Need more info on manually rooting a Nexus 7 please.


  1. balloonshark

    balloonshark Well-Known Member

    1. I have questions about manually rooting the Nexus 7. Is this guide complete or is it missing any steps (such as unlocking the bootloader) since I've never rooted before.

    How to MANUALLY re-root after an OTA update

    2. My Nexus 7 is the wifi version with Android 4.1.2 installed. Will all the downloads work with this version and are they all up to date?

    3. I'm confused about step 3. Do I download the SU files on my tablet or in Windows?

    4. This next question depends on the answer to the first question. Will this process perform a factory reset and will I lose my data?

    5. Do you have more good links to simple manual rooting instructions and "what happens when things go wrong" guides?

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  2. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    1) This guide that you mentioned is more to help you re-root after accepting an ota because it broke root. It's under the assumption that you were already rooted, and to have originally rooted it, you would have needed to unlock the bootloader.
    2) As long as the su binary is up to date, it should work no problem. I'm pretty sure it is though because it's meant for 4.2.1.
    3) It has to be on the tablet because it has to be flashed in recovery.
    4) Rooting will not do a thing to the tablet and your data. However if you haven't unlocked the bootloader, you will have to do that first and that will completely wipe your device.
    5) Most people don't manually root their devices anymore because of either lazyness or lack of familiarity with adb commands. Thus most are referred to using toolkits like Wugs. With this device, there really isn't much that can go wrong that can't be recovered from. Short of hardware failure, or ruining your bootloader, you should be able to recover from anything else as long as the bootloader is unlocked.
    balloonshark likes this.
  3. balloonshark

    balloonshark Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your thorough reply jhawkkw.

    1). So to manually root the N7 do I follow Rxpert83's guide up to step 4a and then type the command "fastboot oem unlock"? Can I proceed with step 4b afterwards to root or should I continue with steps 13 and 14 from this unlock how-to and then restart the root process again with step 4a. I guess I would also need to download the SU files to the freshly wiped N7 first.

    2). I'm assuming I would already have all the necessary unlock files from Rxperts83's guide on my computer to unlock using the unlock how-to. Is this correct?

    3). Should I turn off USB debugging when I'm finished rooting?
  4. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    1)Yes, open the command prompt in the directory where the fastboot file is, type the unlock command, navigate the options on the tablet, and once it says unlock,reboot it. If you were to proceed, it would just wipe it wasting all your root progress. The tablet may boot twice after the unlock, and that is ok. Once your tab finishes booting up, go through the set up, and get the 3 root zips. Be aware that once you flash the zip that stops flashing the stock recovery on boot, you will not be able to accept any ota because it will fail trying to install.
    2)Yes, the only files you need are the drivers and the sdk in order to use the fastboot commands.
    3)I personally leave it on because there is a couple of advantages to doing so, but one can be considered a security problem. The double reason is if for what ever reason you get locked out of the tablet through the lock screen from pin or pattern unlock, you can use adb to circumvent the lock screen and gain access to the tablet without needing to factory reset. The problem is that if someone else where to steal your tab, and was knowledgeable enough, they could do the same. Other than that, It doesn't serve a huge purpose to leave it on full time. So to leave it on it would be your choice, but doing so leaves you more options in case something go wrong.
  5. balloonshark

    balloonshark Well-Known Member

    Thanks jhawkkw! Wasn't aware I couldn't get OTAs after this procedure. I'm also confused about the stock recovery and the non-stock recoveries and what they do. Do they work together or does the non-stock replace the stock? How does one get OTAs after unlocking, installing a custom recovery and rooting? I'm not the type that jumps on new software releases so needing an OTA right after release is not important to me unless it's an urgent security release.

    Physical security isn't a problem with my device so I guess it's ok to leave USB debugging on. One question though. If I do leave it on is it still possible to transfer files from my computer to the Nexus 7?

    Sorry for all the newbie questions. This is my first mobile and android device. I'm fine with moving files around on a PC but I'm struggling with what all the files and programs actually do. I'm mainly wanting to do this for adblocking and backups. It would also be nice if I can also find root apps that limit program permissions and lower my screen brightness even further.
  6. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    The non-stock recovery overwrites the stock recovery in the instructions provided. However, under normal circumstances, there is a file located in the android os itself that will automatically reflash the stock recovery every time the nexus device reboots. One of the zip files that is included in the instructions you are following removes this file so that the it will not auto reflash the stock recovery. The choice is yours on whether you want to flash this file or not. If you don't the stock recovery will flash back over the custom and you will be able to take ota's when the become available. If you do flash it, you won't be able to take the ota's directly from Google, but often times when an ota becomes available, developers take the update and remove the custom recovery so that it can be flashed manually in the custom recovery. However, if you choose to not flash that zip that deletes the auto reflash file, once you have root you are able to flash custom recovery on command through the use of one of two apps. Rom Manager allows you to flash Clockworkmod Recovery, and GooManager Beta allows you to flash TWRP. Be aware that this flash will only last until the device completely reboots for the first time.

    The main difference between them is that the stock recovery is limited in what it can do. The stock recovery has a built in signature check that will prevent it from flashing a file that doesn't match up. Custom recovery removes this restriction so that you can flash files that don't have this signature, allowing you to modify your device more. This opens the door to running custom software, custom kernels, and various other things as well.

    If you leave USB debugging on, you should have no problems transferring files at all, and in fact, gives you the option to do it manually through the command line as well as through windows explorer if you have such a desire.

    If you want to be able to back up your complete os, you will need to have custom recovery installed to both backup and restore it. If you only want to be able to back up apps, then Titanium Backup will accomplish that without the need for custom recovery. Also it is good to note that installing ota's directly from Google will delete root, but it is easy to re-obtain hence the original purpose of the guide you are using. Installing a "custom" one that has recovery removed might even come pre-rooted so that you won't have to do it again.
    balloonshark likes this.
  7. Rxpert83

    Rxpert83 Dr. Feelgood Moderator

    The guide was written with the assumption that your bootloader was already unlocked.

    Once you unlock it, everything in that guide applies.
  8. balloonshark

    balloonshark Well-Known Member

    Thanks again. I'm giving the manual method a try right now. I have typed in the fastbook oem unlock command and I'm not getting the yes or no question on the tablet. I'm kinda of stuck right now. There are 3 dots below the command and a blinking cursor after them. I attached a pic of the device manager and command prompt. I got the driver from jhawkkw's link in this post. http://androidforums.com/5273952-post54.html I choose android as my OS, and downloaded from the Global site. I did a manual update of the driver pointing to the entire unizpped folder I downloaded. How should I proceed?

    On my tablet is see stock recovery pic like this. It's not froze as I can navigate with the volume controls. http://androidforums.com/5271285-post29.html

    Attached Files:

  9. Rxpert83

    Rxpert83 Dr. Feelgood Moderator

    Did you hit enter?
  10. balloonshark

    balloonshark Well-Known Member

    Yes. I finally gave up and closed the cmd box. I restarted it and typed the cmd again and I'm getting a FAILED <command write failed <Unknown error >> finished. total time: 0.594s
  11. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    try using the command fastboot devices. It should return a bunch of numbers if it reads the device.
  12. balloonshark

    balloonshark Well-Known Member

    I got it :D. I restarted the device and then tried the adb reboot bootloader command and then the unlock command worked. Hopefully I should be rooted very soon. Will edit this post either way.

    Edit: Ok, everything looks good to go. I'm unlocked with a custom recovery installed and I'm rooted. I downloaded AdFree and it asked for superuser privileges.

    The hardest part was getting the driver installed and working. Also the usb connection and command parts seemed really finicky. If I didn't read about the drivers in whs' thread and other how-tos and if I hadn't tried using wug's toolkit once I probably would still be having problems. Even with the struggles I'm glad I was able to do this manually. I'm also very thankful for both of you for the help and information you have provided. I couldn't imagine doing this without help.

    Also thank you for answering my questions about recovery and usb debugging jhawkkw!
    jhawkkw and Rxpert83 like this.
  13. Rxpert83

    Rxpert83 Dr. Feelgood Moderator

    Glad to see you got it going. :) Welcome to root :D
  14. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    You're welcome, I'm glad I could help. It's quite awesome what this set up allows you to do, and congrats on doing it the manual way. :)
    Rxpert83 likes this.

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