How to unbrick your Nook Color, or restore it to factory state

OK, since we posted our popular articles about rooting the Nook Color, we have been asked the same question many times – What if something goes wrong and my Nook Color is bricked? How I can unbrick it? How I can restore it to factory state and start again? Is the rooting process reversible? This article will answer these questions and offer some ways to unbrick / restore your Nook Color if something went wrong.

1. Facts:

It is almost impossible to completely brick your Nook Color (of course if you try really hard…) so there is no reason to get scared. If your device doesn’t boot (Black screen at re-boot) it is probably because your boot partition got corrupted during the rooting process. That’s fairly easy to fix and we’ll explain how immediately.

2. Fix

You should know that, specifically to prevent  / or help fixing boot partition errors and also to help with the firmware update process, Nook Color is designed to attempt to boot first from the SD card. This is actually the reason dual boot in Froyo / Honeycomb is possible with Nook Color and the method we’ll use to restore the Nook Color in proper shape.

2.1 Activity 1 – Perform a hard-reboot (for mild cases)

Step 1 – Turn your Nook Color OFF

Step 2 – Press the Power and Home (“N”) buttons for 25 seconds until a recovery menu pops-up  you to re-set to factory settings

Step 3 – accept all the way until the process is finished

Step 4 – if this doesn’t work, it is power it OFF then ON again and repeat the process

Step 5 – if the steps 1-4 didn’t do the job, it is time for more drastic measures, so jump to Activity 2.

2.2 Activity 2 – Restore your Nook Color to stock firmware (if you tried unsuccessfully to flash a custom ROM onto the Nook Color internal flash memory)

(thanks samuelhalff and thecubed from XDA Developers which deserves the credit for making the files available in the first place / sorting out the issues)

Note: This activity will erase your personal data and after successfully applying it your Nook Color will be in the same state you purchased it.

Step 1: We mentioned Nook Color can dual-boot. We’ll need to build an SD card containing recovery tools, pretty much you are doing when trying to fix your PC hard drive. Download the Clockwork Recovery image from here using the image size similar with your SD card size and restore in on a micro-SD card. For instructions in how to write the image on a SD card, follow How to root Nook Color post, especially Activity 1. Currently available are images for 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB SD cards. You need to know restoring an image to the SD card will erase all the pre-existing information.

Note: If you have a 16GB SD card, just use the 8GB image.

Step 2: Get the original Nook Color software (version 1.0.0 from here, version 1.0.1 from here) and copy it on the root of the SD card you just prepared at Step 1. Root equals outside of any folder.

Step 3: Ensure the Nook is turned off, insert the newly created SD card in it and turn it back on. The Nook Color should boot from the SD card and Clockwork Recovery should start. Navigate to Mounts and Storage->Format System followed by Format Data.

Note: You can perform the back operation in Clockwork Recovery using the power button.

Step 4: Un-mount system and data if they are already mounted. When they are un-mounted, mount system and mount data options should be available.

Step 5: The system should be now ready to accept the stock firmware that you downloaded at step 2. Navigate back to the main menu and select Install zip from SD option. Scroll all the way to the bottom and choose your stock firmware zip file ( or and let the Clockwork Recovery software write it on the main flash memory. Wait until is done which might take several minutes, depending of your SD card speed. Waiting times of 20 minutes have been reported.

Step 6: Power OFF your Nook Color and remove the SD card. Turn it back ON.

Step 7: Your Nook Color should boot up to its factory state and you can start anew.

Step 8: It would help others if you would post your experience.



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  • Daskrend

    My first attempt at honeycomb left me with a black screen and not booting. This was entirely my ignorance. With the help of this procedure I was able to restore my nook to factory settings. Thank you. Now I have all the files to try and break my nook again and if I fail I have a convienent folder set up to bring it back up. You guys are the best.

  • lucky

    I wanted to restore to factory defaults after a root. A hard reboot didn’t entirely remove the root. Activity 2 really did work and I got everything back to the way I bought it. One thing I wanted to mention is that when turning the nook color back on again, it took it a few minutes to install the software – it looked like something had gone wrong because it kept flashing back and forth between the “n” screen and the “touch the future of reading” screen. I was really relieved to see the “installing update” screen – finally! Thank you!

  • Angelica

    OMG, I was so sweating this for hours on end until I found your post. Those other threads that are for more experienced users had me pulling my hair out. I kept writing the image of the boot image instead of just copying the zip file of the original software to the sd card. I am now on my way back to original stock. I couldn’t even power the darn nook, becasue stupid me formatted the system and boot. Ugh, LESSON LEARNED! Thanks for the great post!!!

  • Angelica

    One more thing to mention on top of what lucky stated it keeps flashing back and forth to ‘n’ then it told me install failed and to restart. I did and it did the ‘n’ thing about 7 more times and then I saw installing, I’m done sweating, whew!! Thanks again.

  • matt

    great walk-through; kudos. I had to do step 2.2 in your guide in my case to get back to 1.01, which was totally successful. After that I dropped the official 1.2 update on the device and it recognized it without issue. thanks for the quality post.

  • karen b

    Can you do this via your Mac, too? Are the steps different? Thanks in advance!

  • RH

    Hi Karen,

    The steps should be similar. As long as you manage to create the SD card containing the right image, everything else really happens on your Nook Color.

  • tara

    When i am installing the zip I get an error saying
    E:/error in /sdcard.nook-complete-restore-1.0.1 zip
    Installation Aborted

    Anyone know why this would happen?

  • dingbat


    did you try to download the file again? it sounds like a corrupt file.

  • I’ve tried this (and others) with 2 different sd cards and I always get the same result: I get to the screen with the nook N, but it doesn’t move beyond that. I’ve tried 1.0.0 and 1.0.1.
    No luck.
    Any help?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Trying to fix my nook color for the second time with a hope to get my nookie back the way it was but has anyone had the issue that the available internal storage of the Nook color is 0.00% of 0.00%? Thanks in advance

  • Anonymous

    Fixed it thanks u guys and all of the team in how to unbrick nooks. if you are bricked at v1.0.1 just update via clockwork and reboot nook after it will say failed to update but reboot again and problem fixed.

  • Nicole Georgian

    When ever I format system it says error, what should I do?

  • Anonymous

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! I split so water on my nook SD card by accident and I thought it was a lost cause. This was a huge help. Getting the image to write was a hassle but that’s because I have an old computer and I had the same problem as Tara, I had to redownload the file and it all worked smoothly.Thanks so much!!!!

  • Thank you I did root my nook but was having issues with some apps. I wanted it to go back to the factory settings now it keeps looping on the nook color screen.

  • Brian Howard

    I wish I saw this post first; I think I am screwed beyond redemption. If anyone can please help me I’ll find someway to make it worth your while.

    So I was on some lame site that had pretty much the same information as here, and because my rooted nook color was acting up, I followed their instructions which were:

    “a) Put the nook complete restore on the sd card AFTER UNRARING IT [making it a useless folder with nonsense in it)
    b) Go into Clockwork Recovery and, before anything else, format the following: boot, cache, data, system (which I now see was stupid, but, yes, I did that)
    c) Exit recovery and reboot and things’ll be fine!”

    I’d bet its because I formatted everything like an idiot, but my nook now WILL NOT TURN ON IN ANY FORM and I can’t seem to get it to react any how any way… although, I have seen in other forums people saying they were at the “completely dead won’t turn on stage” and managed to get out of it. Any help, again, and I’d be in your debt.

  • Anonymous

    what is if you get a format data error? what do i do to fix this? PLEASE HELP!!!

  • Thank you! I thought my Nook was gone forever!

  • After I did the factory restore, the nook tab no longer is recognized when I plug it into a computer. I thought it was a driver issue on the comp end but I tried it on a few different computers, including two that had never seen a nook before and they still don’t recognize it. It’s not appearing as a generic USB device either…any ideas?

  • Jessica Gwyn

    i likewise followed a “format boot” and now I only get a black screen no boot no amination nothing…. found this restore but the nook restore site has a error and will not let me download the needed file… where did you get your files?

  • traci hall

    I am stuck at “error formatting data” What did I do wrong

  • bishop33x

    Dosen’t seem too hard and I would love to give it a try,but….None of your offered links work, so I find this entire tutorial next to useless. I’m new to all things “Tech” so forgive me if I don’t know where to get the programs you’re speaking of.

  • bishop33x

    Dosen’t seem too hard and I would love to try it , but……. None of the offered Links seem to work and since I’m new to all things “Tech” you will have to forgive me if I don’t know where to find the programs that you speak of.

  • Andy Morales

    your link is broken and i tried the 1.4.3 and it says instalation aborted.My rooted tablet works fine but i want to get my nook back to normal to sell it

  • Polly Chiquitas

    …Oh, forgot to say I’ll personally rubber strap on cock slap the next motherfucker that suggests watching another YouTube video as part of fixing a fucked up Nook.
    I mean, I’m Gigantatastic fuck face the next YouTube solution so hard he’ll feel like he was face fucked by freshly paroled triple horned Unicorn originally imprisoned for having Asbergers and a bad attitude.