I really did spend some time researching this and was surprised to not find any answers (this great thread doesn't address this problem at all.... I'm trying to recover from my unfortunate situation: I set up a secondary user on my Nexus 7 4.2.2 and my device is not (yet) rooted. Now I like many others realise that rooting will wipe everything in order to unlock (if I had only read that first), and I'm trying to backup all app data for the secondary user.

When I try to run any adb-based backup on the secondary user, it just hangs and then times out, creating an empty .ab file. The owner's user account backs up just fine.

Any ideas? Is the multi user just too new? I have run into other annoying things with it (no VPN client will connect, can't get into developper settings, can't even change the TIME settings, etc...)


  • Is the secondary user still set up after a wipe? Or did I understand wrong that you already performed the wipe/unlock? If you didn't do so already, is USB Debugging enabled when you try connecting to the secondary user? Does adb devices list the Nexus? – Izzy Apr 4 '13 at 21:13
  • This is all pre-wipe! Everything is still stock, two users total. Since I cannot enable USB debugging as the secondary user, I enabled it as the owner. When I plug in as the secondary user USB Debugging Connected is displayed on the tablet's status bar and I do see my device listed in adb devices - but when I run adb backup... and it says "unlock your device and confirm..." nothing is ever displayed on the tablet. Again, as owner the message is displayed and the backup works. – alteredNate Apr 4 '13 at 22:03
  • Have you authorized that device with ADB? 4.2.2 onwards will ask for an RSA confirmation the first time you connect, and that dialog only opens if you are in the main user. It works across all users after authorized though. – Raghav Sood Apr 7 '13 at 20:46
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    I'm not sure what you mean by authorize outside of the typical adb connection... When the owner's profile is active, the backup works fine as stated above: the pre-defined encrypted device password is asked for and when entered allows the backup to complete. Once I switch to the non-owner account, my computer counts it as the device being disconnected and reconnected, and then, as stated, I am never asked for confirmation and adb hangs until it times out leaving an empty .ab file. – alteredNate Apr 8 '13 at 11:43

If you are on Android 4.2.2 there is a way of unlocking the bootloader without wiping the device. Use towelroot to root your device. (It works on a neuxs 7 as long as you have a kernel build < Jun 3). Afterwards you can use the following app to unlock the bootloader (It doesn't wipe the device). Then you can use titanium backup to backup everything on your device, even when logged in as a secondary user.

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I don't think there is a way short of finding a root enabling exploit. adb backup -apk -shared -all only backs up for user 0 for both /data/user/ and /storage/emulated/ (For non devices without expandable storage). No luck with 4.4 either.

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