Root for Nook Tablet with CWM on SDCard

Create a Bootable SDCard With ClockWorkMod to Root Nook

Micro SDCardThis article will guide you through creating a bootable SDCard for your Nook that will boot the tablet into Clockworkmod (CWM) Recovery. This will allow you to ROOT the device, make backups, restore backups, flash custom ROMs, and fix a variety of issues with your Nook Tablet (8gb or 16gb).  For an introduction to rooting and descriptions of other options, see our article… Intro to Rooting & Modding Nook Tablet.

The card created with this guide will work with either the 8GB or 16GB Nook Tablet. It will NOT work with the Nook Color. See this thread for help with the NC.

WINDOWS USERS: In the video, I show you how to use a Ubuntu (Linux) Live CD or USB Thumbdrive (guide to build the disk is found here) to make a BOOTABLE SDCard and add the CWM Recovery program to it. The resulting card allows you to access all of the space on the card. You do not need to make any changes in order to copy additional files – up to the full size of the card. If you already have Ubuntu installed, just follow the normal procedures.


  • Download the ClockWorkMod file here (XDA Thread:
  • For existing Linux users, just skip to the “Process”. Windows users, 
  • Copy the CWM zip file to a removable device for use in the Ubuntu environment
  • Copy the link to this web page to the removable device (or print these instructions). In Ubuntu, you can use the FireFox web browser to return to this page.
  • USB “Live” Thumbdrive (click here for instructions)


A. Boot into the Ubuntu (Linux) Operating System

  1. Copy the CWM (zipped) file to the desktop
  2. Right-click on the file & select “Extract here” (creates a folder on the desktop)
  3. Click to open the new “CWM_…..” folder (contains 4 files – NOTE that the video is incorrect when I say 5 files) & leave the window open
  4. Insert your SDCard (we recommend Sandisk 4Gig/Class 4) into a USB-connected adapter and attach to  your computer (When Ubuntu mounts the SDCard, it will open another window showing the contents of the card)
  5. Click on the “Dash Home” icon at the upper left of the desktop
  6. Type “GP” in the text-box of the overlay (will bring up all programs whose names include those letters)
  7. Select the GParted icon that will be displayed (If using “installed” Ubuntu, GParted must be installed first)
  8. Allow GParted opens to initilize (all of the activity indicators are stopped)
  9. Click on the drop-down in the upper-right corner (Before clicking, it will likely display the Hard Drive of the computer – DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES TO YOUR HARD DRIVE!!!)
  10. Select the drive representing your SDCard (should be approximately the same size as your SDCard)

B. Clean up the SDCard

  1. If using a NEW (unused) SDCard you may skip to the next section
  2. Right-click on the visual display of your SDCard (in the GParted window) & select “Unmount” (each time you select a new action in GParted, you must wait until the activity indicator stops before proceding)
  3. Right-Click on each of the existing partitions individually (may only have one) & select “Delete
  4. Right-Click on the “unallocated” space & select “New
  5. Change the “File System” to FAT32 (in the popup dialog)
  6. Accept all other defaulted values in the dialog except if you wish to add a “Label” to name the card
  7. Click on “ADD” to complete this action
  8. Click on the green checkmark (in the upper section of the GParted window) to execute the action
  9. You now have a CLEAN SDCard that is formatted with FAT32 & ready for use (Windows & Mac uses may opt to use the SD Formatter program found at this site:

C. Set up Boot

  1. Right-click on the visual display of your SDCard & select “Manage Flags”
  2. Tick the “Boot” flag & then tick the “LBA” flag
  3. Press the “Close” button
  4. Click on the green checkmark (in the upper section of the GParted window) to execute & allow GParted to complete the action
  5. Remove the SDCard from the computer (It is now bootable but does not have a boot image)
  6. RE-Insert the SDCard into the compute (to mount it again & open a window showing contents)
  7. Copy all 5 items in the “CWM” folder (from item B.3 above) to the window of the new SDCard
  8. Close all the windows on the desktop
  9. Click on the icon representing the SDCard (at the bottom of the docked icons – at the left of the desktop) & select “Safely Remove” or “Unmount”
  10. When the Icon for the SDCard disappears, it is safe to remove the card. (If it does not disappear, click on it again and if it does not offer the option to Safely Remove or Unmount, it is probably safe to remove it anyway. Just be certain that all writes to the card have finished!)

Procedure: (How to use the card)

IMPORTANT! ALWAYS power off the Nook prior to placing an SDCard into the device! If you place an SDCard in a stock Nook, the B&N operating system will mount the card and write data to it. This MAY make the card unusable as a boot device. 

That’s it. You do not need to do anything else to use the card that you created. To do a backup of your existing system or perform other tasks, just power off the Nook, insert the card into the SDCard slot, and power on.

If you wish to flash a new ROM to your Nook, then you should copy the ROM’s file (may be named differently but should have the zip extension) to your new SDCard BEFORE you insert it into your Nook. Alternately, you can SWITCH to a different SDCard after CWM has loaded. In this case, you would have a bootable CWM card and follow the above instructions to run the program. After it loads, just remove the CWM card and insert a different card with the zip file of a custom ROM on it. (Or, use the MOUNT option in CWM to mount the USB connection to your computer and copy the file(s) via USB. Then, use the loaded copy of CWM to flash the ROM.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you. Leave a comment to help us know if this worked for you, or if there are errors, or if you have suggestions to make it better.

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102 Responses to Root for Nook Tablet with CWM on SDCard

  1. sharon says:

    Hi Ray,
    Can i use a SanDisk 32 gb class 10? Thank you for your help

    • Ray says:

      Note: Your comment was being held for your email response. If you did not receive an email from my website, check your spam filter.

      If you already have the chip, it is not difficult to TRY. However, the experience of the past suggests that it would not work. The Nook is (evidently) very picky about what cards will BOOT in the device. Even if a card works great for data, users have had difficulty getting the same cards to boot. That is the reason I suggest an 8GB Class 4 or 6 Sandisk card. It seems to work best. Also, using the Linux GPARTED program is much easier than using Windows.

      One other trick that some users tell me works for them (I have never had to use it): Keep the Nook “tethered” when booting. (“Tethered” means to use the USB cord to attach he Nook to either a computer or power adapter.)

  2. I have an 8GB SD with CWM on it. I cannot get the tablet to boot up onto it. I have redone the card several times. Sometimes the tablet does not appear to even start up with the SD card in. I have to remove it in order to get it to start into stock. If I put the card back in and restart it then just starts up in stock. The card I have is a series 4. What could I be doing wrong?

    • Ray says:

      Creating a bootable card for the Nook is challenging. Issues of the right card brand and the software used are difficult to foretell. Also, users sometimes make minor mistakes that they do not realize.
      TWO suggestions: 1) recreate the card and follow my instructions EXACTLY using a Linux machine and a SanDisk 4GB card. 2) some users have reported that cards which fail to boot normally will boot when “tethered.” Attach the USB power cord during bootup of the device.

  3. In the video tutorial, you had four files and one folder called clockworkmod in When i downloaded it, I noticed there were only 4 files. Is that one folder needed? please help.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I have a nook tablet, used 32 gig micro sd to boot cm 10 from. My problem is its not recognizing the rest of the space on the 32 gig card, its just 500 megs left? What did I do wrong.

  5. jtube300 says:

    Hi, I have installed CWM and flashed unknown sorces from XDA and my nookHD kept booting back into CWM so I pulled out the micro sd and I pressed reboot now and my nook worked fine. Also the unknown sorces worked I want to flash another zip but I eanted to know if it was safe to do what I did before.

    • Ray says:

      You should have no lasting problems using compatible roms which are installed on your SDCard. It only uses the hardware of the device all operating system and its data SHOULD remain on the SDCard.
      If you do have problems with a particular ROM, just remove the SDCard and you are back to the stock operating system.
      Note that my guides are for the older version of the Nook – not the HD. I have an HD and (when time permits) I plan to write some guides for it.

  6. Sharon says:

    Hi Ray, I have an upset daughter .Her nook tablet 1.4.3 only lets her play 2 games and 2 books and gives her the message to archive items due to full memory. So I am thinking about rooting it for her. Where do I start? Would I have the option to go back to BN program from time to time?
    Thanks, a determined mother and rooting noob.

  7. Zachariah Schimp says:

    Hey Ray, thanks for this awesome article. I am in a bit of a pickle. I just bought a Nook at a garage sale for $60, and the previous owners had rooted it. They factory reset it also, but now I cannot download any apps, just books, and every time I turn it on it comes up with this error: “The application DownloadAdmin (process has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.” I took it to B&E, and the lady told me that when they rooted it, they had to turn automatic updates off, and basically the only way for me to fix the problem is to re-root it and turn auto-updates back on. I really don’t know how to do that, I’m just on an adventure trying to figure it out. I have rooted my Android before, but this is a different beast. If you could help me out, that would be great. In fact, if you could email me, that would be even better.

    More specific to this article, I followed the instructions for setting up the MicroSD card, and I copied the four items onto it, and after that I turned the Nook off, put the card in, and turned it back on, but to no avail. It simply opened the card, and showed me four files that could not be read. What could be the cause of this? I also put the NT_stock_1.4.2_Ribbon_Root_B& file into the same card, as you had indicated that it was okay to use the same card for both purposes, so long as the card is big enough. Could this have been the problem?

    • Ray says:

      First – my guide is for the Nook Tablet (either 8gb or 16gb). It will not work on the Nook Color or the new HD (that is in the works.)
      Assuming that you have a Nook Tablet, visit my article here : Jelly Bean & Root for Nook Tablet 1.4.3
      Making a bootable SDCard is a challenge. Follow the instructions exactly and use a Samsung 4gb card.

  8. andarius says:

    i tried to root my nook tablet now it want turn on

    • Ray says:

      Are you certain that the battery is not discharged? If you use a charger that is not the one that came with the device it will not charge properly.

  9. Jim McConnell says:

    Hi Ray: There are only the four files (Boot.img, Flashing_boot.img, MLO, and u-boot.bin) that dump into a folder named SDCARD. Leaving us with a meaningless mess that’s almost guaranteed to brick our devices. Please help us find the fifth file that was supposed to be there so we can continue… What happened? Did B&N come in & flush the fix? This has become an extremely frustrating experience for a lot of us…

    • Kenny Wilson says:


      When I did this there was only four files and it worked just fine.

    • Ray says:

      Please read the article. It states that there are FOUR files (not 5 as the video says). Also, I have answered that question several times in the comments below.

      • Hi Ray. In the video when you apply flags I do exactly as you do verbatim. When i remove the card and reinsert it it shows as a sd card again. Yours shows as a boot device. I can not get this and the nook just boots as normal with the card. I did previously try the easy root I got the box then you have to search in search field that found nothing so i tried your method.

        • Ray says:

          Creating a bootable SDCard is a challenge. Are you using a SanDisk 4GB, class 4 or similar? Other brands sometimes will not work. If not, go to WalMart and pick up one for about $10 and start over.

  10. Kenny says:

    Ray I and having an issue with Ubuntu. I have it load on a thumb drive and it comes up on the computer fine. However when I get to the step of mounting the SD card with CWM it say unable the mount. Can you help me out as to what I might be going wrong?

    • Ray says:

      Ubuntu 11.10 seems to work better. Best advice is to install Ubuntu on the unused space of your computer. Then you can dual boot to either Ubuntu or Windows.

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