Please help me save the data from my Droid
June 30, 2011 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I dropped my Motorola Droid/A855 in a river. Droid may boot after drying out. How do I get all the data off the internal memory? Difficulty: Droid no longer has service.

Not sure if the thing will boot, but if it does, I want to get the data off it ASAP. Is there a utility or method to copy the internal memory onto the SD card?

My phone is not rooted, and does not have 3G service anymore.

Although I've been using Android and this phone for over a year, please consider me a complete n00b when it comes to using backup apps on Android.
posted by fake to Technology (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have it drying in a dessicant chamber filled with calcium chloride, FYI
posted by fake at 2:31 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Assuming you can get it powered on and connected to WiFi, you can download something like Astro File Manager.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:37 PM on June 30, 2011

Did the service end before the phone last synced. So that means your contact etc are all up to date and accessible by just logging in to your gmail account.
As for the other things plug the phone into a conputer with a micro usb cable and see if the internal card mounts . If it does just copy the files you want over.
posted by stuartmm at 2:38 PM on June 30, 2011

stuartmm, the problem is that there is internal memory, and there is the SD card. I can get everything off the SD card no problem, and in fact, I already have.

Horselover Phattie, with Astro, what do I do exactly? I found this but I really just want to back up everything on internal memory. Is that even possible?
posted by fake at 2:42 PM on June 30, 2011

Astro just takes a few taps to backup the whole file system, I believe. What kind of data are you looking to preserve?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:44 PM on June 30, 2011

Ideally, the SMS, call log, and whatever other detritus are around. If I can get it to boot, I'll install Astro right away and see what I can find out. I'm not sure it will run forever, so the more explicitly you can guide me, the better.
posted by fake at 2:46 PM on June 30, 2011

Ah, you might want to use a different app, then. That one will copy your SMS messages and logs over to a Gmail account.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:50 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Before you dry it out, rinse it. I know, sounds strange, but if you dry it now, there maybe ionic residue from the river water, that residue will cause the memory board/chips to short out when you start it up again after it dries. If you get distilled water and rinse it, all residue will be removed and all you have to worry about is the drying.

This worked fabulously well when my phone got dropped in a bucket of water and my uncle who designs micro chips, suggested it.
posted by zia at 2:52 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

> Before you dry it out, rinse it.

I would think that would really only apply immediately after he fished it out of the river. Otherwise, if it's already begun to dry that would probably just screw it up even more.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:54 PM on June 30, 2011

I do see the wisdom in rinsing it with distilled water, and it is really excellent advice generally, but it's probably not going to happen this go-round.

The phone is definitely drying out (right now being heated in the sun in a sealed container full of calcium chloride (a DampRid bucket)) and although I'd really like a complete copy of internal memory, I'd settle for a backup of SMS and stuff.

I do have SMS Backup and Restore Pro installed, it just hasn't run since February. If that's all I can do, well, that's all I will do.
posted by fake at 3:00 PM on June 30, 2011

Here are some teardown instructions if you want to try to open up the innards for better rinsing/drying. Might be worth a shot especially if, as I suspect, the phone is without service due to having been speedily replaced after the dunk and it's not critical that it be reassembled even if it survives.
posted by contraption at 3:00 PM on June 30, 2011

That's great, Contraption, I hadn't found those teardown instructions on my initial searches, though I did pick up a set of Torx to get inside. I'm not afraid to tear it down. If the initial backup plan fails, I'll go in looking for obvious corrosion or dampness. It does need to be sent to the insurance agency looking reasonably intact.

Makes me really sad to send it off, it was the phone that got me through this and I'm pretty attached to it.
posted by fake at 3:04 PM on June 30, 2011

If you want a "complete" backup, you'll need to root your phone. Then you can use something like Nandroid to make a system image of the entire phone operating system.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:07 PM on June 30, 2011

Is there a 1-click root available for the Motorola Droid on Verizon? I'm happy to pay for an app if it does the work for me.
posted by fake at 3:09 PM on June 30, 2011

Download the Android Developer build tools. Use adb to pull files from Android to your host operating system.
posted by DetriusXii at 8:27 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

1. After about ten hours in a damp-rid bucket, Droid dried out well enough to boot. It is awful sick, tho. Keyboard is shot, screen flickers, sometimes turns off by itself. DO NOT let your electronics touch the Damp-Rid, it is a salt that will corrode them. I wrapped the Droid in a few layers of paper towel and set it on the crystals.

2. Once dried, I booted the Droid and connected it to WiFi.

At this point I ran every backup app I had on the phone, including SMS Backup and Restore Pro, APN Backup and Restore, and Call Log Backup and Restore. However this barely scrapes the available data on the phone.

3. I used the method at gryftir's link to get the phone rooted.

4. Not explicit in the Lifehacker article - I had to manually install the drivers by using Device Manager. The Droid shows up there with a splat and you have to manually specify where the driver is.

5. Both the computer and phone had to be rebooted. Be sure to run SuperOneClick as an administrator.

6. I put a fresh SD card in the phone and ran TitaniumBackupPro to back up the contents of NAND memory.

7. It is backing up now, we'll see how well it does.
posted by fake at 7:02 AM on July 1, 2011

After much fiddling, I was able to get TitaniumBackupPro to backup most everything.

But in the process, I found the real answer to backing up all data on an android device.

The deal:
1. SMS/call log/APN backup programs only back up that specific data.

2. File managers/backup apps like Astro and Titanium Backup only backup files, apps, and settings.

3. The "copy every bit" solution is called "nandroid".

So what you do is root the phone using the method gryftir linked, and then install a program called "ClockworkMod Rom Manager" from the Android Market. ClockworkMod Rom Manager contains "nandroid" and can reboot your phone with a recovery ROM that can copy the entire contents of an Android device. There are good instructions here. I followed the procedure outlined and I was able to back up and restore EVERYTHING.
posted by fake at 10:46 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you're in good shape, but worst case scenario you remove the chip and hook it up to an Arduino or another phone that's working to get the data.
posted by pwnguin at 4:30 PM on July 1, 2011

any examples of anyone doing that? I really doubt it's that simple.
posted by fake at 8:03 PM on July 1, 2011

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