A Simple Guide to Rooting the HTC Desire HD on Gingerbread

I spent a long time trying to find a valid root guide for my HTC Desire HD on Gingerbread. When I finally did, I ran into a few snags. To help people who wish to root their Desire HD in the future, I’ve written this guide, to try to explain everything clearly so the risk of making a mistake or getting stuck is minimal.

As far as I know, this root procedure works on all Desire HDs worldwide. It also removes carrier locks! This is done through converting your SD card into what’s known as a GoldCard. (No data is ever removed from it in this process, though.)

Another plus to using this method is that no ROM downgrade is needed prior to attempting to root. Many other more complicated methods out there do insist you downgrade your stock ROM first.

I won’t get into what rooting is, or the pros and cons. For a discussion of that, read this article: ‘To Root or Not to Root?‘.

This guide has been written for Linux users, however there is no reason a Windows user can’t pop a Live CD in their machine for twenty minutes. There are instructions in the manual included with the downloaded kit which explains how to run it natively on Windows. If you want to run the root kit on Windows, flick down to the bottom of this page.

I would recommend you read Jonathon Joy’s article on ‘Tools and Tricks to Assist the Avid ROM Flasher‘; it’s very useful if you want to easily back up all of your contacts and applications. (If they aren’t backed up, they will be wiped during the root – in fact, all of the data on your phone’s internal memory will be wiped.)

What You Need

  • Any 32 bit computer running Linux (for now, 32 bit is a must or you risk harming your phone), or a Linux LiveCD you can boot off. I used Ubuntu myself.
  • Your Desire HD, and its USB cable
  • The Advanced Ace Hack Kit: Download Here. This is correct to 5/11/2011; check this thread for updates. The MD5 Checksum is bd852ee94ea3ce660f8d72339e78bbef
  • A very basic knowledge of Linux: mostly how to use Terminal, including some basic commands.
  • To ensure you have backed up all contacts or applications that you want.

Please read this guide all the way through first. Then start.

If you see ‘Ace’ anywhere whilst rooting, it means Desire HD.

The Steps

Step 1: Log in to Your Linux Distro as Root

Boot up into your Desktop, open a Terminal through Applications > Accessories > Terminal. Then type in su, press enter, enter your password and press return. If you are using a Live CD you can get a root terminal by entering sudo -i instead of su.

Step 2: Get the Hack Kit and Unpack It

Make sure you downloaded the Android Ace Hack Kit from the link above! Find it in your native file manager, right click the ZIP archive, and extract it.

Step 3: Using the Advanced Ace Hack Kit

Plug your phone into the computer, then type into the terminal cd #path-to-the-unpacked-root-kit and press enter. Double check that you are logged in as root, and that the phone is plugged in, type ./hack-ace.sh, and press enter. This should start up the Ace Advanced Hack Kit.

Now just type 1, and press enter.

If everything went according to plan so far, this should be what you see after running ./hack-ace.sh

This process takes a little time, so be patient and let it chug away. This process took about six minutes for me. Enjoy the jargon flying past while you sip some coffee.

Step 4: Success?

Once it claims the process is complete, and your phone hasn’t done anything new (check the screen) for a good two minutes, take a look. It should have booted into HTC Sense, but with S-OFF, and root!

Step 5: Success!

Enjoy your rooted Desire HD however you like!

Why Not a 64 Bit Computer?

This was never fully answered for me. All I know is that using a 64 bit machine for my initial (and disastrously failed) root attempt left my phone in a state that meant it couldn’t even boot into HTC’s own ROM. It just hung at the white HTC screen. The only way I fixed this was to hunt down a stock gingerbread ROM and luckily I was able to flash that back onto my phone. Using a 64 bit machine the first time round was my personal big mistake.

Two Great ROMs to Get You Started

If you rooted so you could install a custom ROM, here are two great ones you could look into. Using a custom ROM usually means you have no bloatware, needless processes, greater system control, and if you don’t like anything, you can rip it out. You gain total control of your device.


This is my own ROM of choice. CyanogenMod is a fairly small, lightweight ROM, and comes pre-installed with pretty much everything you need.

I found that with CyanogenMod, the battery lasts for so much longer. My phone can do a day and a half on one charge with hard usage, before I was lucky to get half a day.

One of the tools that helps with improving battery life is RenderFX, a neat tool that lets you change the colour mixture of the display. If you turn the device to Red, then all of the display and everything you see is different shades of red. Very good if you are using the phone for a long period of time. Why? Because there are three primary colours that make up all other colours, red, blue and green. By not using blue and green at all, the screen is using around a third of the power it normally does. Therefore the battery loss due to the display is a third of what it usually is.

The battery statistics on HTC Sense said that 70% of my battery usage was the display, with 10% being idle background checks. Now it is pretty much the reverse, even without using RenderFX.

If you fancy it, CyanogeMod also lets you overclock your CPU from the standard 1Ghz up to around 1.5Ghz. I have never needed to clock mine up for anything, but it is there if you need it.

Altogether it is a popular, stable ROM which is easy to enjoy – Check out Rita El Khoury’s article on why you should try CyanogenMod and stick with it.

Follow the instructions here (ignoring the Rooting part; we just did that) and enjoy!

Android Revolution HD

Android Revolution HD is a ROM made specifically for the Desire HD. I haven’t tried it personally, but it advertises many improvements to the Sense UI, and many performance upgrades overall. Have a look at their XDA page to see a list of everything it can do. It looks very promising!

Keep an eye on our ROMs review category for more suggestions.

Windows Users

The reason I didn’t make a guide for Windows is that I didn’t use it to root my phone. There may be one or two hiccups I would overlook which could leave Windows users upset with unbootable phones, so I didn’t risk it.

If you don’t like the idea of using a Linux LiveCD to follow this guide, then download the Ace Advanced Hack Kit, and open up ‘effen-manual.html’. There are some Windows instructions in there for you.

Final Thoughts

With any luck, you have succeeded in rooting your phone. If not, take a look at Support below. Otherwise, well done and enjoy!


  • Inside the ZIP you unpacked is an HTML page called ‘effen-manual.html’. If you do not read this manual then people on XDA will not be inclined to help you.
  • Please use the XDA Forums thread to look for other people reporting problems, and then their solutions. If you find nothing, try #liberatedAria on irc.freenode.net. Please consider the IRC as a last resort.

Linkbacks and Thanks

attn1 – The man who packaged loads of different tools into one, and made the executables in Ace Advanced Hack Kit. Full credits are in his manual page, and this is his XDA Thread