How to root the Dell Streak (Android 1.6 only)

Streak-rooted

If you've never rooted an Android device before, then the Dell Streak is a great choice for your first time. Thanks to Paul of MoDaCo, the Streak can be "broken into" in a matter of seconds, letting you take full control of it to do just about whatever you want. Whether it's flashing custom ROMs or just installing some of those root-only apps you may have seen in Android Market, rooting opens up a world of possibilities.

As with all hacks of this nature, please proceed at your own risk.

UPDATE: One-click root and unroot method here.

Here's how to do it:

1. Download Superboot (.zip) on your computer and unzip it.

2. Remove the battery from your Streak, then put it back in and put the battery cover on.

3. Hold down the camera shutter button and press the power button.

4. When the Streak boots, the standard Dell splash screen will show just long enough to see it before being replaced by a white screen with a number pad and some other text on it. Tap on "Fastboot" in the top right corner of the screen.

5. A new white screen will appear with the words "Wait for USB Fastboot detect" in the bottom left corner. Wait about 10 seconds and plug the Streak into your computer.

6. "Fastboot_Mode" should appear on the Streak's screen. If it does, skip to step #7. If it doesn't, then you need to install the driver:

  • Go to the Device Manager on your computer.
  • Right-click on the device, which will have a yellow triangle/black exclamation point icon over it, and select "Update Driver Software" from the menu that appears.
  • Then click on "Browse my computer…" -> "Let me pick…" -> Android Phone.
  • If you see "Android FastBoot" in the list, then select that. If that option isn't listed, "Android ADB Interface" and "Android Bootloader Interface" are fine too. If you see nothing in the list, then boot the Streak normally, connect it to your computer, install Dell PC Suite (preloaded on the device), and start over from step #2.
  • You'll get a warning about how installing the driver isn't recommended by Windows, but go ahead and install it anyway. After the installation is complete, "Android Phone" will be listed properly in the Device Manager and "Fastboot_Mode" will be on your Streak's screen.

7. Open the Superboot folder you unzipped in step #1. If you're using Windows, double-click "install-superboot-windows"; if you're on a Mac or Linux computer, open a terminal window and type chmod +x install-superboot-XXX.sh then ./install-superboot-XXX.sh, replacing XXX with either mac or linux.

And you're done. The Streak will automatically reboot and when it comes back up, it'll look exactly like it did before. The only difference is that you now have complete access to the system when and if you need it.

The process look more complicated than it is because I spelled everything out, but believe me, it's dead simple. I never rooted before (the Streak is my fourth Android device) and it was so quick and painless that I actually thought it didn't work. But then I downloaded an app from Android Market that required root and got the "Superuser Request" notification you see above when I launched it for the first time.

Paul from MoDaCo warns users to be careful with their rooted Streaks because a recovery image isn't available yet. It eventually will be, though, so don't worry. UPDATE: Recovery image now available.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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