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Old February 10th, 2013, 11:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mutually Assured Destruction? - how to undelete SMS text on non-rooted phone?

Hello! Let me say first that I'm AMAZED from reading many of the threads/posts here how INCREDIBLY HELPFUL so many of you are!!! It's wonderful to see so many people willing to help others! How refreshing in life!

That being said, I'm between a rock and a hard place; and another metaphor: I'm looking at Mutually Assured Destruction.


PROBLEM IN ONE SENTENCE:

I want to undelete SMS texts but my phone isn't rooted, and I'm afraid if I root the phone then I will overwrite the texts I want to undelete! (Help!)


BACKGROUND:

A week ago today with my Samsung Droid Charge, I did something I've done a million times before without issue: I held down the home key to open the (stock) Task Manager and I killed my currently-running apps including my stock SMS application. I've done this many times without issue.

But this time, all 1,000+ of my texts got magically deleted! (I've read now that many folks have have had this problem with their droids.)

So in my mind: no big deal, it's not really erased; it just has to be undeleted. Fine.

The further problem: I've had this phone for two years and never rooted it, nor had any desire to. ...until now. It appears my best chance to undelete my SMS texts is to use app "Undelete for Root Users" or a similar app...but virtually all undelete apps require root. Furthermore, the Samsung Droid Charge, when connected to a computer, is only an SD card reader -- that is, the internal memory/storage (NOT the SD card) is not seen by the PC! So I cannot use "Recuva" or similar PC apps on the internal, on-board memory that Samsung support told me that SMS texts is saved to (again, NOT the removable SD card).

So this leaves me in the predicament that this guy is in -- "469658-help-i-accidently-deleted-my-photos-galaxy-nexus.html" --.


SO TO SUM UP:

1 - I want to undelete a file(s) (all of my SMS text messages that my F'ing phone deleted not at my behest).
2 - Most undelete apps require rooting, which I haven't done before this problem I have now.
3 - I don't want to root now and possibly overwrite my deleted data.
4 - I can't use a PC application to undelete on my USB-connected phone because a PC doesn't see the Samsung Droid Charge as anything other than a removable SD card reader (that is, PCs don't see the on-board memory in the Charge; only the SD card).
5 - If I use Odin to root and/or to attempt a backup of my device (using Nandroid or Clockwork), I assume I'd likely overwrite the deleted data (...is this a correct assumption?)

...so what should I do?

Any and all help would be INCREDIBLY appreciated! I really don't want to lose these texts if I don't have to! I've had my phone in airplane mode for a week while researching this! (To ensure no new texts would come in and overwrite the deleted texts.)

-bh12345


PS. The droid apps I've installed so far in (so far wistful..) hope are:

ES File Explorer File Manager
My Backup
SMS Backup & Restore
SMS Guru
SMS Recovery Demo
Undelete for Root Users (..again, I haven't rooted in order to preserve my deleted data, as weird as that sounds..I'm sure you get that.)

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Old February 11th, 2013, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You may be able to use a platform independent SQLite database browser to view your SMS. Text messages are stored in your SMS mailbox database file. It's a .db file. As long as you have read access you can view the database.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 05:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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But, if the texts have been deleted, would they still appear in the SQLite DB?
And can you read the DB natively on the phone without root. Remember, the OP can't see internal storage on his PC.
Could OP see internal storage on an unrooted phone via ADB?
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Old February 11th, 2013, 11:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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A new question is: Is my "MAD" (Mutually Assured Destruction) a correct assumption?

...where I'm going with this is that Samsung support said:

(1) that memory on an Android phone is split into two sections; one for system data and another for user data; is this true? and

(2) that text messages get stored to the user data section (...is this true, too?).


Assuming both of those are true (and I don't know if both are), if I did root my phone, would that in fact blow away both system data and user data sections? (...of course system data getting wiped makes sense, but the user data section, too? I've read conflicting posts on what exactly gets deleted when your phone is rooted.)

Further, Samsung support said that installing apps to the phone (on the internal, non-SD card memory) would not overwrite the deleted text messages since the new apps would get written to the system data section leaving the user data section untouched.

...does anyone know if THIS is true?

So back to the point: I'm not sure if my MAD scenario is a correct assumption.

=====

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Originally Posted by OrlandoFL View Post
You may be able to use a platform independent SQLite database browser to view your SMS. Text messages are stored in your SMS mailbox database file. It's a .db file. As long as you have read access you can view the database.
OrlandoFL,

thanks for the idea but like Davidi said, would SQLite show a deleted DB? (And the other problem is, my PC doesn't see the internal storage of the phone; my PC *only* sees the removable SD card.)


Davidi,

what's OP? -- the Android OS? (Sorry I'm new; though I did find that ADB is "Android Debug Bridge".)

All/everyone,

thanks for trying to help me!!! Incredibly appreciated!

-bh12345
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Old February 11th, 2013, 11:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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OP means the thread starter... but as for the phone.. i dont believe the user data would be garbage collected.. but you would need to copy the entire contents onto your sd.. if you dont.. your contents will be erased.. rooting the phone will wipe user data (to my knowledge) but copying all contents to your sd card would keep everything in tact.. however i could be wrong this is my assumption and idea..
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Old February 11th, 2013, 12:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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To answer the easy question: OP = Original Poster, i.e. you

I can't answer as to whether rooting would wipe data, because I don't know that phone. Some rooting techniques do wipe data, some don't, and I don't know which would apply to your device. Where data are deleted it's usually all user apps and all data (for system and user apps), i.e. a factory data reset.

It also depends on how the messages were deleted. If the sqlite database was erased, then in principle a file recovery tool could find the deleted db file. But you'd not be able to copy anything using ADB, or you'd have a new, empty db to copy, which won't help. TBH I'm not optimistic that copying the DB, even if you could do it, will help: it only works if messages were deleted from the db rather than the db itself deleted, and if in addition the deleted messages are kept in the database after deletion (in which case the DB will always grow no matter how many messages you delete), something which I personally doubt.

Without root I don't think you'll be able to access the database anyway - I don't have an unrooted device I can try an adb copy on, but I know that I need root access to look at the content of the /data partition on my device (where user apps and data live).

So what about file recovery? The trouble is that a PC won't be able to do this because the internal storage partitions will use a linux format (ext3 or ext4), which Windows doesn't understand (that's the fundamental reason, rather than lack of root, why you can't mount these on a PC). Maybe you could access the /data partition from linux - I think I did this once with my phone using a Linux virtual machine, just as a test - in which case if you can find a suitable file recovery app for linux there's an outside chance. TBH I think it's all a bit of a long shot.

So probably the most important question is whether rooting the Charge does erase apps & data?

The best bet in future is to install an SMS backup app - there are plenty in the Play Store, including some that will automatically back up messages. But I realise that that doesn't help now.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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OK, I've had a quick look at the Charge Rooting Guide in the Charge All Things Root forum, and the one click rooting guide linked there claims that there is no loss of data. However, I have no experience of this device, so cannot confirm this myself, and would advise reading carefully if you decide to try this.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 11:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Gentlemen,

thanks again for trying to help me out!!! Long story short: today was my first time in a week I've been able to spend time on this and after 6 hours, I'm no closer to finding a solution.

The main problem (to eventually undeleting my SMS text messages..) is right now being able to see the internal memory (non-SD card) of the phone. Online I found the reference to the Samsung USB drivers "Samsung_USB_Driver_for_Mobile_Phones_v1.5.14.0.exe" and I installed that, but it made no difference in terms of being able to mount the internal memory to my PC. Also I found references to "USB debugging" (under Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging) but after checking the box, still no change. All my PC (running Windows 7) ever sees is: an empty SD card reader....FML! (The "USB debugging" checkbox, however, appears to be important when rooting using a Mac, however.)


Hadron,

thanks again for trying to help me out!

I spent some serious time today installing VirtualBox and then installing Oracle Linux in a VM (boot disk worked but then I couldn't get the Oracle Linux installer to recognize my Oracle Linux DVD#1 iso image...arg!) and then attempting to install Solaris X86 in a VM (that DID work!). ...but then I couldn't figure out how to "mount" my Samsung Droid Charge. Again, FML. And googling for this problem turned up nothing.

Thanks again for the links to the Charge Rooting Guide in the Charge All Things Root forum. Given my phone's now been in airplane mode two weeks as of today, I'm thinking of rooting the device anyway (even if it overwrites my deleted SMS texts) to see if I can do rooting and hopefully, possibly without destroying the data on the internal, non-SD-card memory. (...there are so many undelete apps but evidently they ALL require root!)

What sucks about the "[ROOT]One Click Root", though, is that it's got >500 posts!!!!! And over time (and various versions -- I have FW 2.3.6 and build SCH-I510-FP5), procedures to root have changed!

...so it seems like (I'm guessing...) I'm about 40 hours away from figuring this out!

In addition, I have both a Windows 7 physical machine and a Mac physical machine. Since I seem to be getting nowhere with Windows 7, I might see if I can view the internal storage on Mac, and then if that doesn't work, then attempt the rooting guide for Mac.

BTW - can anyone recommend a platform independent SQLite database browser?

-bh12345
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