Recovering data from an internal storage formatted SD card - 3rd Gen Moto G running Android 6.0.

DrTarr

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Dec 24, 2016
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Hello Everyone,
Looks like I've got myself in a jam and I'm hoping somebody can bail me out. I flashed my wife's Moto G3 with Marshmallow (crDroid) several months ago, but when I set the phone up I selected 'use SD card as internal storage'. Fast forward to now and all of a sudden the phone decides to no longer recognize the SD card and wants to reformat it, although it still has not forgotten it.

My initial instinct was to put the card in a computer and try to recover the data through windows explorer. Then I switched to Z-A-R recovery, diskdigger, etc., everything found nothing. Research now tells me what when I selected 'internal storage' the card was encrypted for the device.

So my question is, do I have any options? Is there any way to get the phone to recognize the card again, or preferably, is there any way I can read the card in a computer? There is a ton of critical data on the card and if it comes to it I'm willing to use a service to recover the data, although it's not clear one exists.

Thanks
 

anon(632115)

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Jan 5, 2012
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There really is no option. Adoptable storage is a nightmare as cards fail regularly, as you have found out. With an unencrypted SD card you could run chkdsk in Windows to repair the card. The only thing I am unsure of is if there is an equivalent in Linux. If there is, the card which has an ext4 file system could possibly be repaired
 

DrTarr

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There really is no option. Adoptable storage is a nightmare as cards fail regularly, as you have found out. With an unencrypted SD card you could run chkdsk in Windows to repair the card. The only thing I am unsure of is if there is an equivalent in Linux. If there is, the card which has an ext4 file system could possibly be repaired

Apparently the internal storage is just an encrypted ext4 partition and can be read from Linux if you can find the encryption key on the original device. Sounds like it'll be a painful process but could be possible, I'll let you know how I fair.
 

Rukbat

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Feb 12, 2012
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Adoptable storage or not, try PhotoRec. If a file is a recognizable format, PhotoRec will find it and recover it. (And take days for a decent-sized card.) Instructions are at PhotoRec Step By Step. (If each file is encrypted, it may not find anything, but if the file structure is encrypted, PhotoRec never looks at the file structure except to see how large the clusters are - and it can work without that information. Oh - and it's free.)
 

DrTarr

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Looks like this was my only hope:

Android Explorations: Decrypting Android M adopted storage

But I botched it because I'd already attempted (see-failed) a factory reset on the phone and the key file in \data\misc\vold was gone. Otherwise I was able to see the partitions and do everything I needed to do from Ubuntu. Additionally I could have even tried repairing the file system from Ubuntu and seeing if the phone would then recognize it but again I already wiped the phone.

I can't help but be angry memory allowance on this device. Y4 gb is not enough to even install more than a handful of apps, so you have to internally format an SD Card. Then if you do you're at risk that the phone becomes a brick once the SD card dies. I thought I could internally format another SD card but the phone was still totally unusable as every single app would crash, even if reinstalled and located to the new adopted sd card. Not impressed.
 

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