DFT releases tools for custom ROMs on HTC Windows Phones

Looks like Dark Forces Team has done it again. Just last night we reported on how they managed to flash the RTM build of Mango (7720) on an HD7 and now today, they've released RSPL/HSPL tools need for flashing custom ROMs.

These tools won't be of much use to you regular folks out there, but instead are meant for those daring and brave ROM Chefs (a term we haven't used in about a year), who want to flash their own versions of Windows Phone 7 to their devices (first generation). It is currently limited to only HTC phones, specifically HTC Mozart, the HTC Surround, the HTC HD7, the HTC Spark/Trophy, and the HTC 7 Pro, but no love the for the Sprint Arrive nor Verizon Trophy.

It's a big step in many ways, even if more symbolic, just because of the difficulty in working with Microsoft's more "locked down" OS and bootloader. We say symbolic because we're still not too sure how much of a market there is for custom ROMs--bloatware barely exists and can be uninstalled, there are few if any differences in builds, etc. So it remains to be seen what this willl actually bring to the table, nonetheless, we're a bit excited to see what devs can come up with.

Source: XDA/DFT; via WindowsPhone Hacker

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Well done DFT, I think they could cooperate with the Chevron team.
  • I doubt Microsoft would be as permissive of them releasing a ROM as they would allowing the homebrew community to code to their devices. I'd wager the latter gives them a much greater potential benefit than the former.
  • You forgot to mention HD7. Just HSPL'ed my T-Mobile HD7 with it. The big advantage I see to this is the ability to customize WP7 with custom icons, custom accent colors/themes built in, & maybe customizing Metro's UIX files as we'll now be able to play with the DLL's that contain these resources. Oh yeah, & possibly remove the INTEROPSERVICES block from Mango.
  • I've used many custom ROMs on many different handsets over the years. This is really cool to see, but, I actually like WP7 enough to leave it stock unless something like tethering gets cooked into one of the ROMs. Either way, great job by DFT. Let's hope MS embraces this like they did the Chevron work.
  • I'd love to get back to flashing a Windows phone. Nothing like holding your breath, praying you don't wind up with a brick!
  • I've flashed ROM's 1000's of time & never once bricked my device. As long as you follow instructions, make sure you have enough battery life & never disconnect the USB, you'll be fine.
  • I didn't say YOU. I don't really give a rats **** on how many phone you've flashed. If you go to XDA and look, you'll see that bricking does happen.
  • And, it's user error for not following directions. Anyone who follows directions to the letter should not have any problems unless their cat/dog/child knocks the device off the desk, unplugging the USB during flashing. They either don't follow direction, flash the wrong ROM to their device, aka don't follow directions. Another note, watch your tone in the future. Act as the mature adult you should be.
  • So what does this do exactly? Flash RTM mango to my device or??
  • All this does is allow you to flash Unsigned ROM's. It's the beginning of having custom ROM's on your device & maybe, one day, other OS's. Without HSPL, you can only flash ROM's that are signed with a security signature. Basically ROM's from HTC.
  • I can see this bringing quite alot to the table. It sounds to me like this is opening the doors to a true homebrew solution; ie: a custom rom that can side-load applications that don't have to follow Microsoft's stipulations in what can be changed, unlike Chevrons solution.If the above situation could be attained with custom ROMs, then things like custom themes, sounds, and other OS customizations could be loaded onto the phone.
  • Lets get this on the HD2! :D:D:D
  • Microsoft's legal action coming in ... 1... 2... 3...
  • There is NO way that I'm going back to custom roms ever again after using them for years on the older 6.5 handsets. Why not? I have a fully working HD7 right now and I'm not about to let an 15 year old kid provide a rom, which I'll install, only to find that after 70 pages of 'Dude you're the bomb', 'wow man this is much better', the problems start to appear with no solutions or the 'wait for the next release' thing.It's simply a pain in the rear. However, after saying that, I did and will always appreciate the guys that release stable roms that have been tested at length. THAT deserves some respect. P.s. Microsoft prefer open access as that was obvious with the 6.5 crowd and roms but what did that get them? Dwindling market share and users that instantly jumped ship.
  • Agreed. There was a time where I enjoyed flashing bleeding-edge ROMs that I knew would have their quirks, but after several years of long nights in front of the computer, flashing one ROM after another (on both my WM and Android devices) - well, I've moved beyond that phase of my life.
  • This could get interesting down the road. Imagine dual booting your WP7 phone with another OS. Might be fun to see the look on someones face when they brag about their android or iphone and the new app and you say "hold on a minute", restart and run their OS. It won't be practical, but could be fun.
  • ...what did cause the reputation of Windows Mobile to be an unstable and crapy OS? All those home cooked ROM's (except of a very few)! Why is Android now stepping into the same direction?Because every "expert" who is able to install one "app" thinks he can mess around with the OS! Why is iOS praised to be stable and fluid? Because you can't mess around with the OS! It's always nice to tinker with something and to find out to which unexpected height you can bring it. But there is no real advantage for the average user. With Mango, we will have 500 new features and improvements. All of them will be tested and perfectly working upon release. And in addition, Mango is not the end of the line, more updates are alread on the drawing boards....
  • Actually, the cooked ROMs are helping Android. You can also modify the way iOS look. Ugh I wish people would stop repeating MS "500 new features". Mango is very nice, but the "average" user will not notice most of the changes. Most are under the hood. Of course Mango isn't the end of the line. Is iOS 5 the end of the line for iPhones? Is Gingerbread the end of the line for Android phones? Don't see the point your making.
  • More often than not, those home-cooked ROMs were the only things that made WM devices usable. How many devices would be almost unusable right out of the box? I remember going to a store and playing with the Mogul and it took about five seconds to switch from portrait to landscape mode. Count that out in your head - one Mississippi, etc. I bought it anyway and custom ROMs took an extremely laggy, fitful device and made it relatively usable. Compared to its contemporaries, anyway.To a lesser extent, Android devices still have this problem. My GF's rooted-but-that's-it Epic 4G can be unbearably slow at times, but it works for her. My WP7 phone is much, much faster for most things - a notable exception being switching between running applications. I do miss quickly switching between surfing the web, talking on gchat, talking on AndroidIRC, and playing games. But I can deal with slow(er) multitasking for the time being because email, messaging, and camera functions on my WP7 device respond nearly instantaneously while her Epic fights her at every step of the way.
  • Thank you very much for posting this article. Its a very useful article. logo design .
  • So I'm way out of my league here, but looking into getting the HTC Arrive because my family is on Sprint.
    Just wondering, I thought that the HTC Arrive and the HTC 7 Pro were the same phone for different carriers.  So in my mind that's the same hardware and drivers, so why would this work for the HTC 7 Pro and not the HTC Arrive?
    I guess I'm not contesting that it doesn't, more wondering if we may see the HTC Arrive around the corner now that the HTC 7 Pro has been done?
    Awesome article, took me to the right place :)