I have a stock Atrix 4G with Froyo (2.2.2) (Version.4.1.83.MB860.ATT.en.US). It's past warranty, so I'm not worried about voiding the warranty.

As one would expect, the stock recovery doesn't offer me the option of doing a Nandroid backup.

I'd like to flash a custom recovery like ClockworkMod so as to give myself the option of doing a Nandroid backup before trying out a custom ROM like epinter's CM10.1 (Jelly Bean, Android 4.2).

But I get the distinct impression that I will first need to unlock the bootloader before I'll be allowed to flash a custom recovery.

But as Motorola makes so vividly clear, it seems like unlocking my bootloader will delete all the things from the phone that I want to backup (e.g. the stock ROM in case I want to go back to it) before trying out a custom ROM.

So it seems like I'm in a Catch 22 here:

  • Need to unlock bootloader before flashing custom recovery.
  • Need to flash custom recovery before I am able to do a Nandroid.
  • Would like to do a Nandroid backup of stock ROM before unlocking bootloader.

Is there any way to get out of this Catch 22? Any way to backup my existing stock ROM before unlocking the bootloader?

Or must I just forget about backing up the stock ROM before unlocking the bootloader? I know I can do all sorts of other backups of installed data and apps and so forth, but I'd like to backup the stock ROM itself if possible.

I noticed this question/answer, but this too seems to require CWM to be installed (I am skeptical of being able to get a faithful Nandroid backup of mounted partitions as would necessarily be the case if the phone was powered on as mentioned in the associated xda thread).

  • 2
    Just a note: the Motorola documentation that you link to doesn't mention that you'd actually lose the ROM on the phone. Usually, the phone will be factory reset but still have the original Android install as when you first turned it on. You should back up any personal data that isn't synced with Google or another cloud/backup service. Once the bootloader is unlocked, you can then make a full backup of the stock ROM; Alternatively, you can probably find a stock ROM for your device online elsewhere.
    – filoxo
    Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 3:45
  • Full Backup of non-rooted devices has a pretty comprehensive list of your options. Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


Unlocking the bootloader performs a factory-reset on the phone, deleting all the user data. It doesn't wipe the ROM. If you're just trying to back up the stock ROM before flashing (a sensible precaution), then you can safely do that after unlocking the bootloader.

If you want to back up your user data (i.e. installed apps and their data, contacts, etc.), then you do have to do that before unlocking the bootloader, and the answers to this question explain how.

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