I cannot make these instructions any easier or more foolproof than this. If you're having issues, you did something wrong. If you can't follow along, hacking a Nook Color is not for you. PLEASE ALSO BE AWARE THAT THIS GUIDE COMPLETELY DESTROYS THE BARNES & NOBLE SOFTWARE. I ASSUME YOU BOUGHT A NOOK COLOR FOR MORE THAN EBOOKS, SO DOWNLOAD THE NOOK APP FROM THE MARKET IF YOU WANT MOST OF THAT FUNCTIONALITY BACK (or hunt .epub for Aldiko like a boss).
You will need the following things:
1. A 1, 2, 4 or 8GB MicroSD card. This one is a bargain
2. A PC capable of accepting and reading/writing to that microSD card. If you don't have an adapter, you might as well buy one of the microSD+adapter combos in step 1. A laptop usually has an SD card reader that you can use going forward.
3. An installed copy of Win32DiskImager
. Click "binary" in the green box on the right to download.
4. A <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400532655/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=icrontic-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=1400532655">Barnes & Noble NOOK Color</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=&l=as2&o=1&a=1400532655&camp=217145&creative=399373" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> updated to version 1.2 of the B&N software. You'll know you're on this version if the device says "Read Forever" when you power the device on. If it does not
say this, then do not proceed
until you've updated it to version 1.2
1. Download this image file
and extract the contents to your hard drive. WARNING: This will extract to a 1GB file, so be sure you have more than 1GB available on your drive to accept this file.
Remember what this file is: this is your image file
2. WARNING, YOUR SD CARD WILL BE COMPLETELY ERASED IN THIS STEP
. Open Win32DiskImager and open your image file with it. Select your SD card from the dropdown, then hit write
. Wait. Writing this image file will temporarily reduce the capacity of your SD card to 1GB, which we will remedy later.
3. Once the write is finished, download the latest CyanogenMod7 ("CM7") nightly
to the SD card. Do not extract this zip file
. Also download the latest Google apps ("GAPPS")
to the SD card. Don't extract this zip file either.
4. If you have successfully written your image file to SD, saved CM7 to the SD and saved the latest GAPPS to SD, then you can now eject the SD card from your computer and insert the MicroSD into your Nook Color.
5. Power on the NC holding the silver "n" button, which should boot the device with some skulls and crossbones. ARRRRR! You should be greeted by an orange/black menu. This is ClockworkMod Recovery, or CWM. You will be installing CM7 and the GAPPS from this program.
6. Hit the volume +/- to navigate menu entries, and press the silver "n" button on "wipe data/factory reset." Repeat this process for CACHE and ADVANCED -> DALVIK CACHE. Clockwork may stop responding to navigation after you have cleared any one of these, so reboot as many times as you need to to clear all of them.
7. Now back in CWM with all the partitions cleared, press the silver "n" button to select "choose zip from SD card."
8. Select cm_encore_full-???.zip and confirm your decision to flash CM7. After that is complete, your Nook Color will be running Android 2.3.5/Gingerbread shortly.
9. Now flash Gapps-gb-20110613-signed.zip. After that is done, you will have the latest Google apps that are not available from the Android Market.
10. When you're done, press the power button a few times to go back to the main menu.
11. Your NC will now boot into one of the very latest versions of CM7, which itself is based on Android 2.3.5, or "Gingerbread." You will be prompted to configure or log in with a Google account at this time, which you must (and should) do.
12. Once you're finally at the desktop, press the "menu" button on the screen (it looks like a couple of parallel horizontal lines in the lower left). From there, select SETTINGS > CyanogenMod settings > performance > CPU settings. Set these these options:
-Available governors = InteractiveX
-Max CPU frequency = 1100MHz. (Resist the urge to set 1200MHz).
-Minimum frequency = as low as it will go.
13. Now it's time to format your SD card. Go to Settings > Storage and erase the SDcard, which should currently read approx. 1GB in size, and will list as the full size of your SD card after the erase is finished.
14. Now return to the desktop and open ROM Manager. Press "Flash Recovery," or the top option if I've forgotten exactly what this option says. From the list that will pop up, select Nook Color. Grant root permissions, and wait until the Nook tells you that it's complete.
DONE! Now proceed to advanced options if you want to get fancy.
1. After rebooting, open the Spare Parts application from the app menu and change the window/transition animations to FAST.
2. //EDIT: Since this guide was written, I have switched to Launcher 7
(screenshot), because I really like the interface for a tablet. With a little time in Photoshop or the free repos
, this launcher looks very nice.
If you still prefer the stock launcher, however, you should seriously consider buying (yes, buy) a copy of ADW Launcher EX. Install it and go back to the home screen, where you will be asked what application you want to execute the task with. Select ADW Launcher EX and check that "remember" box.
ADW EX is one of many alternative solutions for the software that runs the application tray (you know, with all your app icons), but ADW EX is GPU-accelerated, which helps a ton to make the Nook Color feel smooth.
To play around with ADW EX's appearance, be sure to press MENU > MORE > ADW Settings from the desktop and tinker with the options. If you break something, just hit "reset ADW" from the ADW Settings menu.
I've played with ADW EX a lot
, and I feel I have a great setup for ADW, so if you'd like to use my settings, extract this zip file
to your SD card. When that's done, go to the "Backup and Restore" menu in ADWSettings, then select "restore ADW settings" and "restore desktop configuration."
3. I strongly recommend download and installing this theme
, or this theme
. Select them from the Theme Chooser app that comes with CM7 and reboot immediately after you've applied.
4. Want Netflix? Download "Nook Odds and Ends" from the Market and apply the Netflix fix. Reboot. After that, grab Netflix v1.4+ from the market and install it. It should work fine.
5. Make a backup of your install at this time by opening "ROM Manager" from the app tray and selecting "Backup Current ROM." The process is automated from here.
If you ever screw something up and want to restore that backup, turn the device completely off by holding the power button. Then power the device back on while holding the silver "n" button. You will be greeted with a black screen and teal text.
On this screen, set these options by navigating with volume +/- and pressing "n" to change options:
Boot device: eMMC
Boot Mode: Recovery
Then select BOOT NOW. Remember CWM? You're back here. Restore your backup by going to Backup and Restore > Restore > select whatever you named your backup zip in ROM Manager.
HELP! The market says all the apps are incompatible!
This is a known issue with custom ROMs and the Market, but there's an easy fix.
1. Reboot your Nook so you know that the Market application is not running.
2. Download and install ES File Explorer from here
3. In the program, got to its settings and enable the two ROOT options. They're at the bottom of the options menu.
4. Once you've approved root access, return to the main UI and hit the SD card icon in the upper left corner.
5. Click on the "System" folder once the folder list finishes refreshing.
6. Open the build.prop file and choose to edit it with ES Note Editor.
7. Look for a line that reads "qemu.sf.lcd_density=###"
8. That number should read 161. Change it to 160, then save the file.
9. Reboot your Nook.
10. Once back in Android, go to Settings > Applications > Application Management. View the "all" applications tab and scroll down to "Market." Click on that, then hit the "Clear Data" button.
11. Launch the Market, accept the EULA, and you're done!
Improving performance and battery life
1. Download Nook Tweaks from the market.
2. Open it and go to the "Settings" menu. Uncheck 32-bit frame buffer. Apply the setting, but don't reboot when prompted, as there's more work to be done.
3. Now go to CPU settings and enter these values:
CPU Stepping 1 = 125MHz
CPU Stepping 2 = 300MHz
CPU Stepping 3 = 600MHz
CPU Stepping 4 = 800MHz
CPU Stepping 5 = 1100MHz
Check set on boot
Press the back button to return, then enter the voltage settings menu.
4. In the voltage settings menu, make it look like this
. Then hit the menu button and click "save and apply," then "set on boot."
5. Reboot your device at this time.
TIP: Turn WiFi off if you're not using it, as it eats battery, and also try 25% screen brightness. The latter is a good compromise between the super-awesome LCD on the Nook and quick battery drain.
Ask in this thread. Do not PM me or IM me.