Nexus 7 ClockworkMod (CWM) Recovery Guide — Both Touch and Basic versions Included


Bought a brand new Nexus 7 tablet and would like to install custom ROMs on it? Of course you would, but before you can do that, you must first install ClockworkMod recovery on it – a custom recovery that lets you install custom ROMs on Android devices. Which is what this guide is for – to help you flash ClockworkMod recovery on your Nexus 7 so you can flash any custom ROM that your heart desires.

So take out your USB cable and of course, your Nexus 7, and let’s get down to business and take a look at the instructions on how you can install ClockworkMod recovery on your tablet.


This hack and the guide below are compatible only and only with the ASUS Nexus 7 tablet.


The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky and you should not attempt anything if you don’t know completely what it is. If any damage occurs to your device, we won’t be held liable.

How to Install ClockworkMod Recovery on Nexus 7

  1. Root and unlock the bootloader on your Nexus 7 by using the Nexus Root Toolkit → here. Backup everything on your tablet as unlocking the bootloader completely resets it and wipes out all files. The toolkit will also install the necessary drivers for the tablet on your computer.
  2. Download the ClockworkMod recovery image from the official ClockworkMod download page. Download either the touch or normal version of recovery for the Nexus 7 (preferably the touch version as it is easier to use). The file will be an .img file.
  3. Download fastboot.
    Download Fastboot  |  Filename: 
  4. Extract the file to the C: drive on your computer to get a folder named Fastboot with four files inside it.
  5. Copy the ****.img file (*** is the name of the file downloaded in step 2) to the Fastboot folder on C drive. You should have 5 files in the Fastboot folder now.
  6. Install ES File Explorer File Manager on your tablet from the Play Store.
  7. Open ES Explorer on the tablet. Then, click the menu button on your device and click Settings. Here, tick the “Up to Root” option. Then go down and tick the “Root Explorer” option, then press the Allow/Grant button when prompted to grant it root access. Then, tick the “Mount File System Option” as well. Once all three options are selected, press back to exit the settings.
  8. Now, press the Up button on top till you reach the outermost folder and it says / at the top. Then, go into the system folder and long press on the recovery-from-boot.p file and delete it. This is necessary as otherwise CWM recovery will get overwritten by stock recovery after a reboot. If this file is not there, ignore it and go to the next step.
  9. On your Nexus 7, go into Settings » Developer options, click the button on the top to turn on developer options, then enable USB Debugging. Then, connect your tablet to the computer. Wait for the drivers to finish installing.
  10. Now, open the Start menu, type “cmd” (without the ” quotes) and press Enter to open the Command Prompt (or open it from All Programs » Accessories » Command prompt).
  11. In the command prompt, enter the following commands to flash ClockworkMod recovery on your Nexus 7 (check the screenshot after step 11.3 for reference):
    1. cd C:Fastboot
    2. adb reboot bootloader (this will reboot your tablet into fastboot mode)
    3. fastboot flash recovery _____.img  (replace the ____ with the name of the recovery file obtained in step 2)
  12. ClockworkMod recovery will then be flashed on your Nexus 7. After it’s finished, you will get a finished/OKAY message in the command prompt. You can then type fastboot reboot to reboot the tablet.
  13. To try out CWM recovery, turn off your tablet. Then, press and hold the Volume Up + Volume Down + Power buttons together till the device boots into CWM recovery. If you have installed the basic version of CWM, you can use the volume keys to navigate and the power button to select options. For the touch version, simply swipe up/down on the screen to scroll and tap on an option to select it.

ClockworkMod recovery is now installed on your Nexus 7 tablet, which will let you install any custom ROM on it. Let us know how it works!

5 Comment

  1. lux says: Reply

    You made a pretty important error in this tutorial.

    You need to type into the command prompt:

    adb reboot bootloader

    Don’t type in:

    adb reboot downloader

    1. Kapil says: Reply

      Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Kit McLean says: Reply

    I’d been having all sorts of trouble getting first the root, then CMW installed on my nexus. Even following your very clear instructions. Turns out it was my cheap USB cable that was the problem. After about an hour of mucking around I eventually swapped out my ebay cheapy cable for the OEM one that came with the Nexus and it all worked first time.

    Thought it might be a handy tip if someone else is having the same problem – Only use your original usb cable!


  3. Rui Rosario says: Reply

    I cant find the Up to root option to tick. Can somebody please help?

    1. In es file explor/man there is a menu button on the bottom right hand corner of the screen that is your menu button (3 vertical dots) then hit settings, scroll down and click root settings

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