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Unofficial ClockworkMod / ROM Manager / ClockworkMod Recovery Manual

This document is as yet unfinished, but it may take me a few days to add the missing text and screen shots and I know some people may benefit from what's already here, so I'll publish it early and finish it as I can.

What is ClockworkMod?

ClockworkMod is the de facto ROM Manager for Android devices.  A ROM manager simplifies the process of installing, updating, backing up, restoring, and otherwise maintaining OS and kernel installations on mobile devices.  ROM Managers are somewhat necessitated by the bleeding edge nature of the devices on which they are used.  The devices see so many OS and kernel updates that keeping safely up to date would be almost impossible without some software managing all the files.

For those new to the world of modding your phones or tablet devices, first some terminology.

Definitions

ROM - As people mean it in the context of phone/device modding, a ROM is a version of an operating system, including all the core executables and core applications of that operating system.  A ROM can refer to a single file which has all the pieces of an operating system bundled into it, ready for installation, or it can refer to an installation of such an operating system on a device.  Sometimes people use the terms kernel (see next definition) and ROM somewhat interchangeably, but it's not really correct.  A kernel is one piece of a ROM, though it can also be installed and updated separately.

Kernel - The kernel is the core piece of the operating system that is responsible for all of the low-level hardware interactions, and upon which the entire operating system depends.  Because it is so critical, and controls everything from CPU frequency to video rendering, kernels see a lot of tweaking / updates intended to get the most out of the hardware (as well as fix serious bugs, often performance and stability related).  Modders frequently replace their kernels as new ones are released.  As long as the kernel was intended for the ROM you have installed, you can replace the kernel alone without otherwise altering or replacing the ROM.  If you are running a Froyo (Android 2.2) ROM you want to make sure you are going to update with a Froyo kernel.  Use the wrong kernel and it's either not going to work at all or it may work but may produce some unexpected consequences you don't want to risk.  In the case of the Nook Color, the kernel is a single file most commonly called the "uImage" (micro image, presumably) and lives in a (mostly) hidden partition called /boot.

Installation

App Installation

If you have access to the Android Market, you need to download and install "ROM Manager".

If you are on a stock Nook Color you will need to go through the process of  rooting your device.  Rooting is the process of breaking your device out of its sanctioned e-reader specific restraints.  The best tool to do that is Auto Nooter.  Follow the steps in this Auto Nooter post and in a little while you will have a rooted Nook Color.  Auto Nooter will install ROM Manager for you, but you should go to the Market and make sure you have the latest version of it.

Recovery Installation

The app is installed but now we need to install the pre-OS component.

  1. Run "ROM Manager"
  2. Click the first entry for "Flash ClockworkMod Recovery".
  3. Pick your device from the list.  If you are on a Nook Color, choose Nook Color (there are two entries, do not choose the one with the parenthesized 'old')

Your device now has ClockworkMod Recovery installed.

You can access that mode by choosing the "Reboot into Recovery'  root menu item.  Or you can do it by pressing certain keys, described below.

ROM Manager App

Modes of Operation

Recovery

Flash ClockworkMod Recovery

See Recovery Installation (above).

Reboot into Recovery

See Recovery Installation (above).

ROM Management

Install ROM from SD Card

Lets you navigate to and install a ROM located on your SD card.  Choose this and navigate the SD card folders to find the ROM you want to install.

Download ROM

Let's you browse a list of remotely available over the air (OTA) ROMs you can download and install.  Separate lists are shown for free ROM Manager ownsers and premium ROM Manager owners.  Choose the item you want and install it.

Check for ROM Updates

If you have a recognized ROM installed (e.g., CyanogenMod 7, Phiremod, etc.) this option will give you an easy way to check for updates.

Install from QR Code

Using the free Barcode Scanner application you can specify a ROM to install this way.

Backup and Restore

Manage and Restore Backups

If you have previously made ROM backups with ClockworkMod Recovery or with ROM Manager and they are stored in their original location on the SD card, these will be listed by date and time when you choose this option and you can elect to restore to them.  Clicking the entry also allows you to rename or delete them.

Backup Current ROM

Clicking this will make a backup of your current ROM to your SD card. Everything related to your operating system will be backed up.  Your personal data, media files, etc. will not be backed up!  [I am pretty sure about this, but not absolutely sure.]

The process will take 5 - 15 minutes depending on the speed of your card and the alignment of the stars.

I strongly recommend you make a backup before doing any ROM updates, ideally not just your ROM but also any other personal data.

I believe the method used here is also referred to as (or is compatible with) a "nandroid" backup, but I may be entirely wrong ("nand" is the technical basis for how flash memory stores data, and obviously it's blended with android).

Utilities

Fix Permissions

For various reasons the permission assignments on your system and personal files can become overly or underly restrictive.  An app or operating system component suddenly not being able to read or write a file can lead to the dreaded "force close"event where an app crashes.  Running this script does no harm, it merely resets permissions on the file system.  If you don't know what else to do to resolve a problem, this and clearing caches is worth a shot.

Partition SD Card

[I'm not clear on exactly what this does as yet.  Anyone want to tell me?]

More Recoveries

Flash Alternative Recovery

[I'm not clear on exactly what this does as yet.  Anyone want to tell me?]

All ClockworkMod Recoveries

Choose this as a last resort to try reverting back to other versions of ClockworkMod Recovery.

ClockworkMod Recovery

Entering the Recover Console

The easiest way to enter recovery is to choose "Reboot into Recovery" from the ROM Manager app or (if available) choose it from the OS shutdown menu which pop up if you long press the power button and choose "Power Off".  If these options aren't available, such as if you're having trouble booting, you can boot into recovery through a few key presses.

Entering ClockworkMod Recovery with Key Presses:

  • Turn off your Nook Color (hold the power button down so long that the device shuts off or shut it off from the shutdown menu, make sure it is not plugged into your computer otherwise it will turn itself back on!)
  • Press and hold the power and "N" buttons so long that the Nook Color turns itself on then after 8 - 10 seconds it will turn itself off.
  • Press the power button just long enough to turn it back on.
  • ClockworkMod Recovery will start

Trouble?

If you are having trouble entering the recovery console and you are running an SD-based operating system like verygreen's CM 7 then that may be your explanation.  For reasons I don't fully understand it appears that many (if not most, if not all) people who boot off the SD cannot properly, reliably enter the recovery mode.  People reported that they could, but across several installs and with the latest version of ClockworkMod I was never reliably able to.  My attempts to use various features in ROM Manager, like backup, would cause my SD-based install to suddenly reboot.

Navigation within ClockworkMod Recovery

To navigate the menus and choose your options, here are the keys:

  • Volume Up - moves the selector up a row
  • Volume Down - moves the selector down a row
  • "N" button - selects the current item
  • Power - back to the parent menu

Modes of Operation

Reboot

Reboots the device.

Apply update from sdcard

If the ROM update you are going to apply is located in the root of the SD card and is called "update.zip", choose this option.  If it finds no such file it won't work.  See the "install zip from sdcard" below to navigate to a zip install that isn't called update.zip.

wipe data/factory reset

[Description coming soon.]

wipe cache partition

Choosing this option will wipe the cache directory and all its contents.  While this is generally safe to do, since caches will be rebuilt as they are needed, I wouldn't recommend doing it unless you're also upgrading a ROM or kernel.

install zip from sdcard

Use this to select a zip file to install from the SD card.  I believe this option what happens when using this option is identical to the "apply update from sdcard" above, except for the ability to choose the name of the file, but I could be wrong.

backup and restore

backup

Choose backup to create a backup, see above Backup Current ROM.

restore

Choose restore to pick which backup to restore.

advanced restore

[Description coming soon.]

mounts and storage

[Description coming soon.]

advanced

mount /data

[Description coming soon.]

unmount /cache

[Description coming soon.]

unmount /sdcard

[Description coming soon.]

mount /sd-ext

[Description coming soon.]

format boot

[Description coming soon.]

format system

[Description coming soon.]

format data

[Description coming soon.]

format cache

[Description coming soon.]

format sdcard

[Description coming soon.]

format sd-ext

[Description coming soon.]

mount USB storage

[Description coming soon.]

 

Text to Incorporate Above:

On first boot the system will be slow as it generates lots of cache and dalvik cache contents.  The dalvik cache is a cache unique to the Java based architecture running on top of the OS. Each app you run (technically I think each class within each app) gets precompiled by the just in time (JIT) compiler into a file stat is stored in the dalvik cache.  This means future runs of the program will start much faster.  Since a fresh install has no such entry, each app which runs will cause one of these files to be generted.

 

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Hi, Quinxy.

    Thanks so much for the information you’ve provided. Please update me via email, if you would be able to find a solution about getting to the Clockworkmod Recovery Console. I have an SD-based CM7 and in all my android life I havent seen the Clockworkmod Recovery Console. I was able to install the ROM and the Gapps but that’s about it. Never got it to work.

    Thanks

  2. I’m a newbie to rooting, currently running Phiremod 6.3 on my Nook Color. ClockworkMod let me know today that there is an update to Phiremod 7 available, but I’m looking for guidance on the update. If I download it from the app, do I just install it from the device? Since I had to flash the original ROM via SD card, I wasn’t sure if I somehow needed to upload the new ROM to the card and flash again. Is it necessary to wipe my device and flash all over, or can I just update it similar to other software updates on my Android phone? Any guidance from anyone is greatly appreciated!

  3. This was very helpful. I had a locked up Nook Color and had to boot into manual recovery mode. I know I did a key combination like you described {before I found your site} and was able to get into manual recovery mode in Rom Manager. So I would remember it, I tried to do it again and cannot. I’ve tried your steps and cannot seem to do it either. Holding down the power button and at the same time both volume buttons. It does shut off, but turning it back on, it boots up a normal, instead of into recovery mode.

  4. thanks for this info very helpfull
    you are a star
    joe


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