Intro to Rooting & Modding Nook Tablet

Updated: 8/19/2012 with info on “Ribbon Root” and Jelly Bean. *

Introduction to Rooting the Nook Tablet & a Comparison to Other Reasonably-Priced Android Tablets *

Jailbreak Nook Tablet

 Note: Want to know what “rooting” is good for? How does it CHANGE my tablet? How do I “root” it? Is it worth it? What do I loose? In this and the associated articles, I will answer those questions. I also give a general review and comparison of the Nook Tablet to other tablets that I own. This is the first of a series of articles on the Nook Tablet. Other articles (see the list at the bottom of this article) address other, more specific issues of the Nook.

In the past year, I have owned 3 ViewSonic G-Tablets (gTab), a Nook Color (NC), a Kindle Fire, (KF), and now, an 8GB Nook Tablet (NT8).

Here is a list of the pro’s and con’s of tablets I have owned: *

  • ViewSonic G-Tablet: This is a 10.1″ tablet that includes a camera, microphone, micro SDCard slot, USB Host adapter and low cost (sub-$200). The stock operating system (Tap-n-Tap) is terrible but the device can easily be rooted to flash a custom ROM. It has a lot of support (including this website). However, there are a lot of complaints about the limited viewing angle and the inability to view the device outdoors.
  • Nook Color: This 7″ tablet is pretty nice, has a low price ($140) and has most of the benefits of the Nook Tablet except that it does NOT have a microphone or BlueTooth.
  • Kindle Fire: This 7″ tablet sells for $200 but has a locked bootloader which makes it pretty difficult to root. There is a utility that makes it much easier and I have developed a step-by-step guide on this website. Still, the device does NOT include a microphone or an expansion memory card slot so it is very limited in that regard.
  • Nook Tablet: The NT is a 7″ tablet with a lot of features (see the list below) and a few limits. It comes in two versions. The older, 16GB version sells for $250. The newer, 8GB version sells for $200. ROMs and custom software for the 16GB version (NT16) may not work on the 8GB device (NT8) but anything that works for the NT8 should also work on the NT16. On all Nook devices (Nook Color, Nook Tablet, etc), the BN stock operating system is JUNK! If I was forced to use it exclusively, I would sell my NT. There ARE some special benefits that BN offers to stock users. One benefit is their book lending service that, if you use it, could be important to you. There are probably others but I don’t use any of them so I cannot say.

Here are some of the main reasons I dislike the BN interface so much: *

  • The selection of applications is SEVERELY LIMITED and most of the apps that are available are outrageously priced.
  • You cannot use the Android Market or Amazon AppStore
  • You cannot sync with GMail or other Google services
  • The user interface (UI) is locked in to Dumb, Dumb, & Dumber. It does not look good, it is not intuitive, and it is not changeable.
  • There are many other complaints that I see on the Internet but I did not spend enough time with the BN OS to make any other judgments.

Disclaimer:There may be “work-arounds” for some of these issues but the resulting “solution” is still FAR SHORT of what I want in a Tablet.

However, there are options available. *

- The SAFEST Way to expand the capabilities of the Nook Tablet is to create an SDCard that will boot the device into a custom ROM. This does not “root” the Nook, or modify the device. Best - it does NOT void your warranty. You STILL have a STANDARD STOCK Nook! NOTICE: I no longer recommend or enocourage this option. I now believe that the best option is to go for a full root and install Jelly Bean Android.

  • Team-B has pretty solid (Alpha) version of CyanogenMod 7 (Android 2.3.7, Gingerbread) that you can run (via the SDCard) on an 8GB Nook Tablet. This ROM is good for daily use but there are some limits. Download the SD Version HERE (MD5 1e1932c49dda7345a5575de2612af30a) NOTICE: Do NOT try to flash this ROM to the INTERNAL memory. It WILL brick your Nook. Note: this is an old, unsupported version of Android. There is no upgrade option.
  • Update: Team-B has updated their ROM to Beta and it will now run on the internal memory of the Nook Tablet 8GB. As of 10 July there is no SDCard version available. See this thread for more guidance.

- If you wish to ROOT your Nook, it will modify your device and (technically) void your warranty.

  • Veronica has developed a simple rooting procedure that she calls “Ribbon Root.” It enables some additional functionality while retaining the B&N special services. However, it does not seem to work on BN version 1.4.3 or later. In such cases, I recommend that you select a different option. NOTE: I do not recommend this version. If you are going to root the device, just go ahead and put the custom Jelly Bean ROM on it.
  • One implementation of the CyanogenMod CM9 (Android 4.0.4, IceCreamSandwich) can be flashed to the internal memory of either 8gb or 16gb models (see here). It is a little less functional than either of the other options but it does include the nice ICS graphics (3D apps, etc). NOTICE: This ROM times out around the first of each month and must be updated.
  • There is now a version of Jelly Bean that will run on either 8gb or 16gb Nook Tablets. I strongly recommend it. You can find more info about it here: Jelly Bean & Root for Nook Tablet 1.4.3.

So, WHY do I like the Nook Tablet? *

  • The 7″ form factor is RIGHT! It fits your hand, you can put it into a simple (and cheap) notepad folder and take it with you anywhere. (BTW, these CHEAP folders do not advertise that you have a valuable computer so it is less likely to be stolen!) You can even slip it into your purse or (a large) pocket. Don’t try that with a 10″ tablet! ;-)
  • The display is really bright and clear. If you turn the brightness up, it is easily view-able outside (especially if you are in the shade).
  • The device is very responsive. I don’t experience slow-downs or hangs. The processor is fast and everything just works.
  • There is a Micro-SDCard slot. This is a BIG deal. The card slot allows you to store MUCH more data than with just the 8GB internal memory. I know it works with a 16GB card and I suspect it will also support the 32GB cards as well.
  • You can easily ROOT the device. This is a BIGGER deal than any of the other items in the list. The fact that you have an SDCard slot – and the fact that the NT will boot FIRST from the card slot – makes it easy to root and modify.
  • There is a microphone to allow for audio input to the device. This is also BIG deal. It opens up search audio search functions and even dictation. You can also use it to make and receive VOIP phone calls. Note: some ROMS have not yet been able to make the mic work but they will figure it out soon.
  • It is probable that the devs will be able to activate the USB OTG (On-The-Go) “host mode” on the device. If so, then the Nook will be able to act as a host allowing USB peripherals such as flash drives, mice, & keyboards to be attached via the USB connector.
  • It is also likely that the NT has an internal Bluetooth radio (should be on the existing communications chip). When the devs have that working, you can easily connect a BT Headset (and use the Nook as a mobile VOIP phone), use an external BT Keyboard, or add other accessories.

There may be other options but, until I test them, I will not recommend them. Just because something is available for the Nook Tablet, does NOT mean that it will run on the 8GB version. My recommendations will be for those things that will run either.

Articles in this series with links to the videos *

(articles with broken links are not yet published)

  1. Intro to Rooting the Nook Tablet (this article) – YouTube video
  2. Root Nook Using CWM Bootable SDCard - YouTube Video
  3. Backup Nook with CWM – YouTube Video
  4. Restore Nook with CWM – YouTube Video
  5. NO ROOT Install CM7 on Nook – not recommended – YouTube Video
  6. Veronica’s “Ribbon Root” unsupported & not recommended – YouTube Video
  7. Install CM9 (ICS) on Nook Internal – YouTube Video
  8. Dual Boot  ICS/GB on Nook – not recommended – YouTube Video 
  9. Howto Brick a Nook! CAUTION – YouTube Video
  10. How To UN-Brick a Nook REPAIR – YouTube Video
  11. Install CWM to Nook Internal Memory – YouTube Video
  12. Install TWRP to Nook Internal Memory - YouTube Video
  13. Make an UNBRICK Repartition Image – YouTube Video
  14. Burn an Image File to SDCard – YouTube Video
  15. How to create a LIVE Thumbdrive of Ubuntu – YouTube Video
  16. Jelly Bean on the Nook Newest version of Android (RECOMMENDED)YouTube Video
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37 Responses to Intro to Rooting & Modding Nook Tablet

  1. Star says:

    I have had my nook rooting for along time now and recently I can’t update any of my apps in the Google play. Do I have to re root it again?

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hello Ray,

    I am considering rooting my nook. I have not been able to find what I would lose by doing so. Will the reader still be functional with the B&N library? Or does that function completely disappear with rooting? Also is there a way to get an android OS and keep reader function? Sorry if the terminology is not correct, I’m still in the process of figuring everything out.

  3. FlyDiscovery says:

    Ok so I’ve had a NT8 for a pretty good while now, plenty long enough for the warranty to have expired, and am just now getting around to rooting. I only have one question. Microphone? What microphone? I’ve never seen it on mine. I’m not usually clueless about hardware, but I sure feel that way now!

    • Ray says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      The article only states that there is a PHYSICAL mike on the device. It is not supported by the B&N OS but some developers had managed to get it working (at least minimally) with their custom ROMs. I no longer have an NT and I don’t recall whether the last ROM that I tried (http://bishoptec.com/2012/09/root-for-nook-tablet-1-4-3/) had it working or not.

      When you root your NT and install a custom ROM, you can report back and let us know if the Mike works or not. If I recall correctly, it will work for about 5 seconds and then stop. They may have fixed that by now. (OR, the developers may not still be working on that old device.)

  4. Robert says:

    Hello, Ray
    I have a nook HD in which i am looking to root. Does your methods apply to HD versions or just regular nooks? Thanks in advanced.

    -Rob

    • Ray says:

      No. However, I have that device (actually my wife has it) and I should publish a guide. Sorry but it takes time to do it right so it will be a week or longer.
      In the mean time, you can check the XDA forum for help.

      • Robert says:

        OK, Thanks for the fast response. I’m a student athlete who is very busy throughout the week, but I’m a patient person so i think ill just put this task on the back burner and await your tutorial. XDA forums aren’t conceptually manageable for me. All in all thanks again.

        • Ray says:

          Yeah, to use XDA, you have to dedicate a LOT of time and effort – and you have to be able to understand the jargon.

          My wife has the Nook HD and I rooted it when we got it. I did install a custom ROM but I never wrote an article about it. Now, there is a little quirk in the system and she wants me to rebuild it. When I do, I will record it and write about it. It may be a couple of weeks – I am doing a couple different projects right now.

  5. Steve says:

    Hi Ray, how do I transfer files directly to my 8GB Tablet after installing Jelly Bean 4.2.2? Connection directly to the Macbook via USB doesn’t make any removable drive appear on my desktop.

    • Ray says:

      Sorry but I have never used a Mac (and have no intention to try). I use Ubuntu Linux almost exclusively.
      All Jelly Bean devices have a new usb interface and you must pull down the usb icon in the notification bar to select how to connect.

  6. Alicia says:

    Hi Ray,

    So I have a huge problem, in trying to return my nook color to factory stock, I believe I have bricked my device. It had been previously running cyanogenmod 7 on the internal memory. I had made several attempts to return the device to stock without success and must have have unmounted something I wasn’t supposed to in the advanced recovery options because now it won’t turn on. I have even tried removing the back cover to unplug the battery for a reset without success. Is my device fixable?

    • Ray says:

      First, I have no idea what you may have done to brick the device.
      Second, I have not used the NC in quite a while (I haven’t used the Nook TABLET in several months – they are different devices). So, I don’t have any guides or suggestions for the Nook Color. (I hope you did not use the tools on this site on your device – they are for the TABLET ONLY!)
      Once again, NEVER use any tool or ROM UNLESS your device is SPECIFICALLY listed as compatible! Some devices (eg. the NC and NT appear to be the same.) Even the different versions of the same device are often different (NT8 and NT16 are different; Kindle Fire (original; Kindle Fire HD7; and Kindle Fire HD10 are all NON-compatible.)

  7. misty says:

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for your blog.

    I have just purchased a Nook Tablet 16gb and the setup was easy. But, I’ve noticed that connecting to the internet other than Barnes & Noble site is painfully slow.

    I have verified that my cable modem and Netgear G54 Wireless Router work perfectly fine with websites loading when using my laptop wirelessly in the house. i.e. The issue appears to be with Nook Tablet.

    Could you point me to the right direction in solving this extremely slow loading issue with Nook Tablet 16gb? Thanks very much. .

    • misty says:

      Hi Ray,

      I’ve found a solution to my Nook Tablet slow loading issue when connecting to the Internet. Thanks.

      • Ray says:

        Great. Can you share it with us?

        • robyn says:

          Hi Mr. Waldo, my name is Robyn. I’m new to posting & unsure of the ettiquette (please bare with me) My only skills are that I know computers (the old school kind. moms been a data processor since 1962-no exaggeration) and I am an “expert” on the (unmodified) Nook since i (may or may not) work for the company who makes them for 11 yrs. Ok, i may. What I dont know anything about is the hacking/jail breaking/rooting/ world. After a few youtube videos & a file here & there, I managed to get my nook tablet 16gb to run as an android tablet. My question is now that this is done, would i still be able to repartition it, using the sd card given to us by out tech support dept. for customers wanting it done on their unmodified Nooks? Lastly, on the off chance you may have any “behind the scenes” technical questions about Nook, since not all information is public, i would be happy to assist. We may not be the Geek Squad, but we have dealt with every possible crisis/dilemma one could imagine & have learned some short cuts through the system.

          • Ray says:

            Thanks Robyn!
            Your input into these discussions would definitely add MUCH value here. I look forward to hearing more from you.
            Although I have not tried it, my understanding is that the official repartition card will still work after a standard root & custom ROM install. If it were to fail, our “unbrick” article will return your Nook to Stock. Actually, I believe that the partitions are not changed when you root and flash a custom ROM. So, if you have already partitioned the extra space, it should remain after root/flash.

  8. Ray Juod says:

    hi, can you give me a link to start, and give guidance. I have a hard time navigating the instructions. What am i missing with all those crossed-out links? I’m anxious to rid myself of the B&N “couldn’t care less” policy. thanks

    • Ray says:

      This guide *IS* the starting link. If you are confused, just go directly to the “Jelly Bean for 1.4.3″ and start there.

  9. JC says:

    You mention making calls with Google Voice? I have a rooted NT (CM10) and a GV account. How is this accomplished?

    • Ray says:

      Not gonna work on the NT with CM because the mic will not stay up that long. Sorry. Look on this site for my review of the Groove IP application to see how it could be done (I do it on all my devices).

  10. mjyoung says:

    Ray,

    I’m happy to have found your site! I had been struggling to root my Nook 1.4.3 for a couple of weeks to much frustration and no avail. Once I found your site and learned how to navigate through all the different upgrades that are posted I was finally able to load CM7/GB on to my Nook.
    I am sort of thrilled, I have a Samsung Galaxy II and somehow I received my phone image onto my Nook. Any way to get around that and still be able to sync a select few apps (like calendar & contacts etc)?
    The main problem I have though is my USB port on the Nook no longer works. I say that because when I plug it into my PC it does not recognize that my Nook is hooked up. Any ideas on why and or more importantly how to fix this?

    Thanks so much!

    • Ray Waldo says:

      It sounds like you created a bootable SDCard with CM7 on it? I do not recognize “CM7/GB” but since the most likely CM7 on my system would be CM7a on SDCard, that is what I assume. If so, that is not the preferred method. I STRONGLY urge you to fully root the Nook and install CM10 (Jelly Bean) on it.
      I don’t understand what you are describing about the phone image. If you rooted the device, you have full Android and you can sync everything on your Google account – AND everything on the B&N account (via the Nook app). You will also be able to set your wallpaper to practically any picture that you have access to. And, you will determine which icons and widgets you want on your desktop.
      In any case, the “problem” with USB is probably not a real problem. On the Nook, in the “notifications” bar, is there a little USB symbol – or a little android? If so, tap that and activate the USB Storage on the device. After that, Windows should recognize it and open the file manager. It will NOT look like the old “My Nook” necessarily.
      Since I no longer use CM7 or the bootable SDCard any more on my Nook, I don’t recall the exact details. Again, I recommend Jelly Bean. It is WAY nicer!

      • Kim says:

        Hi Ray, I have the NT 16gb with 1.4.3 software. I know a little about computers, but not alot and don’t wish tp brick or mess up my Nook, so can I get a bootable card for this? I wasn’t clear on if it works on the 1.4.3? any suggestions? would love to successfully root my NT but sooo afraid I will mess it up and then have an unusable device. Thanks for any help :) Kim

        • Ray says:

          Yes, it works on 1.4.3. If you are careful to follow my guide you should be fine. There is some possibility of bricking it but very small. If you do have a problem, my unbrick article should fix it.

          • Kim says:

            which guide to be specific? the jelly bean one? and I notice you mention cwm, is that on the 16gb nt running 1.4.3 or will I have to download it onto the sd card? I am trying to find the answers first, thanks so much! Kim

          • Ray says:

            Use the process in the “Jelly Bean” article but use the FILES from the “New Life” article. Use the process is the same for either ROM.

  11. Kayleigh Marill says:

    Can you confirm that the NT _has_ Bluetooth if you get away from the base OS? I have CM7 installed but when i try to enable BT it toggles then immediately shuts off. I can’t tell if it is a fault of my installation or if the NT actually does not have BT to enable.

  12. Armin says:

    Hi!

    I’m looking for some info that I can’t seem to find anywhere, but I have a feeling you’ll know…

    For the NT8, 1GB is reserved for B&N content, but for the NT16, 12GB is reserved!! Now, as you can obviously see, that is a lot, and if I don’t care about B&N content, it can easily be seen as a waste. If I rooted a NT16, would I have access to all that memory for whatever I please?

    Thanks!

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Rooting won’t automatically change the partition sizes. However it related. Check my “UNBRICK” article for more. If you only want to change the size of that partition just stop in at a bn store and they will do it for you.

  13. Jeremy says:

    I’d also like to say thank you! This page is great and offers a lot of flexibility to a rather rigid product. The only question I have is have you noticed a faster drain on the battery when using the non-root CM7 mod? Is there any way to prevent that from happening?

    • Ray Waldo says:

      You are welcome! Glad it helps.
      Battery drain is sometimes a problem.

      Currently, I am running a few trials of cm9. So I really cannot tell you much about cm7. Check back very day or to. I may be recommending a cm9 from oon

  14. Donald Goldsmith says:

    Just a note to say –THANK YOU!–
    I just came across your site at 5am this morning just before giving up searching for information for another night. I have perused more of it this afternoon and wanted to take a moment to say —THANK YOU!!!— You have taken the interprative drudegery out of the, at times gobledygook, that passes as information transfer between developers and presented it in actual informative Sentence structure I.E. readable easily understandable english. Clarity is so refreshing!

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