How to install CyanogenMod for rooting Android devices

There are many methods for rooting Android devices, including open source firmware such as CyanogenMod.

If you decide to root an Android device, one option for doing so is CyanogenMod, firmware that's accessible, open and secure.

CyanogenMod is custom, aftermarket, open source firmware for Android, created by a community of developers to enable features and enhancements that are not available in stock Android. With such a wide community behind it, CyanogenMod is one of the most stable and secure methods for rooting Android. With it, users and administrators alike can dig deeper into Android devices without any restrictions.

Getting started with CyanogenMod

You can download the CyanogenMod Installer from the CyanogenMod website, which will help you install the new firmware in a few steps on the device that you want to root. The installation procedure starts in Android. By default, device security will prevent you from installing apps from untrusted sources. To change this, go to Settings, then Security, then tap the "unknown sources" checkbox. Once enabled, you will be able to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store.

After making sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi, download the CyanogenMod installer application from the website. Click on the Get Started button and visit the given URL or scan the Quick Response, or QR, code (and be sure to leave this page open). Once the download is complete, open the notifications area of the device, tap on "OneClick.apk" and follow the prompts to install the application. Take note of the warning screen, which states that the process will completely replace your device's operating system and may result in the device becoming nonfunctional. If you decide to continue, tap "I agree" to proceed.

To install the CyanogenMod image file, you'll need to enable the Camera Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP). That's because the image file is large and Windows will not be able to transfer it to the device without PTP. To do this, go to Settings, then Storage, then touch the Option Menu button, choose "USB Computer Connection" and tap the checkbox for "Camera (PTP)."

After enabling that, go back to the CyanogenMod download page on your computer to get the CyanogenMod Installer for Windows under step four of the procedure. To install it, run the program once the download is finished. You will be prompted to disable your antivirus software and connect the device; it is very important that all antivirus on the computer is disabled before continuing, otherwise the setup might fail and could cause your device to no longer function.

After installing the CyanogenMod for Windows software, run it and follow the instructions on the screen. This will remove all apps and settings on the device and replace them with the CyanogenMod image. If all goes well, after a few minutes your device will have the CyanogenMod image and can be accessed with root permissions.

If CyanogenMod doesn't work

In some cases, the process may not work correctly and you may receive an error. If antivirus is not to blame, the problem could be due to Android drivers that are already installed on your computer (from a management program like Samsung Kies, for example).

If that's the case, the general rule of thumb is to remove all currently installed Android drivers by uninstalling any existing Android-related software from your computer. Go to Windows Device Manager with the device plugged in (Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Device Manager under Devices and Printers) to find the device listed and remove all drivers currently installed for it. After removing the existing drivers, unplug the device, plug it back in and try again.

If your device still isn't recognized, some additional measures might be required. You may need to reinstall the USB drivers. It's worth noting that Samsung devices are notoriously difficult to connect; if you're having trouble connecting a Samsung device, check out Zadig, which allows for easy reinstallation of generic USB drivers.

Now you know how to prepare an Android device for the CyanogenMod read-only-memory image. You can use root permissions to access a whole new level of freedom on your mobile device to customize it as you like.

This was first published in March 2014

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