Barnes & Noble Rolling Out Remote Resets on Rooted NookColors

December 30, 2010

Views: 753

A bit of a warning for a users of a rooted NOOKcolor, Barnes & Noble has started pushing out software authentication checks, and, if your device fails, they will remotely reset and wipe your device.

Many are questioning the legal issues this brings up. The user never was asked to sign a contract or was made aware of the consequences of not having official software.

This happens by the user hitting the B&N shop icon, a message then pops up stating "There was a problem with authorization. Please wait while we reset your device." Then the user is left helpless as their countless purchases, downloads, books and media is all wiped and their NOOKcolor is reset to factory defaults.

Has this happened to anyone? Do you know a workaround? Let us know!

[Via XDA Forums]

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  • mostlyDigital

    Is this even legal (I suppose it must be)? I was under the impression that the MCA specifically allows owners to change/modify the OS of their devices.

  • phil

    I would have thought that rooting the device would only void the warranty. But, since you actually own the device and the information on it, B&N would have no right to impose the OS that you use on the device. Is that saying that you can only access their marketplace with their device or that the hardware is still theirs or that the hardware, even though yours, you can only run their OS???? I am confused….

  • Grrr

    Simple solution, buy kindle books. B&N’s loss. Although I’m sure the creative folds at xda will find a solution soon.

  • Anon

    There is nothing illegal or even wrong about this. I’m so sick of people claiming something is illegal cause they don’t like how it works. You purchased a Nook, it comes preloaded with software. You don’t know what that software was designed to do. If they program in a function that says “if you click this button & the function you asked for doesn’t work, then re-install the device” that is their option. Should this be documented so you don’t lose documents, sure. But if BN wants to do it, it’s up to them. If you don’t like this, then find a better way to root it, or don’t use the store app. Replace the android OS with the open source version of android since android users all claim android is so open. Sounds to me like it works as designed, just not how you want it to.

    • Stormy

      He he. Resurrecting a 1 year old thread. My NC came to me in a locked condition, even after several attempts to factory reset it. It also had a missing SD card cover, so I don’t have a record of the Serial number. So, I formatted it and installed CM7 and haven’t looked back. So far I’m very pleased with the results. 

  • david matthew

    You won’t lose your books, of course; that’s all backed up on the BN servers as well.

  • I’m sitting here in sunny Puerto Vallarta*, on a vacation that will cost close to US$10K and my Nook, which has everything I’ve been saving up to read resets to factory defaults. The Internet connection here is either slow or flaky. When I get back I’m going to:
    1. Sue B&N
    2. Get on every social media site & denounce them
    3. Demand my money back for all purchases.
    4. All of the above.

    * Yes, I’m actually on vacation in Mexico; no, I don’t own a Nook (nor would I give up my iPad for one after reading this).

  • nookUser

    The writer of the article is misinformed. If you’ve rooted and restored by using Titanium Backup, you will have an invalid authorization key (from your restoration)…the BN system sees this and zaps your nook back to the way it should be.

    Lesson learned: Don’t restore from a backup, just re-install apps from the market.

  • phreakincool

    @nookUser: So does that include re-purchasing apps as well? If so, that’s not an acceptable solution,either.

  • LazarusLong

    @phreakincool: No, you don’t have to repurchase any of your apps. Actually if you have purchased apps for any other Android device, you can download them to the Nook Color for free.

  • dave

    > There is nothing illegal or even wrong about
    > this

    It depends on the country, and the contract. If there’s nothing in the contract saying they can do this then in some countries it will fall foul of laws designed to protect against hackers (unauthorized use/malicious use or damage etc).

  • A reader on one of the other sites had this happen to her. She then figured out that it is caused by a script that she put on the Nook. She edited the script. Problem solved. Apparently most Nook-used-Android owners have this same script. I don’t remember which site it was on. Please do the legwork, and fix your post. Thank you.

    As for whether this would be legal or not (I am not a lawyer), when OS vendors install software on owners’ computers without permission they lose the lawsuit, regardless of what it says in the contract.

    I understand that mobile carriers ask for the option to make changes to your device in the contract that you sign with them. I _assume_ that they don’t do things like that, because they don’t want to anger their customers to the point of lawsuit regardless of who wins.

    The fact that so many people are using their Android handhelds like PCs, and want to upgrade their software in a timely manner, like with PCs, is indicative of the fact that people recognize that these are general purpose computers, even if they call them “phones”.

    That said, it’s not Barnes and Noble that is doing this, it’s the folks that rooted their Nooks, only they didn’t know that this could happen.

    Thank you for your time,

  • Jawhny

    The work around is easy.
    1. Disable the call home capability of the nook by removing the service that calls home. See the XDA forum for details.

    2. Use the free nook app from the android market place on your nook. Use the web browser to buy the books from

  • Raptro007

    @Anon, is it illegal, does B&N have the RIGHT to do it, are you a lawyer? The library of congress has set rules regarding unlocking your device and mfg’s are required to follow them, they are not guidelines.

    Apple got figured it out, and they are now giving up the cat and mouse game.

    I will say one thing, based on reports earlier this month B&N was supposedly going to release full Froyo 2.2 support in January for the Nook Color since its become so popular. So if that is true the rooting issue will be mute.

    I WAS going to buy a Nook Color, now I will direct friends, family and fellow tech users to stay away regardless if they intend to root it or not. This is how the people show the corporations who has the power.

    Oh and B&N made their tidy profit off selling it, and the first app I would have removed was theirs.

  • NuroSlam

    its my hardware (paid for in USD) and I will do what the hell i want with it

  • tim

    Nookdevs and/or XDA has instructions to disable remote wipe but I haven’t been affected yet. This doesn’t seem to effect the Froyo builds that you run from SD.

    I don’t think what they’re doing is illegal at all. What I think the library of congress has stated about this type of activity was about the legality of what we do with our devices.

    It’s probably a DRM attempt for their books. They have every right to try to protect their software and product from being modified. If something doesn’t match up during the licensing authentication, the book does what it knows it can do to fix it, wipe the system and reboot.

    The hardware is yours. They’ve released the source code to build your own software.

  • ParSeven

    Why in the world would Barnes & Noble care what the heck I do with my device IN ADDITION to buying e-books from

    I bought the device from them. I gave them my credit card and set up a B&N account. I’ve bought a half dozen books and a few magazine subscriptions – all from Barnes & Noble in the last 3 weeks.

    Yes I rooted it to gain considerable functionality, but I’ve not put the Kindle app on there, and I have no intention of buying e-books from anyone but Barnes & Noble.

    HOWEVER, if they reset my device in an attempt to see that it stays as dumb as they want it to be, I will sell the darn thing, buy an iPad2 in a couple of months and become the biggest Kindle user, buyer & evangelist you ever saw.

  • stormeagle

    I hate to say this, but I have six hundred epub books loaded onto my nookcolor – none were purchased(from anyone)they are also backed up onto calibre.
    Anyone who has a reader and not calibre is severly handicapped

  • Cal

    Yes, I own a rooted Nook Color and yes- B&N has remotely reset my nook twice. Once when I was in-store seeing if I could use their in-store reading option, and the second time on my own wifi connection and I simply selected a book in my library. Here’s the solution and so far it’s worked: So long as you never ever use B&N’s features, it won’t reset. You can do anything and everything else, and it’ll be fine. It is currently re-rooted, thank you team xda-developers- and it will forever be rooted. If B&N resets my device again without my permission I will encourage everyone I know to boycott B&N until they stop acting like Nazi’s and I will buy from Kindle until B&N finally falls before Amazon.

    A great company doesn’t have to resort to setting up consumer jails- a great company makes an undeniably great product that sells itself. And the Nook is a fantastic product, don’t get greedy.

  • Anonymous

    This is a likely a felony violation of the computer fraud and abuse act. Not to mention it’s also vandalism/destruction of property.

    If they told you that they needed to reset your device to use their services and asked your permission that would be ok… but doing it without permission is simply a criminal act…. Period.

  • Anonymous

    This is a likely a felony violation of the computer fraud and abuse act. Not to mention it’s also vandalism/destruction of property.

    If they told you that they needed to reset your device to use their services and asked your permission that would be ok… but doing it without permission is simply a criminal act…. Period.

  • somedude

    Read the licensing agreement(s)…they can likely reset whatever the he** they want. You own the physical device, but it’s use, and more particularly the use of said system’s firmware/software, is governed by the licensing agreement to which you ALL consented when you turned the [enter name of device here] on. You DON’T own the software. Try using your toys without software…
    You can do whatever you want with your toys, but you’re right to do so does not in any way free you from the consequences of your actions.