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How to root the Nook Tablet

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December 22, 2011

Rooting the Nook Tablet expands the slate's horizons with the addition of the Android Mark...

Rooting the Nook Tablet expands the slate's horizons with the addition of the Android Market

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The Nook Tablet from Barnes and Noble offers meatier specs than Amazon's Kindle Fire for half the price of an iPad, but the selection of apps on offer for the e-Reader/tablet hybrid is a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, it takes less than 30 minutes to turn a Nook into a fully-functional Honeycomb tablet with access to the Android Market.

Before the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet came along, B&N's Nook Color e-Reader was the go-to budget Android tablet for folks in the know, who used one of a number of tools to root it and install the Android OS and market. The new Nook Tablet is essentially just a Nook Color with a hardware upgrade, and it can be converted to Honeycomb just as easily.

If you're not familiar, rooting is the process of circumventing the existing OS or skin that the device ships with, allowing for a new ROM, mod or operating system to be loaded onto it. Rooting also provides access to more of a device's functions.

Of course, with more power comes more responsibility, so if you're here because you're looking to root your own Nook, keep in mind that rooting can carry the risk of voiding your warranty, bricking the device, and may even violate local laws (it has been determined to be legal in the U.S.).

Still interested? OK, then. You're going to need your Nook Tablet, a USB cord and a PC connected to the Internet. There are multiple tools and methods to root your Nook using a PC, Mac or Linux system, but for our purposes we'll be going through the process with a Windows PC and tools available from the xdadevelopers forum. These tools are among the best and easiest out there for rooting the Nook, and the forum provides a great place to get support should you run into a problem.

A simple script adds Android Honeycomb and Google's apps to the Nook Tablet

Steps to Rooting

  • First step is to open up this thread at the xda forum in a browser tab alongside this one.
  • Download the following files (you can also find them over on the xda thread): the USB drivers you'll need for the root and the "Zerg" rooting script.
  • Next open this YouTube video walk-through of the whole process in its own browser tab, pause it and let it fully buffer, because we're going to be disconnected from your network in a later step and it's a great visual resource should you get lost.
  • Turn on your Nook, point its browser to the same xda forum thread (might be easier to get there by searching for "xda root nook tablet") and download the app to enable USB debugging - it's under "Needed files for root."
  • Open the app. You'll be prompted to allow outside apps to run on your Nook. Do so in the settings and while still in settings, tap on "Development" and enable both USB debugging check boxes. Also, uncheck the "Auto Mount" option.
  • The next step is to make sure your PC recognizes the Nook. Before connecting it via USB, I recommend turning off your computer's network card to take it offline, that way it won't search for drivers for the Nook - it's important that your system not install a driver for the Nook. If for some reason it does recognize it - likely as a USB composite or Android device - you'll need to uninstall the associated drivers, make sure you're offline, and reconnect the USB.
  • With the Nook connected via USB, go to your PC's device manager in the "System" section of the control panel. You should see an icon labeled "Nook tablet" with a yellow exclamation point indicating that Windows sees the device but doesn't know what to do with it. If so, this is good news. Disconnect the Nook and get ready to run the scripts to root it. If not, go back to the previous step or try on a different PC.
  • At this point, start up that YouTube video and follow along through some of the steps you've just completed and check your work. My method is the same except for the added precaution of disconnecting from the Internet, which you'll want to keep off until the root is complete.
  • You're now ready to perform the root following the process outlined in the xda forum thread under "Instructions to root." The steps are self-explanatory, and the video can help guide you, too. You can start at step three, as you've already downloaded the needed files before turning off your net access.
  • Follow all the prompts and you should have a rooted Nook. You'll also be given the option to install the Google Apps including the Market, which I recommend, and to uninstall some of the Nook apps and disable native search, which I don't recommend. When you've run all the way through the scripts, the Nook will promptly restart itself. I recommend disconnecting from the PC at this time, which you can also reconnect to your network. If the Nook is acting at all strange, another reboot should work out all the kinks.
  • Once it's been rooted, Windows will recognize the Nook Tablet as an Android device

    You should now have a rooted Nook running Android Honeycomb with access to the wide world of apps in the market. Enjoy! Should you change your mind, the same xda forum thread has instructions for de-rooting.

Update

According to reports from from the xda-developers forum, the Nook's new 1.4.1 firmware update that was rolled out this week disables root access and removes the ability to load third-party apps. Since the update is applied automatically when the Nook is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, many people will find themselves unable to root the device - although the root script mentioned in the above instructions also disables over the air updates so if you haven't already received the update the above method should still work..

Also, if you've already rooted your Nook before receiving the 1.4.1 update then already-installed apps will still work and you'll still be able to access the Android Market - BUT, while you'll be able to purchase new apps there, you won't be able to install them and will receive a message saying, "Install blocked. For security reasons, only apps purchased through the NOOK shop can be installed." Judging by comments on the xda-developers forum, Barnes & Noble will be seeing quite a few Nook's returned as a result of this move.

About the Author
Eric Mack Eric Mack has been covering technology and the world since the late 1990s. As well as being a Gizmag regular, he currently contributes to CNET, NPR and other outlets.   All articles by Eric Mack
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11 Comments

this is the new tablet of the world

Rama Chandran
23rd December, 2011 @ 06:28 am PST

Further Update: There are two newer videos by Albert Wirtz that update the procedure he shows in the older YouTube link given in the third bullet above. Use those rather than the older link, because they cover changes made to the rooting script at the XDA Developers' site.



takes you through the installation of USB drivers on your PC and getting the Nook into debugging mode.



covers the rooting steps and provides an overview of the rooted Nook Tablet.

Also, the introductory text to either of these videos provides a link to move back to 1.4.0 if you've already been moved to 1.4.1. Read that thread fully, as it also provides a link to improved methods of preventing OTA updates.

GregS
23rd December, 2011 @ 09:28 am PST

Rs 16000 for a 7 inch tablet, Sorry guys,... thats far too expensive

For that amount I get a 10 inch Nvidia Tegra Honeycomb 3.2 machine here .

atul292
23rd December, 2011 @ 10:39 am PST

cant install usb debugging says something along the lines of archiving and unarchiving

Jordan Palmer
25th December, 2011 @ 08:54 pm PST

Or you could just buy a Vizio tablet, with Android Market enabled by default, and get a better screen and sound as well.

Jon A.
28th December, 2011 @ 08:33 am PST

Thank you to "Infinite" and his buddy Albert for giving such great directions and troubleshooting support. I was pissed when I discovered that my new Nook Tablet did not have the Android market. My fault, yes and I almost took it back when I discovered that BN wanted to charge me $2 for a Facebook App. Then I heard about having your Nook rooted. I am pretty computer savvy for a consumer, but having a borrowed XP laptop, I appreciated the extra help that the troubleshooting threads and Albert's videos. Thanks for making my birthday present to myself much more fun!!!

dlbRN
24th January, 2012 @ 10:24 pm PST

I'm not sayin one way or the other about rooting, or not root rooting, but Some people may or may not be onto something which may or may not break a warranty. I just may, or may not, know someone, who rooted something maybe last night, maybe last year, and may or may not agree with parts of of some the messages here. The Article, however is out of date. Someone I may, or may not know, may or may not have rooted, or not rooted, a NT with 1.4.1 on it last night, that allows a duel interface use-- the clunky B&N- or the full blown android version.... either way, sideloading may or may not be an issue anymore.....

Glenn Cuneo
3rd February, 2012 @ 05:03 am PST

I want to do it, but i'm so scared!

magenlafay
15th March, 2012 @ 03:14 pm PDT

im having a problem with my tablet, i downloaded the correct file and when i click package installer it says "for security reason, only apps purchased thru the nook shop can be installed" how can i get past that????

Jill Fajardo-Cosme
28th March, 2012 @ 02:35 pm PDT

I notice with the newer update on the Nook Tablet it prevents you from doing this. I just bought my nook tablet a week ago. Is there a different way I can go about still rooting it? Please let me know!

Reikage Sanshi
11th April, 2012 @ 05:41 pm PDT

There is a file u can put on your sdcard with after rebooting the NT will restore it to its original version 1.4.0. Then u can repeat the process to root it then download this app. NT hidden settings and after that go to hacks then block ota. Then it will never update. Also the file name starts with acclaimupdate.zip and it must he removed after u roll it back to 1.4.0. Also if the home button doesn't work simply turn the nook off and hold the power and home button, and it will boot then turn off. Do it like 3 or 5 times and then it will factory reset. Bam ur ready to root it again. Hope I helped and I've had to do this 4 times before finding NT hidden settings on android market and I've never had issues. So if ur affraid please don't be as long as u have the acclaim file u will be ok as u can roll it back to its original OS. Only issue no ducking bluetooth wtf, like what device doesn't have bluetooth really...

Dimitris Dokos
18th May, 2012 @ 03:06 pm PDT
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