I have some old backups of my older phones (samsung galaxy S4 / i9500). One of them is a Nandroid backup, one is ADB, and i guess the third one is an Android Image created most probably by ODIN (.tar.md5 file). Since I dont have the mobile device with me anymore, is there a way i can extract my personal data (especially sms) from those backups directly in my Windows 10 Home edition PC ?

My Nandroid backup has the following files:

boot.img, cache.ext4.tar, data.ext4.tar, efs.ext4.tar, modem.img, 
nandroid.md5, preload.ext4.tar, recovery.img, recovery.log, system.ext4.tar

2 Answers 2


Probably not from the ADB Backup (to my experience, SMS are not backed up with that) – but from the Nandroid it should be possible. You'd need to extract that, find the messages database, and then you can access it using some SQLite client (depending on the OS your POC runs). The Nandroid should also hold all other personal data, but might lack your "internal SD card" data – which might be part of the ADB backup, depending on how that was run.

Some types of Nandroid do file-system images. But the default nowadays is a Tarball, i.e. a simple archive containing the directory structure and the files within. That's also the case with yours, as you confirmed – so you can open data.ext4.tar (which holds the contents of your /data partition) in e.g. WinRAR/WinZIP and see if it lists directory structures. I expect it does. You're after something in data/com.android.providers.telephony/*, where you should find a file named mmssms.db or similar (I don't remember the correct path and file name by heart). That's where your messages are in.

For completeness: would your Nandroid be an image file, you can e.g. use Testdisk to browse and extract contents from it.

As for other "personal data", depends what you're after. See our data-recovery tag for further hints.


I recently did this to restore and merge my SMS messages from a previous NANDROID backup stored on my Linux PC that I could no longer boot in to using my phone.

I extracted the file /data/user_de/0/com.android.providers.telephony/databases/mmssms.db from the data.ext4.win002 tar archive of my NANDROID backup.

I logged in to adb shell on my phone and made a copy of that same file on the phone to backup the existing SMSes.

Then I logged in to QKSMS (my SMS app) and made a backup of the 9 new messages since I replaced the ROM on my phone.

Then I used adb to push the mmssms.db file (that contained 2000+ old messages) from my PC to my phone and used root privileges to copy it to the same location as the existing (providers.telephony as above).

Then I just had to run these commands in adb shell:

adb shell chown radio:radio /data/user_de/0/com.android.providers.telephony/databases/mmssms.db

adb shell chmod 660 /data/user_de/0/com.android.providers.telephony/databases/mmssms.db

adb shell chcon u:object_r:radio_data_file:s0 /data/user_de/0/com.android.providers.telephony/databases/mmssms.db

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