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Root Newb: Root without an FDR?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by RBEmerson, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    I'm thinking about rooting my N7 v2, admittedly mostly because I may want it rooted at some point. There's no great push to do it now. In any case, I doubt very much I'll be changing ROM's.

    Reading the Wug how-to, I see that the N7 effectively gets an data reset. WTF?!? Is there no way around this???

    OK... let's assume I calm down, the veins stop bulging, and I'm my way to my happy place. What do I do to restore all the apps and files that I spent so long to get working. For that matter, when rooting, can that be done or does a full restore undo the rooting process?

    Despite the newb questions, this won't be my first rooting (RAZR MAXX was #1), and I do know my way around Linux as an installer and admin. But I don't know jack about the N7.
     

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  2. WoohooGuy

    WoohooGuy Android Enthusiast
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    It's a security feature to protect you, the owner of a locked device, against personal data theft in the event you lose the device or it is stolen.

    In order to root the N7 you need to unlock the bootloader. Nexus devices are "developer" devices that come with the ability to very easily unlock the bootloader, it only takes a simple ADB command to do so.

    Once the bootloader is unlocked a user can achieve elevated system access even if that user is a thief or someone else with nefarious intent. They can easily bypass your pin or swipe lock, find ways to gain access to encrypted data and what not.

    The mechanic that protects you is a hardware mandated complete device wipe when the bootloader is unlocked. The wipe cannot be bypassed, it is hardware coded and when it happens it is thorough enough that recovering previous data is extremely difficult if not close to impossible.

    There are ways you can save app data without root at first, I highly suggest Helium.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.koushikdutta.backup

    Helium will require a computer to enable app data backup on your non-rooted device, Helium Desktop is the program and available for Win, Mac, and Linux.

    ClockworkMod Carbon

    Get and install Helium on your N7.

    Get the proper version of Helium Desktop on your computer.

    Launch Helium on your device, it will guide you through connecting to your computer and enabling USB debug mode and PTP.

    Once your device is set it will instruct you to launch the desktop client. Run the client and it take a minute while it detects and enables backups on your device.

    You should get a completion message.

    Now put your device in PC Download mode. In helium click settings and PC Download.

    Navigate to the IP address shown on your device screen using Chrome or FireFox.

    Now checkoff all the data points and apps you want to save and click Start backup.

    Be patient.

    OR

    Use Helium on the device, create the backups you want, connect the device to a computer and then transfer the backup files off the device.

    Your pictures, music, videos, downloads and other user managed data will not be saved by Helium or any other backup.
    You must transfer those files off the device manually by connecting to a computer in MTP mode and transfer them off.

    Helium, like any other backup utility, is a user dependent app. Make sure you understand it to ensure your backups are viable. Make a test backup of a single app, delete the app from the device, and restore it with Helium to make sure you are doing it right.

    Once you are sure your backups are viable and off the device, along with other data like pics music movies and whatnot then you can proceed with unlocking your bootloader.

    Once you are unlocked and rooted reinstall helium on the device. As you are now rooted Helium does not need to connect to the computer, just grant it root access.

    Go back into PC Download mode, fire up your web browser, and drag n drop the backup file in the restore box and it will do the rest.

    OR

    Restore the carbon/helium backfolder back onto the device where you found it and launch Helium. Select your data to restore and way you go.

    Once all that is done, make a nandroid of your device in recovery and keep it safe. In the event you need it, restoring the nandroid will take the device right back to the minute you made it.

    Im sure you will have questions, Ill be here to answer them so fire them off.

    Make sure your device is connected to the computer directly, do not use a USB hub. Also make sure you are using a high quality cable, preferably the one that came with the N7.
     
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  3. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    OK, there is clearly no way round the FDR. Darn.

    About Helium/Carbon... I've AK Notes (notepad app). If I backup with select all, the app is backed up, but what happens to the actual note file? Is that lost in the reset or stored by Helium? I'm assuming that all the pictures and videos I've stored will not be saved by Helium. Or...?

    I take it there's no Android equivalent of, for example, Acronis to make an image of the N7 "disk"?

    I've got to think about this whole project more. I put a lot of time into bringing the N7 up to speed, and really, really don't to repeat the whole process.
     
  4. WoohooGuy

    WoohooGuy Android Enthusiast
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    If there is a feature in the app to export your notes, use it. Otherwise you will have to research if it stores the notes in app data or on the user accessible memory.

    Unfortunately you have to be rooted to image the device, that's what a nandroid is.
     
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  5. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    Yeah, well... that's the deal breaker then. Sure, I can back up AK Notes' files, and I can back up PlayerPro and app after app after app... Oh well.

    The funny thing about all of this is I thought about rooting before I did anything at all with the phone. Doh...

    Oh, well, thanks, guys!
     
  6. WoohooGuy

    WoohooGuy Android Enthusiast
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    Just because you may not be certain you can entirely backup your data to root is not an excuse to backup at all.

    If your tablet were to fry tomorrow, where would you be?

    Even if you don't care to root use the tools available to you like Helium to backup your data before disaster hits.

    If at some point you develop trust in your backups then unlock the device, start over for the final time as under root you can image the device after that and never have to start over again as long as your nandroids are safe.
     
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  7. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    I get the value of backups. As you say, after using backups on the N7, I may well revisit rooting. For now, though, I have other stuff that's screaming louder, than rooting, for my time. :)
     
  8. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    This is probably necroposting but... I can confirm that towelroot rooted my 2014 N7 WiFi with no factory reset.
     
  9. Madbat

    Madbat Android Expert
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    So is your boot loader still locked? Also I think the 4.4.4 update patches the towelroot exploit. Most new android kernels patch it.
     
  10. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin'
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    From what I read in the change log, it patches an ssl vulnerability, but doesn't actually touch the towelroot exploit. That will likely be coming soon enough though.
     
  11. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    I haven't tested the bootloader.
     
  12. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    Sigh... I think you're right.
     
  13. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin'
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    Yeah, I really like having a root exploit that can be used to unlock the bootloader without the data wipe. But from Google's standpoint, this is a major security home. We use to be able to use framaroot on the nexus 4 to accomplish the same thing, but that was patched up fairly quickly.
     
  14. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    In my case, rooting is all I'm after. I need control over fast dormancy (Google on same) and I'm good to go. But I get the point about bootloader access.
     
  15. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson Android Enthusiast
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    My N7 handed me the 4.4.4 update this morning - already a done deal. Needless to say, rooting went away after the update finished its nasty deeds.

    The good news is towelroot re-rooted the N7! So whatever 4.4.4 patches, on at least one N7, it doesn't block towelroot.
     
  16. DeadDude

    DeadDude Android Enthusiast
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    I just hope you did a nandroid backup before and after...

    I don't run stock anymore, personally... Paranoid Android ROM is prerooted... OTA updates beat Google and don't screw up root...! 😁
     

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