Flash / Install ClockworkMod Recovery on Android Phone / Tablet

In this guide you’ll learn how to download and then flash / install ClockworkMod recovery (CWM) on your android phone or tablet. This CWM installation guide is applicable to almost all the supported android devices.

install clockworkmod recovery
For those not familiar, ClockworkMod recovery – also known as CWM recovery, is one of the most popular custom recoveries available for the android devices. Some of the core features found in Clockworkmod recovery includes Nandroid backup and restore, recovery, installation or restoration of custom or official ROMs.

Install ClockworkMod Recovery

There are primarily two standard methods to install ClockworkMod recovery on your android phone or tablet:

  1. Using ROM Manager
  2. Using Fastboot

There are some scenarios that require methods other than the above mentioned to flash ClockworkMod recovery, scenarios such as:

  • Your device recovery is not a separate partition but comes built into the kernel itself. Samsung Galaxy devices and many Sony devices fall in this category where you need to flash a kernel containing the ClockworkMod recovery using ODIN or FlashTool.
  • Your device doesn’t officially run android OS but Android has bee ported to run on it. Therefore requires special method to install CWM recovery. HP Touchpad and HTC HD2 are the examples of such devices.

Since it’s not feasible to cover methods for all the devices in a single guide, we will cover the standard two methods that should cover most of the devices out there. Let’s talk about both the methods mentioned above to install CWM recovery.

Flash CWM Recovery using ROM Manager

Installing Clockworkmod using ROM Manager is the easiest among the above mentioned methods. However it requires your device to be rooted first. So if you’re going to use ROM Manager to install ClockworkMod recovery, first root your Android device.

In this method you do not need to download recovery image, or enter any commands. The installation process is pretty straightforward and involves graphical user interface. This is the recommended method to install clockworkmod recovery and one should try other methods only if this one doesn’t work for you. Let’s get things done…

  1. Open the Play store on your device, search and install ROM Manager. ROM Manager allows you to install latest version of CWM recovery and schedule different recovery related task while booted into the Android. There’s an ad-free premium version also available.
  2. Open the “Rom Manager” that you just installed. It should offer you to “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery”. Tap ok.
    install cwm recovery 1
  3. Now Select ClockworkMod Recovery under “Install or update recovery” options. Then tap on your device’s name and then tap on “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery” to begin the downloading process.
    install cwm recovery 2 install cwm recovery 3 install cwm recovery 4 install cwm recovery 5
  4. After the download, grant SuperUser access if it asks. The recovery will be flashed and then “Successfully flashed ClockworkMod recovery!” message should appear. Tap OK.
    install cwm recovery 6 install cwm recovery 7
  5. Now tap on “Reboot into Recovery” and then hit OK. Your phone should reboot into ClockworkMod recovery, if it does, you’ve successfully installed CWM recovery on your android phone or tablet. Or you can manually boot into recovery by shutting down your phone or tablet and then using the Volume down or volume up and power buttons combination.
    install cwm recovery 8

Install ClockworkMod Recovery with Fastboot

One major benefit of installing ClockworkMod recovery using Fastboot is that it doesn’t even require you to root your device first. However, your bootloader must be unlocked prior to using this method. Checkout our detailed guide on how to unlock bootloader. If you’re going to use Fastboot to install ClockworkMod recovery on your android device, carefully follow the steps mentioned below.

WARNING: Make sure the recovery image you download is compatible with your device, or installing it may mess up your device.
  1. Download the latest recovery image file from ClockworkMod Recovery download page and copy the downloaded recovery file in the same folder where fastboot and adb files are located.
    Note: The recovery image must have .img extension. If it’s a .zip file, make sure to extract the .img file from it before proceeding.
  2. Setup fastboot & ADB on your computer.
  3. Enable USB debugging mode on your device and connect it to your computer via USB cable.
  4. Open the command prompt to Terminal and type in the following command to enter your device into fastboot mode:
    adb reboot bootloader
    or you may use the hardware key combination to enter fastboot mode.
  5. Once your device is in fastboot mode, type in the following command to see if the computer detects the connected device:
    fastboot devices
    If you don’t see a serial number, and instead see “”, fastboot is not configured properly on your machine or the drivers are missing. If you see “no permissions fastboot”, try running fastboot as root.
  6. To install ClockworkMod recovery on your device, enter the following command:
    fastboot flash recovery ***.img
    where “***.img” is the name of your recovery file.
  7. Once the install completes successfully, type in the following command to enter recovery mode:
    fastboot boot ***.img

Note: Some ROMs overwrite recovery at boot time so if you do not plan to immediately boot into recovery, please be aware that this may overwrite your custom recovery with the stock one.

6 thoughts on “Flash / Install ClockworkMod Recovery on Android Phone / Tablet

  1. T. Aust

    Cannot get fastboot to install Clockwork Mod, in my (soft?) bricked Droid 3 xt862…

    This is what the “terminal” gives, when I follow the above instructions:

    target reported max download size of 520093696 bytes
    sending ‘recovery’ (5088 KB)…
    OKAY [ 0.312s]
    writing ‘recovery’…
    (bootloader) Preflash validation failure
    FAILED (remote: )
    finished. total time: 0.524s


    Any help/suggestions?

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  4. Mahbod

    it is still in the level “install CWR recovery” the latest message is “”.
    how can i stop that and exit fastboot mode????

  5. Mahbod

    it is still in the level “install CWM recovery” the latest message is “waiting for device”.
    how can i stop that and exit fastboot mode????

  6. Dave, N6BHU

    Let me thank you, Mr. Ashraf, for what has turned out to be one of the most important (not to mention widely omitted) pieces of information regarding the rooting of most any Android phone (my old Moto X Play in particular), and more specifically, the installation of SuperSU, et al that immediately follows the task of flashing the new ROM to one’s phone.

    In the beginning, I was getting the “signature verification” error from trying to install SuperSU while in recovery mode; with numerous sets of instructions on rooting this phone, none of them had clearly stated that I was supposed to be in the “new and improved recovery” mode (TWRP, in my particular case) — I was pulling my hair out of my head (what’s left of it, anyway) trying to figure out how to over-ride the signature verification issue! (And there wasn’t much in the way of insight I could find about how to fix this, let alone detailed instructions.)

    Realizing that I had to use the command-string: “fastboot boot ***.img” (and not “now, reboot into recovery and…”) so I wouldn’t (continue to) reboot into OEM recovery mode I found myself with a rooted Moto X Play sixty seconds later! (Actually, I ended up with a boot-loop because nobody had mentioned the “echo SYSTEMLESS=true>>/data/.supersu” that one needs to do amidst the installation process of SuperSU while in a command-shell provided by the recovery app, but that only added another five minutes to my wait before the fun would begin.)

    Thanks, Again!

    Dave, N6BHU


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