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Are there any risks to manually flashing a stock or custom ROM?

  • Does it have the potential to brick the device?
  • Will it void my warranty?
  • Will I stop getting updates?
  • Anything else I should be aware of?

(See also: Are there any risks to rooting a device?)

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Depends on how you define "safe". The guide seems all right and provides step-by-step instructions. As it says in the disclaimer, you have to be careful and follow the steps exactly unless you know what you are doing. From experience, it's only scary the first time, and unless something goes terribly wrong, your device won't be bricked irreversibly. –  Martin Tapankov Mar 26 '12 at 14:14
but what if i got stuck in between and mobiles hangs or something... is their any restore options so that i can go back to 2.1 eclair –  user1292849 Mar 26 '12 at 14:18
Depends when exactly troubles happened. If you make a backup of your stock ROM during recovery (which is suggested in the HOW-TO you linked to, and is strongly recommended anyway), then you can revert back to it if you are not happy for some reason with CyanogenMod. –  Martin Tapankov Mar 26 '12 at 14:20
I've made this more general, similar to Are there any risks to rooting a device?. The answer is largely the same but I think it warrants its own question. –  Matthew Read Mar 26 '12 at 17:42

2 Answers 2

Adapted from Are there any risks to rooting a device?

Does it have the potential to brick the device?

Yes. Flashing bad software is the easiest way to brick your device. A failed flash or one that gets interrupted may also brick your device. Sometimes things just go wrong even if you do everything right; flashing software manually is not something for the faint of heart.

Some devices are easy to "soft brick" but difficult to "hard brick". A soft brick is when the device fails to boot and you need to resort to flashing firmware, often through a manufacturer tool like Samsung's Odin, to fix it. A hard brick is when it's totally broken; this usually only occurs if you overwrite the device's bootloader.

Will it void my warranty?

If you flash a custom ROM, you void your warranty. If you flash a stock ROM over top of an "unaltered" (e.g., never rooted) stock ROM through the manufacturer-approved process, then you should be safe, but flashing stock under other circumstances is no different from flashing a custom ROM.

Will I stop getting updates?

For stock ROMs, no, not in general. You won't get stock updates for a custom ROM, but the custom ROM might have its own updates.

Can I go back to the stock ROM if I'm unhappy with the custom one?

Generally, yes. Most guides you'll find strongly recommend doing this when your phone is in recovery mode before you actually flash the new ROM. From recovery, you should be able to restore your stock ROM in all its glory should something go wrong during the flashing (but you can still boot in recovery mode) or if you are dissatisfied with your current ROM. Finding the right stock ROM for your device online is going to be much harder after the fact (and you can never be sure if it hasn't been tampered with), so be sure to do this before doing anything else.

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While it is generally safe there's always a chance that something goes wrong and your phone will be broken.
Installing custom roms also voids your warranty so if for whatever reason you need to have it repaired you'll need to restore the original firmware, but that may not be possible if you have hardware issues.

Don't be discouraged by this. If you follow the instructions to the T, the chance that something breaks is about the same that you'll win the lottery ie. Nonexistent.

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