I am trying to backup the whole android OS with all kernel files, systemfiles, efs-data and more on my rooted samsung galaxy s3 but when I open the the backupfile (.ab) on my computer i can only see two folders:


I used the following adb-switches

 adb backup -apk -shared -all -f ~/Backups/i9300/s320150523.ab

I cannot see any OS-parts in these folders such as libraries (.so files), kernelfiles, efs-folder and so on.

And when looking at the switches using adb-help it seems only be concerned with backup the apps and systemapps, not the OS-parts.

 adb backup [-f <file>] [-apk|-noapk] [-shared|-noshared] [-all] 
          [-system|-nosystem] [<packages...>]
        - write an archive of the device's data to <file>.
          If no -f option is supplied then the data is written
          to "backup.ab" in the current directory.
          (-apk|-noapk enable/disable backup of the .apks 
             themselves in the archive; the default is noapk.)
          (-shared|-noshared enable/disable backup of the device's
             shared storage / SD card contents; the default is 
          (-all means to back up all installed applications)
          (-system|-nosystem toggles whether -all automatically 
             includes system applications; the default is to 
             include system apps)
          (<packages...> is the list of applications to be backed 
             up. If the -all or -shared flags are passed, then the
             package list is optional. Applications explicitly 
             given on the command line will be included even if 
             -nosystem would ordinarily cause them to be omitted.) 

If it is so that adb cannot backup the whole image - what are the alternatives? Could an app such as titanium-backup solve this issue?

  • You need to take a Nandroid backup using a custom recovery to get everything you want. ADB didn't backup because it is not designed to backup the things you want. IDK Titanium can backup things other than apps. Nandroid backup or a partition dump seems to be the only choice for me.
    – Firelord
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 8:49
  • Also, the adb command that you mentioned here does this : -apk -> backup apk files of the apps, -shared -> backup the data in external/internal storage, -all -> backup all installed apps i.e. all user+system apps data (-apk will make sense now), -f -> custom backup file name (s320150523.ab here). As you can see, it can't really backup the things you desire to grab. Kernel-files, efs-folder, etc are neither apps nor a part of shared storage, so won't be backed up this way.
    – Firelord
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 8:55
  • @Firelord - yes i think I realize this now, thanks!
    – java
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 8:56
  • 1
    @Firelord AFAIK TiBu doesn't backup that stuff either. It cares about apps, their settings, and system settings – but not about doing a complete system backup incl. kernel files etc. You're 100% correct referring to Nandroid for that, which is the only backup I know of that cares about "the entire disks" (apart from scripting this with dd calls yourself ;)
    – Izzy
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 9:20


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