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Support How do I know if lost files are overwritten or not?

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by Thedarksidewolf, May 13, 2016.

  1. Thedarksidewolf

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    So basically an kid stole my android, formatted it, used it for a week and the his mother found it, took it away from him and the phone eventually found me again. The problem is that the phone has been formatted twice and a the files are gone. All my graduation photos and the photos of my bunny when she was a baby.. I do not own a computer so I had those pictures only on the phone and the backup didnt help... Can I still restore the files, even if they are overwritten? The thief ad taken lots of photos with it and installed several apps so the lost files must be overwritten.. or not? How do I know for sure? I've heard about file restoring labs and stuff. I would pay to get them back but I have no idea if its even possible anymore... and I don't want to send my phone to the diagnostics for no reason. Do the labs restore overwritten files from androids? I'm sorry if the questions are stupid :(

     

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  2. Dannydet

    Dannydet Android Expert
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    Did you happen to use Google photos? Dropbox? One drive? Any of these apps may have them backed up IF you were using them before the incident.
     
  3. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    I certainly feel for the loss of the important photos, but if you aren't backing them up to a PC, and you aren't using a 'cloud' type service to back them up, they are just lost and over written forever.

    Android reuses RAM that is not in use almost immediately, so it would be a waste of money to send the phone to a Diagnostics service.
     
  4. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    I also suggest that you use a extSD card and configure all of the camera apps on your phone to Default to the SD card... that way, if the phone fails on you, the SD card will still have the photos.

    In your case, that might not have mattered as the thief stole the phone and may well have formatted the SD card.
     
  5. Hadron

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    I'm afraid there is also no way, apart from running a file recovery process, to discover whether files have been overwritten or not. You say "and the backup didn't help": what sort of backup was this?

    It's actually difficult to restore files from the internal storage of the phone even if they were not overwritten. Removable SD cards are different: you just need a computer, a card reader and some file recovery system, but the protocol the phone uses to talk to a computer via USB isn't one that will allow low-level filesystem access, so running file recovery software on the internal storage isn't really an option.

    Without a computer? Well, there are apps in the Play Store that claim to be able to recover files, but all of the ones I've looked at have mixed reviews (and given the effort that some apps in this category put into spamming ads I'm inclined to be suspicious of reviews anyway). So whether any of them would work even if the files are not overwritten I don't know. And of course installing such an app is itself writing more data into the phone's storage.

    So if you are prepared to pay real money, is it possible? That depends how much you are prepared to pay. Professional forensic recovery services can do some surprising things, but if it's been reset twice and used heavily inbetween I doubt anyone would make any promises. And that sort of thing isn't cheap. But you could presumably contact one, explain the situation, and ask them for their estimate of the chance of success (and what it would cost)?
     

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