I rooted my Dream/G1 last night and finally gave up on modding it (not for good mind you, but for the moment) and opted instead to just restore it to factory settings via Settings > SD card & phone storage > Factory data reset, which did solve all the problems I was having with multitasking (and not being able to answer it, etc.)

Curiously, I still seem to have root on the phone, despite having reset it. I'd love to understand how that is possible! Superuser Permissions is the only non-stock app still on the phone, and I'm still able to use su to gain root privileges from adb shell. Is this because BusyBox installs to my SD Card?

My phone works just fine, so this is hardly critical, but the whole exercise was/is about knowing my phone better and this is most def. a mystery. Thanks!


3 Answers 3


Root things (su, busybox and Superuser.apk) are installed in /system, which is usually on a special partition. This partition is usually mounted as read-only. (Remember mount command, that is neccesary to allow writing there...) It is likely that this partition is not affected by master reset.

  • Note: @Redh3ad confirmed this in his comment: A factory reset only wipes the userdata partition and cache. Superuser.apk and su are copied to system partition when rooting, so a factory reset doesn't touch these files.
    – Amanda
    Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 12:24

If you want to remove root access from your phone you need to un-root it.
Here's a link for Unrooting HTC G1/Dream or Unrooting the G1 | Android Forums

The links I provided are just a starting point - I have never un-rooted so I can't speak to the method but I know that a "Factory Data Reset" / "Hard Reset" will NOT remove 'root'. I have done a "Hard Reset" though and have experienced the same thing as you - you still have root and any apps that were part of rooting and whatever custom ROM you flashed - everything else is gone. This will just clear your user-data and apps (and possibly some other things that I just don't know about) but the phone will still be rooted if you had done that before you did the "Hard Reset". As one of the links states one of the main reasons for un-rooting is for turning your phone in for warranty repairs.

Hope this helps.


You should test your phone to see if you actually still have root access, or if for some odd reason restoring your phone to stock didn't remove the icon for the superuser app.

Go to the market and download something like Barnacle (adhoc WiFi AP app) or AndroSS (screenshot app) and try to run whatever you download. If it request su access, you allow it, and it actually performs the task it's designed for then you still have root. If it doesn't prompt you for su access or if it does but them seemingly doesn't respond properly then odds are the factory reset removed your root access without cleaning up after itself.

As far as why you wouldn't have root but still have the superuser app installed? That's something that would require a lot more digging, I think.

  • 2
    Amanda says she restored to factory settings, not that she reflashed the original ROM etc. IMO, all that has occurred is that the various settings have been restored to their original state and the user data has been wiped. Whatever exploit was used to gain root access still remains which is why she's still rooted.
    – Sparx
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 18:12
  • @Sparx - I was under the impression that a factory reset brought the firmware back to stock settings (meaning no apps installed that didn't come with the phone at stock) which would mean the superuser app shouldn't have persisted as you don't get that from the Market where your account will redownload anything you had previously installed (at least on 2.2 it will). Of course the main difference between our perspectives lies within the method that the factory reset option uses to accomplish it's task.
    – newuser
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 18:57
  • 5
    A factory reset only wipes the userdata partition and cache. Superuser.apk and su are copied to system partition when rooting, so a factory reset doesn't touch these files.
    – red
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 19:39

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