Custom ROM Upgrade for Dummies

DummiesIn my previous blog entry, I talked about why HTC Touch HD needs to have custom ROM flashed to maximise its full potential.

Unfortunately, the procedure to flash a custom ROM can be a nervy experience, even for an IT-trained individual. While  the actual flashing process will take no more than 10 minutes, one might get lost just by reading through the documentation of the procedure.

So here’s an attempt to do a video blog of the flashing process, to compliment  the detailed documentation created by the developers in xda-developers forum. In this video blog, I’ll be flashing custom ROM using USPL, instead of Hard-SPL method. Read here to know more about USPL versus Hard-SPL. For me, USPL is the least intrusive method, and I can flash stock ROM to my device anytime straight away without any additional procedure.

Files you need to download

First thing first, you need to ensure you have the following files downloaded;

  1. Stock SPL for Blackstone (version 1.54)
  2. HSPL Wrapper for Blackstone (version 1.56)
  3. USPL (version 2.5)
  4. A 1.56+ based ROM (I use Dutty’s XT 3.9 ROM)
  5. RUU Wrapper for Blackstone (if you download Dutty’s XT ROM, this RUU wrapper is provided in the zip file)

Unzip each of the downloaded files, and organised them under a central folder, e.g. “Touch-HD-Rom-Stuff”, for easy access.

Key Steps required to flash the custom ROM

1. Back up your phone. I strongly recommend that you just back up your data instead of backing up your programs and their settings. Going with the latter might introduce system conflicts when you restore everything back to the new ROM. If you just need to back up your PIM data (i.e. your appointments, text message, contacts, etc), my personal preference would be PIM Backup.

2. Put your phone into bootloader mode. With your phone in power off mode, depressed the volume-down button and power button simultaneously, and you should see the device boot up with a tri-colour screen like the one shown below.  (note: if for some reason you want to exit this step without any further flashing, just take out the battery and put it back to restart)

Touch HD at Bootloader mode

Touch HD at Bootloader mode

3. Update your phone’s SPL to stock SPL version 1.54. You can skip this step if your bootloader screen shows that you are already on version 1.54 (or above). The video below shows how you can upgrade your phone’s stock SPL to version 1.54. In the video, you would see that I will put my phone in USPL mode first. According to xda-developers, there is not need to put your phone in USPL mode first and you can upgrade the SPL directly (i.e. skip step 3a).  In some circumstances (e.g. if you have accidentally carried out step 4 before step 3) you may need to perform step 3a first prior to flashing stock spl. If you are not sure, just carry out step 3a since it is a very straight forward step;

(a) With your phone connected to your PC via USB cable, open up a command window and run the command “blac_uspl.exe“. This will put your phone in USPL mode. If you are not successful in getting your phone into USPL mode, please refer to this link to update your USB driver.

(b) Run the HSPL Wrapper by double-clicking the program HSPLWrapper_Blackstone_1560OliNex.exe. Do not click on anything when the window pops up

(c) Copy the stock SPL image RUU_Signed.nbh to the folder where HSPL Wrapper resides. Choose to overwrite the file if you are prompted.

(d) Continue the steps as advised by HSPL Wrapper Window, to complete the flashing of stock SPL version 1.54 into your phone.

4. Upgrade your phone with a 1.56+ based custom ROM
. In this example, I use Dutty’s XT version 3.9, which is also based on stock ROM 1.56. You need to put your phone back in bootloader mode again, as the SPL upgrade you have carried out in step 3 would reboot your phone into Windows Mobile operating environment. Repeat step 3a to put your phone into USPL mode. Once your phone is in USPL mode, then run the executable BlackstoneRUUWrapper.exe. Follow the steps as advised by the RUU (Rom Update Utility) window, and in less than 10 minutes you should see a successful flash of the custom ROM image into your phone! The video below illustrates the entire flashing procedure.

Note: If you are not successful in getting your phone into USPL mode, please refer to this link to update your USB driver.

23 thoughts on “Custom ROM Upgrade for Dummies

  1. Sian says:

    Hi Zen

    Am really tempted to flash my HD to Win 6.5.. While checking my SPL version, I realise there is no instruction how to get out. Kinda got me into a panic since I’m totally new in the area of ROM flashing..

    I did a hard reset, after reading around for a while. So, maybe you could include a side note on your guide on how to come out for those people like me. 🙂

    • zen says:

      actually, you just need to take out the battery, and put back, press the power button to restart your mobile. There’s no need to hard reset.

      Will put a note at the end of the blog to address this.

  2. Sian says:

    Hi Zen

    Blur me, I meant softreset (poking the softreset hole) at the back.

    I’m super tempted to flash a WM6.5.1 ROM.. esp with the button on the bottom. Make things more convenient. Any good WM 6.5 ROM with LEO Sense UI for recommendation? Daily normal use. Preferably not taxing the battery too much type.

    • zen says:

      Either XannyROM 1.7 (with the latest version of Sense) or Dutty’s R5 (alittle old as Dutty has not been updating as frequent as he was) is good.

  3. Sian says:

    Hi Zen

    I read on Mobinaut that there may be a need to flash back the stock SPL. Is that the case? Say when we send our device in for service? Using USPL will still need to change the SPL to 1.56, right?

    So, is it difficult to revert? Does the latest HD ROM on HTC come with 1.56 SPL?

    • zen says:

      if you are using USPL method to flash ROM to your HD, you don’t need to flash back to stock SPL, since it’s already in your device.

      Flashing of SPL is the same procedure as flashing the ROM, as it’s still a image flashing activity, except that the size of the SPL image is small (less than 1MB)

  4. Sian says:


    Thanks for the reply. So, I assume it’s ok to leave the stock 1.56 SPL in there.

    I’ve posted another question on Mobinaut too about flashing the radio. Is this really necessary? I dare not ‘mod’ my phone too much in case I don’t know how to retract..

    • zen says:

      yes, it’s okay to leave stock 1.56SPL there (assuming you are flashing your ROM using USPL method)

      radio flash is optional unless you have problem with reception, and you would look for newer version of radio to improve it.

  5. Shival says:

    Can you guys tell me which Dutty’s XT 3.9 ROM should download, after cliicking the link it showed4 options
    1)Manila V2.1 Standard Version without CVSD OR MSVC
    2)Manila V2.1 MSVC
    3)Standard Version without CVSD OR MSVC
    4)MSVC Version
    I have HTC Touch HD T8282 SPL 14.00000


    • zen says:

      MSVC is basically Microsoft Voice Command, and CSVD is an equivalent of that, from Cyberon. Depending on whether you need one or not, you can choose the one with or without.

      btw, you need to upgrade your SPL to 1.56. Your stock SPL will cause display problem later on if you upgrade your ROM w/o the appropiate SPL.

  6. Felix says:

    Hi. I want to SIM unlock my HTC HD and read somewhere else that it needed first to be flashed to stock or USPL 1.56 or 1.54. I can’t remember well but watching your tutorial here I saw that you had the same 1.54.0000 as me and I had the same Dutty’s Rom, I think it says 1.56 as SPL as well. So I wanted to know which steps of your tutorial I need to follow and also if I can flash or do it all on Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit.

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