FAQ on ClockworkMod recovery (CWM)



  1. What is Clockworkmod recovery (CWM)?
  2. The structure of the menu
  3. Navigate the menu
  4. Clockworkmod recovery firmware
  5. Firmware CWM Recovery for complex devices.
  6. List of models supported by ROM Manager
  7. Installing zip files
  8. Structure of zip files
  9. Creating and restoring a backup copy of the firmware (nandroid)
  10. How to get root with recovery?

1.What is Clockworkmod recovery (CWM)?


ClockworkMod recovery (CWM) is a modified unofficial recovery that is released for most devices running Android. It has much more capabilities than native recovery. On some devices it is installed instead of native recovery, on other devices it is installed in parallel. Allows you to:

  • Install unofficial firmware
  • Install add-ons and fixes
  • Connect to PC via USB in removable storage mode
  • Connect to PC via USB in ADB mode
  • Create a backup of both the entire firmware and its individual parts (system, settings, installed programs)
  • Restore data from a previously created backup
  • Reset the data to the factory settings (Wipe - data / factory reset), clear the cache partition (wipe cache), clear the dalwick cache (wipe Dalvik-cache), clear the statistics of the battery (wipe battery stats)
  • Format and create partitions on the memory card


If you can not turn on the phone and download android, you can always restore through CWM a previously created backup with all the applications and settings.

2.The menu structure of CWM Recovery

Reboot system - reboot the device

apply update.zip from sdcard - install the file update.zip, located in the root of the memory card sdcard \

wipe data / factory reset - full reset of settings and data, while the / data and / cache partitions are cleared in the internal memory of the device and the ".android_secure" system folder on the memory card is cleared

wipe cache partition - cleaning the partition / cache in the internal memory of the device

install zip from sdcard - install zip file from memory card

  • chooze zip from sdcard - select the zip file on the memory card for installation
  • toggle signature veritification - on / off verification of file signature
  • toggle script assert - enable / disable script approval


backup and restore - creating and restoring a backup

  • Backup - backup all the partitions in the device memory
  • Advanced Backup - create a backup of a specific partition in the device memory
  • Restore - restores all partitions from the selected backup
  • Advanced Restore - Restore a specific partition from the selected backup


mounts and storage - mount and drive

  • mount / system - mount the system folder
  • unmount / data - unmounting the user data folder
  • unmount / cache unmounting the cache folder
  • mount / sdcard - mount the memory card
  • mount / sd-ext - mount the Linux partition from the memory card (if any)
  • format boot - cleaning the boot partition
  • format system - cleaning the system partition
  • format data - clearing a section with user data and settings
  • format cache - clear cache partition
  • format sdcard - formatting the memory card
  • format sd-ext - formatting the Linux partition on the memory card
  • mount USB storage - connect to a computer in removable storage mode


advanced - additional

  • Reboot Recovery - reboot recovery
  • Wipe Dalvik Cache - cleaning Dalvik cache
  • Wipe Battery Stat - reset battery statistics
  • Report Error - report an error
  • Key Test - the key test, when a button is pressed, displays its code
  • Restart adbd - reboot ADB server
  • Process dump - Dump

3.Navigate the menu

On all devices, CWM control is performed in different ways. But most devices use the following scheme:

  • volume up button,
  • the volume down button - down,
  • on / off button - select an item.

On some devices, additional buttons are also used, for example, to return to the previous menu. The latest versions of CWM support screen clicks.


In CWM touch, the control is performed by pressing the desired functions.


Additional function:

If you make 5 swipes menu up and down, then turn on the "Rainbow mode" (multicolored menu items).

4.Clockworkmod recovery firmware

Installing CWM via RomManager is not suitable for all devices.

1) Install recovery via fastboot.

The native way of installing any recovery for Android devices is firmware recovery via fastboot in the recovery section of the phone. This method is preferable. How to enter fastboot mode and where to get the files for its work, read in the subject of firmware of your device, the methods and files are different everywhere. This method is suitable only for devices on which the boot loader is unlocked and on which there is a recovery partition. Recovery is stitched with the command:

fastboot flash recovery.img


fastboot - the name of the fastboot executable

recovery.img - the name of the image from the recovery

2) Installation of recovery in other ways.

On some devices, with a locked bootloader, or write protection for certain partitions, or to save a warranty, or if there is no recovery partition, or for other reasons, the recovery can be stitched either to the boot partition or to the system partition. It happens accordingly, either with the kernel firmware, or with the installation application.

3) Install recovery through the flash driver from the computer.

In this case, the firmware is used on the computer and its files go to it. For example, for Samsung it's Odin. For Motorola RSD Lite and so on.

5.Firmware CWM Recovery for complex devices.

  • HTC x515e Rider
  • Samsung Galaxy S Captivate
  1.  adb.zip
  2.  Image ClockWorkMod recovery for HTC Rider: recovery.img
  3.  HTC drivers: I downloaded HTC Sync, installed everything (installed with the drivers), then through the "Start> Control Panel> Uninstalling Programs", I deleted HTC Sync itself, ie. there were only drivers. If you download and install the drivers separately, you do not need to install HTC Sync!
  4.  Root: su_2.3.6.3_efgh_fixed_unsigned.zip You can try the newer version, but this one definitely works, others I have not tried
  1. Run Odin (1.83 version and up)
  2. Start the phone in Download Mode
  3. Select PDA in Odin and select the file "CWMR_recovery.tar.md5"
  4. We tick only on the "auto reboot".

7.Installing zip files

  1. The device must have ClockWorkMod recovery installed.
  2. Create a full backup of the firmware (it will help to restore the system if something goes wrong).
  3. The battery must be 100% charged. Of course, the installation process does not spend that much energy, but with 15-20% of the charge, you should not try to install a new firmware.
  4. Disconnect the device from charging and the computer.
  5. An installable archive, for example FrozenEclairDefy_V2.34.1.zip, is copied to the root of the memory card without unzipping it. The file name must contain only numbers and Latin letters, spaces and special characters are not allowed. CWM allows you to install zip, which are not only in the root of the memory card, but this method allows you to simplify the process of firmware.
  6. Log in to ClockWorkMod recovery.
  7. Select "install zip from sdcard".
  8. Select "choose zip from sdcard".
  9. In the opened built-in file manager, select "FrozenEclairDefy_V2.34.1.zip". In the list on the top there are folders, at the bottom of the files.
  10. Confirm the installation by selecting "YES". A confirmation item is usually not the first one on the list, it's normal.
  11. After the installation is complete, select "+++++ Go Back +++++".
  12. Select "reboot system now", the phone reboots.
  13. We are waiting for the phone to be fully downloaded. Downloading after installation can take a long time, especially if a new firmware was being installed. After installing any zip, it is recommended to reset the cache and davic cache. When changing firmware, data reset (wipe data) is mandatory.

8.Structure of zip files

ZIP files are ordinary archives, which differ in that they contain firmware files and installation instructions (the META-INF folder). This is the instruction for CWM, which describes which files to copy and where, what to remove, what permissions they have to expose, and other actions that need to be performed when installing this ZIP, for example wipe, img image installation and etc. The firmware data in the archive lies in the same sections as they will be located in the device's memory. Sections in the archive can be represented as folders with files (the folder name exactly coincides with the name of the corresponding section in the internal memory), and in the form of images img. The boot partition can only be stitched in an image. Regardless of the purpose of this or that zip, zip'y for CWM can be distinguished by opening the archive as an ordinary archiver, inside there should be a folder "META-INF".

META-INF \ com \ google \ android \ update-script - this file contains the installation instructions, you can open it with a text editor, for example "notepad ++", and rewrite it if necessary. The new ZIP in the folder META-INF \ com \ google \ android contains two files "updater-script" and "update-binary" - by the presence of the second one you can define the file for the old CWM or for the new one. The old CWM is 2. *, new - 3. * and higher.

List of some commands that you can use in the zip statement

  • The ui_print command writes on the device screen. Example: ui_print ("Copying files to system ..."); will write on the installer's screen "Copying files to system ...".
  • the format command formats the folder on the device. Example format ("MTD", "system"); clears / system. It is always written to the mount command.
  • the mount command mounts the folders. Example: mount ("MTD", "boot", "/ boot"); mounts the / boot directory as rewritable.
  • the package_extract_dir command copies files from the archive to already mounted folders. Example: package_extract_dir ("system", "/ system"); copies everything from the system folder to / system.
  • the show_progress (fraction, duration) command shows the progress bar. Example: show_progress (0.500000, 40);
  • the set_perm (uid, gid, mode, path) command sets permissions. Example: set_perm (0, 0, 06755, "/ system / xbin / su"); give permissions SU to this folder.
  • the set_perm_recursive (uid, gid, mode, path) command is the same as set_perm, only the directory and all its contents. (similar to chmod -R, chown -R, chgrp -R) Example: set_perm_recursive (1002, 1002, 0755, 0440, "/ system / etc / bluetooth");
  • The symlink command creates a symbolic link (analogous to ln -s). Example: symlink ("busybox", "/ system / xbin / [", "/ system / xbin / [[");
  • the delete command deletes the file. Example: delete ("/ system / app / Rosie.apk") - removes Rosie.apk from system / app
  • command delete_recursive - deletes the directory with all the files. Example: delete_recursive ("/ system / app /") - deletes the system / app folder

9.Creating and restoring a backup copy of the firmware (nandroid)

CWM recovery allows you to create a backup copy of the firmware of the device (not all partitions), such a backup is called nandroid. CWM reserves the boot, system, data, cache partitions in the device's internal memory and the ".androidsecure" folder on the device's memory card, if there are other partitions, for example, an ext partition on the memory card, or a webtop partition (only on some motorola devices) their backup. The sections with the firmware of the radio module, the camera (for some samsung devices) and the loader are not reserved. If there are other partitions on your device, it's best to clarify them in the appropriate firmware topic. Not only the operating system is backed up, but all settings and installed applications. Starting with the fifth version, CWM creates a backup copy in the tar archive, which is very convenient, because it can be opened by an ordinary archiver, for example WinRar. In older versions of CWM, the backup copy is a copy of all the partitions in the img images. The resulting backup can only be restored from the phone and only through the CWM. The device must have ClockWorkMod recovery installed.

System Backup:

- Run CWM recovery

- Select "Backup & restore"

- Select "backup"

- Select "YES"

- Select Reboot system now (reboot)

After that, a full backup will be added to the memory card in the clockworkmod / backup folder. The name of the backup includes the time and date of its creation, but the name can be given arbitrary, of course Latin alphabet without spaces

10.How to get root with recovery?


To get root on any version of the android and on any device it's enough to install superSU via non-native recovery: