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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
  • Probably not from the ADB Backup (to my experience, SMS are not backed up with that) – but from the Nandroid it should be possible. Could you please specify the file name of that – i.e. is it an image, or a tarball? 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. – Izzy Mar 18 at 6:54
  • I'll list out the files for convenience, in nandroid : 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 .. my pc has windows 10 home edition – Kombo Mar 18 at 8:23
  • OK, that helps! It's tarballs then. Open data.ext4.tar 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/*. Watch out for some sub-directory like databases/, 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. As for other "personal data", depends what you're after. See our data-recovery tag for further hints. – Izzy Mar 18 at 19:08
  • @izzy can you post your answer as a seperate reply instead of a comment so that I can mark it as the recommended answer? please take points from both your comments. – Kombo Apr 6 at 4:58
  • Done! Shall we cleanup the (now obsolete) comments then? – Izzy Apr 6 at 6:47
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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.

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