How to Root Your HTC EVO 4G (with OTA Gingerbread Update)

August 18, 2011
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With the current flood of new and more powerful Android smartphones, the HTC EVO 4G may look like it’s an already old phone. Yet, although the HTC EVO 4G was released last year and was an instant hit, a lot of people today still have this Android smartphone as their primary device. Won’t it be great if users of the HTC EVO 4G could also enjoy the wonders of a rooted device?

This guide is exactly the perfect one for that. This guide walks you through the steps for rooting the HTC EVO with the Android 2.3 Gingerbread over-the-air (OTA) update. If you run into issues while following the steps, check the FAQ section at the end.

Requirements

  • HTC EVO 4G with the Android 2.3 Gingerbread over-the-air (OTA) update
  • Windows machine with Internet connection
  • HTC EVO 4G Gingerbread rooting files — This is a ZIP file containing all drivers, image files, and other files needed for rooting your HTC EVO 4G as described in this guide. Get the file here. Extract the contents of the ZIP file into a folder on your Desktop. In this guide, we use a folder named “rootevo4ggingerbread” and we suggest that you use the same folder name to avoid confusion.
  • Uninstalling HTC Sync. The stock HTC Sync software provides handset drivers that won’t work with the rooting method used in this guide. Remove HTC Sync. Install the drivers from HTCDriver3.0.0.007.exe, which is included in the HTC EVO 4G Gingerbread ZIP file mentioned above.
  • Ra Recovery image — The image file is contained in PC36IMG.zip, which you can download from here. Do not extract or unzip the compressed file.

Standard Disclaimers and Warnings

  • Back up your data. The rooting procedure may completely wipe off everything on your phone. It is a good idea to back up your data–both those on the phone itself and on the SD card.
  • Voiding your warranty. Tinkering with your HTC EVO 4G in the manner described here may void all or parts of your phone’s warranty.
  • Uninterrupted power. To ensure that the process completes uninterruptedly, make sure your device has at least 50% battery power. A better suggestion is to root your device on full power.
  • No guarantees. The author or publisher of this guide does not guarantee that the steps in this guide will produce the intended results. Nor will either author or publisher assume any responsibility for malfunctions to your handset if you follow this guide. Although the author and publisher have exerted effort to provide accurate information, you will proceed with rooting your phone at your own risk.

Step-by-step Procedure

The 15-minute video below explains the whole process in detail. You can also follow the steps outlined after the video. Make sure that you comply with the required preparations first before going through the steps.

  1. Make sure you have extracted the HTC EVO 4G Gingerbread rooting files as described in the Requirements section.
  2. Uninstall HTC Sync from your computer first before proceeding. Install the drivers provided by HTCDriver3.0.0.007.exe (included in the HTC EVO 4G Gingerbread rooting files that you downloaded). The method in this guide will only work with those drivers. You can reinstall HTC Sync after you finish rooting your handset.
  3. Connect your HTC EVO 4G and your Windows computer using a USB cable. Set the connection type as “Charge only.”
  4. Enable USB Debugging mode on your handset. You can do that by going to the Settings>Applications>Development screen and checking “USB Debugging.”
  5. Open a command prompt or terminal on your computer and go to the directory where you extracted the rooting files by using the command cd Desktop\rootevo4ggingerbread and pressing the Enter key.
  6. Invoke ADB to list your device’s serial number. Type adb devices on the command prompt and press Enter. You will see a list of attached devices. Take note of the serial number for your handset. (Another way to find out your handset’s serial number is to pull out the phone’s battery and take a look in the battery compartment. The serial number is printed there and usually starts with the letter “H”.)
  7. Generate a Beta key for Revolutionary: S-OFF & Recovery Tool 0.4pre4. The executable binary file for the tool is already included in rootevo4ggingerbread.zip, but you need a beta key to be able to use the tool. Generate a beta key for your HTC EVO 4G handset by going to revolutionary.io. Fill in the form with the following information:

    Your operating system: Windows
    Your device: HTC EVO 4G
    HBOOT version: 2.16.0001
    Serial number: type here the serial number provided by ADB in the previous step

  8. Take note of the beta key generated by the site.
  9. From the command prompt on the computer, run revolutionary.exe (type the command and press Enter). Or, an easier way to launch the program would be to double-click the executable file from within Windows Explorer. The program will ask you for the beta key. Copy and paste the beta key and then press Enter to start the rooting process. It usually takes some time, so be patient.
  10. When the program completes, it will ask you whether you want to download ClockworkMod Recovery and flash it onto the handset. Say no by typing “N” and pressing Enter at the command prompt.
  11. Change the USB connection type on your handset to “Disk drive.” Your computer will detect the SD card on your handset. Using Windows Explorer, open your handset’s SD card folder. Copy PC36IMG.zip to the root folder (not a subfolder) on your handset’s SD card.
  12. Unplug your phone and turn it off.
  13. Boot the HTC EVO 4G into Hboot. To do that, press the handset’s Power button and Volume Down button simultaneously for a few seconds. The device will go into Hboot. You will see a prompt asking whether you want to start update. Press the Volume Up button to select “Yes.” Wait for the update to finish. Once it does, you will be asked to reboot the handset. Select “No.”
  14. Go into recovery mode. On the handset, scroll down to “Recovery” (use the Volume buttons to scroll) and press the Power button to select it.
  15. Once the device is in recovery mode, highlight “USB-MS toggle” from the menu and press the Power button to select it. Plug your phone back into your computer.
  16. Using Windows Explorer on your computer, copy su-2.3.6.3-efgh-signed.zip from the “rootevo4ggingerbread” folder to the root folder on your handset’s SD card.
  17. Press the Power button on your handset to disable the USB-MS toggle and go back to the recovery mode menu.
  18. Select “Flash ZIP from SD card” on the main menu. In the next menu, select “Choose ZIP from SD card.” You will see a list of the files on your SD card. Use the Volume buttons to scroll through the list. Highlight su-2.3.6.3-efgh-signed.zip and press the Power button to select it.
  19. After the handset finishes flashing the file, select “Return” to go back to the previous menu. Select “Reboot system now” to restart your handset.
  20. Your HTC EVO 4G will reboot. To confirm that you have successfully rooted your handset, check for an app icon named Superuser on the device. If it’s there, congratulations! You’ve just rooted your HTC EVO 4G and you can now enjoy the advantages of using a rooted device.

Frequently Answered Questions

When I run the Revolutionary tool, it just sits at “waiting for device.”
The likely culprit is HTC Sync. Make sure it is not running. Better yet, uninstall HTC Sync temporarily. You can reinstall it after you complete the rooting procedure.

I’m stuck at “zerging root” nothing seems to work.
Again make sure you un-install HTC Sync and turn off your antivirus and/or firewall.

I keep getting an invalid key. What am I doing wrong?
The beta key for the Revolutionary tool is case-sensitive, so make sure you get it right. Try to copy the key into a text editor (e.g., Notepad) to verify the characters. The Revolutionary tool will give you your device’s serial number. Verify that you entered the correct serial number into the beta key generator. If you are still having issues, try regenerating the beta key.

Will the procedure in this guide wipe my device?
No. If you follow the steps in this guide accurately, you will get S-OFF, custom recovery, and root access on your handset. Your data should be safe–unless you did something that erased all your data.

Will this work on the Japanese variant of the HTC EVO with HBoot version 2.15.001?
It might, but not confirmed yet. Feel free to try and let us know if it worked for you.

Is it possible to get root from a Mac?
Yes, via Linux VM.

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