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How to wirelessly access HTC EVO root file system from your computer

Root-ftp-evo

Now that we all know how to wirelessly manage our HTC EVO 4G microSD cards from our computers, let's take it a step further and access the file system with root privileges in the same way.

Just as in the microSD card tutorial, all we're going to do here is install an FTP server app on the EVO and then map it as a network drive using Windows Explorer; the only difference is that instead of using Rapfox's free FTP Server, we're going to use waterdev's paid Root FTP Server. The app is less than $5 in the Market and while there may be cheaper alternatives out there, this is the one I use.

If you're already using Root Explorer (one of G&E's must-have root apps) or some other root file manager on your EVO, then think of Root FTP Server as a wireless version that grants you the same access from a computer over WiFi.

Note: The method below will only work when the EVO and computer are connected to the same WiFi network or tethered to each other (i.e., you need a static URL). If you're on a 3G or 4G connection, then you'll need to use a standard FTP client on your computer.

1. Root your EVO (tutorial here) if you haven't already done so.

2. Grab Root FTP Server ($4.86) from the Market:

Root-ftp-qr

Links: Market (EVO) | Market (web)

3. Open the app on your EVO, tap the Change username button to change the username to whatever you want, then tap OK. Your username will act as your password, so keep it to yourself (or broadcast it publicly on a website like I've done and then just change it later).

4. Tap the box next to "Also make / and /system writable" to enable it and then press Start. Installation will most likely fail the first time, so just keep pressing Start until it succeeds (I had to do it three times). Once it's installed, tap Start again to actually start the server.

5. Once the status shows "running," go to Windows Explorer/Computer on your computer and click the "Map a Network Drive" button at the top. Follow the on-screen prompts to map the drive. The steps will vary depending on which version of Windows you're using, but here's what you do in Windows 7:

  • Select a drive letter.
  • Click "Connect to a Web site that you can use to store your documents and pictures," which launches the Add Network Location wizard.
  • Click Next > Choose a custom network location > Next.
  • Type "ftp://your username@URL shown in Root FTP Server" (e.g., ftp://[email protected]) and follow the rest of the prompts.

6. When it's set up correctly, your new drive will appear in Windows Explorer/Computer.

Evo-root-ftp

As you can see, I named my drive "EVOroot" to differentiate it from the drive I set up for my EVO's microSD card.  Root FTP Server includes access to the card, of course, but I just like to keep it separate (i.e., Rapfox for card only, Root FTP for root directory only).

7. Now whenever you want to get to the root folders and files on your EVO, all you have to do is start Root FTP Server on your EVO and open the newly mapped network drive on your computer. When you're done, just tap the Stop button in the app.

Evo-root-ftp2

Evo-root-ftp3

You can manage each folder's permissions from your computer (right-click folder > Properties), transfer files between the EVO and your PC, and basically just explore everything on a bigger screen with a keyboard and mouse.

Root FTP Server also works over USB, although that kind of undermines the whole wireless thing I'm going for here.

Thanks, Gary!

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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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5 thoughts on “How to wirelessly access HTC EVO root file system from your computer

  • I use SwiFTP. It is free and works just as well

    Reply
  • Am I missing something? I’ve never been able to get SwiFtp to let me edit or set permissions to a file.
    I can view and copy files but to set permissions or edit you need superuser rites. As far as I know that’s not built into SwiFtp.

    Reply
  • I must say that the various ftp servers I’ve tried, including this one, have had very limited value because of slow speed. I haven’t been able to read data from my sdcard at more than 1.2 MB/s in any configuration that I’ve tried using a simple dd benchmark. I can read data from the sdcard 10-15 times faster using a USB cable and my phone as a disk drive and the difference in speed is important since I periodically back up my sdcard to a hard drive. So to me, having an ftp server running on the phone is more like a novelty than something really useful.

    Speaking of novelties, I find running a VNC server on the phone much more fun. It means I can completely run the phone from my PC. (This is sort of the opposite of what some people want to use VNC for, namely to control their computer from their phone.) I use droid VNC as the server on my phone and a couple of different VNC viewers depending on whether I connect a PC or a Mac. Now, VNC uses a horrendously slow protocol, but I’ve found that if I hook up the phone with the computer using wireless tether, the performance is almost tolerable.

    Reply
  • You are correct. Cannot manage folder perms with this. I don’t use that feature. I just use app for quick xfers of files and folders

    Reply
  • Yes SwiFTP is great for quick transfers
    I mostly use this to place files and scripts in the root and set permissions. Saves me from having to hardwire the phone and pushing with ADB

    Reply

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