Root a NOOK Tablet with just an SD card

Barnes & Noble has been playing a bit of cat and mouse game with NOOK Tablet hackers. When the company released the 7 inch Android tablet in November, it didn’t take long for hackers to figure out how to sideload apps, root the tablet, and even install the Android Market.

NOOK Tablet with Android Market

Then Barnes & Noble pushed out a software update which made doing all of those things much more complicated.

But now that hackers have figured out a way around the NOOK Tablet’s secure bootloader, it’s possible to load software on the tablet simply by placing it on a properly formatted microSD card and rebooting the tablet with the microSD card installed.

Now Indirect, one of the most prominent NOOK Tablet hackers, has released a tool that lets you root a NOOK Tablet using a microSD card.

You’ll need to create a 50MB FAT32 partition on the SD card and enable boot and lda flags. The easiest way to do this is using the GParted or a similar Linux utility.

If you’re running Windows, you can also try Parted Magic. It’s a light-weight Linux-based operating system that you can run from a CD, USB flash drive, or virtual machine. It comes with GParted built in, so you can boot your computer from your GParted disc (without making any changes to your Windows installation), partition your SD card, and then reboot into Windows when you’re done.

Anyway, once you’ve got the SD card formatted, there are just a few more steps:

  1. Download the NT-CWM-SD.zip file and unzip the contents to the root directory of the microSD card.
  2. Turn off your NOOK Tablet and insert the microSD card.
  3. Turn on the tablet and you should boot into ClockworkMod Recovery.
  4. Download Indirect’s latest Gapps_and_root.zip file and copy it to the SD card (or push it to the SD card using adb).
  5. Flash the Gapps_and_root.zip update using ClockworkMod Recovery.

This will root your tablet and install the Google Android Market on the NOOK Tablet. If the instructions look a little confusing, that’s because they’re not really designed for beginners. But if you know your way around Linux, adb, and ClockworkMod, this is by far the simplest way to root a NOOK Tablet.

Latest NOOK Tablet news and tips:

  • Xray444

    Hey Brad, thanks for the constant updates on the Nook Tablet.  My Nook Tablet has literally been sitting around for months having been used for less than several hours in total!  I basically threw in the towel on the tablet and was certain to sell it at some point.

    I may try this rooting process to gain access to the Android Market to see if I can finally get some use out of my blind (and regrettable) purchase.

    I read on your site that an update affected rooted Nook Tablet users or something to that effect?  Is this still an issue or does the OS version on the tablet no longer make a difference now that the root is coming directly from the SD?  I wouldn’t know because my Nook Tablet probably has never been updated (nor used for that matter).  And if the OS version is still an issue, how do I block the tablet from updating?

    Also… “Flash the Gapps_and_root.zip update using ClockworkMod Recovery.”   I’m not sure what “flash” means in this case : (     !!!

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

      The good news is that this indeed works on any version of the Nook Tablet software.

      The less good news is that it’s still a little tough to set up. I didn’t write a more detailed walkthrough for beginners because I don’t think this is beginner friendly yet and if you don’t understand the details you should probably wait for a better/more complete method target than risking having something go wrong.

  • Lester77777

    I tried the process with no LUCK,, it did boot from the SD and installed Gapps and Root,, but when it rebooted NOTHING happen 1.4.1

  • Albert Wertz

     check out this updated Video on my youtube channel better process explained. 
    http://www.youtube.com/user/albertcwertz?feature=mhee

  • Agnes

    I tried this method, and did the partition easily with  Acronis Disk Director suite (easy but not free). However, when I insert the SDcard and try start the noook, nothing would happen. I needed to remove it and then start+N to get it back to live. So could not go through.
    And it is anoygin the XDA formum does not let “beginners” intervene in the forum.

    However, there is this second method from the same guy that seems much easier for Windows Users:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=21895025&postcount=14
    I am not yet to the final end, but seems to work!

  • Agnes Lesage

    mmm… i found out I am now back with the original Nook stuff…
    I dont get it, because I use CWM, instal zip from sdcard, choose it…
    – the CWD_SD_Flash_and_exe returns “installation aborted”
    –   NT-CWD-SD.zip also
    – Gapps_and_root.zip installs successfully, but when I reboot I just get the unrooted nook!
    I dont jknow what to do…

  • Agnes

    On CWD_SD_Flash_and_exe that returns “installation aborted”, the log says “failed to open /sys/class/android_usb/android0/state: no such file or directory”