Originally Posted by SUroot
Yeah its probably hardware. If he roots, Samsung will know and will probably not do a warranty repair.
Maybe if he can get Samsung Support to agree to let him root it, in the knowledge that the issue pre-exists...
OP, who is replacing the unit? samsung direct or your provider?
I would present them with your scenario and tell them you dont want to lose the phones as they are on the phones internal memory.
explain to them after much research you have been informed that rooting the phone will at least allow you to collect the photos from recovery as they are valuable.
see what they say, if they allow it then you have a chance