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Old 03-01-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
Ken Stuart
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Booting to SD card instead of rooting

I searched here and in Google and did not find any clarification, so I want to explicitly ask this:

Will an entirely stock and unmodified ("unrooted") Nook Color boot from a bootable microSD card (inserted in the microSD slot) when the Nook is turned on ?

(In other words, the booting-from-SD capability is not something that has to be enabled in some way?)

If "yes", then I am surprised that there is not more emphasis placed on keeping the NC stock and just booting to Android from an SD card.

Especially since there are a large number of people who are interested in running Android, but may not quite have the expertise to avoid having problems.

And, since there is a major BN update coming soon that will require everyone to redo everything (and might have some of the missing capabilities that cause many people to want to root in the first place).

PS If I understand the threads in XDA correctly, "booting instead of rooting" has only been an option for less than a month, which would explain why it is not generally advocated.

I am very technically capable - I'm a professional software engineer who wrote the first scroll bars for Unix - but even so, I would rather keep the NC stock in the short term, for warranty reasons and due to the coming update, if I can run Android from the SD card.

Last edited by Ken Stuart; 03-01-2011 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Stuart View Post
I searched here and in Google and did not find any clarification, so I want to explicitly ask this:

Will an entirely stock and unmodified ("unrooted") Nook Color boot from a bootable microSD card (inserted in the microSD slot) when the Nook is turned on ?
short answer to your question:
YES

The reason not as much emphasis is place on booting from a microSD is for 2 reasons:

1 - many users LIKE the B&N reader/shop. when you boot from microSD, you are usually running a generic android setup (whether 2.2 froyo, 2.3 gingerbread, or 3.0 honeycomb). I don't think I have seen any 2.1 eclair SD roms that include the stock B&N reader. When you run these other flavors of android, you can install the generic android Nook app; but you lose magazines and children books.

2 - running from SD card isn't ideal - speed becomes an issue. I've only ever tried w/ class 4 cards, and found it unsatisfactory for longterm use. Sometimes the OS was very fast; other times extremely slow (market is one example). I believe class 6 or class 10 cards are better, but nothing beats the EMMC internal memory. Having your o/s on the EMMC also lets you swap SD cards, mount them in the computer etc.

For me, the ability to boot from SD is great for 2 main reasons - I can TRY alternative flavors of android w/o changing my main installation; and it lets you root and modify your EMMC installation w/o fear because you can always boot off of microSD to recover.

That being said, there are many people who DO use their Nooks daily using the SD card for their primary o/s; but they don't hang out on mobileread (I think because of reason 1 above).

Regarding impending updates: Yes there is the possibility that new update will require redoing your Nook - but that would be because of a change in android flavor from 2.1 to 2.2. So far, the updates HAVE NOT required mass re-doing of your setups, and it is possible that even a switch to 2.2 would not require setting up the Nook again.

Rooting is SO simple that I would say that if you are able to figure out booting from SD cards (making a bootable SD card) you should also go ahead and root your stock ....

Last edited by jasoraso; 03-01-2011 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:36 PM   #3
Ken Stuart
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Hmm - regarding people who like the BN reader & shop...

... all they have to do is pull the microSD card and turn on the Nook and they have access to the installed BN reader & shop.

In fact, nookdevs.com has a boot menu program that allows choice of boot device, and can even have a default (like Windows), so that the Nook can be used by family members in the stock configuration and only uses the microSD card when that is selected from the boot menu.

Anyway ... I will be making a Froyo image on my Class 6 microSD card and will report back on using that versus the built-in BN Eclair on EMMC (including the speed issues you mention) once my NC arrives. This will be my first Android device (other than the hidden OS on my wife's Nook Classic), so I don't have any pre-existing preferences for any particular configuration. So, the ability to try various different configurations using the microSD card will be especially helpful for me.

Last edited by Ken Stuart; 03-01-2011 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:49 PM   #4
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Speed is definitely a big issue. Even on a class 10 at best it feels about the same speed as the internal memory on stock, and at worst it is MUCH slower.

The other issue is that none of the SD images are completely stable yet, that I've tried. A rooted stock NC is very stable, and most apps work great. All of the SD images have issues with some combination of the market, wifi and random force closing of apps. I can count the number of FCs I've had on rooted stock on one hand, the wifi issues have mostly been resolved, and the market works great.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:56 PM   #5
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For what it's worth, I started not wanting to root as well. I wanted to "preserve" the original state of the Nook. So I started with Froyo. Nice to look at, but was painfully slow. I then got a class 4 microSD but I was still not happy with the speed. I made the idea of running Froyo pointless, really. Then I tried an 8GB Class 10. Better, but still no cigar. I just rooted and I'm much happier. There is nothing about Froyo or Honeycomb that would make me want to endure the lack of speed for their sake. When the next update comes and throws me off, I'll just re-root. No big deal. Considering the amount of work required to configure settings after a clean desktop install, this is nothing.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:32 PM   #6
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SD Card Boot

As someone who has been WAITING for B&N to get off the dime and come out with their new software, and decided that I didn't want to risk core rooting, this is the solution I've tried and I like it. Lets see $800 for a Xoom, no thanks....

I have dual boot on a 8gb SD card, class 6, not a great solution, but when B&N comes out with their new software I can boot up the B&N sofware directly and let it update. Who knows, they may come out with something great.

My biggest hassle was getting the Android Market loaded on the card and functioning... finally had to have a co-worker do it for me. Quite frankly it just turned into a circus trying to do it myself.. download this, download that, side load XYZ... type in some greek to put it on the card; jeez, I can browse to it using Froyo but I can use it? How silly is that?

If anyone knows an unconvulted way to load Android Market I would appreciate you linking it as I'm sure MANY people would.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Stuart View Post
Anyway ... I will be making a Frodo image on my Class 6 microSD card and will report back on using that versus the built-in BN Eclair on EMMC (including the speed issues you mention) once my NC arrives.
Ken,

I downloaded Honeycomb yesterday and played with it on a 4gb microSD card and booted it up just because I wanted to see what it could do and how it looked. Even though it was a "test image" it ran well and the browser was very responsive. You might want to look at that as your ultimate OS or at least something to fool around with... it looks much more "tablet friendly" than many of the phone Froyo mods.

Once again, as above, I did go back to my Froyo card at the end of the day because I couldn't get the Android Marketplace loaded. But someone will do the hard thinking eventually....

Best, Don.
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Stuart View Post
Anyway ... I will be making a Froyo image on my Class 6 microSD card and will report back on using that versus the built-in BN Eclair on EMMC (including the speed issues you mention) once my NC arrives. This will be my first Android device (other than the hidden OS on my wife's Nook Classic), so I don't have any pre-existing preferences for any particular configuration. So, the ability to try various different configurations using the microSD card will be especially helpful for me.
I haven't received my Nook Color yet, but had been thinking the same thing that you posted.

Another thing I don't understand, is these image files. Every one that I have come across so far, seems to have you put the image file on the sd card, then the sd card automatically writes to the internal memory. How do you get the sd card to just boot without writing/installing to the internal memory?
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TC93 View Post
I haven't received my Nook Color yet, but had been thinking the same thing that you posted.

Another thing I don't understand, is these image files. Every one that I have come across so far, seems to have you put the image file on the sd card, then the sd card automatically writes to the internal memory. How do you get the sd card to just boot without writing/installing to the internal memory?
You need an image writer to write the image to your sd card. WinImage is the perferred app for that. Here are instructions for making a Froyo bootable sd card: http://nookdevs.com/Nookie_FroYo:_Bu...otable_SD_card
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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I haven't received my Nook Color yet, but had been thinking the same thing that you posted.

Another thing I don't understand, is these image files. Every one that I have come across so far, seems to have you put the image file on the sd card, then the sd card automatically writes to the internal memory. How do you get the sd card to just boot without writing/installing to the internal memory?
It's not the image per se that does anything. Am image is like a "picture" of the partition file contents. Within the image, there are different programs and one particular program will boot, or take "charge" so to speak, when the Nook starts. That program will do what it's programmed to so. That is, to start replacing the Nook contents, start a new operating system, and so on.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:11 PM   #11
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Ken,

I downloaded Honeycomb yesterday and played with it on a 4gb microSD card and booted it up just because I wanted to see what it could do and how it looked. Even though it was a "test image" it ran well and the browser was very responsive. You might want to look at that as your ultimate OS or at least something to fool around with... it looks much more "tablet friendly" than many of the phone Froyo mods.

Once again, as above, I did go back to my Froyo card at the end of the day because I couldn't get the Android Marketplace loaded. But someone will do the hard thinking eventually....

Best, Don.
The instructions for getting the Market loaded are available, and they are a little above what the average end-user is willing to do, but that will change - it will probably be pre-loaded eventually.

I've got my NC running Honeycomb off the SD card (8 GB class 6), and it runs well - I have the market, Nook App, Angry Birds, Perfect Viewer (for comics), and several other apps. I run into the occasional Force Close dialog, and the wifi issues, but as I'm mostly reading side-loaded pdf's (btw, adobe's reader for Android 3.0 is much nicer than the NC's pdf reader), those items are only minor annoyances. When my wife wants to read a book, I power it off, pop out the SD card and pass it to her as a stock 1.1 Nook Color. Best of both worlds really.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:36 PM   #12
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The instructions for getting the Market loaded are available, and they are a little above what the average end-user is willing to do, but that will change - it will probably be pre-loaded eventually.

I've got my NC running Honeycomb off the SD card (8 GB class 6), and it runs well - I have the market, Nook App, Angry Birds, Perfect Viewer (for comics), and several other apps. I run into the occasional Force Close dialog, and the wifi issues, but as I'm mostly reading side-loaded pdf's (btw, adobe's reader for Android 3.0 is much nicer than the NC's pdf reader), those items are only minor annoyances. When my wife wants to read a book, I power it off, pop out the SD card and pass it to her as a stock 1.1 Nook Color. Best of both worlds really.
ThirtyBird,
I had no trouble at all making a bootable micro sd card with Honeycomb and another one with FROYO and yet I can NOT seem to get the Market on either one. I went to http://nookdevs.com/Honeycomb_Google_Apps_and_Market and tried to follow those instructions. Is that how you put the market on your micro sd with Honeycomb? If so, I don't know what I am doing wrong. Can you give directions as to what you did? I downloaded Angry Birds and the Kindle app for another website, but I really would like to be able to download from the market. I would really appreciate some assistance if someone can help please. Thanks.

I got it working. FINALLY. I'm not exactly sure what I was doing wrong before. I love this little tablet. : )

Last edited by ilovegadgets; 03-10-2011 at 08:53 AM.
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