So I just rooted using mobile odin lite and the Entropy512 kernel that has CWM recovery. Then I performed a CWM backup. Stupidly, I forgot to backup anything except for my camera data before doing this.

Long story short, I lost several of my most recently added contacts when I flashed a new Jelly Bean ROM and stuff.

Now I thought to myself: no problem, I'll restore using my CWM backup, save said contacts (or sync them with my google account at this point), and then next time I flash a new ROM I can just copy em over.

However, when I restored using CWM like nothing on my phone works anymore. I can't view my contacts or anything to sync them. Anyone have experience with this or know of a way I can extract my contacts from the backup I made?

I'm relatively new to Android so I'm not sure what information I should provide but heres a try:

AT&T SG SII (i777) Steps:

  1. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1311081&highlight=how+to+root+without+incrementing+flash+counter

  2. Backup using CWM

  3. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1574718 (Flash ROM zip and GApps zip)

  4. Attempt to restore using CWM

Thanks for your help, and let me know if there's other information that could help.

1 Answer 1


This is really awkward to fix, I know because I've been in your exact situation. It depends a lot on just how different the contact storage on your old ROM was from how it is now. Obviously your contacts are there somewhere in that CWM backup, the problem is just how to get them out.

I don't have a very specific answer on how to solve this (just asking for the contact info again will probably solve your problem faster), but here are some pointers: The file system is most likely yaffs2, so you need to read this file system somehow. One of the first things I found on Google was Yaffey - Utility for reading, editing and writing YAFFS2 images - you could probably use this to access your backup image and from there extract your contact data. Depending on your current and old format, this might be easy or hard.

What do we learn from this? Extracting contacts is an absolute pain from system images created in CWM. Use Titanium Backup and/or always make sure your contacts sync against the cloud.

Local contacts are the devils work.

  • Couldn't agree more with your last two paragraphs. As for the file system, I believe it's actually ext4. When I copied the backup image (data.ext4.tar) from my sdcard to my desktop computer I was able to view all the folders etc and even view/edit some of the .xml files (after untaring and digging obviously). However, I had no idea where to find the contacts or even if I found them what format etc. theyd be in.
    – NickHalden
    Sep 30, 2012 at 14:47

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