1. SDChipDroid's Avatar
    Hello,

    I have a S7 that froze during an apparent automatic Android update. I was driving at the time using Waze on the phone. My daughter who was in the car said that the phone was asking if I want to do a factory reset. We pulled over and said no and after trying many different things I came across an article about wiping the cache partition. https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-11385

    This article said that this would not delete my personal info. After I did this the phone was restarted and went into initialization steps. I skipped everything and now the phone works but instead of saying 25GB of 32GB internal storage is used - only 11GB are used. All my apps and data are gone. Fortunately 95% of my pics are on an external SD card and are unaffected. My contacts, but nothing else, were backed up to Verizon Cloud.

    I have had similar things happen to computer hard drives and have been able to recover data by connecting the sick drive to a PC running Linux (Ubuntu). Would this also work for a S7? Is there some way for me to recover the files on the phone? I am assuming that only file headers were lost and that the phone did not do a secure sector by sector erase of the internal storage.

    Thanks!
    10-22-2018 03:31 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! Unfortunately, it sounds like there was some kind of unrecoverable error during the system update that forced a factory reset. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to recover deleted data on Internal Storage unless you root the device (which in itself can overwrite some of the data). See this guide: https://forums.androidcentral.com/am...ted-files.html
    10-22-2018 04:03 PM
  3. SDChipDroid's Avatar
    Hi B. Diddy. Thanks so much for replying so quickly! I am OK rooting the device with a caveat. Let's say I root it and recover some/all my files. Can I unroot if needed? I don't care about voiding the warranty on the phone. I quickly skimmed the post you referenced and saw a link to XDA forum for root instructions. What I found seemed quite complicated. I have never rooted an Android before. Can you recommend a simple, proven method for a newbie to root an S7 edge? Also do you know of any alternatives to DiskDigger Pro since it seems to get poor ratings. I am fine paying for s/w that works - just would prefer it be in the $20 range if possible. Thanks!!
    10-22-2018 05:02 PM
  4. SDChipDroid's Avatar
    Oh, this is a long shot, but what if I booted my Windows PC with ubuntu? Would the Linux OS be able to see the lost files I am trying to recover?
    10-22-2018 05:04 PM
  5. B. Diddy's Avatar
    I'm afraid I can't go into detail myself, because I've never rooted a device. The author of that post, @Rukbat, seems to have decent experience with the DiskDigger, so the ratings might not be entirely accurate.
    10-22-2018 11:51 PM
  6. Rukbat's Avatar
    First, if you rooted with Magisk, you can unroot completely. If you used a system root, yes or no to the unrooting completely. If all the rooting process did was put su into /system/xbin, sure, just delete the file. If it did other things that you weren't aware of, and some apps looked for them to determine rooting, no. And if you sent the phone to Samsung for repair, the mere presence of DiskDigger on the phone might cause them to void the warranty. (I had a recent go-around with Google over a problem with the Pixel 2. I sent them a debug dump and they advised me that there were apps on the phone that required root, so I'd have to flash a stock ROM first, then redo the actions and produce the dump.)

    Read the responses - many apps like this (undelete apps) get a review stating that it's garbage because it doesn't recover anything, not mentioning that it wasn't looking for deleted files, it was trying to recover files after a factory reset, which is a different thing altogether. DD looks in the directory for files marked "deleted", then flips that bit and rebuilds the list of blocks used by the file. A FR rebuilds the directory leaving no sign of the files that used to be on it.

    Or it's a complaint that all it was able to recover was .jpg files. Read the description. That's all the free version will recover.

    Or it recovered files that were useless. Once a file is marked deleted, other writes to storage can write over the places those files occupied. When you "recover" those files, you're recovering a piece of the file, a piece of another file that wrote into that unused space, another piece of the file, etc. Once anything writes to storage (and that includes every single app that runs - stuff you tell to run, stuff that just runs because Android is running, stuff that Linux runs (the operating system that Android runs in is Linux) - any write - pieces of a file you're trying to recover can be overwritten, and there's no longer any way of recovering them. A backup is always the best way of recovering a deleted file, you copy it from the backup.

    Even rooting and installing DD can overwrite some files you're trying to recover. At very least, even if each file you're installing is one sector in size, you're installing the Magisk binary, the Magisk manager and DD. (And you're probably going to have to install TWRP to install Magisk. If the phone is AT&T or Verizon, you can't even do that.

    And I just re-read your first post. You did a factory reset. So you can root the phone if you like - I always have TWRP and root on a phone. At the very least, just before doing an update (and with a Pixel, that means every month), I do a TWRP backup and copy it, and any changes I've made in the "internal SD card" to my PC as a safety measure. (And that means that the easiest way of doing the update is doing a Deuces factory OEM flash without wipe. Otherwise I have to somehow uninstall TWRP, restore the boot.img file, update, redo the change that Magisk makes to the boot.img file, reinstall TWRP - Deuces is a lot easier and faster. Even including the Magisk modules I have to reinstall.)

    But ... having done the FR, there are no more deleted files listed in your directories in most phones. (I've never owned any variant of the S7, so I can't say.) That would mean nothing recoverable. From an external SD card? Yes. There's a program called PhotoRec that can recover the files - it doesn't look at the file system (like the directories). But there's no version for Android, so you'd have to use dd (which you'd probably have to get from BusyBox, which you'd have to install after you rooted) to make an image of the userdata partition, then mount that file as a drive in your PC, then use PhotoRec on that. And if you're not familiar with Linux, you will be after using PhotoRec.

    As for Ubuntu on your PC, no. All the PC sees is what the phone sends it via the USB port - which is non-deleted file names. Ubuntu can't look in the directories in the partition in the phone, so good idea but it won't work.

    But that's moot, since you did the factory reset. See if, in that article, you can install TWRP to your variant of the S7. At least making backups will be easier. Then make one once a month. Or just back up every app (Apk Extractor will do that), every picture, every music file - everything you don't want to lose. Then, if you ever do a factory reset again, all you'll lose is half a day or so, plus anything since the last backup.

    Undelete apps are nice (if I'm correct, I wrote the very first one, for CP/M, in 1973. I've never heard f an earlier one. So of course I like them.) But nothing can bet an off-site backup. If the house burns down, taking your phone and PC with it, your insurance will buy you a new phone and a new PC - but it won't buy you replacement data. Your backup in the cloud will do that - for free.

    (Any spelling errors or typos are strictly mine and unintentional. )
    B. Diddy likes this.
    10-23-2018 11:51 AM
  7. SDChipDroid's Avatar
    Rukbat - first off I want to say thank you for so much great information. I checked this post right before having to run out the door for an appointment. I only have a chance to skim it now but will read closely when I return in 90 minutes or so. I wanted to quickly share some info. I decided to check all of my Google accounts with Google Play and I found which of my 5 accounts was linked to the phone. When logged into Google Play it showed all of my third party apps (most which need updating) and the one annual subscription I purchased. Do you see any value in doing another factory reset, then when it asks for my Google account linking it to this correct account and asking it to restore? Is there any chance this would result in my third party apps being loaded? Any chance I could recover lost text messages? Again I will be offline for about 90 minutes. Thanks!
    10-23-2018 01:02 PM
  8. Rukbat's Avatar
    It can't hurt - you have nothing on the phone due to the first reset. (If you've added something, back it up to your PC first.)

    Texts? No, they're not backed up. Use SMS Backup & Restore for xml backups that you can restore and/or SMS to Text for backups you can read easier. (It's not difficult to figure out how to read an xml file, though.)

    Oh, and you're welcome. I go by the rule that if I give you more information than you need, you can skip past it. If I eave something out, you don't have it.
    10-23-2018 01:24 PM

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