How to: S-OFF / Debrand / Upgrade / Downgrade HTC Sensation XL

HTC Sensation XL is a dual-core HTC device which was released in the last quarter of 2011. Almost 2 years after its release, it is still gaining popularity in the Asian markets. Initially released with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, this device later received an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

In most parts of the world, devices are released via local carriers thus containing carrier-specific bloatware and limitations on the device itself. For example, HTC Sensation XL that was released in South Korea contains a lot of Korean apps which are useless for non-Korean users. Also, there is a limitation on SMS which is limited to 90 characters only. You won’t be able to send longer SMS than that unless you debrand your phone.

Sensation-XL

Important: We will need to unlock the bootloader of HTC Sensation XL and then turn it S-OFF. Please note that this will void your warranty.

Once you gain S-OFF and Super-CID on your device, you are free to flash whichever firmware you like. You can even downgrade your hboot after gaining S-OFF thus you can even downgrade from ICS to GB. If your phone is in a soft-bricked state and it is not going past the HTC logo and you are unable to flash it because it is S-On and you are receiving “hboot version is older” or “mainver is older” error, this guide will also work for you.

Steps

  1. Power off your phone and pull out the battery for 5 sec. Re-insert it and now hold down “Volume Down” + “Power” keys. You’ll be in the “HBOOT” screen now. Choose “FASTBOOT” and press the “Power” key for entering Fastboot mode.
  2. Connect the phone to your PC.
  3. You’ll need an unlocked bootloader on Sensation XL. If it states “Locked” or “Relocked” near the top of the screen in Fastboot mode, please follow the guide linked below for unlocking it:
  4. Once you have unlocked the bootloader, reboot into Fastboot again
  5. Now we need to flash a custom recovery on this phone. You can download CWM recovery for Sensation XL from the link below:
  6. Extract the downloaded archive and open it. Press and hold down <Shift> key on your keyboard and right click anywhere on the white space in that extracted folder. From the context menu, choose “Open command window here”.
  7. In the CMD prompt, run this command:
    fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
  8. Once recovery is successfully flashed, on your phone, choose “HBOOT” and press the “Power” key. From HBOOT screen, use volume keys for navigating to “RECOVERY” and again press the power key. Your phone will boot into CWM recovery now.
  9. Depending on 2 different manufacturing lots of Sensation XL, you might either see CWM recovery or just a black screen. In either case, it is just fine and you can proceed to the next steps.
  10. Right click at “My Computer” icon and choose “Properties”. In the new window that opens up, click at “Device Manager”.
  11. If the drivers were not installed automatically, you will see a device named “Android” under “Other Devices” in Device Manager. Double click at it and choose “Update Driver”. In the next window that opens up, choose “Browser my computer for driver software”. On the next page, choose “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”. On the next page, choose “ADB Interface” and click next. From the list of drivers on the next page, choose “Google, INC” in the left pane and the top most driver in the right pane. Click “Next”. Ignore any warnings and choose “Proceed” or “Install anyway” if you see a dialog box. Once the drivers are installed, close the Device Manager.
  12. Now download ADB Tools from here:
  13. Extract the downloaded archive and while holding down <Shift> key on your keyboard, right click at the empty space and choose “Open command window here”.
  14. Download ICS Hboot for Sensation XL from here:
  15. Extract the downloaded archive and copy the hboot file to the ADB tools directory extracted earlier.
  16. From the Command Prompt we opened earlier, run these commands one-by-one:
    adb push hboot_7230ddr2_Runnymede_6.28.6666.nb0 /data/local/tmp/hboot_7230ddr2_Runnymede_6.28.6666.nb0
    adb shell
    dd if=/data/local/tmp/hboot_7230ddr2_Runnymede_6.28.6666.nb0 of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p18
    exit
    adb reboot bootloader
  17. Now you can flash any HTC Sensation XL ICS RUU of your choice. You can download the latest Europe ICS RUU from the link below:
  18. If you want to flash a GB RUU, you will need to download and install GB HBOOT from the link below and then run the GB RUU of your choice:
  • Apsara

    It says waiting for the device & doesnt proceeds

  • Simon

    Hello. Thanks for you Tuto. It is actually realy clear. I have been trough all the steps except flashing the the RUU rom. My question is: I have a korean HTC sensation XL without external SD card slot. Can I flash a European RUU in it? Or should I only flash korean roms ? Thanks

  • Sanjar

    thank you very much!!!
    working soooo goood

  • is this for Europe CID only? Thanks