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Install CyanogenMod 12.1 on Barnes & Noble Nook HD or Nook HD+ in Five Easy Steps

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By PeteInSequim, Member on 25th September 2015, 11:52 PM
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Want to try Nougat on your Nook HD+ or HD?
Installing Nougat has never been easier. Procedure described in post 239 of this thread.

Development for unofficial CM-12.1 for Nook HD and Nook HD+ has ceased.
The author @amaces has moved on to Marshmallow (Android 6), and the zip files for these progressive releases are what you now see at the collaboration link. If you wish to install CM-12.1 look instead through the pages of his "obsolete" folder for "cm-12.1-20151018" and "twrp-" final releases. CWM should install these properly but later versions are likely to fail due to deficiencies in the CWM recovery utility.

Better yet try the latest Marshmallow and TWRP versions. For this you must create a new bootable microSD card using these files provided by @belfastraven and the downloaded zip files "" and "". These versions may advance by the time you happen to do this. The procedure is the same as described in the .pdf guide for CM-12.1, except with the new files.

And use a current GApps file for the ARM platform, Android 6.0 from

This is a detailed tutorial for beginners. Seasoned users may find it overly verbose.

My toy box contains some Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets, and I recently became aware of CyanogenMod. I studied about it for a while and finally tried a CM-12.1 installation. It was successful, and I was so impressed by the improvements that I told some Nook-owning friends about it. They quickly decided to do likewise and asked for instructions.

My friends and I are all retirees, so we have seven Saturdays a week to spend as we wish. I decided to spend a few of mine re-writing my notes into an instruction manual. As of today, September 25, 2015, there are eleven formerly stock Nook tablets whose beginner-owners have followed the instruction and successfully installed CM-12.1. Several of these are being regularly updated as revisions are released. No bricks have been cast so far.

During the study period I spent a lot of time on xda developers pages, and it eventually occurred to me that there might be other beginners who could make good use of Nook-specific instructions. So I am pleased to offer this manual to anyone interested, and hope it will save you some time and trouble.

The procedure uses the technique and boot files by @leapinlar. The ROM and TWRP zip files used are those created by @amaces. Profound thanks to these experts for their diligent work and generosity.

Below is a synopsis of the instructions. The complete PDF document is attached to this post.

This document will guide you through the steps of installing a pure modern version of the Android operating system on your Nook HD or Nook HD+ tablet. The installation is done from a bootable microSD card using the ClockWorkMod recovery utility to install the contents of zip files. This straightforward method does not require ADB or rooting the Nook. The result is CM-12.1 installed with basic Google apps and your choice of TWRP or CWM for your resident recovery utility.

There's room for improvement.
If I could learn how to create a bootable microSD that would boot to TWRP instead of CWM the procedure could be reduced to four easy steps. I have found no help for this, and my own attempts have all failed. I would be most grateful for any help so I can update the instructions.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf CM-12.1_Installation_20150925.pdf - [Click for QR Code] (199.8 KB, 35118 views)
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26th September 2015, 05:25 PM |#2  
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This is brilliant!
27th September 2015, 10:11 AM |#3  
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Where was this three days ago ? I really could have used this when I finally got around to fixing my dead Nook HD+ with spare parts from an ebayed broken on, and decided to finally go for broke on EMMC (after SD Boot killed the device twice on me while charging overnight.) Not a fun initial teardown to pull out that mainboard, but manageable with a good deal of care.

My own fumbling around led me to using verygreen's external recovery image here (Note, they are the Initial sdcard Images located at the very top) as recommended by amaces writing it to the SDcard using Win32DiskImager for a bootable sdcard (On Windows 10 here). Then using that, I went and installed amaces' TWRP and CM12.1 onto the Nook HD+ followed by finding a set of gapps to install as well.

I missed the backup/wipe parts of your guide, sadly. Though I do have a stock copy laying about, and my device has been out of warranty for a while by now. I just didn't think of doing the wipe (though looking back, the broken one I took the mainboard from and its EMMC already had that done). Further, I was lost seeing that "Root" fix note and ended up hitting yes. Fortunately, it doesn't appear to have done anything for my tablet.

In the end? I got my Nook HD+ up and running using amaces' CM12.1 ... even if in a manner that may make those more experience wince at my errors. Still, its nice to have my large tablet for reading and watching videos once more rather then needing to spend a couple hundred dollars on a decent large tablet. Gaming isn't up to par (older games still does decently), but its an old device and not exactly what I wanted it for anyways.

I just wish I held off a couple more days so I had this guide to help me through this. Still, for anyone that comes after I hope your efforts help them.
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27th September 2015, 05:27 PM |#4  
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Thank you for taking your time and writing such a useful guide. I am currently on cm11 m12. Are there any noticeable difference between 12.1 and cm11? Is the update from cm11 to 12.1 the same as from stock to 12.1?
27th September 2015, 05:38 PM |#5  
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Holy crap that is awesome. Looks like I picked the perfect day to upgrade the kids YouTube machine from 4.4

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28th September 2015, 07:48 PM |#6  
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Thank you for taking the time to put together this extremely easy to follow guide! It helped me breath new life into my Nook!
30th September 2015, 09:29 PM |#7  
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Thanks so much for writing up a document us older folks can handle. (and say hello to Sequim for me!)

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1st October 2015, 06:18 PM |#8  
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This looks like exactly what I need. I've finally reached the point of frustration with my Nook HD+ that I'm ready to go through with a reflash. Thanks so much for providing this great resource.

But, one question. You advise not modifying the user interface after flashing CM 12.1 to the device. This is because the ROM is still under development, and making chages of that sort will make upgrading to newer images more difficult. In principle, I understand this. But is this a permanent condition?

In other words, I suppose development on CM 12.1 will go on until interest in it is lost and the project goes moribund. No one can predict when that will happen, but if things go as they have for the past couple of decades, this project is likely to be abandoned sooner rather than later. So is there some projected point when the project reaches stability and when users can make interface changes without worry of having problems upgrading? Or is the inadvisability of making such personalization modifications a permanent condition?
2nd October 2015, 01:30 AM |#9  
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i got it installed simple enough but cant seem to login to my google account, it just tells me something went wrong and wont sign in, any ideas what i can do?
2nd October 2015, 04:17 PM |#10  
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I used this manual to put CM 12.1 on my Nook HD+ and it worked great. What a wonderful resource you've provided.

A couple of minor issues I encountered are as follows. The directions in step 5e call for rebooting the system, but the menu I encountered did not correspond precisely to the description, What is described in step 5e is a two-step process, first slecting "reboot," then "power off." However, when I tapped the "reboot" button, there was no subsequent option to power off; the device simply rebooted. That didn't prove to be much of an issue since, realizing the Nook would be trying to boot from the SD card, I simply quickly removed it in a very early stage of the boot process.

Another minor issue is that the file system is kind of strange, with the backed up data being located under /storage/emulated, with a couple of symlinks in other locations to that same directory. It's kind of puzzling to find my way around the system. That said, so far everything works and all my previous data seems to have been preserved.

As far as improvements to the guide, you might want to add the additional directive that developer options can be gained by going to Settings > About table and tapping on "build number" seven times. I wanted to change the hostname on the new installation, and I needed developer options to do that. I don't know how many retirees are going to want to do things like that but, age wise, I'm not too far away from that category, and I needed that. So, maybe something you could add at the end of your nice manual.

As to booting directly into TWRP, I found an img file at under /devices/barnesnoblenookhdplus.html. It looks like directives there are for writing it to the internal recovery partition, but I don't see why it could not be written to an sd card by slightly adapting those same directives. I'm new enough to this to not quite understand whether the recovery image would answer to your issue, but it's something you might want to consider.

All in all, you've provided a nice resource with this guide. It worked well for me on a first try, so it's something I'd definitely recommend to others.
3rd October 2015, 06:20 AM |#11  
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Question about step 3b from the manual (Backup the existing system and data to the microSD card). Let's say this is a brand new Nook HD+ that contains no data or configuration that the user wishes to preserve: can that step just be skipped in such a case?

I'm asking because my current Nook HD+ has a pretty badly cracked screen and I'm thinking of replacing the unit with another Nook HD+. Doing this upgrade to CycanogenMod has got me thinking more seriously about getting a unit with an intact screen. If I end up replacing the unit, there will be no data or configuration on the replacement unit that I'll be wanting to preserve.
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