How to root / jailbreak / enable side load apk on Nook Tablet (install Android Market, Amazon App Store)

Less than a week since Nook Tablet started shipping and the highly popular tablet was already rooted / jailbroken. Why should you do it? Well, for start, the Barnes and Noble App Store is rather thin in content even compared with 20,000 apps available in Amazon App Store. If you enable application sideloading you will be able to install Amazon App Store on the Nook Tablet. If you go further and root it, you can also install the official Google Android Marketplace, Google Apps like Maps, YouTube, etc and of course, every other application not available in the Amazon App Store.

I got my Nook Tablet in the mail just yesterday but I couldn’t wait too long before rooting it (thanks to Indirect’s root script and Anlog’s script to install gApps). I hit quite a few snags during the process so I decided to write a tutorial for the less technical users, where every step is detailed long the way. Of course, this tutorial is not perfect, but I would really appreciate your comments and contributions. I also need to mention that this
method is permanent, meaning it will stick with you after a reboot!!! (you might still revert to stock if you need to, but why would you do that?)

Note: Before you begin:You will need a microSD card installed if you want to install apps from the Amazon App Store. You will also need a launcher (the free GO Launcher EX is one possibility) since the default Nook Tablet Launcher will only show the applications you download from the Nook Store.

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Update: B&N issued the update 1.4.1 that breaks this process.  For this tutorial to work, you’ll need to revert back to software version 1.4.0 following the steps described below. After you downgraded your Nook Tablet to 1.4.0 you can go ahead and use this tutorial as intended (thanks AdamOutler via XDA-Developers). The procedure was only tested on the 16GB version of the Nook tablet, and it was reported to brick the 8GB version. Use it at your own risk.

  1. Download this file: http://devftp.xda-developers.com/fil…aim_update.zip (Do not change the file name. Make sure it is named “acclaim_update.zip” without quotes).
  2. Save the acclaim_update.zip file on a Micro SD card.
  3. Insert the Micro SDCard into your Nook Tablet
  4. power on your Nook Tablet, sit back and relax while it is restored. This process will also delete all user data and will restore your tablet to the original condition.

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…and now, the tutorial for firmware 1.4.0

Step 0: Ideal case

Note: This step is not necessary but it might help in some cases if the wrong drivers are installed.

It is probably too late at this point, but it would really help if you never connected your Nook Tablet yo your PC. To ensure the minimum amount of headaches, it would be a good idea (although not mandatory) to perform this process on a PC where you never connected the Nook tablet before. The reason is the default drivers that Windows tries to install the first time you connect the Nook tablet to it, drivers which won’t help us in this case. You’ll also need to prevent Windows from installing the default Nook Tablet drivers.

a. Navigate to Control Panel->Hardware and Sound->Devices and Printers and locate the icon named like your PC. Right click on it and select Device Installation Settings.

Upon selection, select Never install driver software from Windows Update. (You might want to revert it to Yes, do this automatically (recommended) when all is done. Press Save Changes.

Step 1: How to enable sideloading of apps (apk files) on Nook Tablet

The first step of this tutorial will detail enabling of app sideloading on Nook Tablet. If you only want to install an occasional application or access to Amazon App Store, you don’t really have to go through the rooting process. Instead, there is a simple step to enable installation of apk files directly on the device. In order to do it, you will need to display a hidden menu. Fortunately, B&N didn’t make it terribly difficult. All you need to do is download an apk file using the Nook Tablet’s browser. Only some apps are working, and ComptonSoft (the one that created TetherGPS) provided a simple application that once installed it will give you forever access to the Application Settings Menu. The application is called AppMenu.apk and you can download it here.

Point your Nook Tablet browser to the above link and it will download the apk to your device. Immediately you will also see some activity on the notification bar specifying that the application was downloaded. Install it using the package installer and during the first install attempt you’ll be asked to Enable Unknown Sources (Android’s preferred name for sideloading). Go ahead and enable it.

OK, now that you enabled sideloading, a good idea is to install Amazon App Store, especially for the free app of the day they provide. I was able to get Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, Office suite and many other for free. You can download the Amazon App Store apk from this following direct link.

Beside amazon App Store, other methods to sideload apps is by using the web browser and download them directly to the device. You can alternatively copy them via USB in an accessible folder (I like to use “download” on the SD card). You can use the free ES File Explorer from the Amazon App Store to install the apk files you copied on the SD card.

Note: You will need a microSD card installed if you want to install aps from the Amazon App Store. You will also need a launcher (the free GO Launcher EX is one possibility) since the default Nook Tablet Launcher will only show the applications you download from the Nook Store. I actually use ADW Launcher EX on my every Android device and I love it!

Step 2 – Nook Tablet Rooting Prerequisites

Enable USB Debugging

Now that you enabled sideloading, you might believe the job is done. And many Nook Tablet owners will actually be perfectly happy with the access to the Amazon App Store considering how much more apps are available through it versus the Barnes & Noble app store. However, for the full tablet experience you’ll need the official Google Android Market and it can only be installed on rooted Nook Tablets.

From the same place you enabled Unknown Sources during Step 1, you can look down at the bottom of the options list and select Development->USB debugging and enable it. Press OK to the subsequent warning dialog. Also ensure that Auto Mount option is not checked (you might need to check it back after the rooting process is done, if you want the Nook Tablet storage drives to be automatically mounted when you connect it to your PC via USB)

Once you enabled USB debugging and disabled Auto Mount, your device is ready for an ADB session (that means connecting your Nook Tablet to your PC and issuing commands from there).

Download PC Side tools  / drivers for rooting Nook Tablet

a. Download the USB drivers provided by Indirect. Unzip them somewhere on your hard-drive.

b. Download Nook&Zergy.zip (also) provided by Indirect (thanks!!!). Unpack it somewhere on your hard-drive as well.

Step 3: Prepare the Nook Tablet rooting / jailbreaking environment

a. Most probably you did not have Android SDK installed. If you already have it installed, you’ll see a file called .android under your user folders (for Windows 7 the folder will look like this – C:\Users\Your User Name here\.android. If the folder is not present, open a command prompt (ideally in admin mode) and copy / paste this code:

IF NOT EXIST %USERPROFILE%\.android md %USERPROFILE%\.android

This will create the .android folder if it doesn’t exist.

b. Inside the .android folder, locate a file called adb_usb.ini. If the file is not there, you can create it using a text editor (for example Notepad). If the file is there, ensure that it contains the following line:

0×2080

You can add the code 0×2080 at the end of the file. Please type it instead of copying it from here as we had reports of x copied as a special character. Save the file that you just modified. You do not need to add all this extra text you see in my screenshot, the 0×2080 code will suffice.

Note: You might get access denied when you are trying to save the file, especially if you used Notepad.exe in non-administrator mode. To go around this, either start Notepad as admin (right click Notepad and select Run as Administrator) or save the adb_usb.ini file in a different location and copy it using the windows explorer back to the C:\Users\Your User Name here\.android folder.

c. It is now a good time to connect your Nook Tablet via USB. Windows will spend some time installing drivers.

d. Launch Device Manager (right click on Computer / My Computer -> Properties->Device Manager. You should see an entry for Nook Tablet with an exclamation icon that tells you Windows did not find a good driver for the device. If you don’t see it, that means you probably connected Nook Tablet to the PC before you started this tutorial and the default drivers were loaded, or you rooted some other device before (Kindle Fire, another Android device, etc). This was actually my case and I had to uninstall all the related ADB drivers from the system. If the Nook Tablet entry with the exclamation point is there, you are lucky. Just perform a right click on it and select Update Driver.

e. After the Update Driver is selected, choose Browse my computer for driver software and point it to the location where you unzipped the USB Drivers downloaded at Step 2.

f. Choose Install this driver software anyway and proceed. The proper ADB driver should be installed, which will enable ADB access for Nook Tablet.

Step 4: Start the rooting process for Nook Tablet

Go to the folder where your Nook&Zergy.zip is extracted and launch NookandZergy.bat. You might need to run it as Administrator, so perform a right click on the NookandZergy.bat and choose Run as Administrator. A new command prompt windows will open and the actual root process will start.

If you don’t see anything under List of devices attached, your ADB Driver is not properly installed for the Nook Tablet. To fix this, go to Potential Issues step.

The nookandzergy.bat will also prompt you to install gApps and it is a good idea to reply yes!

And that’s about it! Super User, Android Market and other Google apps should be there, on your brand new Nook Tablet!

Step 5: Tips and Tricks

  • How to take screenshots on Nook Tablet: Home + Volume Down
  • You’ll need to install a launcher since the stock one doesn’t display apps that are not purchased via B&N Market
  • Once you install a launcher, you can access it via Home->Search. Type the launcher name in there.

Step 6: Potential Issues

One of the nastiest problem you can face is when some other (wrong) drivers are already installed on your PC, especially if you have Android SDK installed, rooted a different Android device before, etc. In this case you’ll have to completely remove them from your PC or use a different computer. An ideal tool for this is Nirsoft’s USB Device View (download here, it is free). Unzip it somewhere in a folder and launch USBDeview.exe. Look under the description tab and remove every driver containing ADB letters and restart your PC. Try to install the downloaded (from Step 2) USB Drivers again. In my case this procedure removed some previous ADB drivers used to root my Kindle Fire and my Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.

Step 7: Share

Let everybody know if you succeed and any possible tricks that can help the community.

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jean.french55 Jean LeBrun French

    I was unable to install apps. I get an error message “This application was not able to install onto your device. Please ‘archive’ and then ‘unarchive’ the application to try again. Any advice?

  • Hai Nguyen

    I have to say that the instructions above are very good. Thanks to the writer.

  • Hai Nguyen

    I have hacked my Nook tablet per your excellent instructions to enable it to side load the Amazon.com apps. My question is if I will do the full rooting now, will I be able to download apps from the Android Market place? Because I tried it and I got the error that I don’t have an Android phone associated with my account. My phone is an iPhone though.

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com/ soricon

    You don’t need a phone, you just need one Android device and once rooted and Android Market installed, you’ll be able to download apps straight from the device.

  • Hai Nguyen

    Thanks. But do I need to have an active Android device while I have a rooted device? Because I did have an Android phone in the past but I sold it and use the iPhone now and then I use the same Google account to log on to the Android market place on the Nook tablet but I got an error saying that this account is not associated with a phone.. Is it because I deregistered my Android phone when I sold it that Android market somehow knows that I don’t have the phone anymore?

  • Uber cibbis

    thank you for the directions worked like a charm on my new tablet am loving it very much!

  • rcyts

    I enabled side loading and installed Go Launcher EX per Steps 0-1. Step 2… Enabled USB Debugging and unzipped drivers and Nook&Zergy… all OK. Step 3. created adb_usb.ini file with 0×2080 contents (only) in .android folder in my user folder. Connected Nook for first time to Win7 PC. The Nook Tablet with the warning delta was there, BUT, I cannot Update Driver as it is grayed out. Using troubleshooter just brings me to the same place… No Driver installed and the Update Driver grayed out. Any ideas? Anyone?

  • Anonymous

    I followed your directions for step on to side load app from Amazon. I would suggest moving the notes about needing the SD card and Launcher to the beginning of that step so people know ahead of time. I guess I should have read thru first. Anyway, I followed all the steps, have the SD card and Launcher. Each time I try to launch Words with Friends I get the message: “This application Words Free (process com.zynga.words) has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again later. Any suggestions?
    Also, how do I get to the launcher without having to install the software again? I can’t find it on the desktop or any of the folders. Please tell me what I might try or what I might be doing wrong in the process. Thanks, John

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com/ soricon

    jrw21221,

    Thanks for the suggestion, I posted a note at the beginning indicating the need for the sd card. Also, you can use the Search feature to get to the Launcher (press Home twice and search for EX for example)

  • rcyts

    Any help here Soricon? Thanks

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com/ soricon

    when is the update button grayed out? When you are trying to select the driver from the disk? Are you logged in as administrator when you are performing this step?

  • Anonymous

    wont open the appmenu.apk program. receive message only B&N apps will download. Please advise.

  • Anonymous

    It seems the updated 1.4.1 version won’t permit any third party apps to be downloaded

  • Anonymous

    shame BN and Kindle can’t share libraries

  • rcyts

    I am logged in as administrator per Control PanelUser AccountsUser AccountsManage Accounts. Control PanelHardwareDevices displays the Nook Tablet but has the yellow delta bang. Right click for PropertiesGeneral tab shows Location and note “Drivers for this device not installed (Code 28)” and To find drivers for this device click “Update Drivers” BUT the Update Drivers button is grayed out. Ditto for the Drivers tab. Is this a plot against my Nook? I am Win7 SP1, 64 bit OS. eSet NOD32 security. Side question… If I don’t go to BN site can they find me anyway to”update” me to 1.4.1? I am still 1.4.0

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com/ soricon

    Try to go into control panel and changing the UAC to none, reboot and see if it works. To answer the other question, yes, I think B&N can force an update to 1.4.1 from what I heard…

  • rcyts

    That did it! I have just received 149 zerglings … whatever they are. Rooting complete. Am able to access both Nook drives. Now I just hope the BN Net Police don’t sneak in and undo everything. Thank you Thank you

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PPDOOKY2QUGCPHQKJREWKOVFGE the devil

    Just after I got the Amazon Market,B&N forced the update. Now i get alerts that my wifi is weak or not working and the yellow triangle/exclamation mark. Is it just tuff luck for me now or is there a way to work around this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lou-Piazza/1314382016 Lou Piazza

    Is there a 1.4.1 update to this process?

  • http://www.reviewhorizon.com/ soricon

    No, but I’ll post soon the steps to downgrade to 1.4

  • Nana Kennedy

    Can someone hack in my nook after this “rooting” im scared my dad will see it and yell at me that it could be hacked… i just wanna have some info. To say ” ha! No old man it cant!”

  • Anonymous

    Rooting does mean there is a greater chance your tablet could be hacked, though I have never heard of anyone’s Android device being hacked, rooted or not. When you root your device, you’re allowing for greater control to the core of the software. If you do something wrong, the result could be disastrous. Usually, it’s possible to restore the tablet back to the default settings if that happens, though.

  • Anonymous

    Just sideload the Kindle reading app, and you’ll have access to both stores.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Eternallyfestylemusik7 Danniel Eternallyfestylemusik

    the middle button on my nook isnt working now

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Z3K7NOK56OSRPKQ4KJCWDVOJQ4 charles

    took a while but your instructions worked great

  • Kauryl Santi

    ummm my screen went black and never got back when it was down grading firmware..

  • Kauryl Santi

    I see, the acclaim downgrade is meant for 16GB Nook Tablets not 8GB ones… So that Nook is now Bricked… and any other person that tried it on the 8GB Nook Tablet too, I believe.

  • http://twitter.com/AlkalineGrind AlkalineGrind

    So…. I did a factory reset, I downloaded AppMenu and Amazon App Store, they both install fine. BUT HOW DO I RUN AppStore??? WHERE IS IT???