Direct Boot Gingerbread on the HD2

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HTC HD2 running Android Gingerbread

Since the release of a direct-boot utility for the HD2 there has been a flurry of activity on the XDA forums to get Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) working on the HTC HD2 smartphone. I recently switched from dual-booting Android and WinMo to a Gingerbread direct boot method and am pleased with the improvement in boot speed and battery life. But as with the dual-boot method, there are still a few hiccups here and there. Read on to learn how to replace WinMo with a Nandroid version of Android Gingerbread on the HTC HD2.

Forget Gingerbread! Learn how to run Ice Cream Sandwich on the HD2.

Install Hard SPL (HSPL). HSPL3 is a custom bootloader available for download on XDA. HSPL is required to update the radio and flash custom ROMs to the phone. It is safe to install and can be uninstalled by rerunning the program setup file.

Next update to a new radio. Radios and installation instructions can be found on the forums at XDA. Be sure to use a compatible version. See my current set-up for what I’m using.

After the radio is updated install MAGLDR bootloader. MAGLDR serves as a second bootloader, which runs after HSPL, and can be used to Flash Nandroid ROMs to the HD2 or even play a game of Tetris. Download MAGLDR from the forums at XDA or start Googling.

To install Gingerbread on the HD2 first download any of the recent Gingerbread Nandroid ROMs from the HD2 Android NAND Development forum to a PC and extract it. Then perform a soft reset while holding down the power off button until the MAGLDR boot menu appears. Select the USB Flasher option and connect the HD2 to a PC using a USB cable. Once the USB connection is established run the Android installer EXE file that came with the NAND ROM to complete the installation. Alternatively, you can install a ROM straight from a zip file using CWM Recovery.

Since upgrading to Gingerbread and Nandroid the biggest advantages I’ve noticed over dual-booting form the SD card have been:

  • Faster boot time;
  • Improved battery life; and
  • Easier setup and maintenance.

If things seem buggy, try out a different NAND ROM from the XDA forums. Different builds will have different features working so plan to spend some time trying out different ROMs to find the best one. To get set-up more quickly on a new Android installation check out my advice on Managing Passwords on Android. Not sure which to install? Try copying my current set-up to get started.

Current set-up (last updated 09-Nov-11):