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 What is a Custom Recovery & Why Should I Have One?

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PostSubject: What is a Custom Recovery & Why Should I Have One?   What is a Custom Recovery & Why Should I Have One? Icon_minitimeWed Jan 08, 2014 2:26 pm


What is a Custom Recovery & Why Should I Have One?

A recovery is a small distinct environment separate from Android that allows diagnostic updates, and the ability to perform factory resets. The main purpose of this is to provide a way to reset an Android device when it may be impossible to boot into it.

For example a common problem with unlocking the bootloader on the Nexus 10 will leave the device hanging during boot. To resolve this problem a factory reset can be performed via the stock recovery.

The Android stock recovery is very basic and controlled via the volume keys and power button at the top of the device.

Custom Recoveries perform the same tasks as the stock-Android recovery with a few addition features, such as the ability to make full system backups, as well as flash custom roms. It is important to note that custom recoveries are recommended to those users with rooted devices, however a rooted device is not required. Anyone with an unlocked bootloader can install a custom recovery on their device.

The importance of a custom recovery becomes apparent when flashing custom ROMs. Each time you flash a ROM their is the potential to lose your apps and data, so having a recovery to return to is crucial. Its not the best solution but it sure beats reinstalling all of your apps, if your not happy with your custom rom.

There are two major custom recoveries for Android they both achieve the same results, with a few differing features. Both are highly recommended.


Clockworkmod Recovery developed by Koushik Dutta, comes two flavors, a key operated varient and a touch varient. Both versions are reminiscent of the stock recovery, but feature some pretty useful tools, like a built in file browser for roms, adb, and nandroid backup. There are a couple methods for installing Clockworkmod, but the easiest by far is via Clockworkmod’s own ROM Manager app, which provides one click installation and updates for the recovery.

I am a big fan of Clockworkmod. I use it on my Nexus 10 and especially love the integration with ROM manager. It doesn’t support all devices and that is why I also love the next recovery.

For more information check out the xda-developers wiki on clockworkmod

TeamWin Recovery Project

The TeamWin Recovery Project is a graphical touch based recovery manager, that provides a less intimidating experience for new users. However besides the graphic user interface it provides the same features available in Clockworkmod. It unlike Clockworkmod doesn’t provide the same kind of one click installation, however it can be installed with a few adb commands.

TeamWin’s recovery manager was my first introduction to custom recoveries, honestly one of my favorites. I run it on my Kindle Fire thanks to the lack of physical control buttons on the device.

For more information on TeamWin Recover check out the Official TWRP website

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