How to: Unlock, Flash a Recovery, and Install a Custom Rom on the HTC One


To really unleash the true potential of the HTC One, I highly suggest rooting the device. If you know a thing or two about the Android OS, you will know that it is open source. It is available for anyone to alter, make variations, or in this case make ROMS. Loading a custom ROM onto your Android device can bring new features, tweaks, and speed. It can even improve battery life in some cases. 

This article will show you how to successfully root your HTC One. Which, in my opinion, is the best Android device to date.

Before you start:

-Make sure you’re device is fully charged.

-You need the USB cable for your PC.

-Download HTC Sync Manager

-Try to backup all important data on your device because unlocking the phone will delete everything.

Setting up Fastboot and ADB:

1. Download the Android SDK

2.  Extract the downloaded file anywhere on your hard drive. In the “sdk” folder you should find “platform-tools”. This folder contains ADB and Fastboot, which is what we need.

3. To make things easier, I would suggest copying “platform-tools” to the C:\ directory. Then rename it to something like “adb”. So it should llook like: C:\adb.

4. If you followed these steps correctly, you should be ready to move on.

Unlocking the bootloader:

1. First go to “” and sign up for an HTC Developer account. Once you have everything set up, log in.


2. Go to the Unlock Bootloader page and select “All Other Supported Models”. Proceed to click “Begin Unlock Bootloader”. Confirm all of the dialogue windows that open up.

3. Now you need to follow the instructions HTC provides. I will not list these steps here, as they are very detailed on the HTC Dev walkthrough.

4. Once you have unlocked the bootloader using the HTC Dev Website we can now move on to putting a custom recovery onto your device.

Flashing a Custom Recovery:

Now there are different recovery images to choose from, but for this, we will be using ClockworkMod.

HTC Bootloader

HTC Bootloader

  • 1. Download ClockworkMod Recovery image for HTC One from It should be a .img file.
  • 2. Place the recovery image in the same folder(C:\adb) as the fastboot.exe and ADB files
  • 3. Reboot your phone into the bootloader mode. The same way we did earlier. Select “fastboot”.
  • 4. Open the folder in which all your files(recovery, fastboot, ADB) are located. Now we will open a command prompt window from this folder. Hold shift and right click, then select “open command prompt here”.
  • 5. In the command prompt you will have to type in a command to flash the recovery image.

               Type: fastboot flash recovery cmrecovery.img

               (replace “cmrecovery” with the file name you downloaded earlier)

  • 6. After this is done, reboot normally.
  • 7. Once you are back to your homescreen, shut down the phone.
  • 8. Press Volume Down and Power to start the device into Bootloader mode.
  • 9. Use the volume keys to select Recovery.
  • 10. This should boot into ClockworkMod. If it does, then we can move on to flashing a ROM.

Flashing a ROM:

The first thing you must do is find the ROM you want to flash. The best resource for finding ROMS is the XDA Forums.

You can search the forums for ROMS, each slightly different. For the purpose of this tutorial, however, I will use my current ROM, RGUI v2. The process will be similar for most other ROMS.


DOWNLOAD RGUI v2 (or find another ROM on XDA)

CWM Recovery Top Menu

  • 1. Download the ROM of your choice to your computer. Sometimes the ROM will require “Gapps” or Google Apps. Which are things such as the Play Store, Maps, Google Services, etc. Some ROMS have this built in, others do not. RGUI v2 does in this case.
  • 2. Connect your phone to your computer and move the ROM to your device. You can put it anywhere.
  • 3. Boot into Recovery.
  • 4. Now, this is the biggest part of flashing ROMS— Always make a nanodroid backup. You can do this simply by selecting “backup and restore” in the CWM menu, and pressing “backup”. This should take a few minutes, but it is well worth it.
  • 5. I always wipe my data before flashing a rom. To do this simply select “wipe date/factory reset” from the CWM top menu. This will prevent you from sometimes running into force closures, and sometimes boot loops.
  • 6. After making the backup and wiping data, go back to the CWM top menu. Select “install zip”. Then select “choose zip from sdcard”. Select “0/” (This is where your SD card contents are located). Now from here just navigate to the location you placed the zip file earlier.
  • 6. Select the zip file. It will ask are you sure. Select yes. Now the ROM will install.
  • 7. You now want to “wipe cache partition” from the CWM top menu.
  • 8. Wipe dalvik cache by clicking “advanced”, then “wipe dalvik cache”.
  • 9. Reboot. This reboot should take longer than normal. Don’t panic yet!!! It should work. It’s just setting things up. After a few minutes you should see the phone intial set up screen as if you just turned on the phone for the first time. This means it all worked. You have a custom ROM on your phone.

Now you have the ability to flash any ROM using this method. Experiment with all the interesting variations. Take control of your device.


  • Always…ALWAYS make a nanodroid backup before flashing ANYTHING— a new ROM, a custom kernel, any tweaks. Being a backup junkie will save you much frustration.
  • If you are interested in flashing a custom kernel, you follow a similar set of instructions to flashing a rom, just dont do a factory reset, unless you want to for some reason. Once you learn how to flash a zip, it is a pretty universal concept.
  • Make sure the ROM you have downloaded is made for YOUR PHONE. If not, you will be dismayed as your phone is stuck in an endless boot loop.