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How to Root the HTC Desire S and Install Custom Recovery

December 6, 2011

For HTC Desire S users who have wanted to try something apart from the phone they get in the box, rooting may be an option. Rooting is a process wherein third party applications, such as custom ROMs, are given access to system-level files. Such “root-level” access isn’t usually possible. But, by modifying the system files, users can enjoy the customized experience of their device. A downside, however, is that rooting voids the phone’s warranty in almost all cases.

In order to facilitate a smooth rooting process, users must back up the data available on their phone. Messages, phone contacts, music, pictures, videos and even Internet settings must be backed up so that they can be safely restored later if ever the rooting process fails.

It’s also important to have the device charged up to 60% so the phone won’t shut down in the middle of the process, which may lead to bricking the device.

That being said, here’s how to root your HTC Desire S and install custom recovery on it:

  1. Take note of your phone’s serial number. Look for it in the battery compartment. It’s usually beside the label “S/N” in the battery compartment. Copy the serial number accurately.
  • Find out the HBoot version of your phone. To do that, reboot your phone into bootloader mode. First, turn off your phone. Then, turn it back on by pressing the Volume Down button and Power button together for a few seconds. Your phone will start in bootloader mode. The screen will show you the HBoot version. Copy the HBoot version number.
  • Turn your phone off and turn it on again normally.
  • Download Save it to your desktop. Do not extract the ZIP file. Copy the ZIP file to the root of your phone’s SD card.
  • Enable USB debugging in “Settings > Applications > Development > USB Debugging”.
  • Turn off the Fast boot option from “Settings > Power > Fast boot.”
  • Download the HTC Sync drivers into your phone. Get them here. Install the drivers to your computer. These are for Windows machines only.
  • Go to and download Revolutionary: S-OFF & Recovery Tool 0.4pre4 by clicking on the “Download for Windows” link in the Downloads section. A form will also appear below the link after you click the link.
  • Fill out the form with your operating system (Windows), device name (HTC Desire S), HBOOT version (you copied this as instructed in a previous step), and your device’s serial number (you also copied this as instructed in a previous step).
  • Click the Generate Key button. The page that appears will show you your beta key. Copy this key exactly as shown. It is case-sensitive.
  • Extract the contents of into a folder on your computer.
  • Connect your phone via the USB cable. If your phone asks you for a connection type, choose “HTC Sync” and just ignore the warnings.
  • Launch the Revolutionary tool (revolutionary.exe). A command prompt window will open and will ask you for the beta key.
  • Type or copy-and-paste the beta key for Revolutionary into the command prompt window. The beta key is case-sensitive. Press Enter to allow the tool to proceed.
  • Wait a little bit for Revolutionary to enable S-OFF and unlock the rewritable NAND on your handset. If the program asks you to install ClockworkMod Recovery, choose to do so.
  • Reboot your phone. Then, turn it off again.
  • Boot into bootloader mode by pressing the Volume Down and Power buttons together. Enter recovery mode by selecting Recovery from the list. Use the Volume Up/Down keys to scroll through the list and use the Power button to select.
  • In ClockworkMod Recovery, choose “install zip from sdcard,” then choose “choose zip from sdcard.”
  • Find on the list and press the Power button to select it. Wait a little bit for the process to finish.
  • Reboot your phone. It is now rooted and already has custom recovery installed.
  • Congratulations! Your HTC Desire will now have S-OFF and the phone will have been successfully rooted. The custom recovery image will also be successfully installed on the phone. You can now flash custom ROMs to your phone.