The HTC Desire HD was HTC’s second half flagship smartphone for the year 2010, released in the month of September. The smartphone succeeded the HTC Desire smartphone launched earlier that year. Back then, it was the first Android flagship to utilize the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 chipset, built on a 45nm process and integrating the Adreno 205 GPU. Essentially, the Desire HD was quite a significant leap in performance over the HTC Desire. HTC launched it with Android 2.2 Froyo out of the box, and later updated the smartphone to Androind 2.3.5 Gingerbread. For a five year old smartphone, the Desire HD is certainly going strong today thanks to the developer support it has received on XDA developers forum. The Desire HD is probably one of the very few smartphones from the year 2010 to have a working Android 5.1.1 Lollipop port available, which does speak volumes about its popularity.

The Unofficial CM 12.1 port for the HTC Desire HD has been developed by XDA senior member Mustaavalkosta, with contribution from paulb_nl, kylon and Pahntom Shadow. The ROM is currently in Alpha stage, so you will not be able to use the ROM as a daily driver just yet. Some browsers crash regularly and so do a few other apps. So stability is definitely nowhere near stock firmware as of now. Users who have installed the ROM on their HTC Desire HD are also reporting issues with Wi-Fi connectivity at times, although this doesn’t affect all users. Apart from these issues, there are quite a few other minor bugs and issues as well that will need to be fixed before the ROM can be considered stable enough for daily usage. However, if you are a power user and can deal with these issues, you could give this ROM a try. Most of the basic functionality such as phone calls, SMS, mobile data, and video playback are working. So if you wish to see what Android 5.1.1 Lollipop feels like on your HTC Desire HD, this ROM is the one to go for. Of course, as the developers put in more time and effort, you can expect it to be a lot more stable in the future. When the first build came out, most of the functions were broken, so the progress made by the developers already is quite commendable.

So, what do you think? Do you wish to try this custom ROM on your HTC Desire HD? If yes, you just need to take your smartphone in your hand and follow our guide below to get this ROM installed. Below, you will find all the pre-install requirements being discussed, please do read those parts carefully and get your device ready for the installation. Do not try anything that is not mentioned in the guide and is something you haven't tried earlier. Any wrong move could end up bricking your HTC Desire HD.

We will get to the installation process a little later, but first we have to tell you about all the requirements for getting this custom ROM installed on your HTC Desire HD. Let us start off by telling you how important it is to have a backup ready before installing a custom ROM on your smartphone. If you have been flashing various AOSP based custom ROMs on your HTC Desire HD over the years, you will know that you will end up losing your data if you proceed to install a ROM without having a backup ready first. So we suggest that you begin by taking a backup of your contacts, SMS, apps, and app data with the help of a backup and restore app from the Google Play Store or a PC based software that can do the same and save the backup on your computer. If you want to save the backup right on your device, you can use apps such as Titanium Backup, Helium, and MyBackup. But if you have low storage space on your device, you can back up your data to the computer. Just as it is important to back up all your data, it is also required that you back up your current ROM using the procedure explained at this link. A Nandroid backup of your ROM can be restored via recovery later, letting you revert to your previous ROM without going through the whole re-flashing process all over again.

Since the HTC Desire HD is a really old smartphone now and has been quite popular on XDA with an active development scene, some of you may already have unlocked the bootloader of your device. If you haven't installed an AOSP based custom ROM on your HTC Desire HD yet, you will need to unlock the bootloader of your HTC Desire HD before installing this custom ROM on your smartphone. Unlike on the newer devices, you don't have to worry about anything before unlocking the bootloader of your smartphone. Unlocking the bootloader voids the warranty on the device, but since the Desire HD came out long back, none of you will have any warranty left on the device anyway. When you have completed the bootloader unlock process, you will need to install a custom recovery on your HTC Desire HD. We believe most of you may have a custom recovery installed already, and maybe you haven't updated to a more recent version of recovery in a long time. If that is the case, it is required that you update to the latest version of recovery. It doesn't matter what custom recovery you choose, it should be the latest available version with SELinux support. Rooting your smartphone is also required, so get your Desire HD rooted if you haven't rooted it already.

It is now time to check if the battery on your HTC Desire HD has adequate levels of charge remaining. On older devices, the battery life may already be worse due to wear over time. So it becomes even more important for you to make it a point to charge your HTC Desire HD before you continue to the installation process below. There is a risk of your smartphone getting bricked if you jump to the installation without checking if the battery has enough charge remaining. If your smartphone has at least 60% battery charge left, you can continue with the installation without first having to charge the smartphone.

If you are running a custom ROM based on Android 4.1 JellyBean or newer, you will need to enable the USB Debugging option on your HTC Desire HD. This option can be found under Developer Options in the Settings Menu. If you have not enabled this option yet, please do so now. When you've done it, you can begin with the custom ROM installation.

How to Update HTC Desire HD to Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Using Unofficial CM 12.1 Custom ROM

  1. Those of you who have been flashing custom ROMs on your Desire HD since a long time will know how a custom ROM is installed on a smartphone. But if you haven't really flashed a custom ROM earlier, you first need to download a custom ROM ZIP file and then you flash this file via recovery to get the ROM installed on your device. So in order to get the Unofficial CM 12.1 custom ROM installed on your HTC Desire HD, you will first need to get the custom ROM ZIP downloaded to your computer. The Unofficial CM 12.1 ROM ZIP file can be downloaded from here. That's not all though. In addition to the ROM ZIP file, you will also need to download another ZIP file - the GAPPS ZIP. You will find the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop GAPPS ZIP file at this link. The GAPPS ZIP is required to be downloaded whenever you are install an AOSP based custom ROM on your smartphone as they do not come with Google apps or services.
  2. To be able to flash these two ZIP files via recovery, you will of course need to get them transferred to your Desire HD's external SD card. And to do that, you will of course have to connect it to your computer by plugging it in with the USB cable. Move the ROM and GAPPS ZIP files to the external SD card of your Desire HD and then disconnect it from the computer.

  3. As you know, the ROM ZIP file needs to be flashed via recovery. Which means you will have to get your Desire HD into recovery mode. Begin by turning off the smartphone and then boot it into recovery mode to continue.

  4. You will be flashing the ROM ZIP file in the next step, so it is required that you perform a full wipe before that. In the main recovery menu, find the 'wipe data factory reset' option and tap on it to perform a factory reset first. Done? Good. Now you will need to wipe the cache, dalvik cache, system, and data partitions as well. You will be able to wipe these by going into the 'advanced options'.

  5. Okay now we can get the started with the ROM flashing process. Return to the main recovery menu and select the 'Install zip from SD card' option. Here  you will need to choose the file that you wish to flash, so choose the Unofficial CM 12.1 ROM ZIP file that you had downloaded in the very first step. When asked to confirms flash, select yes and wait for the flashing process to be completed.

  6. Once you finish flashing the ROM ZIP file, you can get the GAPPS ZIP flashed in order to get the various Google apps and services installed with the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop custom ROM. It is the same procedure as above, so we're sure you can do it yourself.

  7. That's it folks. You have now successfully flashed the Unofficial CM 12.1 custom ROM on your HTC Desire HD. To get the ROM to boot, tap on the 'reboot system now' option in the recovery menu.

The first time this ROM boots up, it could take as long as five minutes or longer to boot to the homescreen. This is to be expected as Android 5.1.1 Lollipop has quite high system requirements and will need longer time to get started for the first time on an older device such as the Desire HD.

Since the ROM is in Alpha stage and there are a number of bugs with the ROM currently, you can also help the developer by reporting bugs with a logcat at this link. For any other discussion related to the ROM and to follow new build releases, you shall have to follow the official ROM thread on XDA at this link.




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