Before I get too deep into ROMs and kernels, let me give you a quick breakdown on the must have root apps. Some of these apps I live and die for. Literally, I don’t know what to do w/ my rooted phone without them.

Root Checker (Free)

This is a must-have for 1st time rooters and even for the veterans messing with different kernels. The name of the app basically is exactly what it does. It checks if your phone is rooted and if busybox is installed. [Market Link]

SetCPU (Paid)

Rooting your phone means you can control your CPU processor for different reasons. Overclock your CPU for performance or underclock it for battery savings for example. The options in this app are based on the capabilities of your kernel. [Market Link]

Root Explorer (Paid)

It’s basically a file manager for root users. It gives access to everything on your phone including your system and data folders (like hidden files on Windows pc). Use with caution until you really know what you’re doing!! [Market Link]

Titanium Backup (Free & Paid)

This app is truly a must-have to save you from many many headaches. It can literally backup every single thing on your phone from all(system & user) apps, phone settings etc. After flashing a ROM that wipes your phone, you can restore everything (batch restore) or specifically by app or settings. You can set auto-schedule backups too. In the Pro version, you can freeze apps so they don’t hog your RAM or restore market links to Android Market with Market Doctor. This app can do so much more too. [Market Link]

ROM Manager (Free & Paid)

This app will definitely make your life easier when flashing ROMs. It can flash, backup, restore every ROM out there (I assume). You can flash ROMs from your SD card or over the air directly from the app’s ROM database for your model phone. The Premium version will give you access to premium ROMs and other features. [Market Link]

There are other root apps I use but these are your must-haves when you start out. You can try all the free versions of these apps which can do most of what you’ll need. For the SetCPU, I have tried a couple of alternatives in the past but this is worth paying for. TRUST ME!! Ok now that you got your root apps, I’ll look at ROMs and kernels more closely in Part III.