you to Navigate folders on your sdcard to find your rom. Select the rom. Then you'll get a screen with a bunch of no's and one yes. This is incase you selected it by accident. Arrow down to the “Yes” and select it. It will now install your rom and leave you at the main menu. Select “Reboot System Now” and you'll be in your new Custom rom. The first boot may take a while because it needs to build the Dalvik Cache so be patient.
4. RESTORING DATA
When your get into your rom you may get the setup wizzard, or you may not depending on the rom. Some roms have Titanium Backup included, these roms are easiest. If your rom does, just go do the app before signing into anything. Go to menu/batch and select “run” next to “Restore missing apps with data”. This will give you a list allowing you to uncheck apps you don't want to restore. INPORTANT: UNCHECK ANY APPS YOU DIDN'T INSTALL FROM THE MARKET OR SIDE LOAD YOURSELF!!! Doing so may cause problems. If there's anything else you want to restore, wait until after doing a nandroid backup. That way if it messes something up, you can just restore your backup. If your rom doesn't have titanium, just open the market. You will be prompted to sign into your google account, do it then you can install it.
Now you can change all your settings and sign into your accounts. Don't ever restore system settings with Titanium, you will likely mess something up if you do.
INSTALLING KERNELS AND THEMES
This is done the same way, just make sure you backup and DON'T WIPE ANYTHING. If you have problems after installing a kernel, boot into recovery, wipe cache and dalvik cache, then install the kernel again.
There is a new app on the market called "Kernel Manager" from "Team Win" that is really convenient. It is easy to use and has almost all the kernels on it. If you choose to use it, DON'T FORGET TO BACKUP BEFORE SELECTING "DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL", BECAUSE IT DOESN'T GIVE YOU THAT OPTION LIKE ROM MANAGER. I would also suggest going to menu/advanced options and selecting "wipe cache" and "wipe dalvik cache" before using the app to install a kernel. That will decrease your chances of having issues with your new kernel.
YOU CAN NOW SAFELY USE ROM MANAGER TO INSTALL ROMS. RomManager now by default wipes Dalvik Cache. This means you can flash roms from RM without problems now. I still recommend you know how to do it manually from recovery too in the event of bootloops and such.
Steps using rom manager:
1. Download your rom either from "download rom" in rom manager, or save it to your sdcard. If you downloaded it with rm, it will prompt you to install the file after completing the download. Skip to step 2. If you downloaded it via your browser or dropbox, etc select "install rom from sdcard." Navigate to where your rom is saved, and select it. You will now get a popup with checkboxes.
2. Check all 3 boxes, create backup, wipe data & cache, and wipe dalvik should already be checked. Select ok, then ok again on the next popup. It will then boot into recovery and backup, wipe, and install. The first boot will take a while, be patient.
3. Now restore with Titanium and you're good to go.
Q. Why not just use ROM Manager?
A. You can now, a recent update enabled wiping dalvik cache. I've been using Rom Manager now with no issues. However, being that you are throwing another user interface by using RM, there is a potential for more problems. You need to know how to do all this from recovery in case something goes wrong and you can't boot into android.
Q. Can I use some other backup program like MyBackup instead of buying Titanium?
A. Yes, but I wouldn't recommend it. I tried MyBackup on my d1, and it didn't restore correctly. Just pay a couple bucks for the pro key and you'll be happy you did! SUPPORT THE DEVELOPER!!!!!
If you have any questions or problems, please post them. I'll help if I can. Also, if you have any suggestions, please let me know. I just wanted to try to help out some of the noobs :-)