NOOK Tablet 9.9.9

Software updates are usually good things since they kill security flaws, improve performance, and offer new features. But if you bought a Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet running software version 1.4, proceeded to root the tablet, install the Android Market, and make other changes you’ve probably been dreading the new B&N software 1.4.1 update.

The company started to push out the new software this week, and not only does it kill root access, it also makes it impossible (or at least very difficult) to install third-party apps that haven’t been downloaded from the B&N Shop.

Fortunately there’s a way to keep your tablet on software version 1.4 and avoid the update — and it doesn’t involve disabling the WiFi on your tablet and refusing to ever go online again.

Update 12/29/2011: It’s also now possible to upgrade to OS 1.4.1 while rooting the tablet — but the steps are a little complicated. It might be easier to block OTA updates for now until there’s an easier method available. 

NOOK Tablet hacker Indirect has posted a modified version of the NOOK Tablet Device Manager Service which prevents a tablet from automatically checking for updates and installing them.

Here’s how to use it.

1. Prerequisite: Root your NOOK Tablet

You’ll need a rooted NOOK Tablet which is running OS version 1.4. You can follow our step-by-step instructions for rooting the device.

Rooting an Android device grants you access to files and settings that would otherwise be hidden and/or inaccessible. If you want to delete or change system files, you need root access.

2. Install Titanium Backup

Our rooting tutorial will also show you how to install the Google Android Market, which allows you to install Titanium Backup. But you can also download it directly from the Titanium Backup website.

That second option could come in handy if you haven’t installed the Android Market — or if you’re scared to turn on WiFi and risk downloading the 1.4.1 update before you’re done.

If you download the APK manually, you can copy it to your NOOK Tablet by connecting the tablet to your computer with a USB cable. It should show up on your PC as a USB mass storage device. You an then manually copy the APK to your tablet, unplug your tablet, and then use a file browser such as ES File Explorer on your tablet to locate the Titanium Backup APK and tap it to install the utility.

Make sure to run Titanium Backup at least once before continuing. This will grant the app root privileges and create a backup folder on your SD card.

3. Optional: Backup DeviceManagerService 2.3.4

Titanium Backup allows you to backup or restore applications. What we’re going to do in a minute is replace the DeviceManagerService app with a modified version. If you want to be able to revert to the original without performing a factory reset it might be a good idea to make a backup.

Here’s how to do that:

  • Run Titanium Backup on your tablet.
  • Scroll down until you find the option that says DeviceManagerService 2.3.4 and tap it.
  • Choose the backup option.

This will save a few files in the TitaniumBackup directory on your microSD card. In order to replace the original app we’re going to need to put the new files from Indirect in that directory. So you probably want to copy these files to a different folder on your tablet or copy them to your PC for safe keeping.

It’s also a good idea to force stop TitaniumBackup after removing the DeviceManagerSerivce backup files from the backup directory. If you have access to the Android app manager (You can get there by installing AnyCut and creating a shortcut directly to the Applications menu), this is easy to do. If not, you can always just reboot your NOOK Tablet before continuing.

4. Download and prepare the modified DeviceManagerService

Now download the modified DeviceManagerService 2.3.4 from the link at the xda-developers forum.

You should now have a file called Unzipme.zip. Do as the file says and unzip it and you should now have three files. Put these in the TitaniumBackup directory on your NOOK Tablet’s microSD card.

5. “Restore” the modified DeviceManagerService

Now all we have to do is fire up TitaniumBackup, scroll down to DeviceManagerService and tap that app.

This time you should see that there’s already one backup available for this device. Instead of pressing the backup option, this time we’re going to choose the restore option.

A screen will pop up asking if you’d like to replace the app, data, or both. Choose App+Data.

Next there will be a warning letting you know that you’re replacing a system application. Tap the OK box to proceed and TitaniumBackup will do the rest.

That’s it!

You can make sure everything worked by going to your NOOK Settings, choosing the Device Info option, and then “About your NOOK” and checking the software version.

If everything went according to plan you won’t see 1.4.0 anymore. Instead you should see Software version 9.9.9.

Now it should be safe to use WiFi again without fear of downloading a software update that will remove your root access.

There is a way back

Bear in mind, you may want a future software update from Barnes & Noble if it offers new features and/or doesn’t affect root access. You may also want to restore your tablet to factory default conditions to return it, sell it, or give it away.

If you followed step 3 and made a backup of your original DeviceServicesManager you should be able to delete the modified version from your TitaniumBackup folder, place the original files in that folder, and repeat step 5 to restore the original.

Your tablet will now be able to download and install over-the-air software updates.

There’s also an easy way to force a NOOK Tablet to perform a full factory reset.

  1. Download a version of the NOOK Tablet 1.4.0 software using a link from the xda-developers forum.
  2. Place that file in the root directory of your microSD card slot.
  3. Turn off your tablet.
  4. Insert the microSD card into your tablet.
  5. Turn on your tablet

This should force your tablet to restore itself to factory conditions. You can also use this method to downgrade from NOOK Tablet 1.4.1 software to version 1.4.0 if you decide you need root access or the ability to sideload third party apps.

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24 replies on “How to block over-the-air updates (and keep root) on the NOOK Tablet”

  1. I have just rooted my Tablet that was bought with 1.40 and updated to 1.4.2, using Albert Weitz method. I cant find in hidden NT settings how where to block OTA updates. Is it a problem to get updated now when I am rooted?

  2. I have a NOOK Tablet running 1.4.0.  I ran titanium backup.  I used the CM7 boot from sd card method so that I would not have to permanatly root.  I cannot find Device Manager 2.3.4, any help appreciated

  3. Did all this, to the letter, and my Nook Tablet just updated again to 1.4.1. Grrrrrrr. Now stuck with this horrible keyboard again.

  4. Did as instructed and my software version shows 1.0.0 – should I be concerned or try it again?

    1. Can we get a response to this q, the issue is the same for me. What does 1.0.0 mean?

  5. Excuse my ignorance.

    Do you mean:

    (i) after backing up to the SD, then cut the original files in the Titanium Backup and paste them to a new folder in a PC for future in-case needs;

    (ii) put the 3 unzipped files from XDA-Indirect to the Titanium Backup;

    (iii) proceed as demonstrated above?

    Please advise.

    My hearty thanks, 

      1. Brad,

        I want to thank you very much again for giving me and us such clear instructions and finally I just got mine changed to 9.9.9.   But for your help, I would not have been able to use my NT like a normal human being.  I can now wifi my NT without fear like a gopher.

        Again, I am very happy and much indebted to your help,

        Steve

  6. Terrific… while d/l ES File Manager to my NT so I can install Titanium Backup off line B&N caught me. I am now 1.41 with Go Launcher and ES File Manager installed. Now what? I don’t know where I am.

    1. Ouch.

      You have a few options. None of them are ideal.

      1. Roll back to OS 1.4.0 by performing a factory reset. This will erase any data you currently have installed and you’ll need to re-enabled support for third party apps and root your NOOK Tablet again.

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1402190

      2. Use a PC to sideload apps manually. 

      http://liliputing.com/2011/12/sideload-apps-on-a-nook-tablet-with-os-1-4-1-no-root-required.html

      Sideload Wonder Machine also works.

      http://www.androidcentral.com/sideload-android-apps-all-you-want-sideload-wonder-machine 

  7. Hi, I have a Nook Tablet (1.4.0), and I heard sideloading can still be done (it’s with 1.4.1 that I may need to use the xda script).

    I’ve downloaded the Amazon Market APK on my Windows XP machine and I wanted to copy and paste it into my plugged in Nook Tablet, but I don’t know which folder / directory it should go in ? I heard apps are stored in data / apps, but I see no such folder / subfolder. Also, I have hidden and protected folders displayed on my machine.

    Could somebody please help me with this? Much appreciated!

  8. Just adding a datapoint: I have an unrooted Nook Tablet with several sideloaded apps installed.  Yesterday morning I got an announcement that my Nook software had been updated.  I checked and saw it was finally running 1.4.1 (I had been watching for the change).  All of my sideloaded apps continue to run without any problems.

    1.  I commented too soon: I just tried to sideload a new app and was prevented with the message:
      “For security reasons, only apps purchased through the NOOK Shop can be installed.”

      I used the NT Hidden Settings app to look at the Application Settings and found that the “Unknown sources” flag will not stay checked.

  9. I downloaded titanium backup (free version), but can’t get past the overview screen to freeze my device…  How do I get to the freezing section?

    1. i am having the same issue.  is pro version needed for this?  I can not get past the “overview” screen

    2. figured it out, i thought i had busybox installed, but it wasn’t.  Should just have to install that, restart your device and you’ll be all set

  10. I ran Titanium Backup.  Scrolling down the list of apps I didn’t find Device ManagerService.  I’m rooted using CM7.  Could that be why and if so do I have to be concerned about getting upgraded to 1.41?

    1. If you’re running CM7, my guess is you have a NOOK Color, not a NOOK Tablet. Pretty much nothing in this article applies to you.

      1. I’m having the same problem and I do have a tablet, not a nook color.  I’m running 1.4.0 and I used the CM7 from an SD card.  It does not permanantly root, it is only an optional boot, but I cannot find Device Manager Service

  11. Well I have a nook simple e-reader and a nook color reader.  I was considering upgrading to the tablet for the better specs and for casual waittime surfing. I love both products.
    B&N has made my decision easier, I’m NOT buying the nook tab.  I’ll wait till next year when better tablets with better specs come out at lower prices.
    I am tired of buying a companie’s product just to be told that  can only use their branded apps. It would be like buying a Honda and only allowed to use Honda floormatts, batteries, etc. 
    I own your device now, I paid a goodly price for it, let me use it as I see fit.

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