Documenting Problems That Were Difficult To Find The Answer To

Getting Root on my HTC Chacha S-On Phone

I have spent 4 hours today attempting to get root on my HTC Chacha. I’ve spent many more hours in the past trying this, too, and today I finally got it.

The most important move in all of this is getting into the bootloader. Firstly you must turn fastboot off – and this is done through the normal OS – by selecting Menu->Settings->Power->Fastboot (ensure this is unticked). To get into the bootloader, from now on, do this – power off the phone. Next, hold down the “volume down” button while pressing the power button. You will get a boot screen that looks like the following:

My HTC Chacha Boot Screen Before Unlocking

My HTC Chacha Boot Screen Before Unlocking

You will note that my phone (bought from Amazon in the UK) has S-On.

I tried everything I could think of. I downloaded a goldcard making application but could never make it work. Nothing was successful until I found this post:

In case it is deleted I will reproduce parts of it here as it was exactly what I went through to unlock and root my phone.

Backing Up

Needless to say you should back up your phone. Why? Because the next stage will result in your phone being wiped and returned to factory default stage. I didn’t realise this and lost all my data. You can be smarter than me.

Follow HTC’s Bootloader Unlock Steps

Go to You will have to register an account on the website with an e-mail address, username, and password. Next – you choose the device type you want to unlock.

Select the Device Type (HTC Chacha) from HTC's Website

Select the Device Type (HTC Chacha) from HTC's Website

Follow the instructions. It will start with (probably) flashing a new version of HBOOT onto your phone.

I had a problem with this as the application would fail to connect to the bootloader from Windows 7 64-bit. The solution to this was found at and required one to go to the start button, type “Device Manager”<enter>, under Other Devices there was an “Android Device” – right click on that and select “Update Driver Software…”, select “Browse my computer for driver software”, select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”, and select “My HTC”, click “Next”. Now re-run the HTC HBOOT application again.

After a successful HBOOT upgrade the boot screen looks like this:

HTC Chacha Bootloader After Unlocking

HTC Chacha Bootloader After Unlocking

Just continue following the instructions given. Eventually you’ll receive an e-mail with a key to use in the process.

If you successfully follow the instructions you’ll end up with a bootloader screen that looks like the following:

Boot Screen After Following All The HTC Bootloader Unlock Instructions

Boot Screen After Following All The HTC Bootloader Unlock Instructions

Getting Root

Now you need to get root. To do this you can use something called “ZergRush” (apparently named after the game Starcraft). This gets temporary root on the phone which is used to then install “su”. I downloaded a first version which didn’t have the necessary zergRush utility. I then found the one I needed and here is a magnet (torrent) link magnet:?xt=urn:btih:F8E51F8557F49C26A76B191F04763CAC1F33AED6& link to It was a matter of extracting the zip and running the batch file (although I did each step manually).

Putting ClockworkMod Recovery On

I had to put the clockworkmod recovery application on manually. The ClockworkMod application can be installed from the Marketplace but it won’t install the recovery part because the Chacha isn’t a recognised device. You can install it manually and to do so you need to obtain from somewhere (I got it from a link from this post which linked to However I suggest you try this magnet:?xt=urn:btih:1CDE3E990246F017B9148FF1D97DB3F3A2D1B658& torrent magnet link.

One you have this zip file you need to extract “recover.img” from it. Then put your phone into the bootloader, select “fastboot”, and plug in the USB cable.

Next run the following command from your Android SDK toolkit: fastboot flash recovery c:\temp\recovery.img (or wherever you put the recovery.img file).

All done! You can now get into clockworkmod recovery!

CyanogenMod 7.2.0

Next I visited the xdadevelopers thread on mods for the HTC ChaCha. I downloaded the CyanogenMod mod (release number 20120201-0150) and copied it to my sdcard root – then restarted in clockworkmod recovery (making a backup first, of course) and installed CyanogenMod. I also downloaded the google apps from the same forum thread – and used clockworkmod recovery to install this zip file, too.

My HTC ChaCha Running CyanogenMod 7.2.0

My HTC ChaCha Running CyanogenMod 7.2.0

Finally! A dialer that doesn’t crash my phone! That’s the second time I had to move to CyanogenMod to escape HTC’s atrocious and dysfunctional software development (on the Desire Z the messaging service took minutes to send messages, on the ChaCha the dialer would always crash).

CyanogenMod Details on HTC ChaCha Phone

CyanogenMod Details on HTC ChaCha Phone


I almost wish I found these earlier:


Thanks to: this site that liked this article so much my phone image was copied and re-used – you can tell it is my image because it retains the compression artifacts.

I’m pleased that by going to the effort of documenting what I did I am making life a little bit easier for others. This article is getting between 40 and 80 hits per day from all around the world and from searches done in many languages.

Update 2012-07-30

I’m now using CyanogenMod ROM build from 2012-07-24 which is available at (torrent) magnet link magnet:?xt=urn:btih:825E19D3E67E6630CB2C5D604E748131B6BE0F61& It’s also available from the link at the xda-developers thread. The below screenshot shows the Settings -> About Phone screen for this ROM.

HTC Chacha Running CyanogenMod 7 Built 2012-07-24

HTC Chacha Running CyanogenMod 7 Built 2012-07-24

5 responses to “Getting Root on my HTC Chacha S-On Phone

  1. JimmyMX June 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    thanx alot for making life much much easier

  2. AT August 11, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Do you know what this whole S-OFF/S-ON business is all about? I was under the impression that you simply couldn’t flash a custom rom onto CHA CHA that has S-ON? I have SU installed on mine and have Clockwork Recovery but have been reluctant to install CM7 due to numerous comments that this can’t be done with an S-ON phone?

    • newspaint August 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      The reason I wrote this article is because I put CM7 on my S-ON phone. Those photos I took were of my own phone. You’ll find some of those photos on other websites now, actually, as others have found this blog post very informative. If you are having no issues with your HTC Chacha then I wouldn’t recommend reflashing your phone. However if, like me, you have a show-stopping buggy update from HTC that prevents you from making phone calls then I strongly recommend switching to CyanogenMod.

      If you have managed to root the phone and put Clockwork Recovery on then you’ve already done the “forbidden” things that S-ON is supposed to protect. So I take it you’ve followed most of the steps in this post already. Whatever you do MAKE A BACKUP using Clockwork Recovery NOW. Then if you have problems installing CM7 you should be able to restore your existing ROM and data.

  3. ahmad hassan June 23, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Ok lets say I rooted my chacha and now want to flash cm7 are there any withdrwas or disadvnatges in the cm7 like front camera not working and stuff like this?

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