Step-by-step: how to install Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on the Nook Color [updated May 2013]

I previously posted about how to get CyanogenMod 7 on a Nook Color, well here’s a really simple guide for how to get CyanogenMod 10 (i.e. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) on your Nook Color.

My intention here is to provide a no-frills, this is what works for me article that doesn’t require you to read anything else.

Please note: although it is possible to run Android 4.x on the Nook Color, it is slow because the Nook Color is now quite old hardware.  You will have one of the latest versions of Android, but your Nook Color will be no competition for a new Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus or similar tablet.  For me personally, being able to run a full version of Android on my Nook Color was useful a couple of years ago, but I have got used to my phone and other devices responding quickly to my interactions, and the Nook Color is, for me, simply too frustratingly slow.  For this reason I no longer use my Nook Color, and do not intend to update this article further.

Overview of the process (for newbies)

Just like your desktop or laptop computer, the Nook Color has an operating system (OS) installed on it.  It’s not Windows or MacOS like your desktop/laptop, it’s Android.  In this tutorial we wipe out the OS and replace it with the Cyanogen build of Android OS.

The Nook Color has internal memory and this is where its OS is normally running.  To replace it, we first create a memory card that the Nook Color can boot from, and then we wipe and replace the OS on the internal memory.

A desktop computer will typically check if it has a bootable DVD in the optical drive slot before checking the internal hard disk.  In exactly the same way, the Nook Color checks the micro SDHC card first, so if you make a special bootable micro SDHC card you can bypass the built-in OS.  That is how this process works.

After over-writing the OS in the internal memory, we remove the memory card and the Nook then starts using the new OS we have installed.  Simple.

This sounds scary! How risky is it?

When the Nook Color switches on, it first checks whether it can start using either the memory card or the internal memory. If it encounters a major problem you see a error message on screen.  If you manage to make a complete mess of installing the replacement OS, when the Nook Color starts it will get stuck.  After a certain number of failed attempts to start up you should see a message saying that there was a problem and that the device is automatically resetting itself to factory defaults (which resets the Nook Color back to Barnes & Noble factory defaults).

Because of the way the Nook Color will automatically reset to factory defaults in my opinion it is very hard to “brick” your Nook Color (i.e. render it useless).  This is true regardless of which version of Cyanogen Mod you choose to install – “stable” or “nightly” (at the time of me writing this there is no “stable” CM-10).

However, I feel compelled for legal reasons to nevertheless state that:

THE PROCEDURES DESCRIBED IN THIS ARTICLE MAY INVALIDATE YOUR DEVICE WARRANTY AND MAY CAUSE DAMAGE TO YOUR DEVICE.  IF YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS YOU DO SO ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

In particular, over-clocking your Nook Color (not currently possible in CM-10 at the time of writing but is possible in the older CM-7/Gingerbread) could in principle shorten the life of your device.  (But you get to choose whether to overclock in the Settings after you have installed Cyanogen Mod.)

What you need before you start

  • a Barnes & Noble Nook Color
  • micro SDHC card compatible with the Nook Color (2Gb is fine)
  • a converter so that you can read/write to the SDHC card using your computer

You can get small capacity 2Gb micro SDHC cards quite cheaply and since there is a constant stream of updates for the Nook Color, it makes sense to buy a cheap one just to use for “hacking” your Nook Color.  I have a cheap 2Gb Sandisk Class 2 micro SDHC card as well as a higher spec 16Gb Sandisk Class 6 micro SDHC card both of which I got from Amazon.  I use the 16Gb card for my videos, photos and files, and the 2Gb card is just for “hacking”.  If you want to get a large memory card I recommend looking out for the fairly new Lexar class 10 32Gb card which is relatively inexpensive – if you can find it in stock anywhere.

Step 0: Backup?

If you already have data on your Nook Color that you want to keep you must do a backup first.  I am not an expert on backing up Android devices such as the Nook, so I will leave that to other people on the web.  However here are my tips:

  • Backup any installed applications using App Backup & Restore.  This App will copy the installation files for all your Apps to your memory card (so if you are using the same card for step 1, make sure you copy everything off it first)
  • Backup Angry Birds (all versions) using AngryBirdsBackup by Peirrick O’Murphy.

Reminder: THE FOLLOWING STEPS WILL ERASE ALL DATA ON YOUR NOOK COLOR.  IF YOU ALREADY HAVE DATA ON YOUR NOOK COLOR THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP, MAKE SURE YOU CREATE A BACKUP FIRST.

Step 1: Set up the Micro SDHC card to install from

First off you need to download all the different things needed for the micro SDHC card:

  • ClockworkMod Recovery image for Nook Color (the 1Gb image is fine – there’s no need to use a larger one; you can re-format the card to full-capacity once you’ve finished).  Download the ZIP and unzip it to extract the .img file.  (Tip: at the time of writing the links to download on androidforums.com are not all working – go to the end of the forum thread, post 151 or later.)
  • Microsoft Windows users: Download a utility for writing the ClockworkMod image to your memory card.  I am using ImageWriter for Windows.
  • If you have never hacked your Nook Color before, you will want to repartition it.  To do this, download this ZIP that will repartition the storage inside the Nook and this ZIP which will format those partitions ready for installing CyanogenMod. [Source]
  • CyanogenMod 10 for “Encore” (that’s the Nook Color code name).  This is available from the Cyanogen downloads site (select the latest “cm-10″).  At the time of writing this article there is no “stable” release yet but there are release candidates (as of May 2013) and nightlies.  I recommend you choose the latest release candidate (that’s the one with “RC” in the name) unless a “stable” is listed by the time you read this.
  • (Optional) Google Apps (use the latest version for Jelly Bean – tip: look for the ZIP files named gapps-jb-[date].zip.  The “jb” means JellyBean.)
    • Note: at the time of writing there is a problem with the keyboard in the very latest Google Apps and this has been discussed in the cyanogenmod forums. What worked for me was to use an older version of Google Apps – I used 20130301 as mentioned by lepirlouit in the forum.

OK, once you’ve downloaded all those things all you need to do is:

  • insert your micro SDHC card into your computer using a reader/adaptor or whatever
  • On a Microsoft Windows PC:
    • Launch ImageWriter for Windows
    • Make sure the drive letter selected is the location of your micro SDHC card
    • Select the ClockworkMod Recovery .img file you downloaded and unzipped
    • Click ‘Write’.  Then wait…
  • On a Mac:
    • Use Disk Utility to erase the SDHC card and format it to FAT32.  Then unmount the SDHC card from a terminal prompt and burn the image from the command line.  (Detailed instructions for Mac here.)
  • Once finished, copy all the other downloaded ZIP files (CyanogenMod 10, Google Apps, etc) onto the micro SDHC card.  Do not unzip these files and do not put these into a sub-folder.
  • TIP: if you cannot fit all the ZIPs onto your SD card, you can do one at a time.  This is a little more time consuming but works just the same.  Example: put Cyanogenmod on the SDHC card without the other ZIPs, and proceed with installation of Cyanogenmod.  Remove the card, delete Cyanogenmod and put the other ZIPs on the card, and repeat.
  • Unmount the micro SDHC card safely as you would normally do with any memory card.

Step 2: Run the install

Get into ClockWorkMod:

  • insert the memory card you just created and switch on your Nook Color
  • you should see a loading message in the middle of the screen that has skulls on either side
  • next you get a menu in amber colour text.
  • You use the volume buttons to go up and down the menu, the nook button selects a menu option.  The power button takes you up a menu.

Repartition your Nook’s internal storage (skip this step if you have done it previously):

  • go to “Install zip from SD card”
  • select the repartition package (repartition2GBdata-v1.zip)
  • go back to the main menu (use power button) and select reboot
  • go back to “Install zip from SD card” and this time select the reformat package (reformatData-v1.zip)
  • go back to the main menu (use power button) and select reboot

Install CyanogenMod 10 etc:

  • go to “wipe data/factory reset” (and follow the steps to confirm your intentions)
  • go to “Install zip from SD card”
  • select the CM10 ZIP file
  • (optional) select the Google Apps ZIP file
  • go back to the main menu (use power button)
  • remove the micro SDHC card from your Nook Color
  • select reboot

After reboot:

  • Just as with CM7, in my experience CM10 does not boot first time.  I had to power off and on again and then it worked fine.
  • When CM10 starts for the first time you will be prompted to configure your device and this includes selecting which Google Apps you want.  (If you omit installing the Google Apps package then you won’t get this last bit)

 

Posted in Nook
36 comments on “Step-by-step: how to install Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on the Nook Color [updated May 2013]
  1. TRISH says:

    when i try to run the install from sd card…nook just opens like normal. i’ve done everything. even formatted the sd card while in the nook as someone on xda suggested. i’m running 1.4.3 which seems to be the problem. Any ideas?

    • James says:

      When you view the contents of the SD card after formatting and burning the Clockworkmod image, do you see files? (What I am getting at is whether the image was written correctly)? I had some problems with Win32 Image Writer and have used WinImage as well – it may be worth a try.

  2. cheepgeek says:

    This was an awesome walkthrough! Now my nook is awesome for the very first time ever!

  3. Greg says:

    James,

    This was a great tutorial! Everything worked, but the CM10 nightly I used has some glitches that are annoying. If I want to replace it with the previous CM7 Stable, how do I make changes? I tried the process you describe above again, but the menus are all different…

    Thank you,
    Greg

    • James says:

      Hi Greg,
      The earlier tutorial on CM 7.1 should answer your question.
      Regards
      James

      • jon says:

        hi, i just upgraded to cm10 and would like to know if there was a way to increase the storage. it only has 1gb? oh, sorry its a 8gb nookcolor

        • James says:

          Hi, unless you want to break the cover there’s no way to physically upgrade the internal storage, but you can add a large SDHC card. You can repartition the internal storage to change the ratio between the system and media partitions – this is mentioned in my tutorial as bullet point 3 under the heading “Step 1: Set up the Micro SDHC card to install from” – check the source link for full info on this step and your different options for repartitioning.

  4. poke poke says:

    AWhen I try to do this, exactly as you put it, my nook just starts up normally, no errors or anything. Yes the sdcard is in it and yes I can see files in it on the computer. I use WinImager and a kingston(?) Microsd. Please help me

    • poke poke says:

      Correction, I use a Lexar micro sd card with a kingston adapter.

      • James says:

        I am not sure what is causing this. Did the clockwork recovery image write ok? What you describe suggests to me the image did not write properly, so when the Nook booted it decided it could not boot off the sdhc card and instead booted from main memory.

  5. NC says:

    When I downloaded the Google Apps store and CM10 files they were originally just zipped files. I was having trouble and now they are being displayed as zipped compressed folders. After writing the Clockwork Recovery img to the SD you say to copy the other zipped files to the SD but dot not put them into sub folders. Will them being in compressed zipped folders affect the rest of the process?

    • James says:

      The simple answer to this is no it doesn’t matter. Depending on the computer operating system and software you are running, ZIP files may appear to be files that you have to unzip first before being able to read the contents, or they may show as a folder which you can double-click to view the contents of. Either way they are ZIP files and you can follow the instructions as is. If you encounter problems when trying to install however please let me know.

  6. Ron Nelson says:

    So would this work for the nook tablet, using CM10 from http://get.cm/?device=acclaim instead of the color version? That is, same repartioning/formatting/gapps packages? I’m guessing that a nook tablet version of the CM recovery would be needed, but would anything else trip that up?

    I’m running CM10.1 from a microSD boot right now, but am wondering if booting from local memory might help speed/stability…

    Thanks,

    Ron

    • James says:

      I am sorry Ron, I don’t know. For the Nook Color, I have one so can test the process myself as well as answer questions about the process… but the Nook tablet I can’t do this.

  7. Alan Kline says:

    I have tried installing the CyanogenMod and Google Apps on my Nook Color, but every time I do it the virtual keyboard fails to run right from completion of IPL, so of course I cannot register for anything or change any settings that require me to type something. If I just install the CyanogenMod, then the virtual keyboard works fine; if I then ADD the GAPPS stuff, virtual keyboard dies at IPL again. I am working with cm-10.1.3-encore and gapps-jb-20130813-signed. Could I be facing a mismatch between CM and GAPPS versions?

    - Al Kline

    • James says:

      Hi Alan,

      I had the same problem and this is described elsewhere such as on the cyanogenmod forums. What worked for me was to use an older version of Google Apps – I used 20130301 as mentioned by lepirlouit in the forum.

      Regards
      James

  8. James Ullman says:

    how do you get the sd cards original memory back?

    • James says:

      Simply reformat as normal on your Windows PC or Mac. Although the process for writing the clockworkmod image involves special steps, afterwards to wipe the card back to normality, simply format it as you would any other memory card – no special steps required.

      • Rachael M. says:

        When do you do that? I’m running into the problem that after I get CW on my SD it shrinks my storage capacity down too low to put anything else (like gapps or the cm-10.2) on there. Please help?

        • James says:

          I did encounter this problem at one point, but for me this happened because I put additional ZIPs on the SD card that I didn’t need – specifically I accidentally put more than one version of Google Apps on my SD card. If you are really stuck, try installing in batches. WHat I mean is first time around just put Cyanogenmod on the card and install it. Then remove the card, delete cyanogenmod from the card and add google apps and anything else you want to add, reinsert the card and install the extras (you may need to reboot after re-inserting the card).

          A 2Gb ClockWork SD-Card image would be preferable, but I could not find one.

  9. Joe says:

    My girlfriends unrooted NC spontaneously started hanging up in boot (the screen with the N). After using CWM to flash the surprisingly elusive older stock roms, I finally resorted to going with this. Same result. It hangs up in boot. ADB (well, QtADB) brings me directly to QtADB’s recovery screen and my option is to fix UID mismatches, yet doing so gives me a permission denied prompt.

    Fixing permissions, wiping and reseting to factory from within CWM and also TeamWin has produced no different result. I get to the CM 10 nice loading animation, and it sits there. I initially thought it might be what you describe above, and even after multiple reboots and plenty of time (up to 30 min) just sitting there in the boot loading screen.

    It is hanging up at the same boot sequence across multiple roms. I’ve wiped everything I can mount, reset to factory settings, used the partition and format zips, and short of beating my head into the thing, I can produce nothing but a nice little animation that the cat seems to find fascinating. Oh, the stock roms hangup at the N nook loading screen without the little glimmer animation.

    I’m not going to be pretentious, and have nothing to prove and everything to gain, so I ask hoping you or someone my have an idea. I don’t need to turn s-off or anything like that, do I? She hasn’t even used it that much. Nobody has done anything with it hinky before my attempts at repair.

    Any help is appreciated.

    • James says:

      Hi Joe,

      Oh dear, I can imagine how frustrated you are with your Nook Color. Unfortunately I have not encountered the problem you describe. If I understand you correctly, the Nook was working fine and suddenly malfunctioned – the malfunction therefore might not to be related to any custom rom or anything else. Your description of having tried lots of different ROMs repeatedly but with no success suggests to me that the problem might be a hardware failure and not to do with the ROM.

      I’ve approved your comment, and others can contact you or reply here with feedback. You should also check the various websites/forums I link to in this article where you can also seek advice.

      Regards
      James

      • Joe says:

        Exactly right. She set the stock but updated ROM, untouched besides the updates pushed from B&N, to download a magazine while on the charger in the place it normally sits. The next morning it had shut off, and when she tried to boot it hung up partway through the boot sequence. I suspected a hardware issue from the start, but it’s mine for the experimenting. Each ROM I tried hung up after the bootloader in the loading screen. I’m more comfortable with repairing hardware. I’ve had success repairing my iPod, and both of our HTC Evo 4Gs. I’m a little less comfortable on the soft side of things, but my iPod is jailbroken, and our aging Evos have been rooted and we’ve both tried a number of ROMs all with no issues partitioning, formating, wiping and flashing.

        It was worth a shot. I’ll crack it and see if there is something obvious. If I find something successful I’ll let you know as it sounds like an odd case. Thanks for the great tutorial and the second opinion on this unfortunate little out of warranty device.

  10. Shara Black says:

    I rooted my nook to the newest android jelly bean. no issues till I went to set it up. my keyboard isn’t working. what do I do?

    • James says:

      Hi Shara, this is mentioned earlier in the discussions but you asking has reminded me to update the main article, so thanks for your question.

  11. GP says:

    Woohoo! Worked first try. Nook Color 1.43. Thanks man! Simple easy to follow and no broken links to downloads, love it. Breathing new life into a Nook that’s sat lifeless for 6+ months.

  12. Nick Johns says:

    Hello, when i try and run these from zip following your instructions, it says installation aborted, do you know what might have caused this and possibly how to fix it?

  13. Steve says:

    When I go to the repartition2GBdata-v1.zip, how do I get it to repartition. Here’s what the screen says:
    Choose a zip to apply
    /sdcard/repartition2GBdata-v1/
    -META-INF/
    - tools/

    If I go back to the root to reboot, does it do the partition even though I don’t see anything happen? Same with the reformat….

    Thanks!

    • James says:

      Hi Steve. Sorry for the delay in replying, I imagine you have resolved this already by looking elsewhere. What you describe sounds odd. Did you unzip the zip files onto the SDHC card, or did you copy the whole ZIP files onto the card? You should do the latter (do not unzip the files).
      Regards
      James

  14. Cortez says:

    I downloaded everything correctly and everything is running smoothly for the most part but, when ever i try to access The Google Play Store it force closes before uploading all the way. Also when I am on YouTube for a period of time(10-15 minutes); that app force closes as well. Please help and thanks for this walk through.

    • James says:

      Cortez – sorry I’ve not encountered this problem. Have you tried a different release of CM10? This kind of specific issue within CM10 is typically discussed in the XDA Developers forum. If you are not interested in getting into the details, I suggest re-flashing with the latest stable release of CM10.

  15. Michael says:

    I’m having some difficulty finding the wireless display option in JB 4.3.1. Normally it would appear as a menu option under Settings – Device – Display. Am I missing something obvious here, or . . .

    • James says:

      Michael, sorry I’ve not experienced this problem. I suggest the XDA Developers forum may be able to help you further if you haven’t already resolved this?

  16. Jacob says:

    i followed all the steps but it wont start with cm 10 and for whatever reason i cant get the jelly bean to download to the same sd card it says there isnt enough space which makes no sense

    • Jacob says:

      also with cm10 i just get a blank screen after installing everything

      • James says:

        Jacob – I’ve updated the article to explain how to work with small capacity SDHC cards. Essentially you do Cyanogenmod first, then delete it from the card and put the other ZIPs on, reboot the tablet back into Clockworkmod and repeat. It’s more time consuming but works.

        Regarding the blank screen – I’ve not encountered this but here’s two suggestions: (a) did you wipe the cache and other partitions as described in this article? (b) did you try reseting the tablet again (i.e press and hold the power button to power down and then press again to restart?). I’ve found on several occasions that immediately after installing cyanogenmod the Nook Color doesn’t boot properly, and switching it off and on again once or twice resolves the problem.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Step-by-step: how to install Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on the Nook Color [updated May 2013]"
  1. [...] to reflect changes to Cyanogen Mod with the release of version 7.1.0 stable. Please note there is a newer version of this article about Cyanogen Mod 10 (Android Jelly [...]

  2. […] a try; that's what I used. Maybe try using the reformat and repartition files I found here: Step-by-step: how to install Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on the Nook Color [updated May 2013] | JamesRi… Used 10.1.3 dated 9/23/2013 found here: CyanogenMod Downloads I just used a 2GB SD card I had […]