John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Rooting your Sprint Motorola Droid Pro

I bought a Sprint Motorola Droid Pro. There were a number of items that meant I could not use the device. One was font size and the other was unstable, unusable WIFI hotspot. Both of these can be overcome by obtaining root. Obtaining root can be quite complicated and fear had kept me away from doing it. When I went to resell the Droid Pro I discovered it hard to sell although easy to give away, go figure.

Google decided to create a base font in the operating system to insure all apps look consistent. They gave the system integrators the choice of font and font size at build time. The unfortunate (ok flat out stupid) thing Google didn’t include was the ability for the end user to change the font or size. WTF. This was in Windows Mobile 2003. Stupid. So on the Droid Pro it was so bad on the small screen I could not read it without my glasses. Now I admit, my vision is getting marginal after years of staring at screens. But I don’t think I am the only one. And thus started my Quest.

Rooting is basically prohibited by the system integrator and is actively pursued to stop. Some even put in measures to detect and remove root if granted. Others insure the ways they use to prohibit rooting change so that methods use to obtain root must constantly adapt. Every time you get an over the air update to your base OS you are at risk of loosing your root and not being able to get it back until the end user community has found yet another way to thwart these haneous actions.

Rooting almost always uses an exploit, a hole in the OS. They use this hole to get a foot hold and then pry themselves in.

There are all kinds of different ways to obtain root and you need to research your specific phone to find one that will work for your device, for your version of the OS. Don’t be surprised if you read about a method that works only to discover it doesn’t work on yours (perhaps because you are on a newer version of the OS).

Some of the rooting methods involve programs that run on your device, some that on your PC and some that are so low level you have to replace the ROM. Yikes. Replacing the ROM involves a process that if not followed correctly can result in an expensive paper weight, referred to as bricking. I know cause I did it on one of my devices 🙂

When I started working on this I found references to Z4Root (which runs on the device) which lots of people insisted worked. Well it turned out a recent over the air update broke this. It was not easy to tell if Z4Root had actually worked or not. I didn’t get any good or bad messages from it, it just stopped after a bit of time doing something. No idea what. I found an ap that would very simply test if you had root or not called Basic Root checker. This really helped.

The next method I saw discussed was called SuperOneClick. This one ran on the PC. This seemed to run and insisted it had rooted the phone. I used a number of methods to discover it had not. Again I found out the OTA update had pooched this one as well.

The last method I read about referred to use a Windows scripts called aroot. This one is cryptic but did the job and was simple and easy to use. Alas I had root!

A lot of the font changing apps require Busybox so this was the next up to install. In fact the program I wanted to use had a very specific version of busybox that had to be there so I let it do it’s thing.

At the core of Root is an app called Superuser. One of the confusing things I found was that Superuser was on my device. Superuser is suppose to pop up any time an ap is asking for root and request permission. This was never happening. Another indication that I didn’t have root. Once root was properly established Superuser worked like a charm.

There are two different parts to the displayed font, one is the font itself and the other is the size of the font to be used. I did not find one ap to do both. Spare Parts is free and allows you to change the size but not the specific font. I found another ap called Font Changer to allow you to change the default font. It however does not include any fonts and bad instructions how to add them. I found fonts at Dafont as well as 1001 Free fonts. Once downloaded and unzipped you copy them into the default directory for fonts (look in the settinsg for the font changer ap for the directory) and boom there they are. I also found a paid app Font size that allows you to change the font size.

Once all this is done you have complete control of the fonts displayed on your device. A reboot is required to change them unfortunately. You will also have to play with sizes. Get them too big and your menus, quick actions or message bars don’t display right. You have to find a combination of something big enough for you to see and small enough to be useable within the OS.

In addition to changing the fonts there are other programs that require root. Adding tethering for example. So once rooted you have a lot more options open to you.

Word of caution once rooted, be careful doing over the air updates you may loose root. If root becomes a must for you don’t do the update. Motorola it seems have been aggressive in changing their root prevention and detection methods. Silly really. Who owns this phone again? Who is the customer?

As a point of reference this burned about 4 hours to figure out … 🙂


December 4, 2011 - Posted by | Android

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