Root Saving data while experimenting with ROMs

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by egernant, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. egernant

    egernant Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2010
    So today I finally joined the rooted community, used unrevoked to successfully root my phone and am very eager to try out some of the ROMs I've been hearing so much about. I'm very picky about this kind of stuff, so I know I;m going to install one, have it for a few days, switch it out for a different one, rinse and repeat until I'm satisfied. The problem I have is that there is data on my phone that I really really don't want to lose in the process.

    First, my contacts. I had to factory reset my phone before and didn't have a backup, it was an awful mess. I used the backup function on my phone (the one you get to by holding volume down and power when booting) which is supposed to be called nandroid, but mine did not say that anywhere... Is this what I want or is there something that will actually let me instantly have my contacts on my factory reset phone with the new ROM? What is the safest way to export/import the entire contact list?

    Also, paid apps. If I upload my same gmail account, will everything be good to go?

    Finally, progress in games. Can I solve this problem by moving games such as angry birds over to SD, then just reinstalling them if necessary when I flash the ROM? will the saved data be in tact?

    I'm sure there is something else on my checklist, but this is a good start. Let me know if you have a good solution for keeping these safe during my experimenting so I can get started.

    EDIT: I am wondering what you guys recommend for ROMs. I like sense, but I'm starting to want to try out something new. Also, I don't get the point of kernels... and are there any must-have mods or apps for rooted phones? this is all so new to me, sorry for being a noob.

  2. egernant

    egernant Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2010
  3. DizkoDan

    DizkoDan Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    Systems Engineer
    You should be storing your contacts under your gmail account, which would then sync to the web. You can verify this by going to your gmail account online, and click on contacts.

    As for backing up data, use titanium backup to backup apps and data. Then when you wipe your phone and install a new ROM, you can reinstall the apps, then use Titanium to restore the app data. Just don't ever restore system data, as this could break things.

    You don't *need* to install a custom kernel. They are good for overclocking/underclocking, and sometimes provide better battery life. The latest stock HTC kernel (which most ROM's are using now) has been very good for most people.
  4. billybob275

    billybob275 Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2010
    Just chiming in here before the inevitable wave of "read the stickies!" posts :)

    1. For the contacts, you can sync them with your google/gmail contacts. I've done that with mine, and whenever I flash a new ROM, they've all been returned to my phone within about 15 minutes tops. You can also use the Verizon Backup Assistant, but a lot of stripped ROMs will have that app removed. Personally I haven't used it, but I hear it works well too.

    2. If you used Unrevoked, (and everyone, please correct me if I'm wrong, been a while since I've done this) it should have installed ClockworkMod Recovery. So that when you boot up the phone as you mentioned w/ holding the Vol-Down button, you have the option of going to the Recovery tool. If you go there, it should be a black screen with a green font for the menu, you can go to Backup and do a full system backup (aka a Nandroid). That just copies an image of what is currently running on your phone and saves it to a file with the timestamp as a name. For example if you backed it up on December 8, it would look something like "2010-12-". If you restore that image later, the phone will return to the same state as it would be if you rebooted the phone immediately after making the backup. All data (contacts, texts, etc) would be preserved in that image.

    3. If you flash a new rom, as long as you log into the market with the same account as the one you purchased the apps on, you will see "Purchased" beside the app in your downloads list, instead of "Free" or "Installed". You will just have to re-download them, but not re-purchase. AppBrain Market is a good tool for making a list of what you had installed at any given time and helps you to download them again after flashing your phone.

    4. For keeping data in tact, I recommend using Titanium Backup. It will make a backup image of all of your apps. A word of caution though, be careful what you restore with it later. Most market-downloaded apps won't cause any problems, but if you back up HTC/Sense/Verizon apps or any other system apps that came on the phone, restoring those to an incompatible ROM or having them overwrite different system settings can get ugly and cause a lot of problems. An example would be if you tried to restore Bluetooth settings from your stock Sense ROM on an AOSP ROM would probably ruin a lot of settings/configurations on that image, and you'd probably be best off flashing a new ROM or running a recovery.

    5. As far as ROM recommendations go, if you're wanting to stay with something familiar for your first new ROM, I would recommend Virtuous or Skyraider Sense. Both are based on the most recent version of the stock rom, just with bloatware removed and some optimizations. They have a mostly stock experience, but better IMO. After you get a feel for those, you can start branching out. Just be sure to back up often when switching around. I've found myself really liking a configuration, then flashing to something I hated, but not having a backup of that old image/configuration and have to rebuild it from scratch.

    6. The Kernels are (in a nutshell) the bridge between the software and the hardware on the phone. I would probably keep with the stock kernel that comes with the new ROM until you are comfortable enough to mess with the CPU settings. Depending on the Kernel, they can either yield much better performance and less UI lag, or they can offer much better battery life (sometimes both). Each one has their pro's and con's, but do some research before messing with kernels and (especially) radios. It's a simple process to swap them out, but if you're not careful and know what to expect, you can brick your phone.

    I know you've probably seen it a lot, but read the stickies and do plenty of research and you should be fine. Just be warned, it can become very addictive chasing down every ROM update :)

    Good luck!
  5. androidxen

    androidxen Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Regarding contacts: You can also simply export your contacts to your SD card and import it, if you prefer keeping contacts separate from your Google account.

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