How to root the NOOK Tablet, install the Android Market

NOOK Tablet with Android Market

Less than a week after the Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet started shipping, hackers have discovered a way to root the tablet and install the official Google Android Market.

There are still a few hoops to jump through, since Barnes & Noble doesn’t make it easy to “enable USB debugging” so that you can push commands to the tablet from a computer. But xda-developers forum member Indirect has put together a Windows utility that lets you root the tablet and install the Android Market with just a few clicks.

Update: This tutorial assumes you’re running NOOK Tablet OS 1.4.0. Version 1.4.1 removes the ability to sideload apps.

If you’re running NOOK Tablet OS 1.4.1, you can roll back to version 1.4 by performing a factory reset and then you can block over-the-air updates in order to keep root access as well as the ability to sideload apps. Just follow our step-by-step guide (the bit about performing a factory reset is near the bottom).

Update 2: It’s now possible to update from OS 1.4.0 to 1.4.1 while rooting the tablet

Here’s how to get started. In order to enable USB debugging you need first try to download and install an Android apk from the internet. Not all apk file swill work, but you can find one to try from Indirect’s forum post. Xda-developers forum members Loglud and lionclaw have links to other files that may work.

Here’s what should happen: When you click the links to download those apk files in the NOOK Tablet web browser, you should see a notification alert in the bottom left corner of your screen letting you know the file has been downloaded. Then follow these steps:

  1. Click the notification and choose the entry for the apk file you just downloaded.
  2. From the following menu, select “Development,” and you’ll find two options to enable USB debugging.
  3. Check them both.
  4. Make sure you do not click “unknown sources” before going to the Development menu, because if you do you have to jump through a few hoops to get back to the Development Menu.

If you have already enabled unknown sources, all is not lost. You can perform a factory reset on your device and repeat the steps to bring up the Development menu. Or you can install an Android app called Any Cut which lets you create a home screen shortcut to the Development menu (or other apps or settings).

Scroll down to the “caveats” section of this article for more details on installing and using Any Cut.

Things get much simpler from here on out. Bear in mind that you need your tablet to stay in developer mode. If you unplug it and plug it back in again, you’ll need to uncheck and recheck the USB debugging options.

1. If you’re running Windows, just download the NookAndZergy.zip file and usbdriver.zip from Indirect’s xda-developers post, and unzip them to a folder on your computer.

If you’ve already installed the Android SDK on your computer, you can skip to step 4.

2. Open the Windows Start Menu and type “cmd” (without quotation marks) into the run box. This will open up a command prompt.

3. Enter the following line and hit return (again, don’t enter the quotation marks): “IF NOT EXIST %USERPROFILE%\.android md %USERPROFILE%\.android”

You can right-click on that text and copy it and then paste it into the DOS box by right-clicking and using the context menu to paste. Command-V won’t work in the command prompt.

What we just did was added an .android directory to your computer. If you already installed the Android SDK you don’t need to do that.

4. OK, now open the folder where you unzipped the usbdrivers file and double-click the runmefirst.bat file.

5. The Device Manager should open and show a NOOK Tablet listing with a broken icon. Right-click, and select “update” driver.’

6. Choose the option that says “let me specify where the driver is” and browse to the directory where you unzipped the usbdrivers.zip contents.

This should install the drivers for your tablet. If you don’t see a broken icon and instead see a working listing for the NOOK Tablet in the device manager, you may have to uninstall the tablet drivers and try again. This can be a pain in the rear to get right.

7. Next navigate to the folder where you unzipped the NookAndZergy.zip file.

8. Double-click the NookAndZergy.bat file.

This should open a command prompt that will walk you through the process of rooting your tablet, installing SuperUser, and optionally installing the Google Android Market and other Google apps.

That’s it. The rest of this article is mostly gravy.

Troubleshooting

There are a lot of reasons things can go wrong. It’s pretty tricky to get a Windows computer to recognize your NOOK Tablet, even if it does have USB debugging enabled, especially if you’ve already connected the tablet to your computer to transfer files.

That said, here are a few tricks that might help.

1. Search your computer for a file called adb_usb.ini. It should be in your .android folder.

2. Open the .ini file in Notepad or another text editor.

3. If the file is empty, just add the following text, without quotes: “0x2080″.

4. If there’s already text in the file, create a new line and add 0x2080 at the end.

5. Save and close adb_usb.ini.

6. Now search for a file called android_winusb.inf. You may have this in more than one place if you’ve already installed the Android SDK. You’ll want to go ahead and edit as many versions as you have.

7. Open android_winusb.inf in a text editor such as Notepad.

8. Scroll down until you see a section labeled [Google.NTx86] and add the following text as a new entry:

;Nook
%CompositeAdbInterface%     = USB_Install, USB\VID_18D1&PID_0001&MI_00
;B & N Nook Color
%SingleAdbInterface% = USB_Install, USB\VID_2080&PID_0004
%CompositeAdbInterface% = USB_Install, USB\VID_2080&PID_0004&MI_01

9. Now scroll down to the section labeled [Google.NTamd64] and paste the same text into the file.

10. Save and close the file.

This should allow adb to recognize your device when it’s plugged in and USB debugging is enabled. To double-check, you can connect your tablet to your PC with a USB cable, open a command prompt by entering “cmd” in the run box in the Start Menu, navigate to the folder with your adb tools, and type “adb devices” without quotes.

If everything went according to plan, you should see your device listed. If not, you’ll see a blank line.

Notes

Indirect’s tools are designed to run on Windows, but there are also step-by-step instructions for rooting your device from the command line in case you want to try it on a Mac or Linux machine. Mac users can also find more details instructions courtesy of t-r-i-c-k.

  • You can also install the Android Market after the fact by running the NookAndZergy.bat file and selecting “No” when asked if you want to root and then “Yes” when asked if you want to install gApps.
  • Xda-developers member anlog has posted details on installing the Android Market manually. (Note that all you really need to do to get the Android Market working is install the GoogleServicesFramework.apk file and then follow the instructions for moving the Vending.apk to your /system/app directory. The steps for doing that are pretty much the same as the steps for enabling the Android Market on the Amazon Kindle Fire).
  • If you try Indirect’s tools but run into problems, iShepard has posted instructions for removing the files from your tablet so you can start over again.

How to unroot

If you want to reverse the process you can download and run a script from Indirect called Nomoarzergys.

This will remove root from your device and optionally remove the gApps including the Android Market if you used Indirect’s tools to install them.

Bear in mind, if you’ve made any other changes to system applications, you will not want to use Nomoarzergys, as it could cause irreparable damage to the tablet. Since the bootloader is still locked, you can’t simply re-flash the tablet with a clean version of the NOOK Tablet software or a custom ROM.

Caveats

The Android Market will run on the NOOK Tablet, giving you access to thousands of apps that aren’t available from the Barnes & Noble or Amazon app stores. It will also let you automatically update some apps. But right now not every app that’s available from the Android Market shows up when you search for it on the NOOK Tablet.

It’s likely that we still need some sort of a patch which will tell the Market to display hidden apps. The same thing has happened with the HP TouchPad and other devices that have received the Android Market unofficially. There’s already a Market patch for the HP TocuhPad, now someone just needs to figure out how to make one for the NOOK Tablet.

You should also keep in mind that if you need to access your NOOK via adb more than once, you need to re-enable adb support for your tablet every time you unplug it from your computer. This requires access to the Development menu in the Android settings.

Normally the NOOK Tablet doesn’t show that menu, but there’s a super-easy way to create a shortcut to it. Just follow our original instructions for downloading and installing third party apps (which doesn’t necessarily require rooting) to enable apps from unknown sources.

You’ll want to install a third party app launcher such as GO Launcher EX, which you can download from the Amazon Appstore.

Once you’ve done that, download a free app called “Any Cut” from the internet. There are a number of versions available from FileCrop.

Run Any Cut and select the “New Shortcut” option, choose “Activity” from the next screen, and then scroll down until you see “Development.” Tap it and click OK, and it will add a shortcut to your GO Launcher home screen.

Now you can bring up the Development Menu at any time and check or uncheck the boxes that say USB Debugging or Auto Mount. You can also use Any Cut to create a shortcut to “Application Settings” if you want quick access to the box that lets you enable or disable support for third party apps from unknown sources.

There’s still no way around the NOOK Tablet’s locked bootloader, which means it will be a little while before we see CyanogenMod or other custom Android ROMs ported to the new tablet.  But the NOOK Tablet hackers have made a lot of progress in the first week that the tablet has been on sale.

Latest NOOK Tablet news and tips:

  • Guest_johnson

    The link for “installing the Android Market ” is not working

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Whoops. Try it again now.

  • Nards Barley

    The headline sounded promising, the details not so much.

  • Anonymous

    This is like the untethered jailbreak for apple iOS devices. Right now people are waiting for a new untethered for ios 5. A tethered root is better than NO root

  • Anonymous

    XDA say it’s a PERMANENT Root now which implies its not untethered. I noticed they changed it to that in their Full Root subject line in the forum. I don’t understand that stuff, so head on over to the XDA forums

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Yup, I just updated the post. Looks like you can reboot without re-rooting. If you need to use adb though, I’m pretty sure you still need to manually uncheck and re-recheck the debugging option each time, so that “any cut” tip I posted should still come in handy. 

      • Anonymous

        Have you tested to see whether that is true by rebooting your device?

      • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

        Yup. Reboot and keep root. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5YA7G33ZLJOHAFMJ2YKLBDC7NQ Kenneth

    If I (dare to) follow these instructions and succeed in temporarily rooting my NT, adding the Android Market, and then installing a few apps from the Market will they remain useable upon rebooting? If I decide to return my NT to B&N before the 14 days limit is up will there be any problem to undo everything and return the NT to out of the  box condition?

    I have already add GO Launcher and Amazon Market and added some other apps by side loading. Since I have an Android phone and can back up APKs on it wouldn’t it just be simpler to copy APK’s from my T-Mobile Google phone over the the NT? I did that with a couple of apps already. When I tried to download a couple of apps from the Amazon Market I got an error message “This version of the app cannot be loaded on this device” or something to that effect. Would the same thing probably happen with some apps from the Android Market?

    Finally, when and if the CyanogenMod folks finish up a mod that can run from the microSD card is it more likely to be Gingerbread, Honeycomb, or ICS?

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      1. Yes, you should be fine after a reboot. You can also unroot and still use those apps.
      2. You can do a factory reset — but if you push the Android Market to /system/app you may have to manually remove it or it will still be on the tablet even after a reset.
      3. Sure, do that if you want.
      4. Ask them… if it comes out in the next few months it’ll probably be CM7, but if it takes longer than that then odds are it will be CM9 based on ICS. Right now the bootloader is still locked though, which means no custom ROMs for us. 

  • http://www.angrybats.com/ Wholesale gadgets

    Now if only it would help you unlock proper grammar and punctuation LOL.

    Most
    of the time, companies make chipsets that handle both wifi and
    bluetooth at the same time, so it’s easier and probably cheaper to buy a
    chip with wifi and bluetooth than to look for one that’s wifi only.
    That’s part of why the Nook Color has bluetooth. Of course since it’s
    supposed to be an e-reader, they didn’t want to market the bluetooth
    capabilities of the Nook Color.

    I bet the Nook Tablet has
    bluetooth too, but since the bootloader is locked, it’s going to take a
    lot longer to get CM7 (or hopefully CM9) running on it. 

  • Cwiet1

    Although I have not rooted my nook yet. I found a great program to use instead of or in conjunction with Go Launcher.  I did not like the way I had to keep searching for Go Launcher especially having to retype Go or Lau to get the search to put it up after reboot.  Smart Taskbar, downloaded by googleing Smart Taskbar APK, is great because it shows a list of application from the taskbar/notification (IE where you see the SD card inserted notice.  Just tap the notification area and tap taskbar and it brings up a window of all your apps!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5YA7G33ZLJOHAFMJ2YKLBDC7NQ Kenneth

      Did you have to download this APK on your phone, back it up (Astro FM) then tranfer it to your Nook to install it? What about the fact that it says it’s just for smartphones?

    • Augusthubbard20

      There is this app you can download and shows up on the nook home screen on the right side its very helpful all you have to do is tap one thing then your to the go launcher menu

  • Bruna Surfistina

    AFAIK from the forum i have read root os permanent.. Ur comments suggest the same.
    Why dont u update ur article saying root is permanent.. people should not be mislead in the article and expect to get the full picture by reading through the comments sections.

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      I thought I had. I had deleted several references to the non-permanent boot, but I just noticed one more mention and took it out.

      Sorry, I’ve re-written this article at least half a dozen times in the last 24 hours, it’s hard to keep it all up to date. :)

      • Bruna Surfistina

        Wasn’t trying to be rude.. just wanted to help with the corrections..

        I can see u have already converted it to a nice how to. 

      • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

        No worries. I appreciate your comment, since you helped me find that one last incorrect reference!

  • Mlkabik

    At what point do you go from not having your Tablet hooked up to your computer to having it hooked up?

  • Jlyans

    Does this open up the 15 gigabytes that B&N has reserved for their content?

  • Albertwertz

    video to walk through steps. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zbT1Fj38nE

    • Robstephenadams

      I got the NT to attach in debug (little bug in bottom left corner) mode but when I run the adb script, it does not find the device attached…. I tried on two different windows desktops… same results…. do you know what might be wrong?

  • Robstephenadams

    I was able to get my nook in debug mode and attach to my pc while in that mode…. it shows the bug in the lower left corner.   But, when I run the NookandZergy script, it can’t find my nook… anybody run into this?

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      You’re going to need to make sure that the android_winusb.inf and adb_usb.ini files have the proper settings, as described in the article… and then you need to make sure your PC uses the android_winusb.inf as the driver for the NOOK Tablet. 

      It can be a pain in the behind, but hopefully I’ve provided enough information to get you started.My guess is your problem is that this isn’t the first time you’ve plugged in the NOOK Tablet, so the computer thinks it already knows the appropriate drivers to use. You need to figure out how to remove that setting and install the driver manually. 

      • JerryP.

        thanks

      • Janelle0511

        How do you remove that setting?

  • JerryP.

    I was able to successfully root the my NT the problem is some apps won’t install.
    They are telling me that it is not compatibel with my device.  Apps like comixology, the weather eye won’t install….

    i was wondering why they won’t install…. is the android version that BN installed an old one?

    and when will be full root of the nook tablet be available…. like no more BN environment….. 

    • ca_bucky

      I have found that if you can find the APK files of those applications on the internet and download them directly to your computer, you can use ‘adb install “applicationname.apk”‘ while your nook is in debugging mode.  I have done it with all the Angy Birds Rio and Angry Birds (original), as Angry Birds Seasons works fine with it.  The Angry Birds that I side loaded are working just fine.

  • Augusthubbard20

    So can you put the android market on the nook tablet using a mac or only a pc please respond i only have macs

  • Filippo

    Just a reminder that Tunein is available at the B&N market, though not free.

  • rcyts

    The Update Driver button for my recognized installed device (Nook Tablet) is grayed out so I am unable to browse to the location where I have unzipped the Nook USB drivers. Any help here?

    • Chunkymonkeylove

      i think you just have to dl the drivers for it. there missing. i have a
      similar problem.. mine shows up as 2 nooks..lol

  • Msp Mattparsons

    Is this a dangerous process? Is there any chance of screwing up your nook with this? Might it brick it?

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      The changes of truly bricking your device are slim, but yes — it is possible. If you’re not comfortable with that, you should probably stay away from this sort of hack. 

  • NewNTuser

    I’m still at OS 1.4.0. Which step should I start with/do if I haven’t rooted yet? Should I do something different? I’m scared to turn on wifi for fear I will get the next version. Thanks!

  • ghostya

    why wont android market connect?

  • Gj789

    Can you root the nook tablet 1.4.2?

  • Leah Wolf

    The newest comment here is 9 months old, and I have seen cards for sale that run Android on the Nook Tablet. Are these cards better to use than the procedure you describe here, or is this procedure still relevant to the latest Nook Tablet OS and safely effective?

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      Yep… these are still pretty much the right steps — if you’re running NOOK Software version 1.4.0. If you’re not, you might want to check out this forum post on rolling back a NOOK Tablet from a later software version to 1.4.0 — but you will wipe any data you have on your tablet if you do this.

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1470910

  • blahh

    Can u root the nook tablet 1.4.3 version?