I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 (i9100), which stopped booting into the normal OS. I have no idea why - one morning it turned itself off, and when I started it, it went as far as the "Samsung" screen, and just hangs.

I have pictures on the "internal" SD card (flash memory), which I would like to recover.

I can boot into recovery, and have installed the latest version of CWM touch, which allows me to mount both the internal and external sdcard. I can do a "browse for update" on both internal and external sdcard, and all the files I want are there. However, even when internal sdcard is mounted, I cannot access it with adb, presumably because I don't have root.

Just to see what I can do without root, I used CWM allowed me to backup the system, but because the backup is written to the internal card, I cannot check whether it's worked. However, it is taking about 1.5GB of space on the internal card, so I assume it must have backed up something.

Any ideas? Could I write a script that would copy the contents of the internal sd card to the external sd card, without root?

If I rooted the phone, would I loose the content on the internal sd card? (I have looked into rooting, but only with heimdall so far, and I could not get it to recognise the phone on linux or OS X.)

Any thoughts and suggestions will be much appreciated! Thanks!

  • You should be able to access the directory where your backups have been placed by CWM, and copy those few files to your external SDCard. For details on the backup format, please refer to our nandroid tag-wiki. There are possibilities to look into those backups from your PC, or do a partially restore (the latter on rooted devices only).
    – Izzy
    Mar 3, 2014 at 15:09
  • Hello Izzy, thank you. The problem is also that the version CWM confuses the internal and external card. For instance, the nandroid backup of the system is written to the internal sd card (and thus the other content on the internal sd card is not backed up). The problem would be solved if I could get nandroid to back up onto the external sd card... (assuming that nandroid would back up the internal sd card as well).
    – user55143
    Mar 3, 2014 at 18:14
  • Can't you access the internal card at all? Root or not, as long as you're not speaking about device-memory, you should be able to access that via ADB. But not having an S2 to test, I'm afraid I cannot be of further assistance here.
    – Izzy
    Mar 3, 2014 at 23:30
  • Hello again. Basically it appears that CWM mounts the sd card to /sdcard with root permissions. Within CWM I can see the sd card contents, but in "adb shell" or with "adb pull" I cannot access it, because the ownership is root.
    – user55143
    Mar 4, 2014 at 16:08
  • As long as you can access any storage via ADB, you should be able to cp -r /sdcard/<cwm-backup-dir> <accessible-path-for-adb>, and then grab it from there. If it's to big, you could do it in chunks.
    – Izzy
    Mar 4, 2014 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


I initially installed CWM v5 (as zip from CWM site), but that appears mount the internal sd card memory with root permissions only. I finally tried CWM (again as zip, not from cwm site). The zip failed verification, so I couldn't install it. However, in v5, there's an option to ignore that, so I was able to run v6. It seems to run fine so far, and the storage is mounted correctly, and I can now pull with adb!

So - solution: - Boot into stock recovery - Install CWM v5 (from cwm site) from sd card (as zip) - Use that to install CWM v6 from sd card (as zip) - Then use adb to pull /storage/sdcard0. (adb will not preserve time stamps, but you can do a "ls -laRe" if you want particular file stamps

So in this way I was able to retrieve the contents of the internal sd card. Full details http://www.sciencemedianetwork.org/Blog/20140304_Samsung_Galaxy_S2_data_recovery

However, after factory reset, the phone still doesn't boot. Follow up question here: Complete reset of SGS2 (factory reset not sufficient)


Get Odin. download and flash the stock rom. everything will remain intact and your phone will boot up again normally. you can get links for stock roms at sammobile.com or XDA developers

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