Rooting your HTC Cha Cha to gain more memory

I have my HTC Cha Cha for more than six months now. Their qwerty keyboard was one of the reason why I chose this model over the full screen display version because of the ease of typing. However HTC Cha Cha is considered a budget end mobile phone and thus the provided internal ROM memory is severely limited at 150MB. I read somewhere the reason for such low memory is because this mobile was just meant for simple users who would just want the phone for simple communication and not install much application. Boy did HTC get it wrong. Before even installing any other apps the build in apps (and other bloatwares) and other system function already took up more than 50% of the 150MB available and the user ended up with about 70MB. And when you completed putting a few essential apps and signing up the various accounts like emails, facebook, twitter, etc and downloading your gmail contacts you would be down to about 20MB.

My S-On HTC Cha Cha bootloaderYou could try using App2SD to free up some memory but that only shift a partial section of the app software. The cache and data still need to reside in the main internal ROM memory. You could use aggressive app cache cleaner and task killer or even wipe out some data (not advisable to clear data as that would cause the app to lose settings and worse, won’t work properly) to help out a bit, but more often than not, those were just stop gap measure. Before long, I would get a warning about low memory whenever I hit a balance of less than 15MB.

So finally no choice but to root my HTC Cha Cha to gain more memory. Many people root their phone to use other non-official ROM by third parties gain additional function or make their phone work differently. For me, I will just stick back with the HTC Cha Cha stock kernal, because there are many other issues when using other ROM. What I want is just more memory so that I can install more useful apps.

However note that it is very difficult to root your phone and you will need several tries using several methods until one works. So get ready to be very frustrated when attempting to root your phone!

Successfully unlocked and rooted my HTC Cha Cha S-On phoneMy HTC Cha Cha is a S-On type (Security-On), which initially meant there was no way to root it. Due to overwhelming request, HTC provided an unlocker program to unlock the HTC Cha Cha bootloader. It would still be S-On except that you now have access to the system files. However as an S-On type phone you won’t be able to change carriers and unlock the SIM card. Fortunately for me, my phone is not fixed to any telco company as I bought it from the store and not as a package.

Unlocking your HTC Cha Cha

To unlock your HTC Cha Cha head over to HTCDEC

HTC DEC Unlock Bootloader

Do read their terms and condition when unlocking your phone as your warranty would be affected if your phone is still within the warranty period.

This info from XDA-Developers forum
(Ref: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1432199)

This process is made of 3 steps

1. Update HBOOT to support generating device tokens
2. Getting unlocking key from HTC-Dev
3. Unlock bootloader

It was suggested you do a full phone back up as the process will wipe out all your phone data.

STEP 1 – Update HBOOT to support generating device tokens

  • Go to http://htcdev.com/
  • Click “unlock bootloader” and then “get started”
  • On the right, chose HTC Cha Cha from the dropdown
  • Click begin unlock bootloader
  • Login, or register first, then login
  • Confirm the 2 nasty boxes and agree all stuff
  • Scroll down, choose your phone version, download RUU
  • Run RUU.exe and flash new HBOOT
  • Click proceed
  • Remove battery, re-insert, boot into bootloader (Power + Vol-)
  • Click proceed
  • get those 3 files: adb.exe, AdbWinApi.dll, fastboot.exe, read how to get them if you do not have them
  • open a terminal as it is done on the site
  • enter the command: fastboot oem get_identifier_token
  • Copy the identifier token and
  • paste it at the bottom of the page
  • submit

STEP 2 + 3: Getting unlocking key from HTC-Dev

  • check your e-mails, click on the link in it
  • download attachment
  • in the terminal execute: fastboot flash unlocktoken Unlock_code.bin
  • with Vol +/- choose to confirm or abort unlocking
  • press power to apply

Your mobile device will be Factory Reset and REBOOT.
(Fortunately for me, my HTC Cha Cha did not lose the data, still you should do a backup before doing the unlocking)

Check your HBOOT, first line should show “UNLOCKED”, if you did it right.

Install Clockwork Mod (CWM)

Clockword Mod menu options

Method A

  • Download Clockwork Mod file
  • Place the file in the root of your MicroSD card
  • Reboot your phone and hold volume down button and power button until the bootloader opens.
  • It will scan for the CWM file and ask whether you want to update
  • Confirm it with yes
  • Reboot when done
  • Delete the clockwork mod file from your MicroSD card when done to avoid flashing your phone every time your phone reboots.
  • To enter into CLOCKWORK MOD (CWM)
  • Reboot
  • Hold volume down button and power button
  • Bootloader will open, select recovery
  • You should now be in clockwork Mod

It worked for me but didn’t work with one of my readers, so he managed to find another method which I will detail it here:

Method B – CWM Recovery

1. Download PH06img.zip
2. Open PH06img.zip and extract recovery.img
3. Copy recovery.img in the Android folder used earlier for HTCDEV unlock.
4. Open CMD and cd to that folder that folder
5. Run this in CMD: fastboot flash recovery recovery.img

Now you should have CWM Recovery installed.
If there are no errors, power off (Fast boot disabled in Power options) and then enter bootloader mode with vol down + power and select Recovery to verify the install.

I have three versions of PH06img.zip, of the 3, one was reported not working so I will not include it. Since I couldn’t recall which of these versions worked, I uploaded these two. So try your luck and let me know which one worked, ok?

PH06img.zip filesize: 3648KB
PH06img(2).zip filesize: 3799KB

To Gain Root Access

This step didn’t quite work for me. But you could try see it worked for you.

Method (1)

Download the super user package 3.0.7 (640KB) and place it in your MicroSD card

  • Boot into clockword mod and choose install zip from MicroSD card
  • Then select the zip location for the superuser file and select it and confirm
  • When done click back then reboot system
  • If all went well you should be rooted
  • Check by opening your app drawer and look for the SuperUser icon

If not, then it didn’t work.

Method (2)

So I tried another method using the Super Tool

  • First you will need to install the HTC Sync software, get it from their HTC site
  • Download the HTC Super Tools v3 (23MB)
  • Enable the USB Debugging mode in your phone and connect your HTC Cha Cha to your PC USB port
  • Extract the SuperTool.exe file
  • Run the SuperTool.exe file

This won’t be easy either and you will need to try several times and try the various option in the SuperTool. You will also need to keep trying to get your HTC Cha Cha to connect to the PC because during the flashing your mobile will get disconnected from the PC and the rooting will fail. Finally after several frustrating tries I managed to get my HTC Cha Cha rooted using this SuperTool software.

Good luck!

Getting more memory for your HTC Cha Cha using Link2SD (not App2SD)

Once you finally get your HTC Cha Cha rooted, you can jump for joy! Pat yourself on your back and it is time to claim more memory for your memory strap HTC Cha Cha mobile phone.

First you will need to partition your MicoSD card. To partition, I used the Linux Gparted software. And yes, you will need to get it done using Linux and not Windows, sorry! There are other Windows based partition software out there so hunt around if you don’t like and don’t know how to use Linux.

Depending on how you use your mobile phone, usually a 2GB microSD card is fairly sufficient but if you dump a lot of files you will need a bigger microSD card. Leave the first partition as FAT32. This is the original format and needed by Windows to access the files when you connect your mobile phone to the PC. The second partition should be formatted to Ext2 or Ext3, a Linux native format. The second partition cannot be seen by Windows as they don’t have the function to view more than one partition for USB flash drives and memory cards, which is a crying shame.

How much space to allocate? I think 512MB second partition for Link2SD would be plenty. Link2SD is different from App2SD in that not only does it shift the entire android app software, the cache, dalvik cache and some major portion of the data is shifted as well thus freeing up your HTC Cha Cha internal ROM Memory. You can install quite a fairly large amount of android apps before the internal ROM starts to belch and reduce its memory. Note that some app somehow still stores some of its data in the internal ROM memory, but on the whole, most of the time the entire app including its cache, dalvik cache and data are stored in the second partition of the microSD card.

After installing many apps I still have balance of about 50MB. I still have to watch out on some android apps though as some apps do eat into the normal internal memory despite having shifted the app, cache, dalvik cache and data to the second partition.

Also note some apps do leave remnant data in the internal ROM memory, so some user suggest doing a factory reset every 3 months or so. Will see. Because to restore back the data is such tedious task, I probably forego doing this until absolutely necessary.

Download the Link2SD android app from the Play Store (Android Market) via your mobile phone.

Now you can also look through some of the ROM apps in the market and see what they can do for your HTC Cha Cha phone now that you manage to claim back additional extra memory!

Related post:
Rooting Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro
HTC Cha Cha review
Best Free Android Apps
HTC Wildfire review
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro

—–
[update 4/3/2013]
HTC Cha Cha is like HTC Cacat. Low memory, low battery power, poor GPS connection. Only thing I liked about it was the QWERTY keyboard for very quick typing. Almost 1-1/2 years on, I see a good alternative from Samsung (forgot name of model) running on Android, price about RM499. It has bigger memory, but not sure on its battery usage. The Samsung screen was not as clear as HTC Cha Cha, but it has bigger display area.

Anyway, I have relegated my HTC Cha Cha as a secondary phone and bought the Nokia Lumia 800 to be used as my main phone. When used as a secondary phone, I didn’t have 3G internet data connection, so I cut out most 3G related apps including emails and that helped with the low memory issue. Running almost on spartan apps, the battery could last longer than a full day for average calls and SMS.

Anyway, I still kinda like the shape, size, and QWERTY keyboard and it was a so-so replacement for my old Palm Centro.

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19 Responses to “Rooting your HTC Cha Cha to gain more memory”

  1. blodhughofi says:

    Many thanks for the development … After many attempts I have succeeded in rooting my HTC ChaCha who was an S-ON. After unlocking the bootloader I used method B: CWM recovery downloading PH06img.zip, the latest version from XDA developers.

  2. new2android says:

    how long does it take to parse the zip

    • Jan says:

      If it works, it would be very quick, as the file is very small. But if it didn’t work, you would be pulling your hair and kvetching why it didn’t work as you try it again. Some methods worked for some people, so eventually you would find one that worked for you.

  3. DG Wales says:

    in the “unlocking your HTC cha cha” section you said “a full phone backup” is suggested,does this include the phone system files or files only on the microSD? will all pre-installed apps that came with the phone be wiped out?

    • Jan says:

      I took a chance and didn’t really do a full backup. I figured with cloud computing, my data are sync with online services such as Google, though I did a backup of my SMS text messages. Although nothing befell my device during unlocking, you never know a procedure may wipe out your data. You may consider backing up your data, apps (to save your time from searching in Google Play Store (Market)).

      Factory system files (including pre-installed software and bloatwares) can’t be erased, although after rooting your HTC, it can be erased in which case you should consider doing a backup of your system files after rooting your device. Titanium Backup would be a good suggestion to back up system software. And to disable unwanted bloatware you could try App Quarantine or AntTek App Manager. These apps need root privileges (superuser or su for short) in order to work.

      As for files (photos, videos, music, document files etc) and data in MicroSD card, if you plan to use Link2SD, in which case you would need to partition your card, it would be prudent to back up all your files and data as you may do something wrong during the partitioning. Some partitioning software may format the card in order to partition it. Though the latest generation partitioning software such as Gparted did not required formatting and would shift your data to an empty space withing the partition.

      If you are confident that your data would not be erased during the unlocking, rooting and partitioning procedure, you can take a chance and cross your fingers and hope Murphy’s Law does not apply here!

  4. Raj Don says:

    Hi,
    I have a chacha Phone and when i try to run the ruu downloaded from htcdev.com, it asks me to update phone software first. When i try to update my phone software, it says no software updates available.
    My android version is 2.3.3, HTC Sense version is 2.1, and Software number is 1.20.720.1. please help me root my phone because I am facing a lot of problems because of the low internal memory. Like you, I want to hack the root only for increasing space.

    • Jan says:

      Try again, I suppose. Just checked my HTC Cha Cha and it says Android version 2.3.5, so yours is out of date. Everything about updating and rooting is very frustrating. Just keep trying until it works.

  5. Anurag says:

    Hey Jan,

    Many Thanks!!! (You’re a Genius mate)

    well i worked all the processes you’ve directed and voila!! it got rooted with HTC Super Tools (well 3rd option worked for me).

    then i installed, Link2SD and bummer i got an error while selecting the partition which says “Link2SD could not obtain root access, If you have root access make sure you respond ‘Allow’ or ‘Grant’ to the superuser request.” What’s This?

    Please help me with this issue? its driving me crazy…HELP HELP…SOS SOS

    Regards,

    Anu

    • Jan says:

      As I recall while rooting, it should also install Superuser app, if not see if you could install the superuser app from playstore (Android Market) separately. If it won’t install, run the HTC Super Tools again and see if they have an option to install Superuser. In the app drawer, the Superuser app icon has an Android robot with a pirate eye-patch. See if you have it. Perhaps you need to reboot your HTC Cha Cha in order to boot up superuser app.

      This app is needed in order to install any software app that requires superuser privileges to access the system files and folders similar to Unix/Linux root access. After all, Android was build with a modified Linux kernel!

  6. snowmn73 says:

    thanks dude, i finally got my htc chacha rooted,btw i used method 1 for rooting.

  7. SaM_PriNce says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve done all and rooted successfully..but in last step (Getting more memory using Link2SD) not success.
    after successfully created second partition (Ext2) and open Link2SD says “mount script not created (not enough memory)” /system folder is full.
    i tried manually mount script but not success n my phone reset again n again.
    if i did something wrong? please help me

    • Jan says:

      Dear Sam
      You have run out of ROM memory (which is typical of HTC Cha Cha (or should I dare say ‘cacat’?)), please delete some android apps first before trying to install link2sd.

  8. DG Wales says:

    I tried unlockn and rooting my htc chacha last night but i got stucked when i want to apply the PH0611000_Chacha_hboot_1.10.0000.exe file. I got an error msg that i should update my ROM version to 1.54.401.2, my current android version is 2.3.5 and the software number 1.54.401.3
    {i downloaded the PH0611000_Chacha_hboot_1.10.0000.exe,HTC Europe(carrier);1.54.401.2(ROM);PH0611000(model number) } pls help me out….:(

  9. DG Wales says:

    pls i have a problem going back to normal phone screen of my htc chacha(unlocked and rooted). i tried installing a file(init.d)from sd through bootloader recovery mode,it was successfull,but now am stucked on d FASTBOOT screen,and phone wouldn’t reboot to normal phone screen,pls help me out…….:(

  10. aksi20 says:

    n i lived happily ever after! hahaaaaa! thank you so much man. everything worked perfect!

  11. Sankalp says:

    Hey Jan
    In the method A for installing CWM..i wanted to ask u said download clockwork mod file
    where can i find this file and what kind of file is this ??

    • Jan says:

      Download it from Play Store (Google Market)
      Cheers!

      • Sankalp says:

        U mean the ROM manager ??

        bt if i download that using google play how do i place it in the root of my SD card ??

        sorry m a newbie to all this..

        • Jan says:

          Use something like APK manager, or app backup or something similar and backup the clockworkmod app to MicroSD card, then connect to PC, find the file and move/copy to root of microSD card. However I recall no need to do that, because when you install CWM from Google Play store it will install into HTC Cha Cha. Something like that. Did it so long ago, can’t really remember the steps.

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