What you’re going to want to do first, as I mentioned, is go to your devices specific forum and read up. You can make this easier on yourself by going to http://forum.xda-developers.com, and using the control+F buttons on your keyboard to activate the “find” bar in your web browser of choice, and then typing in your phone model in the box, and hitting enter or clicking search. That will get you to your device specific forum.
Once there, even if you do not understand it what they are saying, read the sticky posts and a few others to try and gain a general understanding of whats going on. Repetition is key here.
Now you’re going to want to find the ROM of your choice. Within your devices forum, look for the development sub-forum, and then look for posts with the [ROM] header to get yourself started. Look at pictures, read replies, and thoroughly read what’s working and not working so there are no surprises. Download the ROM you choose, and place it in a folder on your desktop, we can call this “root”.
Now you’re going to go to http://www.unrevoked.com and download unrevoked for your operating system of choice. Once that is done, visit the unrevoked wiki to get the modified HBOOT drivers for Windows (not every PC requires this download, but just for good measure). Leave unrevoked in the “root” folder you’ve created in earlier steps.
Now we’re going to get your phone. Turn on your device, and go to menu/settings/applications/development/USB Debugging, and tick the checkbox. As you’re backing out, when you get to the applications screen, it wouldn’t hurt to tick the unknown sources option either.
After this is done, plug in your phone, and mount your phone as disk drive. To do this, simply hit the disk drive option that pops up and hit done. Wait a little bit, and your device should now be mounted on your computer as a drive (F: , K:, on macs it might be NONAME). Go into your root folder, grab the ROM you’ve downloaded and drag it over to the mounted drive. If two drives come up, make sure the drive has a folder called SDCARD inside of it. That’s where you want to place your ROM.
Now you’re ready to root. Navigate to the folder where you have downloaded unrevoked, unzip it (or mount it for mac) and then open the resulting program. It will go through a few on screen steps, will prompt you on what it’s doing, ask you to unlock your phone, etc. Give it time and afterwards it will bring you into ClockworkMod Recovery, or CWM as seen on the XDA Forums. If it doesn’t, you will have to get into recovery mode through HBOOT, which is accessed by holding a combination of the volume rocker and power button to start up. Check your devices specific forum for how to access recovery.
Once you’re in recovery, your next step is to backup your files. For that, you’re going to go to the backup/restore option using the volume rockers to navigate, and choose the backup option. Let it do what it has to, and be patient. Better safe than sorry is the motto with any device over $40 dollars.
Once that’s done, and you’re back at the main ClockworkMod screen, I want you to go to the Wipe Date/Factory Reset option. Yes, we need to wipe everything so as to not compromise the integrity of the new ROM. You should also go to advanced options and wipe dalvik, too. I’ll cover battery stats another time.
Once that’s done, from the main ClockworkMod screen, you’re going to select install zip from SDcard, and then select the ROM’s zipfile you downloaded. Confirm you want to install, and then wait it out. Once it’s done, you will select reboot system now.
Once you reboot, the splash screen from your device will be shown, and after some time, the ROM boot animation, and then after some time your phone should pop up with the new ROM on it. Presto, done. See, it wasn’t so hard! Take some time to play around with this new ROM, and READ the thread from which you’ve obtained the ROM before asking any questions or complaining to the DEV (developer).