[Android] What is ClockworkMod (CWM) recovery and why do we use it? [dotTech Explains]

What is ClockworkMod recovery?

When it comes to recovery for Android, ClockworkMod has been and still is the most famous and extensive custom recovery tool for Android devices. ClockworkMod, which is often abbreviated as CWM, is developed by Koushik Dutta, more popularly known as Koush. (Yes, he is the same developer behind ROM Manager for Android.) ClockworkMod recovery has, over time, become the favourite choice for Android users as well as developers.

What about the default Android Recovery?

The default Android recovery that comes pre-installed with all Android devices is pretty basic as far as functionality is concerned and thus doesn’t allow an Android user to play with and experience the full power of the device he owns. Simply putting it, the basic recovery console that comes with the Android devices is primarily a partition (that can be booted into) in the device that provides some basic (though handy) functionalities like doing factory reset and/or manually recovering or upgrading the operating system to stock ROMs (official releases). Default Android recovery does not allow users to install custom ROMs, such as CyanogenMod.

Why ClockworkMod Recovery?

ClockworkMod offers Android users with an extensive list of functionalities which the default Android recovery cannot even hope to match. Using ClockworkMod, one can install, update, or upgrade both official and unofficial ROMs (known as ‘custom’ ROMs). It also enables advanced recovery and backup methods, and one can mount the USB storage to transfer files between the device and a PC while remaining in the recovery mode (very helpful for if you have a bricked device and can’t boot into Android or if you simply don’t want to do another reboot to transfer a file you forgot). Partitioning the SD card and wiping user data, dalvik cache, and battery stats are some other capabilities of ClockworkMod.

Aside from installing custom ROMs, ClockworkMod often makes it easier to perform other Android hacks such as rooting, enabling lagfixes, etc.

How to install ClockworkMod recovery?

Installation method of ClockworkMod recovery varies from device to device and there is usually more than one effective method to replace the default Android recovery with ClockworkMod. Though the process is different for different devices, it is typically quite simple and safe.

One of the common options ‘that just works’ for installing ClockworkMod recovery on your device is to first root your device then download and install the ROM Manager application from the Google Play Store; after installing the application, you just have to run it and select the first option in it — “Flash ClockworkMod recovery”. If your device has an official version of ClockworkMod recovery released for it, you will most likely be successful in flashing ClockworkMod recovery to your device. But, this method doesn’t work on some devices like the Samsung Galaxy S series devices (due to some extra layer of protection) and on certain other devices (due to reasons related to the availability of ClockworkMod for the devices or due to some limitations of the devices). Plus Google has started protecting recovery on Android 4.x and higher so that adds another level of complexity when it comes to installing ClockworkMod. Bottom line: There is no one standardized way to install ClockworkMod and it varies from device to device.

If flashing ClockworkMod recovery using the ROM Manager method doesn’t work for your device or if you are looking for alternative guides for installing ClockworkMod on your device(s), just keep following the dotTech guides on installing ClockworkMod recovery; we will be writing guides on how to install ClockworkMod recovery on various devices. You can let us know which device(s) you would like us to write about specifically through the comments below and we will try to fulfill your requests.

How to access the Recovery Console?

Once you have ClockworkMod recovery, you want to access it, right? Or maybe you haven’t installed ClockworkMod recovery and want to access your default recovery. How do you do that? I may sound like a broken but just like ClockworkMod installation procedures vary from device to device, so does the method for accessing recovery. The good news is that manufacturers like to standardize how to access recovery for all there devices so most devices of the same manufacturer share the same method.

For most Android devices manufactured by Samsung, the recovery console (Android recovery or any other custom recovery like ClockworkMod) can be booted into by turning off the device, and then turning on the device while holding the ‘Volume down’ and ‘Home’ buttons pressed until you see the Samsung logo. For devices from other manufacturers, other methods include: turning off the device and holding the ‘Volume down’ or ‘Volume up’ button pressed while switching on the device (Volume down/up + Power); turning off the device and holding the ‘Volume down’ and ‘Volume up’ buttons while powering on the device; etc. — it varies. In many situations you aren’t taken directly to recovery mode but rather have to select “RECOVERY” option after performing the two/three finger salute.

If you have managed to install ClockworkMod, you can easily reboot into recovery by selecting “Reboot into Recovery” option from the ROM Manager app.

If you have ADB installed on your computer, you can choose yet another path to access recovery that works for all devices. Enable USB debugging from Settings -> Applications -> Development (or System settings -> Developer options on Android 3.x and 4.x). Then, connect your device to the computer, and enter “adb reboot recovery” (without quotes) in a command prompt.


ClockworkMod is probably one of the best things to happen to Android. It has helped open doors that might have remained closed otherwise. But be sure to use it wisely otherwise you may have a bricked device!

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  • Tyler

    I used towlroot to root my SM-S975L. It is a Galaxy S4 from StraitTalk. I would like to know how to install ClockWorkMod for use. When I go into the app it gives me a list of phones to choose from to install. But My phone is not on the list and tells me my phone will not install. Can it in fact be install or is there another app like CWM that I can use. I would like to update the version to the most recent android version but straittalk locks you from doing that.

  • Adrian

    Hi I have a alcalet one touch fierce and I was wondering if you can help me out.?

  • Naresh kumar

    My device is samsung s 7582

  • Naresh kumar

    My device is s7582.i want clock work mode recover y

  • vicente torrealba

    goodnight friend have much time looking how to apply an un ClockworkMod Samsung Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch SPH- D710 without help me with him as fix

  • vicente torrealba

    buenas noches amigo tengo mucho tiempo buscando como aplicar ClockworkMod a un samsung galaxy s2 epic 4g touch sph-d710 y no consigo como solucionarlo ayudame

  • Bhim Tamang

    How can I download CWM recovery mode in Micromax A093

  • P K Mallik

    Sir, I need a CWM recovery for Celkon Millennium Ultra Q 500, which has got Broadcom processor.

  • rajesh

    Hello sir…my lenova-a6000 ..was successfully rooted using kingsroot app…but now for to update it to lollipop I think I need CWRecovery ..
    With out this CWrecovry in the normal inbuilt recovery mode can I use “update from SD card ” option …ple. Help me sir…also I have checked root access it was successfully rooted

  • Charles78

    I recommend you try Ahsay Software (http://www.ahsay.com). Ahsay?? Backup Software is an advanced disk-to-disk-to-disk (D2D2D) backup solution for Businesses and MSPs / VARs. It comes with the most comprehensive features that can fulfill all the on-premises backup, online backup, offsite backup, and cloud backup needs of nowadays businesses. At the same time, it is the most affordable backup solution available in the market.

  • deepak

    please call me +919808626497

  • frustratedGeek

    i want clockworkmod recovery for lg optimus l3 2 e425. please help.

  • jeet

    I have rooted spice mi 515 n download Rom manager and try to flash stock recovery by CWM but official not supported n listed my device. So how i can get CWM recovery for my phone. i want to install custom rom please help …thanx

  • jitendra

    I have spice mi 515 and rooted my handset after that downloaded Rom manager but cwm officially not supported …so how can i make cwm recovery for my spice mi 515….and how i can take backup stock rom of my phone…..please give solution step by step…..which app n application required…

  • uday ch

    Please tell me how to change from android system recovery to cwm recovery for my Celkon ml5. That I have rooted my phone but does not make me to install any other ROMs it aborting the function

  • Dion Trevor Castellino

    Please write a mergod to flash cwm recovery on Karbonn A35 also known as alps a35

  • tejas patil

    I want cwm recovery for Karbonn A99i device please help

  • Wispers

    Clockworkmod recovery for blu life pure xl

  • Wispers

    Clockworkmod recovery for blue life pure xl

  • I can’t boot my galaxy win into download mode by applying home+power+volume download and also using the Rom manager I got the message not supported

  • bimpong

    Tnx 4 ur work…I have galaxy win but I can’t boot in download by using power+volume down+home keys and my this mentioned is supported by the Rom manager method…pls any help

  • ricardojones-

    i need CWM for alcatel ot 4033A

  • zdig1

    MD706B RK3026
    android 4.2.2
    1G ram /8G

  • harsha

    could u provide cwm recovery for the device karbonn A27+ andriod version 4.1.2
    here the link http://gadgets.ndtv.com/karbonn-a27-plus-924 for details

  • saurabh

    I use Spice Mi 515 coolpad. While installing cwm through Rom Manager it asks for version 2.x or 3.x+ which version do I choose.

  • swapnil

    I am using Celkon a59 and I dont have cwm recovery when I searched in rom manager my device name is not listed, please help me in getting alternative method of installating my mobile name is ( Celkon a59)

  • Aad

    Could you please tell me how to install CWM recovery on my device: ZTE Blade 3. android version 4.0
    I want to upgrade it to version 4.4.
    I have already rooted it but I’m unable to get CWM recovery.

  • Nadeem

    Plz write a step by step guide for rooting and installing cwm recovery for Samsung galaxy mega 5.8 GT 19152
    I hv been searching for so long for an exclusive article for this model but I hv not been able to get one.
    I really want to try this bt don’t want to brick my phone.
    Will be really grateful to u

  • JtheBlueEnder

    Please make a guide for the “Blu Life 8”

  • monjit kr das

    Please tell me
    How I install CWM recovery in my spice cool pad mi 515.

  • kayluhjee

    What are the installation steps for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (SGH-T889)?

  • jason cabz

    Thanks.i hope you can creat for me.godbless

  • jason cabz

    Plz creat cwm recovery for my device .cloudfone ice 401e

  • yiga

    pls i need ur help to put cwm on my zte v790 roomer 2
    thank u

  • samwanjeri

    Hello. Tecno m3 is not listed on rom manager how do I flash cwm?

  • bert

    My Phone is samsung GT-s5830i, is rooted, in recovery mode apply update from sd card>clockworkRec5830i-zip >reboot system. I see clockworkMod Recovery v5.0.2.6 and rom manager icon. But no CUSTOM RECOVERY. Rom manager asks me first set up a custom recovery >install or update recovery > unsupported device. Can you tell me what to do. Thank you

  • Sarbik

    I am unable to find a working cwm recovery for Samsung gt5801. It seems the dropbox image everyone was referring is now removed/replaced.

  • vicky

    i am unable to find cwm recovery for celkon ar 45. Please create one for this asap

    i shall be very thankful to you

  • Sudeep

    i am having Xperia Tipo (single sim) Rom manager application is incompatible with my device..How should i install it??
    any other suggestions for tipo??

  • Utibe

    Can anyone help

  • Utibe

    I use a tecno f7 phone running android 4.2.1 and clockworkmod doesn’t seem to flash its recovery

  • vitor

    how to install clockworkmod recovery in galaxy fame

  • crazyguru

    can u please write on installing CWM on samsung galaxy fame s6810p?

  • barun dutta

    hello sir my phn is lava iris 458q
    how do i install CWM.

  • nakum

    pls send me ….how to download clock mod and how install ..
    when I install cwm …so virifiction error …

  • Thousif

    My device name is lava iris 458q. I need to know how to install cwm onto it. Pls help me..

  • Thousif

    [@praveen kumar] I would like cwm recovery for this device too… Reply to me if you make one…

  • ravsirsi

    I need a CWM for GTI9152 / Galaxt mega 5.8, I have it rooted but no CWM :(

  • karthikeyan M

    Dear Guys,

    Problem is resolved. Instead of using Samsung USB Cable bundled with the Product, I used Nokia Cable to install ClockworkMod and it got worked. This time I got Clockworkmod Recovery screen successfully.

    If anyone facing the issue as the above, Pl try with some other USB Cable.


  • Babale Idris

    Could you please Provide the Installation Instructions with exact Recovery Image to install clockworkmod for Techno f 7. Followed so many threads and nothing worked. While booting, It is taking default android recovery mode after installing clockworkmod.

    Dr sanka

  • Babale Idris

    Could you please Provide the Installation Instructions with exact Recovery Image to install clockworkmod for Techno f7 . Followed so many threads and nothing worked. While booting, It is taking default android recovery mode after installing clockworkmod.

    Dr sanka

  • Babale Idris

    Pls I have a techno f7 phantom A pls let me know how I can configure cwm recovery image on my phone
    Regards , Dr sanka

  • Babale Idris

    Pls I have a techno f7 phantom A pls let me know how I can configure cwm recovery image on my phone

  • dr. sanka

    Pls I have a techno f7 phantom A pls let me know how I can configure cwm recovery image on my phone . Thanks

  • maha.karthik

    Could you please Provide the Installation Instructions with exact Recovery Image to root/install clockworkmod for Samsung Galaxy Grand GT-19082 Model. Followed so many threads and nothing worked. While booting, It is taking default android recovery mode after installing clockworkmod.

    Karthikeyan M

  • shahid

    I have Micromax Infinity Funbook P275.
    I have rooted my device and would like to install CWM Recovery. Which method would be best.
    I further plan to install Chainfire 3D on it.

    As it is very slow, I would like to remove all the bloatwares. There was a site which was offering Clean ICS 4.0.3 but that was for P300 only.

    Please suggest.

  • bader

    Can i install another version of cwm after installing it ???

  • Shohan

    How can i install cwm in SYMPHONY W125… Plzzz helpp me.. Plzz inform me.. Othrwise i will fall in great problem…

  • praveen kumar

    Hai bro. My device name is lava iris 458q. I need to know how to root my device and install cwm onto it. Pls help me..

  • arix

    could you pliz help me with CWM for my Huawei T8620. i couldnt find it anywhere on the net and it isnt available on ROM Manager too.. any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • cwm

    How to install and uninstall CWM on tablet cube U9GT5 rk3188 quad core?

    Thank you.

  • Ganesh

    For Micromax A57
    Press the button until not getting the Recovery screen:
    Power Button + VolumeUp Button

  • hervinder

    How to install cwm on canvas2 and which rom is best fr dis device…..

  • sanju

    Mine is galaxy Ace 5830i … my device is unsupported and In “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery”… It s asking which version ClockworkMod 2.x or ClockworkMod 3.x+ to use?… which one should I need to use ??
    What i do sir

  • katlego

    Can you please advise me as to where I can cwm recovery for samsung galaxy chat B5330. thanx.

  • katlego

    Can you please advise me as to where I can cwm recovery for samsung galaxy chat B5330. thanx

  • mleimnek

    so, i allready got CWM on my LG P708g… what now… its rooted… but to be honest i just dont know what im doing… its just that im kinda bored with the ICS looks… isnt there something else to do?!?! can you guys help me out?!

  • Prashant

    Can you help me in installing CWM for Celkon A88 android.. I’ve already rooted it…

  • optimchic

    How can I get Clockworkmod on my LG E720? There is no official release, would it be effective if I used the version for Optimus One? Afterall the are very similar.

  • john

    i have a coolpad quattro ive tried recoverX and clockworkmod recovery yet my device isnt supported on either. im not sure what to do at this point. its already rooted, any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Martin

    I have rooted Samsung Galaxy Ace GT-S5830 running on Android 2.3.5. Which CWM I should use? ROM Manager doesn’t support my device. Some tutorials say that after install I should clear cache and dalvik cache. What are these things? How I’m supposed to do that? What does it delete? Thank you!

  • milind bhaliwade

    hello guys, I have micromax a57, which already rooted. I unable to boot in recovery console as well as format mobile, when I selected wrong mobile model in flash recovery in Rom Manager apps. Pls give me solution.

  • VelKumar

    Mine is galaxy Ace 5830i … my device is unsupported and In “Flash ClockworkMod Recovery”… It s asking which version ClockworkMod 2.x or ClockworkMod 3.x+ to use?… which one should I need to use ??

  • kishore

    How to install cmw on my lg l5 e612

  • Joseph M

    my micromax a57 refuses to come on.. it just keeps restarting when i try.. i tried all kinds of button combinations to invoke the recovery menu.. can you tell me the correct combination?

  • Jamie

    I’ve recently rooted my Impression 7 android tablet by leader international, but ROM manager says device unsupported. I’ve read up on flashing Clockworkmod recovery manually using Android Emulator, but I don’t know what version (of CWM) is compatible with my tablet. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am so excited to finally be able to get the most out of such a generic device… Specs– Model no. I7, Android version 2.2-1103-en, Kernel, Build FRF85B. Thank you! :-)

  • Godwin

    You would be better off searching around and asking at XDA Developers Forum, since support for some lesser known smartphones are not easily findable and IMO, trusting any other resource would demand a much higher risk factor.
    @srikanth_leo7: I did try searching for CWM ports for your device. But it seems that the only support available for your device is: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1875166

  • srikanth_leo7

    I tried to install cwm.zip on celkonA95 android phone but I am getting signature verification failed error. how can I get the correct clockworkmod recovery for my device.

  • Tapas Ghosh

    I want clockworkmod recovery for my HCL me G1 tab, since it is not shown in the rom manager cwm device list.

  • Milind Dave

    How nd where can I find clockworkmod recovery for gt-i5801 and install it
    Since it is not shown in the rom manager cwm device lists.. :(

  • @AU: hey if u want to install download cmw recovery zip any version put it on sd not inside folder restart ur device in recovery mode choose update from sd and choose the cmw recovery zip ur done any prob pls comment iam s2k xda senior member

  • Godwin

    @AU: If I am right, the Android on your netbook “was” a customised version by Acer until you flushed it for the custom Android x86 project. And, as per what I could infer with a little of researching on it, I found that you wouldn’t most probably be able to get CWM for your netbook.

    At the same time, you can use “Acer Configuration Manager for Android” on your Windows installation to restore the ‘original’ Android operating system on your netbook: http://acer–uk.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5870/~/how-to-restore-android-on-the-aspire-one

  • Ashraf

    @AU: Um… how exactly did you install Android on that without already having custom recovery?

  • AU

    how to install this for an acer aod 255 netbook custom install of android ver 4 (asus ver)