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[Q] Data recovery on Xperia S (rooted)

OP TheWaste

29th June 2014, 05:16 PM   |  #1  
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Hi all,

Just wanted to start by saying, big thanks to DooMLoRD and the rest of the xda-developers forum for providing me the tools to get root access to a friends phone, who has recently accidentally deleted all their photos and videos. If we are successful, I'll definitely be suggesting that they make a donation to Doom for his epic contributions

I'm trying to help them recover the lost media. I know that typically performing data recovery on a phone requires root access, so I have gone ahead and done this. On with...

My question:
I've got an Xperia S running Jellybean (4.1.2) which is rooted. However attempting to use my data recovery tools on the phone, the device is not shown as a storage device. As you may well be aware, the S does not come with external storage. The S also has the 'mass storage mode' removed. Nice one Sony, give professionals another reason to avoid your products in the future...

I don't want to Flash the phone since any added files will start destroying the potentially recoverable data (plus I'd simply rather not format the phone if possible).

Is it possible to mount the internal storage of the Sony Xperia S as a drive so that I can run my PC based data recovery tools on it?

I imagine App Store apps are too lightweight to handle a file-based undeletion. If I could just see the device in my recovery apps I'm sure I'd be in business! I've attempted Recuva and R-Studio.
29th June 2014, 05:50 PM   |  #2  
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Doing some more research (like a good little n00b) I imagine I'm going to need SD Mounter.

I'm a little thrown off because 'SD' usually describes SD cards (of which the Xperia S has none). Also, the screenshots (for SD mounter) seem to indicate it's for ICS so I'm not sure if there's going to be a compatibility issue there.

Am I barking up the wrong tree by making this assumption? Should JellyBean have access to the mass storage and the option is simply not showing for some reason? Anyway, I'll continue working under my assumptions until someone suggests otherwise...

To get SD Mounter running, I'm going to need BusyBox. The problem is, I'm trying to read the BusyBox installation FAQ, and I'm finding it very vague. Like...

Quote:

and save it under the name "busybox"

but it does not specify WHERE. Make a folder called 'busybox' on the root folder of the phone? Somewhere on my PC (the page suggests its for the PC rather than the phone)? Also I'm seeing Linux-looking command lines, but I'm on a PC... can I run this via the command prompt in Windows? I downloaded the 'binaries' like it said, but there aren't any executables in here...

Can anyone shed some light?
Last edited by TheWaste; 29th June 2014 at 05:55 PM. Reason: elaboration
29th June 2014, 09:45 PM   |  #3  
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There's an app called BusyBox Installer, that installs it correctly on my Xperia S. That SD Mounter app works perfectly on 4.1.2, though. I use time to time. It just messes up a bit with Media Scanner, requiring me to do a reboot on the phone to make it work again.

I wish you lot of luck trying to recover your files. I once tried something like that, but came unsuccessful. There were some media I wish I had saved, but it wasn't THAT important, so I just gave up.

Suggest to your friend, though, to get an account on Mega, Box.net or Dropbox. All of them has auto backup of camera media to the server. All of them has options to backup only on WiFi, and even when charging only. The first two has 50 Gb of free storage for life (Box, you just need to sign with your Xperia device), and the later only 2 Gb, but you can get more and more with promotions.

Alternatively, he can enable the Google+ Auto Backup. There is 15 Gb (shared with Gmail and Google Drive) for pictures on original resolution or unlimited on 2048px, compressed. On Google+, though, you have the Auto Awesome, which make some awesome images.

Hope it helped. If I can help any further, just tag me

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30th June 2014, 01:53 AM   |  #4  
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Hey Felimenta97, thanks for your swift response!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

There's an app called BusyBox Installer...

I see 'BusyBox Installer' in the Play Store, is that the one? Seems strange that the Play Store would add an app that requires rooting. Just wanna make sure I shouldn't be looking for it somewhere else (plus I'm away from that phone at the moment)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

It just messes up a bit with Media Scanner, requiring me to do a reboot on the phone to make it work again.

That's okay. I've warned them this process might even brick their entire phone. They are prepared (I hope) for complete loss/compromised apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

...I wish you lot of luck trying to recover your files. I once tried something like that, but came unsuccessful...

*touches wood*. Gah I'm suddenly 10 times less confident this file recovery is gonna work. Wish me luck! They'll be crushed if I can't get their media back...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

...get an account on Mega, Box.net or Dropbox...

Oh trust me, I've already given them the lecture

Thanks for your help!
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30th June 2014, 02:17 AM   |  #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWaste

Hey Felimenta97, thanks for your swift response!


I see 'BusyBox Installer' in the Play Store, is that the one? Seems strange that the Play Store would add an app that requires rooting. Just wanna make sure I shouldn't be looking for it somewhere else (plus I'm away from that phone at the moment)


That's okay. I've warned them this process might even brick their entire phone. They are prepared (I hope) for complete loss/compromised apps


*touches wood*. Gah I'm suddenly 10 times less confident this file recovery is gonna work. Wish me luck! They'll be crushed if I can't get their media back...


Oh trust me, I've already given them the lecture

Thanks for your help!

As I'm a lazy person, who can't find a way to break quotes into multiple parts (serious, how do you Do that, without having to write the quote code every time? It is not much, but I'm really lazy, so yeah.

Yep, that's the app. There's no reason for Google to block root apps. It's a function of the OS itself, just hidden from users. It's one of the easiest things to do on a Nexus device, after all. It's hidden because, if used without caution, can soft brick your device. But, don't worry, that shouldn't do any harm. At it least it hasn't with my device until now haha

As I said, I had already lost lots of stuff, and I didn't bothered much to go any further to recover it. It was a simply Install Recuva, run on the SD card and see if I could restore anything. Nothing? OK, no worries. As you already mentioned in your first post, avoid at all costs writing new files to the SD Card partition.

About the lecture, yeah, I imagined you had already told them, but it doesn't hurt to tell anyway.

About the SD Card on the Xperia S, another technical info you might or might not know, and also doesn't hurt to tell. Until Android 2.3, devices with a big internal storage required a partition for cache, one for data (apps and their own data), one for system, and one SD Card. The last one in Fat32 (plus others, but those are just too small and insignificant, for most, anyway) Think of a normal hard drive with plenty of partitions. Since Xperia S was developed (and launched) with 2.3 (one of Sony's biggest mistakes with this phone), it had to follow those "guidelines".

With Android 4.0 and beyond, the above mentioned data and SD Card turned into one partition, in Ext4 format. That data partition stores both apps and their data, and also other types of media, like media, documents, and etc. That storage goes into a mounted folder.

Anyway, again, wish you good luck. If they aren't very close friends/relatives, you should charge some money for all the hassle if you recover haha

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30th June 2014, 03:30 AM   |  #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

how do you Do that, without having to write the quote code every time?

Haha, actually I still kinda do. #hen I hit 'reply' I empty the quote block, copy the empty quote block a few times, then copy-paste the parts of the text I'm replying to as I go

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

avoid at all costs writing new files to the SD Card partition.

Yeah absolutely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

Until Android 2.3, devices with a big internal storage required a partition for cache, one for data (apps and their own data), one for system, and one SD Card

Jeaz. Thank god I don't have to eff around with that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felimenta97

With Android 4.0 and beyond, the above mentioned data and SD Card turned into one partition, in Ext4 format. That data partition stores both apps and their data, and also other types of media, like media, documents, and etc. That storage goes into a mounted folder.

I don't need to re-format the internal storage of the phone to attempt recovery do I?

Thanks again Felimenta!
30th June 2014, 03:36 AM   |  #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWaste

Haha, actually I still kinda do. #hen I hit 'reply' I empty the quote block, copy the empty quote block a few times, then copy-paste the parts of the text I'm replying to as I go


Yeah absolutely.


Jeaz. Thank god I don't have to eff around with that!


I don't need to re-format the internal storage of the phone to attempt recovery do I?

Thanks again Felimenta!

Not in Xperia S case. As I said, it is on Fat32, so it is easily mount-able on Windows.

On any phone with Android 4.0 or more, you'd need a Linux to do the recovery. You can't format it, or else you will turn the device into a really expensive paperweight.

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