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Full Backup of non-rooted devices

I am using a smartphone running non-root Android 4.0.3 and am also a desktop Linux user (Ubuntu 12.04 amd64).

In Linux/Ubuntu, I could backup my whole system (whole partition) into a file image and when necessary, restore my whole system (including MBR) back on my desktop computer. (e.g. using "clonezilla")

It seems that there are similar Android apps (e.g. ClockworkMod) for system backup (Android rom backup) on a rooted Android device. However, I am not sure whether there is similar system backup apps for a non-root Android device ? Could anyone tell whether it is possible ?

I have difficulties in using root-device rom backup apps such as "ClockworkMod" as my smartphone (ASK SP404) is not a branded smartphone and I could not find any rooting procedures for this phone, although there are good discussions on the web that talk about this, e.g. HOW TO ROOT your Android phone. (This thread talks about Android rooting procedures for many branded phones, but not my phone ! )

It would be great if anyone could suggest a rooting procedure for my phone, or some directions that I could try. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • Every device is branded.
    – user13391
    Jul 13, 2012 at 19:16
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    "not branded" here means the manufacturer is not a very big company and the manufacturer does not support user activities relating to rooting, update recovery and/or update rom. Jul 15, 2012 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


To answer your first question, you cannot do a whole image backup from within Android without root, as no application or service you can run will be able to read the system partitions.

If the "recovery" console (a small, BIOS-like image installed on the device) contains backup support, it has access to the raw partitions and could create a "Nandroid" backup image (see About the android recovery mode). If your phone's default recovery does not support image backup (it would be somewhat surprising if it did), you may be able to install a new recovery, without "rooting" the Android installation. Booting into recovery is very device specific (e.g., hold down power and volume down), and its features (and replacability) are fairly specific too.

If you have a recent Android Development Kit (ADK) installed, you can use the adb backup (and adb restore) commands to backup your installed apps and (some of) your data. But its not a complete image/ROM backup. I can't find any official documentation, but this XDA Dev Forum post goes over it in some detail.

To your second question, see: How do I root my Android device? There are suggestions and pointers there that may work for you.

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    It seems "SuperOneClick" may do the job of rooting. However, I may try rooting later as it involves risks. Thanks for the suggestion. Jul 12, 2012 at 8:32
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    The manufacturer/vendor theoretically could have provided such an option (called "Nandroid backup") in the recovery menu (that's where the Nandroid backup has to be placed). However, I've never heard of any vendor/manufacturer doing so.
    – Izzy
    Jul 12, 2012 at 9:16
  • You might also be able to replace the recovery without rooting. Jul 12, 2012 at 18:02
  • Thanks for all the updated answers/comments. After some trials, I could now enter the Recovery Mode of my phone ("power on" + "home"). But unfortunately, there is no "Nandroid backup" option in this mode. There are only "Reboot", "Version" and some hardware test options there. I find from the "Version" option that "SW Ver. : HTC_A100_V401" and "Custom Build Verno : 1331982298". Does it mean that the Android rom in my phone is the same as that in HTC A100 phones ? Should I try the HTC rooting procedures for my phone ? Jul 13, 2012 at 7:14
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    @ce4 added some notes about adb backup, though that's not really a "ROM" backup, it gets most of the useful data ...
    – P.T.
    Jul 13, 2012 at 17:42

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