How to easily unlock and root the Samsung Google Nexus S on Windows

Easily root your Google Nexus S or the i9023/i9020 manufactured by Samsung by following these simple steps. There are plenty of rooting steps out there but all of them required you to download a lot of files and do a lot of complicated steps. Moreover not one worked for me fully. Skip to the rooting steps

What is rooting? Why should I root ?

By default your Nexus S phone comes with default users and many system functionality and parts of the operating systems are not available with these users. Rooting procedure creates a SuperUser which can be used to access privileged parts of the operating system. Many applications such as ScreenShot app requires you to have root privileges. You can also install custom software like MiUI and latest builds of android if you have a unlocked rooted phone.

There are 2 steps in rooting:

  • Unlock the bootloader. This would reset the phone and is similar to factory reset.
  • And the rooting itself which is the installation of SuperUser Application

Common problems faced while following other rooting procedures

  • Nexus S Driver installation issues when in Bootloader mode.
  • Google USB Driver is not recognized on Windows 7, "Device Unrecognized"
  • Google Android SDK download with fastboot.exe and adb.exe missing
  • No steps for Android version 2.3.4

Enough of whining, lets get started rooting your Google nexus s android phone

Nexus S Rooting Steps

Warning: The chances of making your phone unusable (bricked) are rare, however in such an event I cannot be held responsible, Proceed at your own risk.


  • Download the required files (19.1 MB). That's it no other downloads.
  • Unzip them to a folder (Use Extract here, folder is created inside the zip) for ease of explanation I would suggest C: on Windows so that the folder nexus-s-root folder is in C:nexus-s-root. The zip contains the following:
    • drivers: contains the nexus s bootloader drivers.
    • tools: Necessary utilities to unlock and root your Nexus S.
    • The super user android app that can grant other applications root access.
    • Nexus S Rooting Steps: Shortcut to this article.
  • USB Data cable for Nexus S (Any USB to Mini USB cable)


To root your phone you need to unlock the bootloader which is similar to a factory reset. So all your applications and data would be wiped out. So you may want to backup the following:

  • Copy and backup your entire phone memory card to your laptop.
  • Backup SMS or other important information using apps available from Android Market
  • Contacts if synced to Google's servers would be synced back
  • Make a list of applications and gadgets installed if you want to install them back.

Procedure - Unlock your bootloader

  • After backup, Shutdown your phone, (Let your friends know you are rooting just in case :D ). Press power button and choose Power off.
  • Connect your phone to your laptop via the data cable.
  • Press the Volume Up button and then the power button to turn on the phone and boot into the bootloader screen.
    • Open the device manager (My Computer > Right Click > Manage > Device Manager). You should see in Other Devices Android 1.0 Android Driver Installation

    On the computer, you should see a device installing. If the driver installation failed (likely to), you need to install the drivers as shown below: Android windows device driver installation failed

    • Click on update driver, and manually point to the drivers directory in our downloaded folder. Windows should automatically install the drivers, Press yes if you get a confirmation of installing unsigned drivers.
  • Now is the easy part, just open up a command prompt (cmd)

  • cd to the tools folder (cd c:nexus-s-roottools)
  • Run
    fastboot devices
  • Now you should get a number printed on the line. This means your phone is ready to be unlocked.
  • Run
    fastboot oem unlock
  • Now the unlock process would have started on your samsung nexus phone as shown below: Unlock bootloader screen on android nexus s
  • Use the Volume buttons to select Yes, and press the power button
  • After this the phone should boot up with a Google logo and an unlocked icon.
  • Congrats your phone is now wiped clean and the bootloader is unlocked

Procedure - Rooting

Rooting is installing the SuperUser application on your Google Nexus S.

  • Boot your phone, You should see it booting with an unlocked icon below the Google logo.
  • Connect your phone and computer via a data cable and turn on USB Mass storage
  • Copy the to your / on the android phone. (Do not put it inside folders) !important!
  • Power off your phone
  • Again press the Volume Up button and then the power button to turn on the phone and boot into the bootloader screen. You should see that your bootloader is unlocked now.
    Unlocked android bootloader screen
  • On your computer command console in the tools directory type
    fastboot boot recovery.img
    . This should start clockwork mod on your mobile phone and it should look something like the image below:
    Clockwork mod screen to install SuperUser
  • Now choose "Install zip from sd card" and then choose "" from the list. Touch does not work here Choosing and navigation is done using the Volume Up and Down to move up and down the list, and power button choose the selected items. Back button should also work.
  • Choose yes from the list that sort off looks like the screen below:
    Super user confirm installation
  • And then it should Install super user application on your nexus s
    Android Super user installation screen
  • Now go back and boot your phone in normal mode.
  • The superuser application should be available in the list of applications.

And hence thy google nexus s phone is now rooted!


11 Nov, 2011
1 Attachment
nexus-s-root.zip19.1 MB
Comments (2)
  • Home button not working

    My home button is not working after I followed this procedure to root my Google nexus s phone!
    Please help me

    By karen on 02 Dec, 2011
    • Restart your phone

      Restart your nexus s phone after rooting, and the home button should start working now.

      By digitalpbk on 02 Dec, 2011
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