How to Install CyanogenMod 7 Gingerbread

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Generally speaking, flashing a custom ROM onto your phone is a fairly simple, straight-forward process — once it’s rooted and a custom recovery image installed.

With CyanogenMod 7 (CM7) there’s a little more to it.

First and foremost, CyanogenMod 7 isn’t fully cooked yet. It’s functional enough to be my daily driver, but it’s still in the RC0 phase (meaning it’s not ready to be called a “release candidate”). In fact, at the time of this writing there are only 3 “nightly” builds available (though this will have likely increased by the time you read this post).

Following any instructions beyond this point is at your own risk and could render your phone a useless brick. You’ve been warned.

Next, this article assumes that you have permaRooted your smartphone and are familiar with installing custom recovery images and ROMs. If you’re not, we have plenty of articles to get you up-to-speed.

Also, this tutorial should apply to the following devices:

– Ace (Desire HD)

– Crespo (Nexus S)

– Glacier (MyTouch 4G)

– Vision (G2 & Desire Z)

For the purposes of this article I have personally (and somewhat painfully) gone through the following on my T-Mobile G2 (HTC Vision), so the files linked to below are specific to that device. If you’re using another device head over to forum.cyanogenmod.com and find the corresponding files to match your hardware.

Ready for some fun? Okay, let’s go!

0. Backup

The first step of installing any ROM is to backup what you already have. By doing so you ensure that if something goes wrong all you have to do is wipe/factory reset and restore, and all you’ve lost is some time.

The easiest way I’ve found to backup is with ROM Manager premium. Launch the app and tap “Backup Current ROM”. Follow the prompts, wait for the backup to complete, and you’re golden. On to the next step.

1. Download the Files to Your SDCARD

Again, these files are specific to the HTC Vision (G2/Desire Z). If you’re using a different phone you’ll want to find the equivalent files for your device.

For this ROM you’re going to need two files, and one optional file:

ClockworkMod Recovery 3.x (rename this file to recovery.img to make the next steps easier)

CyanogenMod ROM 7

Google Apps (“gapps”)

Place them all on the root of your sdcard.

2. Flash the Recovery Image

Open your app drawer and find your terminal emulator (mine’s called Terminal, if you don’t have one, you can grab one from the Market).

Once in Terminal type su (enter), approve superuser access if prompted.

Next, type flash_image recovery /sdcard/recovery.img (enter).

This should replace your old recovery image with the new one. Why do we need a new one? Apparently Gingerbread makes use of the EXT4 file system and previous recovery images do not support it. This new version supports both old and new, so even if you decide to go back, you don’t need to flash back you old recovery image.

NOTE: If you were previously using ClockworkMod Recovery, the text was green. In the new version the text is orange.

3. Factory Reset/Wipe

Since this is a big change, you’ll need to wipe so you can start from a clean slate. To do so, open ROM Manager again and select the option to “Reboot into Recovery”.

Once in Recovery, select the option to “wipe data/factory reset”, follow the prompts.

4. Install CyanogenMod 7

Once wiping is complete, select “install zip from sdcard”, “choose zip from sdcard”, then select the CM7 Nightly that you previously downloaded. Follow the prompts.

5. Install Gapps

Once flashing CM7 Nightly is complete, select “install zip from sdcard”, “choose zip from sdcard”, then select the Google Apps package that you previously downloaded. Follow the prompts.

Select the option to “reboot system now” and wait patiently as CM7 boots for the first time (remember, first boots take significantly longer than subsequent boots).

6. Setup and Backup

Once booted, get everything setup the way you want, go back into ROM Manager, and snap another backup.

Have fun and enjoy your Ginerbread!!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.