Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keeping your NC at 1.2 (or 1.3)

Udated June 2012 to block 1.4.3. I just made a custom build.prop file and packaged it as a flashable file and am using the prior reversion zipfile.

Barnes and Noble has released OS 1.4.1 for the Nook Color, a nice update to the Nook OS. Landscape mode, promised for a year, has arrived.

Unfortunately, as of now, 1.4.1 is not usefully rootable so those of us who've gotten used to having our NCs set up just so will lose that configuration if we update. If you are running 1.2 or 1.3 stock and prefer not to update (some folks don't like the new home button behavior) this approach will work for you, also.

I created a build.prop file which can be installed via Clockwork to block the over the air update. Basically, you tell BN you're running 1.4.2 already when your NC phones home.

To be clear: you boot once from CWR and run the install script. You remove the CWR card and reboot normally. You have not rooted your device using this process, but copied in one file to a part of your NC that you can't reach from your computer.

So, how do you do this?

You will need:

- a microSD card
- a copy of the Clockwork Recovery disk image
- copies of both of build.prop zip files, from (

- a disk imaging tool such as diskimag (or use dd for mac/linux)
- a good zip tool - I recommend 7zip.

Leave the files zipped.

The Clockwork Recovery disk image is available here

Download the file that matches the size of your SD card (the 128 M file requires a 256 M card - I've never gotten it to fit on a 128M card.)

First, make the card:

Step 1: Make a bootable CWR disk.

Completely unpack the CWR file you downloaded. You must use a file whose name ends in .img. as your source for making the disk. The files I am pointing to for downloading end in .tar.gz, and are essentially "double compressed."

gz = gzip. 7Zip, an excellent cross-platform compression utility, can decompress these, leaving you with a file whose extenion is .tar

.tar = unix tape archive. 7Zip, an excellent cross-platform compression utility, can extract files from these.

Once you've unzipped and untarred the file, you should have an .img file (sized appropriately for your SD card. You will need at least a 256 M card, but I prefer to use larger cards so I can also store backups on them.)

Use an imaging program (diskimag or winimage or dd for mac or linux) to make a bootable SD card by "writing" the .img file to your SD card.

This erases all the data on that card.

The card is analogous to a bootable disk for your PC (remember boot floppies?) The program formats the card and write a very few files to it. Those files tell the Nook Color "you can boot from me. Once booted, run Clockwork Recovery."

After you make the disk, leave it mounted on your computer.

Copy both of the zip files onto your CWR card. Leave them zipped!

Safely remove the card from your computer. Power down your Nook Color and insert the CWR card. Power on, and you will boot into Clockwork Recovery, which is controlled using the volume and power buttons to go up and down in menus (volume) or back (power.) An action is chosen using the N button on your NC.

go to "Install Zip from SDcard. " Use the "manually select" option and install

Hit the power button to go back to "reboot," remove the card from the slot, and reboot.

When and if you are ready to update to 1.4.2, you can use the second file,, to restore your old build.prop. Be sure you have not formatted
your device before trying this; NCs with no build.prop are not bootable and are easiest
to fix via a full restore.

If you want to, you can use this technique in conjunction with a restore to "lock" your
OS at a restore point pre-1.4.2 -- if, for instance, you like the old touchscreen activation more than the button-based activation as many do.

To do so, you would follow the instructions for doing a clean install - formatting /system, /data and /cache being key - and then install the preferred OS.

and then you would apply the preserve zip, or if you have the 1.3 updater, you
could do a clean 1.2 install, then update that to 1.3, then lock that down.

It turns out there is also a flashable 1.3 installation file available, which you can use to go directly to 1.3 following the same process as for 1.2.

The file lives at

and I have never used it myself.