How to root Nook Color, side load apps, review and gallery

I got my Nook Color, not too long ago, posted the full review and of course I couldn’t resist to root it as soon as a method was discovered. The smart guys from XDA Developers and NookDevs put everything together and all the credit goes to them. I’ll post a short How To detailing some of the issues I personally had during the rooting process together with a gallery of screenshots detailing the new Nook Color look and some applications I personally tested and installed on the rooted Nook Color.

Note: If you updated to BookColor firmware 1.0.1, there is an updated (and automatic method) method using Auto-Nooter. Read the detailed process here.

Update: Auto-Nooter 3.o.0 just became available and enables root for Nook Color version 1.1

Update: We just posted our rooting tutorial for Nook Touch

The root method described here works for Windows 7 and this is the platform where I actually performed it. Here are the steps:

Activity 1: Prepare the micro SD card to use in the process

1. Get a microSD card, at least 64MB size that you are willing to repartition/reformat. It might be hard to make it usable after that, so be sure you want to do it. I used a 4GB microSD and it works well.

2. Get this file (Pokey9000 Nooter) from here (Filename = nooter0.2.zip, Filesize = 7.45MB) and extract it somewhere on your PC. Inside you’ll find a file called nooter_sdcard_40mb.img which you’ll need to write on the micro SD card.

3. Download WinImage from here (last version is fine, winima85.exe) and install it. You can do without registration, the trial version will work well for 30 days.

4. In WinImage, do File->Open and point to the place where you extracted nooter0.2.zip. Select the nooter_sdcard_40mb.img. A pop-up windows will appear asking you to select the partition to connect to. Press OK.

5. The content of the nooter_sdcard_40mb.img should appear in the WinImage panel. Check the screenshot below. After you successfully verified the image is valid, go to File->Close image

6. Go to WinImage menu “Disk” and select Use Disk X: where X: is your micro SD drive. Replace X: with whatever drive letter Windows assigned for your SD card.

7. Go to the WinImage menu and select Restore Virtual Hard Disk Image on physical drive…It will prompt you to select a physical drive from the list. Select your microSD one.

8. Click OK, it will open a dialog prompting you to select the actual image. prompt to your Nooter location, select All Files and the nooter_sdcard_40mb.img will become visible. Select it and follow the instructions to write the image on the micro SD card.

9. You now have a micro SD card that will enable Nook Color to boot up in a special mode that will open it to side loading content. Power Off the device, insert the micro SD card in it and plug the Nook Color via USB to your PC. The Nook Color should reboot automatically and, if the image was successfully written on the microSD card, Nook Color should boot to a blank black screen. Important: If the Nook Color boots up normally to the home screen, you did something wrong. I wasted several hours trying to figure out why the next steps didn’t work because of a defective image on the micro SD card.

10. At this point, your device has been patched and it will accept ADB (Android Debug Bridge) connections. ADB is part of Android SDK which you’ll need in the next section.

11. Remove the micro SD card (you don’t need it anymore) and let your Nook Color boot normally. You are now ready for the next activity – preparing your PC.

12. If you don’t have a Windows 7 PC, follow the original instructions here, at Nook Devs.

Activity 2: Prepare your Windows 7 PC to communicate with the patched Nook Color

1. Follow the NookColor USB ADB guide to install a driver that can communicate via USB with the patched Nook Color.

You will need to download and install/unpack the Android SDK somewhere on your drive. You’ll also need to install the NOOKcolor Windows ADB USB driver from here. Now, there is something very important that you need to know. This driver was made before Nook Color came to the market so it doesn’t contain the proper entries to recognize Nook Color. You’ll need to edit it manually following the instructions from the above NookColor USB ADB Guide.

2. When you create the adb_usb.ini file, be sure NOT to insert a newline after the 0×2080 line as it will break the file.

3. After you successfully patch the USB driver, and follow all the instructions, prompt Windows to install the new patched USB driver. It will enable USB connections to your patched Nook Color. If you need more details, follow the original post here.

4. You should be able to open a ADB command windows (ADB.EXE is located in the Android SDK folder you installed, in Tools subfolder.). Just Open a Command Prompt (Windows Start->Programs->Accessories), navigate to your Android SDK folder, Tools subfolder and start Adb.exe from there.

5. Type in the following commands:

adb.exe kill-server

adb.exe remount

If after executing the remount command you get a “device not found” error,  you did something wrong. Check the steps again. If you get “remount failed: No such file or directory” you did it. You are now ready to install .apk applications on it. Some will work, some won’t.

6. To install an .apk package, use this command:

adb install appname.apk

where appname is the name of your Android application…

Activity 3: Install your legally obtained .apk packages (backed up from other Android devices you might own). There is a list of working side-loaded applications at XDA Developers.

Again, this article is based on the work performed by the smart guys from XDA Developers and NookDevs and I thank them again.

Gallery of working installed Android applications on Nook Color. I successfully installed via ADB method apps like Google Maps, Google Earth, Google news/weather, Launcher Pro, Doodle Jump, K9 mail, YouTube, Astro, Angry Birds, Beautiful Widgets, etc.

Activity 4: Install apk packages directly from the Nook Color

If you get Install blocked and Installation of download apks is not supported messages when you try to install an apk package directly from your Nook Color, you’ll need to perform the following steps to enable it

1. Download SQLLite 3.7.4 or later and install it under the Android SDK \ Tools folder. From the SQl Lite page you can download sqllite-shell-win32-x86-3070400.zip. Inside there is a sqllite3.exe that has to go in the Tools folder inside your Android SDK installation.

2. Open a command line windows (Activity 2, Step 4) and type the following commands: (replace android-sdk-windows with your path to where Android SDK is stored on your computer. The main ideea is to get to the tools folder where you have both adb.exe and sqllite3.exe)

C:\android-sdk-windows\tools>adb pull /data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db settings.db
C:\android-sdk-windows\tools>sqlite3 settings.db
sqlite> update secure set value=1 where name='install_non_market_apps';
sqlite> .q
C:\android-sdk-windows\tools>adb push settings.db /data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db



3. Reboot your Nook Color


4. You should now be able to install apk packages directly from a file browser like Astro.

Activity 4: Install / enable Android Market to your Nook Color

Check our new article about installing Android Market to your Nook Color.

Activity 5: Restore the SD card to its initial state

Navigate to: Settings->Device Info->SD Card->Unmount SD Card->Format SD Card

You should now have a SD card with its initial size.

Activity 6: Change your Nook Color so it can connect to Adhoc networks (iPhone MyWi 4.0)

Step by step details in this article.

Activity 7: Restore your nook Color to default state

In case something went wrong, check here for a tutorial in how to restore your Nook Color to factory state / stock firmware.

  • baldsue

    Adb.exe was in my platform-tools file, not the tools file. Also, before disconnecting the Nook, one must run adb.exe kill-server. Otherwise these instructions were great! Thanks for including pictures and making the instructions more detailed than those from xda.

  • Jared

    Man, i want to do this, but i really dont want to brick this thing. What are my chance of recovering it, if it ends up getting bricked?

  • Red

    Jared,

    I don’t think you can brick it following this process, it is really not that intrusive…

  • Jonathon

    Is there a way to go back to stock?

    If they release a new firmware for it will that still work or will it overwrite the changes?

  • Sprung

    How did you get the apps/widgets on the home screen? Mine only show up when I press the “Extras” tab.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com Sorin

    Sprung,

    While in Extras, touch an icon for more than a second and then you can drag it on the home screen.

  • Sprung

    “While in Extras, touch an icon for more than a second and then you can drag it on the home screen.”

    Maybe my “root” didn’t take…the apps work from the extras page, but nothing happens when I touch and hold one for more than a few seconds…

    Or is there another app I need to install to make them moveable?

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com Sorin

    No, it should just work…Did you try to move the icons after holding them for a while? If you were able to install them first place it should work…Did you install a new launcher? Not sure if the stock one supports shortcuts.

  • Dakarr

    Sprung, It doesn’t work for me either.
    Sorin, What launcher are you using?

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com Sorin

    Hi Dakarr,

    Currently I am using Zeam, most of the screenshots are taking while using Launcher Pro. But you are right, with the stock launcher it won’t work.

  • Dakarr

    Hi Sorin,
    Thanks for the help :)

  • al

    I try to open the img to restore it to the micro sd card, but it keeps saying that the file is open in another place

  • al

    ok i made it to putting the SD Card in, but now it won’t even boot even after I take the SD Card out.

  • John

    when it comes to step 7.(7. Go to the WinImage menu and select Restore Virtual Hard Disk Image on physical drive…It will prompt you to select a physical drive from the list. Select your microSD one.) no drive show up not even my sd which is in my computer. I selected drive X which is where my sd is but it does not show up here. what am I doing wrong? please help. thank you.

  • john S.

    I rooted my nook and i put video on the sd card how can i watch in on a media player like rockplayer? It wont show up. Please help thank you.

  • Diana

    I’m having the same problem with step seven.

  • The Grits

    Thanks for this!! I followed another site to root it, but i needed the Activity 4 stuff cause i hated having to download the apk and install it through my computer. Now i can just do it off 4shared now. I had to do it twice, weird, but it worked!

  • Scott

    If I have rooted my Nook Color 1.00, can I still follow this to get side load enabled

  • Sorin

    Scott,

    yes, it should work the same.

  • Randy

    I performed the steps, and had no problems. It booted up, so I followed the prompts to get logged into youtube and gmail. Everything was working just fine. I installed Home Switcher, and rebooted. Now I have a brick. It comes up (only with NO micro SD card in it) to the black screen with the n in the middle of it. And hangs…forever. Please help!

  • Jessica Bab

    Also having probs with step 7. Please help me!!!

  • heather

    SAME PROBLEM AS JOHN ON JAN 24. When it comes to step 7.(7. Go to the WinImage menu and select Restore Virtual Hard Disk Image on physical drive…It will prompt you to select a physical drive from the list. Select your microSD one.) no drive show up not even my sd which is in my computer. I selected drive X which is where my sd is but it does not show up here. what am I doing wrong? please help. thank you.

  • Jennifer

    I’m having problems doing the Restore Virtual Hard Disk Image on Physical Drive as well but not the same as Heather or John. I choose the auto-rooter image to write to the SD Card (which does show up after running the program as an administrator) but I get the following error message:

    “Error in writing disk. The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another program”

    I know it’s not being used by another program, but it isn’t working. I’ve been trying to figure it out for 2 hours with no luck. PLEASE help!

    Thank you!!

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com RH

    Jennifer,

    The file might show used for various reasons, but a restart should usually fix the problem, unless the download didn’t complete successfully.

  • Ron

    I think I screwed up.

  • Ron

    I had 1.1 so I was using auto rooter 3.0. But I wiped the nook before starting and I guess reverted to 1.0 or 1.01. Went through the rooting process. Now my nook wont finish booting. Gets to the Nook Color screen blanks out and then the Nook Color screen comes back then blanks out over and over again. Can someone please help?!!!

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com RH

    Ron, I posted a short tutorial about how to fix the issue you experienced. Check it here:
    http://reviewhorizon.com/2011/03/how-to-unbrick-your-nook-color-or-restore-it-to-factory-state/

  • Ron

    Thank you so much for your response RH. I will definitely give it a try tonight. This should teach me not to try and do these things while distracted. I totally misread the instructions. At least I have some hope of recovering my nook now. Thanks again, Ill let you know how it works out.

  • Ron

    Another quick question. How do I know what version it came from the factory with? When I started the process it had 1.1 but when I wiped it I dont know what version it went back to. Does it matter for the recovery process posted? Thanks

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com RH

    Ron,

    No way of telling without actually turning it on but it shouldn’t matter, you can restore it to any version you want.

  • Ron

    okay. I tried last night. It boots to clockwork, I followed the instructions up to the point of choosing the zip file with the firmware. I dont know which one Im looking for. I tried rom recovery but it failed to load and aborted. Can you give me any more info such as the file name. I tried both 1.0 and 1.01 same thing happened. Thanks alot.
    Ronwegmann, fteduse

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com RH

    The file name should be either “nook-complete-restore-1.0.0.zip” or “nook-complete-restore-1.0.1.zip” depending of which one you downloaded. Be sure that you downloaded them without any errors.

  • Ron

    But once Im into the clockwork program on the Nook I cant seem to find anything by that name.. I download the zip file and extract it to the sd card after putting clockwork on it. Then go through the procedure with the card in the nook. Everything works as advertised until I get to “choose zip file from sd card” I dont know which one to use and the ones that I tried get an error and abort. There seem to be other zip files within the original zip file unless Im doing something wrong.

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com RH

    hmmm, very weird. I just followed the steps again and at the option “Choose a zip to apply” if you scroll slowly all the way to the bottom you can see the actual file. I attached a couple of extra photos on the tutorial page.

  • Ron

    RH
    Okay, so here is what I was doing wrong. I was unzipping the zip file and then putting the files onto the card instead of just copying the zip file to the card. Once I did it that way it woked like a charm. I now have a working nook color again. Woo hoo. Now maybe I will be able to root it successfully. Thanks very much for your help and patience.
    Ron

  • Jeff

    For those not seeing the microsd drive in step 7 – you may be bumping into a feature of the security parameters for Windows Vista and 7. You need to run the application as ‘the’ administrator on the machine in order to make it work. For what it’s worth, in my installation, there is a separate link in the program files for WinImage with (administrator) indicated in the link. Otherwise, the typical “right click” -> “Run as administrator” will also get you there.

  • Gil Baron

    Well this is all possible but utterly too complex to go through every time you want to add something and it does not work if your CM7 is on an SD card so I guess I will maybe have to give up because so far I see no good reason to root other than reading Kindle Books. The stock reader on 1.2 is so much better than the Android version and I assume that is a deliberate action on the part of BN.