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Is there a way to recover deleted files without the phone?

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by JonnyFistKnuckles, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. JonnyFistKnuckles

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    There are some deleted files that I need to recover from old phone. Unfortunately that phone is broken now (don't ask). I do however have a recent backup of the phone (By backup I mean I copied/pasted the entire file structure onto my computer).

    I know you can recover deleted file by using programs that will check pointers that haven't been reused yet. But is there anyway to do that with just the backed up folder structure?

    I'm not entirely sure where pointers are stored on a phone. And if I did manage to back them up, would copying the backups onto a blank phone let me recover my files? Or would there be an easier way to recover them.

    Any and all advice on how I can get those files back using the files I have will be greatly appreciated!!!!

    TL;DR: Need to recover deleted files using just a phone backup.
     

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  2. Dannydet

    Dannydet Android Expert
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    Plug your phone to your PC and copy the files over to it.
    Then see if anything is salvageable.
    Also did you use any type of backup app to create these files?
     
  3. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    Without root you only copied your user data files. This would be app data and media like pictures and music. If that's what you're looking for then they should be right there in your backup where they'd be on the phone. If you are talking about email or text messages, sorry, those are stored in a protected system database and not as a file.
     
  4. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    Unless you have a Linux PC, out-of-the-box Windows or Macs are too limited to have full access to the file system of your Android phone. When using Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder to view the phone's actual contents, it's restricted by a different file system that relies on different file/folder permissions. So drag-and-dropping simply cannot cover '...the entire file structure'. (And typically to do any kind of 'entire file structure' copying that involves process called 'cloning', essentially similar to but not the same as copy/pasting, but requires specific utilities to do it.)

    You stated 'don't ask' but it is relevant. Is this a matter where the phone is physically damaged through and through, or something like just the display is dead, or what?
     
  5. JonnyFistKnuckles

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    Phone is completely busted and dead. Broken screen, components, every. It was run over by a car. And I guess "entire file structure" was misleading. I meant I just copied over all the files that were on it.
     
  6. Dannydet

    Dannydet Android Expert
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    Then you'll only get what svim stated earlier... photos, media, videos, and documents that were on the phone.
     
  7. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    Ouch. now I get why you said 'don't ask'.
    When you copy-pasted your files, all you were getting were just those files visible in Windows Explorer/Finder (again depending on what kind of computer). So as far as recovering deleted files than, no, it won't be possible. Even if you intentionally set Windows Explorer/Finder to view hidden files, you'd still only be seeing actual files, those that are visible or not, and even then only those files/folders that Windows/Mac can access, not the entire file system of your Android phone. So basically what you copied over was just a small subset of the actual contents of your phone.
    The following is more esoteric than practical but if you were thinking of using a recovery utility on what you copied over, if you had instead cloned your phone's internal storage, then you'd have something to work with. Cloning is basically mirroring the entire storage memory media. Not just things like mp3 or jpg files but everything from the operating system library files to empty folders, a 16GB phone will result in a 16GB cloned image file. With a cloned image you could then attempt to use a file recovery utility as in that case you're working on an exact duplicate of your phone's storage media. But this isn't so much a consumer practice, smartphones are just too individualized for a cloned image to be of much practical use. (Law enforcement agencies use it quite often, not to transfer data from phone to phone of course but it is used to snoop on we the people.)
     
    Hadron, Dannydet and mikedt like this.

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