Nook Color – CM7 on micro-SD card

Barnes & Nobel Nook Color

After I upgraded my Nook Color firmware to v1.3.0  I was back to a non-rooted eBook reader, which meant no access to the Android Market with lots of free games for my Kids to play.  The Barnes and Noble App Store does have a fair amount of Apps, and includes some free ones.  Support B&N and the App Developers buy a least one paid App, I did you,  should too.

That said, I wanted access to the Android market.  The options available for a v1.3 Nook Color are …

1. Rooting (Add additional functions to v1.3.0. e.g. Android Market, etc)


2. Flashing ROM (replace v1.3)

CM 7.1  (work with all kind of Andriod devices, phones, etc)

Phiremod  (Nook specific version of CM7)

3. SD Card (leaves v1.3 on Nook, runs from micro-SD card)

CM 7.1 (Cyanogenmod version 7.1)

I decided to go with the CM7 (Cyanogenmod version 7.1) on micro-SD Card route, because I only allotted 1 hour to the project.  Not enough time to do my typically ‘way-too-detailed’ research.  I am in the middle of a really good book and wanted to keep using the B&N reader ( I like it, and knew I wouldn’t have time to research alternatives).  The SD Card option allow me to remove the micro-SD Card, restart the Nook Color back to v1.3.0 and my book, Perfect.


Following the instructions from xda-developers.  …for PCs running Windows.

A.  Required before you start:

  1. micro-SD Card at least 2GB (SD to Micro Adapter – came with card)
  2. SD Card reader (your laptop might already have this)
  3. Download SD Installer image.  HERE (allows SD Card to Boot Nook)
  4. Download Win32DiskImager. HERE (Note: WinImage did not work for me)
  5. Download CM 7.1. HERE (Nook device = encore, I used Stable version.  Nightly is Here)
B.  Unzip files.
  1. SD Installer image file (step 3 above).  generic-sdcard-v1.3.img.gz to generic-sdcard-v1.3.img [117 MB].  I use 7Zip for these steps.
  2. Win32DiskImager file (step 4 above). into a directory.
  3. NOTE:  DO NOT unzip CM7 file
C.  Write image to micro-SD Card.
  1. Insert micro-SD Card into Card reader. When Auto-play starts, [Drive Letter – “J” on my PC.] Exit auto-play.
  2. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - AutoPlay
  3. Run program Win32DiskImager.exe from directory created in Step B.2 above.
  4. In program Win32DiskImager.exe – Click on the Folder Icon and choose Image File generic-sdcard-v1.3.img from Step B.1 above.
  5. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - Win32DiskImager
  6. In program Win32DiskImager.exe – Under “Device” choose the Drive Letter of your micro-SD Card.  [Drive Letter – “J” on my PC]
  7. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - Win32DiskImager
  8. In program Win32DiskImager.exe – Click the Write Button.  [Make sure you have the right drive letter for your micro-SD card, or else disaster.]
  9. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - Win32DiskImager
  10. In program Win32DiskImager.exe – Click the Yes Button. to the confirm overwrite message.
  11. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - Win32DiskImager
  12. In program Win32DiskImager.exe – Progress bar finishes.  Click the Exit button.
  13. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - Win32DiskImager
D.  Copy CM7 zip-file to micro-SD Card.
  1. Start Windows Explorer.  [Click start, type “ex” into Search, Choose “Windows Explorer” from list.
  2. Find file downloaded in Step A.5.  [Tip:  If you have no idea where the file is type the file-name in the “Start, Search” box]
  3. Right click on File.  Select Copy.
  4. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - Copy
  5. Left Click on the SD Card Drive, listed under computer. [“J” on my PC].  Select Paste.
  6. Nook Color CM7 on micro-SD - Paste
  7. When complete, Remove micro-SD card from PC.
E.  Start Nook Color with CM 7.1 micro-SD Card.
  1. Power off Nook.  Hold Power Button until Power off message appears.
  2. Insert micro-SD Card into Nook.  This takes some practice, card is tiny, angle is bad. Here is a video
  3. Hold Power Button Down, Until Nook Screen Flashes and “loading” appears, release power button.
  4. You will see boot text appear…file is been unzipped. When finished, Nook will power off.
  5. Hold Power Button Down, Until Nook Screen Flashes and “Cyanogenmod loading” appears, release power button.  Enjoy the boot animation.
  6. That’s it.
F:  Enable Wi-Fi.
  1. Click the Icon on the bottom left (looks like a list).
  2. Choose Setting,
  3. Wireless Network,
  4. Wi-Fi settings.
  5. Choose your Wi-Fi network and enter password,
  6. Connect.
G:  Install Market and Gapps (Google Apps).
  1. Hold Down Power Button, Choose “Power off” from menu.
  2. Remove micro-SD card and insert into PC.
  3. Download Google Apps install file. HERE.  Scroll to end of page, choose CM7 version.
  4. Copy file to micro-sd card, DO NOT UNZIP. (see above for steps).
  5. Insert micro-SD Card into Nook Color, Power on.
  6. Hold Down Power Button, Choose “Reboot” from menu.
  7. Choose “Recovery” and “OK”.
  8. Nook will reboot, will see text of file unzipping. and it will power off.
  9. Power on.
  10. You will have choice to backup device to Google Account.
  11. Next Setup your Google account. (options: create, login, skip)  Don’t skip or market wont be available.
  12. Next Google Location Setup (options:  allow location service, use location with search)
  13. Set time zone, date/time.
  14. That’s it, you are in. Enjoy your new tablet.
  15. The icon in the middle (looks like old windows logo), between the phone and earth allows access to Apps.
Remember, power off, remove micro-sd card, power on, and you are back to Nook version 1.3.0.

9 thoughts on “Nook Color – CM7 on micro-SD card

  1. When I try to write the image file “generic-sdcard-v1.3.img” to an 8gb microSD card I get an error message that there is not enough space on the disk.

  2. Thanks for this very clear article on how to run MM 7.1 from an SD card. I have a new Nook Color, with the 1.4.1 firmware. (It has never been rooted or flashed.) Will the method you describe work with an NC w/1.4.1 firmware?

    1. Yes this will work. No changes are made to the original B&N firmware.
      Analogy: Think booting your PC from a CD, once you remove the CD your PC will boot the original Operating System.

  3. I am about to buy a preloaded cm7 card off of ebay.i’m running version 1.4.2 right now does it matter?will it still boot from sd card?

    1. I hope you are getting the preloaded CM7 card for a steal, as you can create your own if you follow my steps.
      CM7 on micro-SD Card will boot on a Nook with firmware 1.4.2.
      I just updated my Nook Color from firmware 1.4.1 and confirmed it.

  4. I followed your how to guide step by step and finally got it to work. I have tried many different root instructions but your is the only one that worked. First, I would like to say thank you for putting together such a great guide. I do have one problem though. After installing cyanogenmod 7, my touch screen will not work. Any suggestions or ideas on how to fix that? I am scared to death on having to redo the whole thing again considering I have tried almost 20 times and it only worked once.

    Thank you so much!

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