Nexus 7 2012 Guide (Wi-Fi) for ADB, Unlocking, Rooting, and Flashing Android 6.0 Marshmallow

By Zack - July 26, 2012


Disclaimer: I take no responsibility as to what happens to your device! I recommend learning this way in case anything happens down the road. Root Tool Kits are sometimes buggy and it's better when YOU, the USER, know what is actually going on. :)

Note: You must have debugging enabled on your Nexus 7. Go into developer options and enable it! Your computer SHOULD install the drivers for you. If not after installing ADB install them through the sdk manager.
  1. ADB (Download here:  Windows Installer)
    • Once downloaded, click install and pick the destination folder below.

    • Open up Android SDK Manager and install the packages for SDK Platform-tools
    • Right click on my computer, click properties, click advanced system settings, and then Environment Variables.
      • Double click on "Path" under variable name and paste this at the end of the variable value.             ;c:\Android\tools;c:\Android\platform-tools
    • Open the command prompt and navigate to C:\Android\Platform-tools (This is where fastboot.exe lies usually)
    • Note: If your device has a question mark in device manager and the driver isn't installing right, make sure Google USB Driver is checked in the SDK manager as shown below and install those. If that doesn't work try these drivers.
    • Download the latest ROM
    • Download the latest gapps
    • Download boot.img and flash it (fastboot flash boot boot.img)
    • Download SuperUser and place it on the sdcard / storage. (We'll flash it later)
    • Put these on your sdcard on your tablet
    • Reboot into recovery. Wipe, cache, dalvik, data, system
    • Flash in this order: ROM,Gapps,  (adb reboot bootloader)
    • fastboot flash boot boot.img
    • fastboot reboot-recovery
    • Flash SuperUser
The flashing process should look like this. It's pretty basic and I find it easiest to type the command and then drag the file in rather than typing the whole file location.

fastboot flash boot boot.img
fastboot flash system system.img
  If flashing boot/system images.                          
  1. OEM UnlockWARNING: This will wipe your device. Backup your data! )
    • Boot device into bootloader. (Power off device. Hold Volume Up/Down/Power keys and wait for it to vibrate and then let go of the power button to enter fastboot)
    • Change back to your Command Prompt 
    • Type fastboot oem unlock
    • Follow prompts on device to unlock bootloader.
  2. Bootloaders
    • Download bootloader to somewhere convenient. I personally just download to the desktop.
    • Type in fastboot flash bootloader and then drag the bootloader to the command prompt.
    • Once done, type fastboot reboot-bootloader
  3. Clockwork Mod (CWM) or TeamWin
    • Download TW 
    • Boot tablet into bootloader again (adb reboot-bootloader)
    • Type fastboot flash recovery and then drag the recovery to the cmd prompt.
    • Once finished type fastboot reboot-bootlader
  4. Preventing Recovery Overwrite
    • Before booting device, from the bootloader, boot into the CWM recovery. Note: Once you are at the bootloader screen, you can't move on to recovery unless there's a connection on the USB port. Plugging it into the wall won't work, but the computer you use doesn't have to have the sdk or Fastboot set up on it, it just needs to be turned on
    • Click mounts and storage, and then mount system.
    • In command prompt at the platform-tools location where adb.exe is, type adb shell, and press enter
    • Then cd /system
    • Lastly, type mv recovery-from-boot.p recovery-from-boot.bak and press enter.
  5. Rooting
    • Boot into CWM
    • Click install zip from sdcard
    • Choose CWM-SuperSU-v0.94 from wherever you saved it on the sdcard.
    • Flash it. 
  6. Back to Stock (Backup your data before doing this!)
    • Download the stock image for your appropriate device. (NOTE: the flash-all.bat file in the stock image zip should do all these commands for you as well. If it doesn't work you might have to type them manually.)
    • Open a command prompt window where your fastboot.exe lives. (platform-tools normally)
    • Type in the following commands and press enter after each one
    • Put the device in Fastboot mode by typing: 
      • adb reboot-bootloader
    • In order to do anything useful in fastboot, the bootloader must be unlocked. To do this, run the following fastboot command:
      • fastboot oem unlock
    • Formatting Instructions:
      • fastboot erase boot
      • fastboot erase cache
      • fastboot erase recovery
      • fastboot erase system
      • fastboot erase userdata this is your sdcard!
      • fastboot flash bootloader then drag the bootloader to the cmd prompt.
      • fastboot reboot-bootloader
      • fastboot -w update   then drag the stock image to the cmd prompt.
    • Wait for image to flash and then type
      • fastboot reboot-bootloader
    • To re-lock this tablet type
      • fastboot oem lock 
      • fastboot reboot
Need more help? Ask here or post at XDA

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  1. Are there any downsides to rooting? Can you still use NFC and DRM content?

    1. To my knowledge yes. I still haven't used NFC though nor buy any of the media off the playstore. I don't see whey you wouldn't be able to though. Rooting just gives you more access.

    2. There is one BIG catch to anything wiping your system. If you have set up google wallet, and you flash the system before resetting Wallet (clearing all your data from within Wallet, I think it is), then Google Wallet will *never* work on that device again.

      I'm in Japan, so I don't have access to Wallet, but this problem has made quite a splash, and I don't think Google has fixed it yet. I think for now, every flashing guide should mention this -- something along the lines of, "This will wipe all your data. Back it up first. This will also *permanently* disable google wallet if you have it set up now. Remove all settings from within Wallet before flashing." -- or whatever the exact details are.

  2. The only real downside to rooting would be if you give a malicious app root privileges, but this shouldn't happen unless you're in the habit of always saying "yes" to prompts you're not sure about.

  3. Great guide... been putting off rooting so far as JB runs so nicely, will bookmark this and give it a go soon


    1. woops fixed some stuff when flashing recovery / bootloader.

  4. Do you have to flash the boot loader?

  5. Why is it that after entering recovery mode, adb and flashboot no longer connect to the N7? Every guide I've tried has the same problems. 'adb shell' returns "insufficient permissions"; 'adb devices' returns "???????????? no permissions" (using 'sudo' on linux doesn't overcome this; neither does killing and restarting the adb shell. adb is running OK; it is just not connecting). 'flashboot devices' gives no response, just the next line of the command prompt.

  6. UPDATE: Even though I could not complete this process, I do apparently have root! Google Play has SuperSU listed as an app "Up to date", ditto for Root Checker by joeykrim. And in Root Checker, when I click "Check root", "Verify Root Access", SuperSU does pop up and ask if it should be granted root, I say yes, and Root Checker says I have root.

    I did manage to install the SuperSU app once or twice in my recent attempts. The first time I rebooted, I am sure I did not have root. Maybe the last two times I tried it, I did get root. About tablet says:

    Android version
    Kernel version
    #1 SMP PREEMPT Thu Jun 28 16:19:26 PDT 2012
    Build number

    As far as root goes, am I all set? I don't care about using a different ROM or bootloader. I just want to have more conrol in customizing -- and using Titanium Backup -- and still get the updates when they roll out. Is it all good?