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Update HTC Desire S to Android 4.3.1 with Carbon Custom ROM Firmware

HTC Desire S has been a really appreciated Android based handset due to both affordable price tag and mid-range to high end specs and features. Now, even though the Desire S is quite outdated, if you are not thinking in changing your device with a new one, I will offer you a solution in which you will be able to power up the performances of your HTC Desire S. That’s not all, as by completing this guide you will also learn how to update your smartphone to Android 4.3.1 Jelly Bean OS via Carbon custom ROM firmware.

So, the guidelines from below should be used only if you want to install the Android 4.3.1 JB firmware on your HTC Desire S. The Carbon custom ROM is not an official update released by Google or by HTC for your Desire S. Therefore, this is an unofficial operation that will show you how to install an unofficial port of Jelly Bean system on your Android based device. The best is that Carbon platform can also be used for improving the performances of your phone, but we will discuss more about this subject a little bit later.

Carbon software represents a free aftermarket distribution of Android OS. The present version of Carbon firmware is based on Android 4.3.1 Jelly Bean system, which is the latest Android OS that has been released (we are not mentioning Android 4.4 KitKat as the same is currently available only for Nexus handsets). The mentioned custom ROM has been developed and offered by those of xda-developers, so we should thanks them for this step by step guide.

The Android 4.3.1 based Carbon software has been optimized especially for your HTC Desire S which means that the new firmware is coming without bugs or issues. This is a stable Jelly Bean OS that is smoothly running on the Desire S, at least if we are to believe the devs and the users who have already flashed the software. As for the Carbon system you should know that it comes installed with both stock and extra Android 4.3.1 Jelly Bean features, apps and capabilities.

These extra features and capabilities can be used for improving the performances of your Desire S. Moreover, by using JB 4.3.1 Carbon firmware you will be able to use an updated and better web browsing experience, new Android UI and looks, upgraded battery life, increased speeds and lot more. Anyway, for testing all these advantages you have to complete this tutorial, so don’t hesitate and use the guidelines from below for achieving the same.

Good; but for being able to install Carbon custom ROM on HTC Desire S you first have to prepare your phone. That’s why we have the pre requisites list from below. Read the tasks from there and apply the mentioned operations. Then, resume the tutorial by applying the proper flashing operation.

  • Root your Desire S – make sure to use a suitable tutorial because gaining root access isn’t official.
  • Install a custom recovery image on your device, preferable CWM or TWRP recovery.
  • Use the recently installed custom recovery and make a Nandroid backup.
  • Also backup the data which is saved on the internal storage memory of your smartphone.
  • Make sure that you can access and use a computer or a notebook, your device and its USB cable.
  • On your computer, if there are security programs installed, temporarily disable the same.
  • On your phone, if USB debugging option isn’t enabled, ensure the same from path “menu -> settings -> developer options”.
  • If the battery status of your Desire S is showing less than 50% power left, before going any further you should plug in the charger.
  • You have to apply this tutorial only if you own the HTC Desire S, because this version of Android 4.3.1 JB Carbon custom ROM firmware is compatible only with the mentioned Android smartphone.

The root access must be gained because the Carbon system can be installed only on an unchained system – the firmware will have to access and use some in-built programs and tools. Unfortunately, by rooting, the warranty will get void. So, if anything bad happens, you will be by yourselves – don’t panic as you can restore the warranty by downgrading to stock Android firmware (or by using this guide: “how to fix bricked Android device”). Then, CWM or TWRP must be installed, because the stock recovery image isn’t useful for us – a custom update can be flashed only via a custom recovery image. As you can see, these operations are not optional, so don’t skip the same.

During the updating process a wipe will be required and by wiping the data, you can lose everything that’s saved on the internal storage memory of your Desire S. That’s why, before updating to Android 4.3.1 you need to use backup and restore apps from Google Play for storing everything that’s important to you. Also, do a Nandroid backup on your way for saving the current ROM – if something bad happens you will be able to easily restore the same.

On the computer you will use, you will have to download the required files. This is a manual and unofficial operation so that’s why you have to disable the antivirus protection (don’t worry, your computer will not be infected). Also, since you have to connect your phone with the computer, on your device USB debugging option must be enabled. Finally, if your phone gets turned off in the middle of the update operation, it might get damaged or even bricked; so that’s why you need to charge the battery first.

How to Update HTC Desire S to Android 4.3.1 with Carbon Custom ROM Firmware

  1. The first thing to do is to download the required files as showed below.
  2. Get the Android 4.3.1 based Carbon firmware by accessing this link.
  3. Also get the Google Apps package by going to this page.
  4. Save these files on your computer, preferable on desktop.
  5. Don’t unzip the files.
  6. Connect your HTC Desire S with your computer.
  7. Use your phone’s USB cable for establishing the connection.
  8. Once the USB cable plugged in, from the computer copy paste the downloaded files; place the files on your phone’s SD card.
  9. Disconnect the devices by unplugging the USB cord.
  10. Boot your Desire S in recovery mode; learn how to do that by accessing our dedicated step by step guide (click on the link from above).
  11. First, wipe the data: “wipe data factory reset”.
  12. Then clear cache: “wipe cache partition”; also select “advance” and choose “wipe dalvick cache”.
  13. Return to main menu of recovery.
  14. Select “install zip from SD card” shortly followed by “choose zip from SD card”.
  15. Pick the Android 4.3.1 JB update file and flash the Carbon firmware on your HTC Desire S.
  16. Do the same thing for installing the Google Apps package.
  17. In the end, return to recovery – select “+++go back+++” – and select “reboot system now”.

If in case of Carbon software you will be stuck in a boot loop, return to recovery and from there select “wipe data factory reset” and “wipe cache partition”. That should resolve the problems. But, if the first boot will take longer to complete than usual, it’s ok as there is nothing wrong with your phone. Just wait until it boots into Android OS. Also, if you want to go back to previous software (only if you have made a Nandroid backup as I have recommended before) you need to return to recovery mode; from there you need to select “backup / restore” – just follow the prompts for restoring the saved OS.

Good job; that was all for today. I hope that everything went well for you and that our guide has been useful for you and for your device. Anyway, now you should know how to update your HTC Desire S with Android 4.3.1 Jelly Bean based Carbon custom ROM firmware. Since your device is running on a new software, now the best for you will be to test the OS. If there are problems, or bugs, don’t hesitate and use the comments field from below for sharing your results with our team. Also, in this way you can also communicate with other Android users who might want to use this dedicated tutorial.

HTC Desire S Articles

  • Roland

    I wasn’t able to install the carbon rom :(.
    I followed all the steps from this tutorial.
    After reboot, a blue screen showed up for a second, then the carbon logo appeared, but the boot never completed.
    After 25 minutes I tried to interrupt it, but i wasn’t able to do it using the power button, so I removed the battery.
    Luckily I backed up my previous rom (JellyFireBean with android 4.2.2) and I was able to restore it.
    Then I repeated the process, but again… no luck…
    Any suggestion is appreciated!


    • toon

      I had the same problem !

  • kerem

    same for me. Boot never completed, I waited almost half an hour but it wasn’t completed.

    • Maluxc

      you need boot into bootloader and flash boot.img on the file you downloaded

  • Asier

    I have not downloaded, but is missing a step: flash the boot.img

  • Asier

    Oh, sorry Maluxc you had said before

  • merlin68

    Hi, installed it, ONE BIG problem but the most important – the sound works till first call receive, the sound is muted immediately and no chance to restore the sound till rebooting the phone .. my one is HTC DESIRE S ..any help message ? thanks / merlin68

    • compfreak

      Hi Merlin,
      have the same Problem. could you solve it? I am rather interested in the solution.. Thanks.

  • merlin68

    any help from the team why everything is ok till first call about the sound ? It is muted immediately to first call

  • mehrdad

    During recording or Contact microphones are too noisy. Request help How do I fix it?

  • Hans

    In my mobile no working wifi 🙁

  • kwokus

    i flashed but in my desire s (4ext recovery) it show several error -> error email has been stoped, itd. so whats wrong ? System boot normally but it doesn’t work properly and showes only crash

  • Gusztáv Kriston

    I dont download google services, please help me.
    thank you

  • compfreak

    System runs smoothly after upgrade. Have only Problems with the Sound. Does anybody else had Problems with Sound after somebody called me.

  • Safa Yousaf

    My HTC desire s has a problem.
    I try several time to add Google account. But I can’t do this. Please help me

  • Gunnar

    The link to Google Apps package is not there, the #3 in the list.

  • Cherry

    my phone keeps on alerting android.process.acore has unexpectedly stopped
    it prevents me even from texting

  • richardz123

    guys and girls here if the phone stays in a boot loop it can be because of you used a htc dev ulock and then you have to fplash the boot.img as
    open cmd where you have the fastboot and adb tools
    then tipe
    adb reboot bootloader
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
    adb reboot reboot
    voila you device boots normaly

    • BrighterTyger

      Can you contact me and explain further?

      • richardz123

        sorry what this was the most explained as it can

  • DEn

    All working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!