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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    PvilleComp's Avatar

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    Default [Tutorial] What to back up and what to restore when switching ROMs

    I started this is another thread, but since the question seems to keep coming up I thought I’d flesh it out and put it in its own thread so it can be found easier.

    How should you backup and restore your apps and data when moving to a new ROM?

    There are several ways to back up your phone. Clockwork and other Recoveries offer you the ability to make a Nandroid of your phone. This is a critical backup procedure and should be used early and often when flashing ROM’s. Other backup methods involve apps form the Android Market like Titanium Backup, My Backup Root and others.

    Nandroid backups are full system images of your device at the time the backup was made. Nandroids are an all or nothing recovery tool. They are not good for restoring apps to a new ROM.

    To backup data between ROMS there are several good backup programs you can use, and there is no harm in backing up everything on your phone with Titanium or any other backup tool. It’s the restore where people get into trouble.

    Never Never Never restore system data from Titanium or any other backup program when moving to a new ROM. The system data from your old ROM will interfere with the new ROM every time.

    So after backing everything up what should be restored?

    Pictures/Video – Pictures and video on many devices are stored by default to the phone’s internal emcc data partition. Before flashing any ROM’s you want to move these to your SD–Card for safe keeping. There is no need to restore them because the Gallery apps will find them on the SD-Card just fine.

    email - Gmail is saved on the Google Servers so no need to back that up. POP/IMAP and Exchange email is also backed up on the mail server so again no need to back that up or restore it.

    Contacts - Gmail contacts are automatically backed up to Google's servers. Exchange contacts are also backed up on the server. Phone contacts can be backed up using the export/import function in the phone app. You restore phone contacts using the same export/import function in the phone app.

    Calendar - if you use the Gmail Calendar, Google’s Server automatically backs up your data. If you use Outlook to sync your Calendar with HTC Sync, then flashing to another ROM may or may not support HTC Sync so you should use the Gmail Outlook Calendar sync utility to sync your Outlook Calendar to Gmail. If you use Exchange then the Calendar will be automatically backed up on the Exchange server.

    Bookmarks – Many of the backup utilities will back up bookmarks and this is one of the very few pieces of system data that can be restored on any phone.

    Apps - What apps really need to be backed up/restored? Apps that hold state or current progress information and that's it. Apps like Angry Birds (as an example) store your progress locally and if you do not back it up you will lose your progress, so game data can be backed up and restored.

    Bank apps? Nope - everything is on the bank's server. Just re-download and login.

    Weather Channel? Nope - the handful of locations you can monitor can easily be re-inputted after a fresh install.

    Beautiful Widgets? Nope - If you have the paid version, you can re-download from the market and re-set up your preferences. If you want to save the data so you don't have to re-download skins then this is another where you can restore the data after re-installing the app.

    The big advantage to backing up all your apps with Titanium is that you have a list of what you had installed. You are better off doing clean installs from the market for apps that do not hold state. Another way to manage which apps you had installed is to use AppBrain, it will sync what apps you have installed but AppBrain does not save data.

    SMS - Now this one is a personal thing. I don't care if I lose my SMS. I don't hold every text message as if it were a precious illumination by DaVinci, however I know that some people do. There are apps in the market, like SMS Backup and Restore and SMS Backup+ for example, that will restore SMS messages, even when moving between ROMs but they are not a cure all. If problems develop after restoring, then you want to roll back that restore.

    Other than that, what else needs to be restored from an old ROM? Any config’s or screen setups would have to done over again anyway. You would want to take advantage of any features the new ROM has so restoring old setups will do more harm than good.

    So, after a very long-winded dissertation, backup apps are good for moving from ROM to ROM, you just need to be knowledgeable about what is safe to restore and what is not safe to restore. If you want to sloganize this in very simple terms; backup everything… restore selectively.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by PvilleComp; 04-30-2011 at 11:36 PM. Reason: typo
    Some say that his dormant chips were left that way for YOUR SAFETY... Others say that once "turned on," he can not be turned off... All we know is... He's called The Stig.
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  2. #2  
    Dark Wizard Matoya's Avatar

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    Lots of good info there. Thanks, Pville.
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  3. #3  
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    Good write up. Definitely a question that I feel gets asked far too often.
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    Word.... Now I can just copy and paste this URL when someone asks a question about this nice work as usual Pville!!!
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    donut's Avatar

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    Thanks a lot. this really helped.
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    Nice writeup and well needed.
    Smartphones:Palm Centro>Curve 8330>Storm 9530>Storm 9550>Bold 9650>HTC Thunderbolt>Galaxy Nexus>Galaxy Note II Rooted * HP TouchPad
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    Papa.pompous's Avatar

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    I really like this write up. Is it true restoring the system data can cause your phone to boot loop?
  8. #8  
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    Can u backup ur sms with titanium backup? I've used it before when flashing a rom but when I restore, it never restores my text
    Kanye West: I always had a passion for flashing, before I had it I close my eyes and imagine
  9. Thread Author  Thread Author    #9  
    PvilleComp's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaPompous View Post
    I really like this write up. Is it true restoring the system data can cause your phone to boot loop?
    Yep - Restoring System data to a new ROM is probably one of the most common causes of "I bricked my phone" threads. Fortunately a re-flash will fix it.
    Some say that his dormant chips were left that way for YOUR SAFETY... Others say that once "turned on," he can not be turned off... All we know is... He's called The Stig.
  10. #10  
    zero neck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssethv View Post
    Word.... Now I can just copy and paste this URL when someone asks a question about this nice work as usual Pville!!!
    exactly what i was thinking

    Nice job stig you killed it
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  11. Thread Author  Thread Author    #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sup3rchi3f View Post
    Can u backup ur sms with titanium backup? I've used it before when flashing a rom but when I restore, it never restores my text
    There is a listing for [SMS/MMS PREFS] Messaging 2.3.3 listed in Ti, but I've never used it so I can't tell you how well it works. It might just be backing up preferences.
    Some say that his dormant chips were left that way for YOUR SAFETY... Others say that once "turned on," he can not be turned off... All we know is... He's called The Stig.
  12. #12  
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    I agree with everyone else Pville ! Good job on the write up on this.
    Now lets see how many noobs will read it first,or have to wait for someone to send this link set to them, haha
    Last edited by davidnc; 04-30-2011 at 11:13 AM. Reason: missing word , :p
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    Nice write up. I find that using a combo of both Titanium & MyBackup works best ... both apps have their strong points. Restoring the system data from Titanium is a guarantee of putting your phone into a never ending sync loop.
    As mentioned... I'll be sure to link this thread to anyone that has questions about backup apps.
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    in my experience, you can individually restore "[SMS/MMS/APN] Dialer Storage" from titanium after a rom flash, and it restores your txts. you'll need to reboot the phone after the restore.
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    great read. he's on point with everything
  16. Thread Author  Thread Author    #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by patchulaz View Post
    in my experience, you can individually restore "[SMS/MMS/APN] Dialer Storage" from titanium after a rom flash, and it restores your txts. you'll need to reboot the phone after the restore.
    Good to know. I've never used that in Ti.

    Thanks!
    Some say that his dormant chips were left that way for YOUR SAFETY... Others say that once "turned on," he can not be turned off... All we know is... He's called The Stig.
  17. #17  
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    Very nice! This could've came in handy a few weeks ago for a couple of guys in the evo forums. I will be keeping this link handy.
  18. #18  

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    this tutorial is awesome and I will probably recommend to a few people....

    BUT...

    Has anyone found a way to backup and restore ringtone assignments from sd card between roms or even devices!? I love my Android device but this is one thing I have wanted to do and I have yet to find a way. With my Blackberry it was very easy to do this with the Desktop Manager. The iPhone has these settings backed up with iTunes. There has GOT to be a way for Android!
  19. #19  
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    thanks for this post. This is one of those things i always think about but am never too sure...good stuff bro...thanks..
  20. #20  

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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaPompous View Post
    I really like this write up. Is it true restoring the system data can cause your phone to boot loop?
    I think that is what caused me to have problems with the android.media stopping every second or so. fixed by a factory reset though.

    nnb
  21. #21  
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    Awesome write up! I have a feeling I'm going to be linking to this a lot. Thanks Pville!
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    great write-up...

    does anybody know how to fix the duplicate contacts problem? I only have about 200 contacts in my phone, but after flashes, and restores, and back-ups and what not, my contacts have grown to over 3600!!! because it keeps on restoring duplicates on top of wht is already there! Takes me literally days to clean it up.

    Also, for MMS AND SMS back-up, if you have the full version of Handcent you can use your account to back all of your messages to the server and it restores flawlessly.
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  23. Thread Author  Thread Author    #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShiftyBob View Post
    does anybody know how to fix the duplicate contacts problem? I only have about 200 contacts in my phone, but after flashes, and restores, and back-ups and what not, my contacts have grown to over 3600!!! because it keeps on restoring duplicates on top of wht is already there! Takes me literally days to clean it up.
    If you move all your contacts to Gmail and let them sync, you can then log into Gmail on the web and there is a contacts merge feature.

    One button to merge all duplicate contacts - Official Gmail Blog

    I resisted Gmail contacts for the longest time but the duplicates were a bear, as you said. I finally succumbed and now it's a snap.

    Hope this helps.
    Some say that his dormant chips were left that way for YOUR SAFETY... Others say that once "turned on," he can not be turned off... All we know is... He's called The Stig.
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    I just rooted a flashed my first ROM yesterday. Great timing for this. Thanks!
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  25. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShiftyBob View Post
    great write-up...

    does anybody know how to fix the duplicate contacts problem? I only have about 200 contacts in my phone, but after flashes, and restores, and back-ups and what not, my contacts have grown to over 3600!!! because it keeps on restoring duplicates on top of wht is already there! Takes me literally days to clean it up.

    Also, for MMS AND SMS back-up, if you have the full version of Handcent you can use your account to back all of your messages to the server and it restores flawlessly.
    I was reading through all the posts to see if someone mentioned Handcent. I am a DX user and when I have used any of the other sms backup apps they back up and restore with the wrong timestamps, however Handcent has never had this problem. I have noticed the same thing on the D2G.


    Quote Originally Posted by PvilleComp View Post
    If you move all your contacts to Gmail and let them sync, you can then log into Gmail on the web and there is a contacts merge feature.

    One button to merge all duplicate contacts - Official Gmail Blog

    I resisted Gmail contacts for the longest time but the duplicates were a bear, as you said. I finally succumbed and now it's a snap.

    Hope this helps.
    Also, if all of your contacts are in Gmail they will never duplicate when you flash a rom. On the rare occasion that problems have occurred a factory reset takes care of everything.
    Last edited by snppr22; 04-30-2011 at 08:26 PM.
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