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I have a Nexus S running Android 2.3.3.

IIRC on old android version such as this there were non-wipe non-unlock methods to obtain root anyway, however I wasn't able to find them right now.

Can this be done?

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I think Gingerbreak was the main root method, which is (IIRC) what SuperOneClick uses. That might be a good one to start with if you haven't tried it yet, but I'm not positive that it will work. – eldarerathis Mar 17 '12 at 15:46
@eldarerathis: gingerbreak worked. Unfortunately, I lost root upgrading to 2.3.6. Still, since it worked, if you post it as an answer I'll accept it. – o0'. Mar 23 '12 at 0:30
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Android 2.3.3 was (on all devices I'm aware of) vulnerable to the Gingerbreak exploit, which used a software hole in Android to gain root permission and therefore doesn't require wiping your device. SuperOneClick provides this as one of its root methods, making it a popular choice for rooting versions 2.3 to 2.3.3 of Gingerbread.

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