HTC Desire automatic update failure

HTC Desire received an automatic OTA firmware update. That itself was nice and good. But it wasn’t so nice that it fuc*ed the device and I needed to send it to service. I was just about to go to a company summer parties so I joked to co-workers “I’ll do this update afterwards because I would like to use the device in the party”. In retrospect it was very good decision.

The next day after the party I was lying on the sofa and reading email with the Desire. I noticed the notification “Update available” in the top left corner. I thought that maybe it was good time to do it. I opened the notification area and accepted the update. It assured me that no data will be lost. And if it did, it would be easily recovered from a backup. Yes yes, that’s fine. I accepted and it started the process. Seemed to go fine.

Device was booting. Still everything fine. HTC logo. The lock screen. I’m opening the lock. Error message. “Sorry. The application Settings (process com.android.settings) has quit unexpectedly. Please try again.”

What the hell is this I thought. Everything else was working fine. I tried browser, email and couple of others. Then I switched to screen where I had controls for turning the radios on and off. It was just an empty rectangle. I tried launching the settings. Again I got the same error message. I started to worry a bit.

I tried booting the device. Boot went fine but again after unlocking the screen the same error message. What to do now. It was OTA update, so I didn’t have the image file I could re-apply.

I started uninstalling applications one by one if those had some components that were affecting the updated settings application. I removed couple of virtual keyboards and tried rebooting. No help. I kept uninstalling applications one by one and rebooting. No help. I started to worry a little bit more.

Then I got a great idea! How about resetting the device to factory settings. That should remove all clutter I might have done to mess up with the settings and so causing the crash in the settings application. Only thing is that the factory reset button is in the settings application. Good design there, by the way. Maybe that sort of actions could be its own application. After browsing the Internet for answers I found out that the factory reset is also available in the bootloader. That gave me new hope. But I didn’t find any other report about this kind of a situation with the OTA. There had been problems with WLAN and other issues, but not single issue like mine. That seemed odd but still I had that issue and decided to go with the bootloader reset option.

I hold down the volume down button during the boot up and I reached the bootloader menu. There was the “CLEAR STORAGE” entry. I selected it and couple of seconds later it said “done”. It was fast, I thought. Then reboot, fingers and toes crossed, hoping for some improvement.

The device booted to the default lock screen. At least the reset was successful. I unlocked the screen and got the same error message as before! Oh no. Then the device asked if I would like to restore the backup that was found on the SD card. I said “yes”. More problems. After few panicked moments and couple of dialogs later I was presented with an empty screen. Only the notification bar was in the top of the screen. It was still working as the notification bar could be opened. And long pressing the home key said that I had no applications running. And the same happened on every boot. Notification bar at the top and otherwise black screen.

After four days in the repair shop I got it back. They said that the main board was changed and the software updated. They didn’t say why the board was changed so I don’t know was there some electrical problem or was it just easier for them that way.