XDA Dev member puts together some fool-proof instructions for quad-booting a Nook.
The Nook color is still one of the most affordable and flexible Android tablets, and there is a very active community of developers still coming up with new ways to modify the device, and to put just what you want on top of the core B&N operating system. For their part, unlike some device retailers, Barnes & Noble has even come out and stated publicly that they don’t take issue with the strong modding community. Of course, users are always still on their own if they damage the device while attempting anything like this.
One of the unique properties of the Nook that makes it interesting for developers is the boot sequence. Unlike most Android devices, the Nook looks to the SD card first for a bootable OS, rather than automatically booting from the internal memory. This means one could load a test OS onto an SD card, boot the system into that environment, then simply remove the card and reboot to return to the factory OS. This flexibility has led to more than a few development innovations, especially as SD cards have become faster and higher capacity.
One of the latest advances is the quad boot. The tools to do this have existed for some time, but it’s only just starting to come together in the community, and this week saw the first really good comprehensive guide to the process. Posted by XDA Dev member malloneem, though contributed to by many others, the instructions are simple enough for a novice to follow, and result in a Nook which can boot into an option of four separate OSes.
This is made possible by that SD card boot feature. Basically, the process is thus: Partition a large class 6 SD card into three segments and install a separate OS onto each of them. The Nook will then prompt the user for which OS to load, one of the three on the card or the one on the stock memory.
Of course that simple sounding process is broken down into a lot of steps with lots of warnings along the way, and seems like it might take more than a few hours to get through. Check it out over on the XDA Dev forums.