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Data loss after restart

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by ResultCrown, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. ResultCrown

    ResultCrown Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Device is Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0 (2016) 4G LTE (SM-T285), running Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop), without root.

    Device suddenly lost network coverage (not the first time), and flight mode did not solve it (not the first time, also), and the only way usually was to restart (power off/on).

    Usually that would solve the problem.

    This time, the same thing happened, and upon restarting the device, it spent a long time at the Samsung logo/splash screen (which is abnormal), and when it finally reached the lock screen, it took a while before the entire screen was loaded (wallpaper appeared first, then the time...). Upon entering into the home screen, some (not all) widgets were missing (noticeably the custom downloaded ones).

    Opened the usual apps to pick up from where I left off, and those apps ran as though it was the first time (as if it was just installed). App data (that was stored on internal storage) was lost. Other data (SMS, pictures) were intact.

    My immediate concern/focus right now is to recover the lost data, either by fixing this abnormality (safe mode/guest mode, maybe?), and if that fails, at least recover the lost data (preferably without requiring root).

    Any ideas?

  2. svim

    svim Extreme Android User


    Yes, you should try restarting your Tab A into its Safe Mode and see if all your data and app settings are still there:
    But reading through you description it sounds like there's more problems that aren't necessarily being caused by some app you've installed, it sounds more like something has corrupted part of the installed Android operating system. Also note that Lollipop is quite dated and is no longer supported -- Google stopped supporting that version of Android years ago and as far as all your installed apps, some will still be receiving app updates but a lot will not. All this will create an issue with some of your apps and their respective online interactions, a 'possible' cause for instability. But at this point, did you have any kind of backup solution set up previously? If yes, you might want to try doing a Factory Reset and see if your Tab A will run normally again. But note that if the operating system is corrupted, a Factory Reset will not do anything to repair it. You'll need to flash a stock Samsung ROM to restore a messed up Android install. You might want to use Samsung's Smart Switch utility to do a full backup (if your data is still there) and try a Factory Reset. Using Smart Switch will at least make doing a data restore after a Reset less of a hassle.
    You can also try using Smart Switch to 'fix' your Tab A, but that's often more in theory than reality. Worth looking into though.
    If nothing else works out a last resort option is to flash your device with an appropriate, stock ROM. (Flashing stock Samsung ROMs do not require rooting, that's only an issue when it involves third-party custom ROMs.) Go here and select the ROM (model SM-T285) that matches your country and your carrier:
    It's important to use only the ROM for your particular device. Every different model has its own internal hardware configuration and the software in every ROM has to match that unique hardware so mix-and-matching ROMs isn't a viable option. Use the correct ROM for your model.
    Go here for a step-by-step guide on flashing your device:
    If you follow the directions your data should not be wiped, the Samsung ROM flashing process using the stated Odin utility is only going to affect the operating system and not your data (as long as there aren't any problems).
    But again, Lollipop is quite dated and with only 1.5GB of RAM/8GB of internal storage this model has some inherent performance and usability issues as is. Depending on what you use it for, perhaps it's just time to upgrade to something new or at least newer?
    ocnbrze likes this.
  3. ResultCrown

    ResultCrown Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Right now my main concern/focus is on recovering the lost data.

    I don't know whether the data is actually deleted or I actually stumbled onto a separate "sandbox" (something like safe mode/guest mode...?) because only specifically the app data was gone (so far). I would definitely prefer if the situation right now is simply because of some abnormality and I merely have to exit/fix it to resolve it. Any ideas about this abnormality?

    If not I would have to presume that the data is deleted, and I would have to recover it, and that would preferably have to be done via PC to avoid overwriting the deleted data.

    Any ideas?
    #3 ResultCrown, Jun 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  4. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    So you did or did not try starting your phone up into Safe Mode? Again, try following these directions if you haven't:
    I tend to doubt Safe Mode will reveal anything relevant regarding this particular problem (but it will be a good thing if I'm wrong).
    Your best bet is to get your Tab A running so it's stable and reliable again, and then be absolutely sure to set up a consistent, automatic backup solution, trying to restore lost data indirectly via a Windows or Mac isn't the best option, but others who have claimed they have can chime in on their set ups.
    ocnbrze likes this.
  5. ResultCrown

    ResultCrown Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I will try Safe Mode, however as I said my concern right now is to recover the lost data (which is more important). I am actually more concerned if I actually restarted into Safe Mode, causing this abnormality, however I see that unlikely.

    The device is actually running fine (from observations). I restarted it a few times subsequently after this problem occurred, and apart from the lost data/widgets still remaining the same, the rest seem to be fine.

    My concern, still, is the lost data.
  6. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    there are services on the net that claim they can recover lost data, but i highly doubt they actually work. the only time i have seen lost data (mainly photos and videos) is when a phone or device gets wet. but if a device gets corrupted and resets itself, from what i have seen here in these forums.......they are gone for good.

    i could be wrong, but this is how i feel about your situation........unfortunately
  7. ResultCrown

    ResultCrown Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Any other ideas?
  8. ResultCrown

    ResultCrown Lurker
    Thread Starter

  9. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I didn't reply earlier because I didn't think you needed more people saying that you have a negligible chance of recovering lost data from the internal storage (removable card is easy: stick it in a card reader and run some file recovery software on a computer - nothing special needed). And the fact that you've continued to use the device makes that even less likely - though not by much, because the likelihood wasn't significant to start with.

    I'm surprised that we've not had some new account pop up to tell you that some "android data recovery" app will solve your problems so far. Usually the shills for those companies create accounts to push their products when threads like this have been up for a while. But I've never once seen anyone use one of those things and report back that it worked.
    #9 Hadron, Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    MoodyBlues and ocnbrze like this.
  10. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Did you by chance have a microSD card installed? It really does sound like some of your storage has been corrupted or failed.
  11. ResultCrown

    ResultCrown Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Any ideas are welcomed. I am still trying to figure out exactly what happened, since I cannot solve a problem I do not know to begin with.

    I stopped using the device after the problem occurred, as much as possible to prevent any overwriting of the lost data.

    I am curious and also sceptical about those data recovery software, though I am prepared to try if they actually work.

    I do not even know if the data is actually lost or perhaps hidden somewhere else, because specifically only the app data in /Android/data is affected (but the folders inside are intact, only the data within those folders seem to be affected). The rest of the data is intact.

    No, there is no microSD card installed.

    The only abnormal thing was the first restart (when the problem occurred), when it spent a long time at the Samsung logo/splash screen (leading me to think it could be a boot issue, but subsequent restarts were fine).

    The rest of the data is intact as well. Only /Android/data seem to be affected.
  12. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    If you are not rooted I don't know how you can tell that it's only stuff in /sdcard/Android/data that's affected. Without root you can't see what's inside most of the subfolder there anyway: l've no data loss, but apart from some "cache" folders all of the folders there appear empty to me too. I suspect that they mainly contain pointers to /data/data, which you can't see without root but is where apps' internal data are stored, and where I suspect from your description stuff has been wiped. And you need root to access that area.

    The real problem is that file recovery software needs deeper access to the filesystem than an MTP connection provides (the protocol android uses for USB file transfer). So unless Samsung provided a legacy option of mounting via USB Mass Storage file recovery software over USB can't work. If something could take a physical image of the entire internal storage you could I principle run file recovery software over that, and that is possible using adb (USB debugging) from a computer. However you would probably need the storage unmounted to do this, and maybe root access (or running adb in recovery mode, which requires a custom recovery). And if you succeed in recovering the data you have the problem of restoring them (not just a matter of copying as I expect it's mainly stuff you need root to write to). So that's the problem: in principle it's doable, which is why I'm reluctant to categorically dismiss the possibility that one of those apps might work. But I doubt it's doable on an unmodified device, especially for files in the areas I suspect they are in. And I don't myself have or know tools to try most of this.
  13. ResultCrown

    ResultCrown Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Your insights are appreciated.

    Your first paragraph is new to me. My understanding was app data on internal storage are stored on both rooted and non-rooted (/sdcard/Android/data) parts, but I could be wrong.

    Your second paragraph shares the same concerns as mine. My knowledge on Android to PC via USB is limited, so I was questioning if MTP and USB debugging alone are enough for data recovery software to scan the internal storage (like how a normal disk drive is fully scanned). Fortunately the data I need should be some simple files that could be later restored via the app itself, but I see your point.
  14. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    All the internal storage is EXT4 and AES256 encrypted. MTP and ADB just doesnt have direct access to see and work on the raw data, so any supposed recovery software running on a PC can't work with it. The only way to have direct access, is to be rooted and run any recovery software on the device itself.

    Data that's deleted on encrypted EXT4, is effectively a secure delete. And maybe impossible to recover.
  15. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    A device running Android 5 might not have encrypted internal storage.
    mikedt likes this.

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