FIRST OFF, YOUR PHONE MUST ALREADY BE ROOTED. I’m assuming your phone is already rooted. With that being said, please move forward. If you’re looking to root your HTC Thunderbolt, you can read my guide here and download the files necessary to do this.
Here is a guide to installing a custom ROM on your Android phone using ROM Manager. This guide is slightly geared towards the HTC Thunderbolt since that’s what I’m currently using. But really, this should help any Android user. You can download ROM Manager by visiting the Android market on your phone and type in ROM Manager (will be by ClockWorkMod).
The first time you start ROM Manager you should be asked to flash your phone with ClockWorkMod. This will just happen once. When this happened to me I had to select my phone’s model (HTC Thunderbolt).
1. To check to make sure your phone has been flashed with the latest ClockWorkMod, see the pic below. Mine is up to date and says “Current Recovery: ClockworkMod 188.8.131.52″. If you weren’t asked to flash when you first started up ROM Manager, you can easily tap the “Flash ClockWorkMod Recover” option and it’ll take about 30 seconds or so to do. You’ll be asked to select your phone’s model as well.
2. Now, before you go installing any custom ROMs you want to backup your current ROM. I STRONGLY recommend this. What this will do is if you run into problems with your custom ROM or you decide you don’t like the custom ROM, the backup feature will make an exact image of your phone. Including all apps, text messages, data, etc. (you get the picture.)
This might take 5 – 15 minutes depending on your phone and how much data you have.
3. Now, if you’re looking to download a ROM directly through your phone so you don’t have to use your computer at all, you can do this! This is a nice feature because you can read through comments, look at pictures, etc. Please note, NOT ALL ROMs are listed in the download section. I was using Das BAMF ROMs for my HTC Thunderbolt (they are very well known) and they are not able to be downloaded through ROM Manger. If this is you and you downloaded a ROM from the Internet on your computer, skip to the next step to learn how to install a ROM from your computer.
4. If you downloaded a ROM from the Internet on your computer, then what you need to do is connect your phone to your computer via USB, go to your phone and drag down the notification bar and click “Mount Disk” and then place the ROM’s .zip file on your SD card. It doesn’t matter where you place it. I usually always place my ROMs inside the “Download” folder on my phone. Once you have done this, you’ll then have to choose the option in ROM Manager called “Install from SD Card” (see the picture below):
5. After you choose “install from SD Card” you should see a screen something like the one below. Next, all you need to do is find the folder you placed the .zip file in. So in my case, I would find the “Download” folder and click it.
6. Then, just select the .zip file and you’re all set! A box should pop up and you have the option for selecting up to 3 boxes. You do NOT need to backup your current ROM since you had just done this above. However, the next 2 boxes HAVE TO BE CHECKED!
The phone will then reboot and start installing your custom ROM. The whole process is pretty short. It usually only takes me a few minutes on my HTC Thunderbolt.
If you’re looking for custom ROMs to download for your HTC Thunderbolt, you can find some that I’ve posted on my site HERE. if you download any of these ROMs you’ll have to drag and drop the .zip file onto your SD card like I mentioned above. As of today, I highly recommend the SkyRaider Zeus Preview (for HTC Thunderbolt only). I’ve found this to be the fastest, smoothest, and most stable.
Let me know if you have any questions! I hope this helps.