Root Your Nook HD and Remove Bloatware

Not too long ago, the Barnes and Noble Nook HD created quite a stir when the company announced that it would get the Play Store installed natively – this means that instead of trying to go up against Amazon and the Fire by creating its own ecosystem, the Nook would now be more akin to a regular Android tablet. Not exactly an Android tablet, but almost. And what’s more, you didn’t have to root the tablet in order to get the tablet connect to Google services.

The stir became even more interesting when the company dropped the prices from $229 to $179 and most recently to $149 (this is for the 16GB model). The Nook HD+ has had similar drops, but that strange dongle thing on the corner meant that I really didn’t want one of those, even with the larger screen. Regardless, I decided to take the plunge.

After receiving the device – faster than expected, actually – I wasn’t especially surprised to find many apps that would fall under the classification of “Bloatware”. That is to say, a variety of apps that you may never need and certainly may never use. Much of it may just take up space, but some of it actually runs constantly, causing a drag on the system. Removing it makes things run faster, giving you a better experience. Unfortunately, the only way to do so is by rooting the device. This isn’t uncommon in the Android world, and luckily there is someone who has figured out how to root the Nook HD (and HD+, apparently – but I don’t have experience with that).

If you read this thread at XDA, you will get started right. However, if you’re new to this, it may be a bit convoluted to follow. What you need to do is follow step 1: ClockWorkMod (CWM). This allows you to get a backup of your current Nook HD, just in case. Remember that Backups are good.

Afterwards, you’ll need to follow step 2. Universal Root and Disable Root. This is done using the CWM above, and it allows you to get at some of the system apps installed by Barnes and Noble. Without root, you will not be able to remove the system apps.

And that’s it. You can proceed further, if you want to install custom roms and such. But you do not need to do so. If all you want to do is remove bloatware, you’re done (once you actually go through the process of rooting the device as outlined in the thread above).

Once your device is rooted, you will probably want something like Titanium Backup (available from Google Play Store) to remove apps. I prefer Titanium Backup because A: It is cheap – free to start and less than $7 to register, B: It is easy and C: It works.

Whatever method you decide, do not forget to backup, backup, backup. You can use CWM, you can use Titanium Backup or whatever you like, but if you make changes that you aren’t sure about, backup first, then change. If you don’t, you might have to start over.

With Titanium Backup, I typically Freeze an app first, which means it is unavailable to the system, and then reboot. This tests to see if the system is stable without it. If so, then you can remove it (after backing it up first!). You can always then Defrost it later and/or restore it if needed.

Here is the list of apps I removed from the Nook HD, and as of yet have had no problems with:

  • Accessories 1.0
  • Adobe AIR
  • AuthenticationSvc 1.0
  • Bluetooth HDP 1.0
  • Camera 1
  • CloudService 1.0
  • 4.0.4-1.0.0
  • 4.0.4-1.0.0
  • com.nook.affiledownloadservice 1.0
  • com.nook.bitmapprocessservice 1.0
  • com.nook.BTRemoteSrv 1.0
  • DownloadAdmin 1.0
  • Email 4.1
  • Exchange Service 4.1
  • Facebook 1.0
  • FavaLauncher 2.0
  • FmService 1.0.0
  • Gmail 4.3.1
  • Google Play Books 2.7.39
  • Google Play magazines 1.2.1
  • Google Play Movies & TV 2.4.14
  • Google+
  • Gsearch 1.0
  • Home 1.0
  • KidsBrowser 1.0
  • KidsEmail 1.0
  • KidsRecorder 1.0
  • Magazines/Catalogs/Comics 1.3
  • Moby Dick 1.0
  • Newspaper 1.0
  • Nook Demo
  • Nook Friends ™ 1.0
  • NookAdminManager 4.0.4-1.0.0
  • NookConnectivityService 4.0.4-1.0.0
  • NookHwTest 1.9
  • NookViewer
  • Oobe 4.0.4-1.0.0
  • Oobe
  • OpenWnn 4.0.4-1.0.0
  • Profiles 1.0
  • Reader 1.0
  • Recent Drawer 1.0
  • Search 4.0.4-1.0.0
  • Shop 1.0
  • Social 1.0
  • SystemMan 1.0
  • Talk 4.0.4-610279
  • thumbnailservice 1.0
  • UVDialog 1.0
  • WWReader 1.5.0 build 869
  • Your Highlights and Notes 1.0
  • Your Lookups 1.0
  • YouTube 4.4.11

There are items in this list that you might want to keep – like the email client, for instance. I didn’t use it, so I removed it (I just use a browser tab). Also, the root package above installed the ZeamLauncher, which does a nice job of replacing the default launcher, but you can use whichever you prefer. When the Nook restarts, just select the one you want to use as default and you’ll be all set.