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How to: Root a Nook Color, install CyanogenMod 7, and overclock it

ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch SlutToronto, ON Icrontian
edited Dec 2011 in Technology
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).


PRELIMINARY:
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 Barnes & Noble NOOK Color 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.


The steps:
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.

Advanced options
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.

ANY QUESTIONS?
Ask in this thread. Do not PM me or IM me.
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Comments

  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    this saves me asking you soon how to do it

    thanks

    what class microSD do you recommend as base. I see you have a class 6, but I'd imagine class 10 would be the best
  • ButtersButters CA Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    I've rooted a nook color prior to this. Had the biggest issues with WinDiskImager getting errors. Figured out it was because I had previously formatted it with Windows for whatever reason, had reformat directly from the Nook, then use WinDiskImager. You can format after install with PC or when Nook is already on, insert the SD card and it will wipe the SD card clean as well.

    Loading the GAPPS at time of install is pretty slick.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    SD card class does not matter much. Any will be sufficient to stream movies, and no class 6 is too slow to hamper the Nook.

    As for win32disk, I have never encountered Butters' issues, but be forewarned I suppose.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    thanks, coach. I looked around for a day or so a while back and couldn't find a decent post containing all the details. Win!
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Link in step one of the steps should be:
    http://code.google.com/p/monster-rootpack/downloads/list


    Will be running through this tonight.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Updated the URL and the instructions to be more specific now that the link has changed.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    The cynogen mod didn't like hotlinking, I think. Use
    http://download.cyanogenmod.com/?device=encore
    and they can get the latest nightly.

    Trying to get my nook updated still from 1.1 but need to sleep.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Pretty sure the URL schema changed for direct-linked URLs on the mirror network. I updated the post, and drag'n'dropping the link to the address bar worked (a good way to get around anti-hotlink anyhow).

    Also, I'd really prefer users flash to nightly 150, as it's one of the best-ever builds for the Encore.
  • ChemriofChemriof Soviet Scotland
    edited Aug 2011
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Remove the slash at the end of the URL. I have fixed it in the OP.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Should work if you drag the URL to the address bar. It is a valid link, but hotlinking appears to be disabled. I will have to find another way to get people to the right file.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Thrax said:
    Should work if you drag the URL to the address bar. It is a valid link, but hotlinking appears to be disabled. I will have to find another way to get people to the right file.
    I dragged to address bar and it didn't work. The second link I posted is to the general page and you can just specify to get the 150 build if you so desire, rather than the latest nightly.
  • ChemriofChemriof Soviet Scotland
    edited Aug 2011
    It looks like it's not even in the directory.
  • ChemriofChemriof Soviet Scotland
    edited Aug 2011
    I followed all the instructions, but instead of using the 150(which I could not find) I used 161. When I got to step 9 and click on "CyanogenMod settings" I get the error:
    Error said:
    Sorry!
    The application Settings (process com.android.settings) has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.
    [Force close]

    I also got a similar error when it started up.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Nightlies are not always the most stable. I recommended 150 because I know it to be a solid build. And you're right, it doesn't appear to be on the server any more, which makes me think they're having issues; the versions seen here should all be available for download. I would recommend booting into recovery (that orange/black menu) and doing the following:

    1. Wipe data/factory reset
    2. Clear cache
    3. Advanced > Clear dalvik cache

    And try rebooting. This will wipe everything and restore the ROM to its default state.

    If not, v162 is out, and you can try flashing that after performing the above steps and repeating steps 6-9 to flash it.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Tushon said:
    The cynogen mod didn't like hotlinking, I think. Use
    http://download.cyanogenmod.com/?device=encore
    and they can get the latest nightly.

    Trying to get my nook updated still from 1.1 but need to sleep.
    Is too. I don't know why they make those links work that way, but the one I quoted there works.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    No, v150 is not on the server if you go right to the CM mirror page and try to download it. It's a broken zip file.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    hmm. That is not very nice of them ... it appears that I downloaded 1.55 whenever I looked at it (I'm guessing that was the nightly of the day), or I'd host it somewhere.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Updated this guide with new links, more generalized instructions and a few corrections.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    I recently switched to Launcher 7, which I find to be much much better for tablets:

    image
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    zip file for ADW EX would not extract properly for me using 7zip (and if you like launcher 7, you may want to change your "yes buy it" rec for ADW EX. Everything else was perfect, with a tiny wording/menu issue at the install CM7 but I can't remember exactly what it was (something about a click before seeing what you have in quotes there.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Zip file was created using WinRAR standard compression. Works fine on my end, and on my work PC. And for my buddy who followed the guide today. Don't know what to tell you.

    And, yes, there may be wording "errors" in that nightlies occasionally update menu elements. It happens.

    As for Launcher 7 vs. ADW EX, I still recommend ADW EX for the average user. Launcher 7 is complicated and time-consuming to configure in a pleasing manner. It took me hours; it's not for the faint of heart.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Very odd then. I was able to unzip them normally with PKZip at work. I think that is the first time that I've seen 7zip not be able to handle something.

    No worries, wasn't criticizing, just noticed it.

    Ah. Makes sense then.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Updated again for compatibility with the advent of the "Blue Dot" Nook Colors, which can be identified by a blue dot on their packaging. These have a different partition map that requires a different version of Clockwork Recovery, which is thankfully backwards-compatible with older Nooks.
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    What will doing this do to my existing books, pre-orders etc. from the Nook Store?
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Like Steam, they're associated with your account and will be available again when you install the Nook software from the Android Market. They may have to be re-downloaded.
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited Aug 2011
    Baller. Cuz I have a few books on pre-order.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    Tushon said:
    zip file for ADW EX would not extract properly for me using 7zip
    Same thing here.. 7-zip can't unpack that file. Unsupported compression type.
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    RyderOCZ said:
    Same thing here.. 7-zip can't unpack that file. Unsupported compression type.
    It seems to work with WinRar if you want to give that a shot.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    I got pkzip trial and did it.. really odd though
  • QCHQCH Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    !!!~DEAL~!!!

    Nook Color refurb for $150 HERE.

    Now is your chance... not that I have the cash but for those that want to try it out on the cheap.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    That is an awesome deal. Too bad I bought it retail for $250. Got my phone for a steal though: refurb HTC Inspire for $30 from carrier upgrade.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    Where did you get the bmp's for full size tiles?
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    I made many of them myself, but you can find repos if you Google Launcher 7 icons.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    yea, posted before I engaged brain :tim:
  • QCHQCH Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    RyderOCZ said:
    yea, posted before I engaged brain :tim:
    Clutch must be slipping. ;D
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    I think I finally have this organized:

    image
    image
    1.jpg
    1 x 1 - 50K
    2.jpg
    1 x 1 - 60K
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    Wow, nice job, duder!
  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    (in Kyle's Jersey voice) It's a Canadian thing
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    It's not a Canadian thing. It may be a Michigan thing.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    I do believe duder has been in Thrax's vocabulary since I have known him :cool:
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    I do believe it was sarcasm anyways. Probably something from your childhood. *sits back* How does that make you feel?
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    Anyone have any idea why Nook reader for droid won't install on my haxed tablet? Says it's incompatible...
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    Download ES File Explorer and enable root access in the options. Two check boxes.

    Open up the app and go to the system folder. Edit qemu.sf.lcd_density in build.prop to read 160. Save the file and restart. When you're back in, delete the data for the "market" app and restart the market. Fixed,
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    Yeah, it says that app is incompatible too :(
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
    Really dig that contacts icon, Ryder!
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited Sep 2011
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