Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet Receive Root Access Killing Software Updates

Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2011 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: update, tablet, root, nook tablet, modding, kindle fire

Both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet have been given recent software updates. These updates were stated to improve performance and squash minor bugs. Unfortunately, in addition to these improvements, the automatic updates contained a “fix” that removed the ability to gain root access to the tablets. Specifically, the updates in question were 6.2.1 for the Amazon Kindle Fire and 1.4.1 for the Barnes and Noble Nook tablet. What is even more unfortunate is the fact that these updates are pushed to the devices automatically. The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet will update as soon as they are connected to a WiFi hotspot, for example.

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The Nook Tablet gets an even worse deal, however. In addition to the removal of root access, users will not be able to side-load other Android applications. The ability to side-load other Android apps was likely a deciding factor for many when comparing the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire, as well as Nook eReaders traditionally being more hackable and mod-friendly.

Currently, the only way to keep root access on both tablets is to stay off of WiFi connections or disable automatic updates in the case of the Nook Tablet. If your Nook has already been updated, XDA has somewhat of a solution. While you will not be able to use the 1.4.1 update, you will at least be able to have root access, mod, and side-load applications to your hearts content. Their fix involves rolling back the 1.4.1 update to the previous 1.4.0 update and is detailed here.

Kindle Fire users will need to either stay off of WiFi hotspots or in the case of an already updated tablet wait for a workaround from the modding community.

The restrictions placed on both tablets are not likely to please users, especially buyers of Nook tablets as Barnes and Noble's eReaders have traditionally been friendly to modders. On one hand, users want options and the ability to install third party applications. On the other hand are Amazon and Barnes and Noble selling their tablets at a loss and needing to make up money by convincing people to buy into their software and services (their applications, bookstore, et al). For aspiring modders, patience is key as workarounds are likely to emerge soon. Until then, getting a tablet for cheap will have to suffice ;).

Where do you stand on the issue, do you think removing root access was the right move for Amazon and B&N? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Maximum PC

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December 21, 2011 | 10:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This was a bad idea. I purchased my Nook Tablet with the sole intent to change it around. I'm sure I'll work around this annoyance.

December 21, 2011 | 12:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

there is a workaround. it will reset your device but it will also take off the downloaded update, and let you keep the 1.4.0 version allowing the sideloading apps. it will also root your device from what i understand...ill copy and paste...

[How-To] restore the ability to sideload apps[ Edited ] .Options
Mark Message as NewBookmarkSubscribeSubscribe to this message's RSS FeedHighlight This MessagePrint This MessageE-mail this Message to a FriendReport Abuse to a Moderator....yesterday - last edited yesterday

Since most of us would throw away our tabs if they were totally locked down, here's how to un-1.4.1 your device. Barnes & Nobel really screwed up when they locked down the Nook Tablet. The technical community no longer backs this device up. However, here's how you can get back to the point when this device had it's one saving grace.. Root access and side-loading.


Making a magic SDCard which will take you back to stock 1.4.0 is easy! This method will allow you to restore 1.4.0 firmware onto your Nook Tablet. Personally, I think holding the buttons and halting the device boot 8 times in a row is a bit time consuming. So, here is how you make a "Magic SDCard".


Just follow these 4 easy steps to restore your device to 1.4.0.

1.Download this file:​ockRecovery%2F (Do not change the file name).
2.Copy the file on a Micro SDCard.
3.Insert the Micro SDCard into your Nook Tablet
4.Turn on your Nook and observe a factory restoration. This will initiate Recovery Mode and flash the entire zip. will restore your device to stock firmware and wipe all user data..Upon reboot, you have aproximately 20 minutes of wifi access before the 1.4.1 update is reloaded.
5.Root your device using instructions here:​354487

6.Block firmware update here:​99801&postcount=2


I urge Barnes & Nobel to stop locking this feature which is used by "a small percentage of users". This "small percentage" are the geeks who recommend or denounce products vocally. The "small percentage" are the people whom are trusted to be asked for product recommendations on a regular basis by peers. Without the backing of geeks, this line is destined for failure. Currently I own one because it was given to me, however, I would never pay for such a locked product.

Check out my developer pages at

got this from the b&n community, it is also somewhere in the xda forum. enjoy!

December 21, 2011 | 01:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If a workaround to not just root the Nook Tablet but to fully bypass the stock OS completely (as is the case with my Nook Color running CM7) then I'll take another look at it, till then the better specs mean nothing to me if I can't actually use it the way I'd like.

December 22, 2011 | 04:18 PM - Posted by Patrick Bostwick (not verified)

B&N has clearly violated their own Terms of Service!! Look at the bottom of Section 1(a):

It's clearly stated that users may side load apps! I want to return my Nook now!!! Unacceptable!!!!

August 21, 2012 | 12:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Take them to court RIGHT NOW! SUE THE HELL OUT OF THEM! Hypocrisy does not go too well in the courts. Just do it before they have the chance to change them!

December 23, 2011 | 10:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well to correct patrict it says your allowed to side-load content.. And from what I hear (mine NT was a christmas gift, I had to return without use).. We can still side-load whatever we want.. We just can't run the apps..

So we you can side load books & pdf's..

Wasn't really into the apps.. Could have lived.. But, refuse to be dictated to and controled on something called a tablet.. So it went back. I figure in a year, someone will come out with a great open source Tablet that is optimized for e-reading, seeing there is a demand for it.. I will wade back in when that happens.

December 24, 2011 | 05:25 PM - Posted by swooning (not verified)

It was not only stupid on B&N's part (their app store is crap and will never make them money as it stands, so if that's their plan they're going about it in exactly the wrong way), I really think it qualified as a dick move. Which is just the WRONG move to make when a big customer base for the nook tab is people who wanted a small tablet that gave them the flexibility to sideload apps, not just content. At this point I'm fixing to roll my nook tab back to 1.4.0, but honestly am wishing I'd just gone w/ the Fire since the amazon app store - while still limited - is WORLDS better than the joke of an app store available on the nook at this point. Very, very glad I'd already loaded a launcher and a few other key apps before the update. Very, very disappointed in the nook, which up till now I was loving.

December 24, 2011 | 08:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm taking my Nook Tablet back. Forget BN. I'll buy a full android device and download books fron google.

December 26, 2011 | 01:02 AM - Posted by DrewDuva (not verified)

Very disappointed to hear about B&N locking down the Nook! I'm doing some research to decide if I want Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire..nook seemed to have all the advantages once rooted, but now this throws me all off. An absolute put off. On the other hand 8gb non-expandable in the Fire is a hard pill to swallow, and cloud storage would do me little good on a wi-fi only device.

December 27, 2011 | 03:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Both B&N and Amazon should really rethink their strategies. Locking the root permanently will drive away their sales. Listen up B&N and Amazon: "don't call your devices tablets if you are going to prevent your customers from customizing the products they purchased to suit their needs. Just call them 'eReaders' and leave other companies to design a true tablet where customers can be free to customize them." If you're going to use android technology why would you restrict/block many things. You have many tablet rivals out there who are researching and reading these very same forums. They will see what the demands of customers are and next thing you know you'll be filing bankruptcy while those reap in the benefits. You'll lose your customers including the loyal ones. I'm not a hacker, a developer or whatever. Just an average user observing what the demand is out there and seeing the potential of some great device(s).

December 27, 2011 | 04:31 PM - Posted by AZ Heather (not verified)

I asked for and got my Nook Tablet for Christmas. The main reason for requesting the Nook was the ability to root and gain open access to apps. I am now on the fence about whether or not I want to keep it. Guess I will hold on to it for another couple of weeks and see if anyone out there can figure out a "chink in the armor" in the software update. I tried to bypass the stock update, but it did not work. Tried several times, several different ways in fact. Crappy move on B&N's part.

December 28, 2011 | 10:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I was planning on purchasing a Nook Tablet yesterday but after the salesman told me rooting the tablet would violate my extended service warranty I decided to hold off. Now I have seen the reports about locking down the devices and I am very glad I didn't make the purchase.

Waging war against your customer base is really never a winning strategy.

I will have to rethink my tablet plans.

January 2, 2012 | 05:26 PM - Posted by sickofbn (not verified)

I have a color on CM7 and a tablet rooted. CM7 on the colow wiped the BN software but the tablet root kept the option of switching back and forth. I could actually buy BOOKS from BN on my tablet which I did regularly then toggle back to the android side for apps. I thought that is what BN wanted to do (sell books). Now I am sure the rooters will switch to a similar setup as the CM7 color and eliminate the ability to buy books on the nook. It would be poetic justice if BN lost book sales while trying to charge people for Angry Birds. Which is fine with me....I'm done with BN after this move. They promoted the nook as a rootable device and used it as a competitive advantage over the Fire. Now, once the Christmas units are sold they changed the rules. They won't get another dime from me.

January 4, 2012 | 02:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's to bad that they did this. I have the Nook Tablet that came with 1.4.0 and downloaded apps from other locations that were not in the B&N app store. I have been buying my e-books from them so they have been making their money - but the other day my system automatically updated to 1.4.1 and have lost the ability to sideload apps but can still use the ones already downloaded. Well they just lost me as a customer. I'm going to roll back by nook to 1.4.0, root it, deregister my account and will now download my books and apps from other sources. I already have the kindel app on my nook and have downloaded some books from Amazon. Too bad B&N, I think you will loose a lot of customers. I will be spreading the word

January 5, 2012 | 01:04 AM - Posted by juxtaposer (not verified)

Happily, this does not cause a problem for me: at present I do not have a Nook or a Kindle or an iPad or any other tablet. This kind of issue reduces the appeal of the devices for me (especially since I have a different piece of equipment that was diminished in like manner and for which now its feature as an objet d'art dominates).

This may be good as it will focus on the e-books instead and will narrow the target market to the more avid and more often traveling readers who really want to focus on reading with a dedicated device or who want to minimize shelf space requirements.

I would have to consider the break-even point of how many e-books' savings would offset the cost of the reader and what would be the risk of loss when the device finally stops working.

The cost of an e-reader would be a good start towards the price of something more capable.

January 5, 2012 | 09:07 AM - Posted by Nook Color user (not verified)

BN is amazing. How did they screw this one up. This is a problem with whole Google market place and different companies market places. Google uses their OS to promote their market place. How are these android tablets supposed to compete with Apple tablets?

I am not sure if all Apple competitors can survive competing with Apple when they have to feed Google. Google should give a chunk of sale profit for tablet maker or they should make their own tablets, stop "giving" their Android to companies and be just like Apple.

Whole problems with tablets are limitations imposed by manufacturers. Lack of USB port and memory slots in case of many tablets make them somewhat crippled. Now software limitations. What limitation is next?

January 8, 2012 | 01:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hmm, I thought dictators were dying off. I guess not. B&N is going to lose a LOT of customers and money over this.

January 8, 2012 | 08:35 PM - Posted by Lar (not verified)

B&N really messed up on this one. If I buy a device I don't want anyone telling me what or when I can put things on it. This is what happens when you let the idiot exec's that know nothing about the consumer level make decisions. I'm going to return the nook and get a tablet where I don't have to be dictated too. BAD BAD move. Get someone that knows what they're doing over there.

January 22, 2012 | 08:22 AM - Posted by Jodel Sales (not verified)

Great updated posts! I've got that kind of issue with my Kindle Fire as well. Thanks!

February 21, 2012 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Sean Wilson (not verified)

Well all I have to say is. To hell with nook. I will buy a real tablet for 100 dollars more thatn I can do anything I want with. and runs honeycomb lol

February 21, 2012 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Sean Wilson (not verified)

Well all I have to say is. To hell with nook. I will buy a real tablet for 100 dollars more thatn I can do anything I want with. and runs honeycomb lol

February 28, 2012 | 07:41 AM - Posted by sam789 (not verified)

The ability to side-load opposite Golem apps was probable a determining figure for numerous 70-649 when comparing the Nook Paper and the Inflame Onset, as healthy as Nook eReaders traditionally beingness statesman hackable and mod-friendly.

April 7, 2012 | 09:44 PM - Posted by E Skiles (not verified)

I was online with a BN rep and was asking if you could attach an external hard drive and was told it would not. When I asked why he responded that it was an E-reader not a computer..... B&N needs to seriously rethink their strategy!!!

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