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Root and Install Custom ROM on HTC Desire HD

So maybe you've decided it's time to run a custom ROM on your Android phone? Well, it might be a really good decision! Here's a tutorial on how to make the process a bit easier.

First of all, rooting your phone is much easier today than it was. Seriously. In theory, you just have to grab the latest AAHK (Advanced Ace Hack Kit), make sure you meet the requirements and press Go. Now this absolutely might work for some, but for many of us it will not. Before you proceed, also know that rooting your phone will void its warranty. If you're lucky that won't matter if the phone must go on service, but if you're unlucky, you're stranded.

Now, onwards. Here's what you should do if you want to root your phone and install a custom ROM!

Prepare your phone

First, plugin your phone to your computer's USB:

  • Make sure the mode is set to Charge only.
  • Also, you need to turn on USB debugging:
    Menu -> Settings ->Applications -> Development -> Check USB Debugging

It also helps having a brand new micro SD card. There's been problems with well used micro SD cards and AAHK, but it's not entirely sure you'll have problems with your SD card. Just follow the instructions below and let's see what happens for you. Also, have a look at the Problem solving section below.

Download and run AAHK

  1. Download the latest AAHK, unzip.
  2. Run hack-ace.cmd (as Administrator if you're in Windows).
    Also, read effen-manual.html (it's located in the root).
  3. You will be asked for the pass key. Take a look in the file /tools/txt/CAJUN.TXT and copy the contents of that file to the command prompt. 
  4. Now you should see this screen:
    AAHK screenshot
  5. The toggle flash method should be hbootPD98IMG. If it isn't, press 't' and then enter.
  6. Now it's time for the fun! Choose 1 Hack Ace and enter. Watch the magic happen :-) This will take a while, probably 5-10 minutes.

Download and Install Custom ROM

After the rooting is complete, you should now have a fully working rooted Android phone. Next it's time to install a custom ROM. This is easy.

Download ROM Manager from Play Store.  Open the app and choose Flash ClockworkMod Recovery the first thing you do.

ROM Manager

Now you can choose to either do this the easiest way or the manual way. The easiest way includes buying ROM Manager Premium and letting it download and install everything you need. The manual way is cheaper and works well too.

The ROM Manager Premium way:

  1. In ROM Manager, choose Download ROM and find your ROM of choice.
  2. Make sure you tick Backup Existing ROM, Wipe Data and Cache, Wipe Dalvik Cache and proceed.
  3. Watch and enjoy. The process will take a while and once it's done you should run your custom ROM of choice!

The manual way:

  1. Figure out which custom ROM you want, there's a great list of custom ROMs for Desire HD here. Download.
  2. Rename the downloaded file's name to and place it in the root of your SD card.
  3. In ROM Manager, choose Install ROM from SD Card, tap
    Make sure you tick Backup Existing ROM, Wipe Data and Cache, Wipe Dalvik Cache and proceed.
  4. Let the phone work for a while and then you'll have the custom ROM installed!

Problem solving

When AAHK does its magic, it might get stuck. You might encounter error messages like:

/sdcard/ no such file or directory

and similar. That should be nothing to worry about. AAHK has its own and everything will be fine.

However you might have to wait a while for the "sending zip" process to complete. If it doesn't within a couple of minutes, you have to try three things:

  • First, make sure you set flash method to hbootPD98img
  • Try another USB port or USB cable
  • If that didn't work, buy a new micro SD card

And restart the process from step 2.


I don't know...followed soon as I opened the hack ace just opened and closed in a flash..don't know.what's wrong..I did turn on USB debugging and as administrator was also Memory a.bit.old..about a.year...but if there was problem with the memory card then shouldnt it.tell me instead of just closing...
help appreciated

if you are using any antivirus then disable it and unpak AAHK then run ace. also when he ask the key then go to your unpack folder/tools/tax and open CAJUN.txt, inside a tax that is key type it in cmd

I have a desire hd. Factory settings and all. I am new to this root stuff but I want to use my phone to the fullest. Want to upgrade it to Jelly Bean. There is one problem with my phone. It doesn't have functioning volume keys. Can I still root it and upgrade it to jelly bean?

Hello, i have a desire hd and tried to root it... IMPORTANT PLEASE!

I followed all the on screen steps, but when my phone is rebooting i can't avoid the red triangle. Even restarting or recovering it is showing up. I would appreciate a help from you guys.

I'm so sad right now omg....

I root it few minutes ago.
The instruction is not complet.
I do it as follow:
Uninstall HTC Sync, HTC driver.
Disable Anti-Maleware, Anti-Virus, Windows Defender.
Put SD card into you htc desire. Turn ON your Handy. Now connect via USB to you PC and let them install the driver. Go in aahhk folder to the folder "TOOLS" > WINDRIVERS and install the HTC DRIVER 3.....
After this do a rightclick on the "hack-ace" and choose "open as administrator" no i takes a few seconds and than you have to enter a key.
Go in aahhk folder to "TOOLS" > "TXT" and open CAJUN.
Write the txt into the CMD who needs the key and prees any key.
Now you come into the Menue.
Write "1" and Enter.
On my Handy it says that i have to downgrade my software. So press "j" and enter
now he have to download a file so he asks again. Press "j" and enter.
This download will take a few minutes. (over 200mb)
after this he ask again if you want to downgrade. Press "j" and enter.
Now the file will be copy to you SD card.

After this follow the instruction of the EFFEN-MANUAL.

All will be fine. Im on Jelly Bean right now ;)

Hi dude! I just encoutered an issue I've done everything and am trying to use rom manager to use a rom but then when i click install ROM from SD card it says I need Clockwork mod? What am i doing wrong?

Plus it can't read my sim card for some reason?

Ive managed to get the sim working but still have the clockwork mod issue

I have installed Jellytime and it simply hangs with the Jellytime image during boot. What do I do next?

its that simple???
Whats with toogle method?? Whats difference between hboot98.... And fastboot?? On some website i have seen they hav taken fastboot method...
Pls help what to do?

Just thought I'd give my two cents:

I've spent 4 hours trying to get this method working on Windows 7 64-bit bit it always failed in one part or another. Especially when running AAHK, it would regularly fail at the Goldcard bit.

Anyhow, I just burnt an Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit Live CD and tried it on that... and it worked absolutely flawlessly first time. Cannot believe it!!!

I used the 'hbootPD98IMG' method FYI. Good luck everyone (feel so much happier now it's bloody worked, was pulling out the little hair i've got left!)

Did not use hbootPD98IMG, i.e., I did not perform step 5 above (t)oggle.

FYI, follow my most recent noob adventure here:

BTW many many thanks for this good tutorial; now I ended up with brand new phone with latest CyanogenMod, looking much like a Nexus, eh eh

hey dude,
i tried a lot of tutorials and no one works this is the only one that make something. I did everything and it wents correctly until it stopped and showed something like that"hboot fail!"...there's a solution for that, hope you could help me!
Thanks for the tutorial, everyting is explained clearly

There's been problems with well used micro SD cards and AAHK, but it's not entirely sure you'll have problems with your SD card. Just follow the instructions below and let's see what happens for you. Also, have a look at the Problem solving section below.

Excellent tutorial, my first Custom ROM install and it was easy enough to follow. I chose the automated method this time, but I think I'll go the manual route next time. Since that extra layer of freedom appears to be more significant, than at first glance.

is this process works for htc desire hd running 2.3(ginger bread)

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