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I'm planning to install CyanogenMod in a Motorola device. I've already booted into TWRP without flashing recovery partition and did a backup which has system, data and boot.

I will keep this backup, so if something goes wrong with CyanogenMod I can always return to stock ROM.

Here are my queries:

  • Is this backup enough? Would it be having the original recovery so that I can restore it, if required?
  • Since I booted into TWRP without flashing recovery partition, did it magically backup the TWRP itself instead of stock recovery?
  • How can I backup stock recovery if it is not already backed up yet?
  • 3
    From what you describe, /recovery hasn't been backed up at all (it's a separate partition). – Izzy Mar 7 '16 at 6:20
  • @Izzy Indeed. The suggestion from Mattew is pretty neat. – Somebody still uses you MS-DOS Mar 7 '16 at 14:34
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For a full backup, you'll typically want to backup everything except cache. and-sec and data are optional as well if all you care about is a working ROM. So if you checked off all the partitions TWRP listed, you should be good. It doesn't check EFS by default so if you have a partition like that, you might want to include it.

You can also verify the backup. On your SD card (or the location you chose for backup) there will be a TWRP folder that contains BACKUPS<device ID><name of backup with date> → backup files.

The .ext4.win files (you should have boot, system, and data which might be broken into smaller pieces) are actually tar archives, which you can open to view the files. boot.emmc.win will be a binary file, but you could do a hash check against your existing boot image or something if you wanted.

Given that you would have to restore this backup with TWRP, backing up recovery isn't really necessary or relevant! However, if you are worried you could back it up manually from a privileged shell/terminal:

$ su
# cd /dev
# find . -name recovery
./block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/recovery
# readlink ./block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/recovery
/dev/block/mmcblk0p18
# dd if=/dev/block/mmcblk0p18 of=/sdcard/recovery.img

Just make sure that if=<path> matches the location of your recovery partition, which is probably different from mine. If your device doesn't have a by-name listing then you will probably have to look up online to find which partition is recovery. If you don't have readlink, try ls -l instead.

  • 1
    Readers: Useful reading: How to list all major partitions with their labels? (both the Q and A). – Firelord Mar 7 '16 at 9:07
  • Instead of msm_sdcc.1, is just soc.0. From TWRP itself I can open a terminal and run the dd command. Pretty neat. :) – Somebody still uses you MS-DOS Mar 7 '16 at 14:31
  • What EFS is for? How do I search for it? find . -name EFS? – Somebody still uses you MS-DOS Mar 7 '16 at 14:32
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    EFS stands for Encrypted File System, and that partition usually keeps things like IMEI etc. I always thought it's something specific to Samsung devices, but it seems like at least OnePlus and some LG devices have it as well. Your Moto simply might not have it. – Izzy Mar 7 '16 at 15:44

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