Have been googling for quite a few hours but can't seem to find what I'm looking for, hope someone can point me in the right direction....

I want to basically make a complete image of my phone before I make an changes to it so that I can restore it exactly as it is now. In the PC world I would use CloneZilla / ghost or similar. though I have used dd in the past and don't mind using it.

I am looking for a solution that will work on the following phones:

  • HTC Desire (not HD or S)

  • Sony Erikson X10 Mini Pro

In my searching I found mention of a tool called Nandroid, but as best as I could tell it seemed to only be for a G1 and required Root. I don't have root on either phone, so solutions offered requiring root are not helpful because (as I understand it) gaining root will wipe the data (at least some) I'm trying to back up.

I also found article about creating a GoldCard for a HTC Desire, is this what I need to do? there was no explanation on what a GoldCard was? It also didn't look like a particularly desirable method as It required wiping the memory card first and had no mention of how to restore if things go bad.

My objectives are as follows:

  • Upgrade the SE X10 mini (it's stuck on Android 1.6!) I know there is a 2.1 upgrade for it, but it's not available unless yo have a windows machine??? I only have Ubuntu + Mac. I'm not prepared to buy a windows licence just to upgrade an android phone (seems Odd!)

  • Try out Android 2.3 and 3.0 on the HTC Desire and the X10, understandably this is play, so I want to be able to go back quickly, especially on the X10 (wifes phone) as I will be in no end of trouble if I brick that and don't get it back by the morning :)

  • If successful with the first 2, then I can look at trying out dev releases and testing them (That is after all my day job) and hopefully being able to contribute. To do this I need to be able to load a release test it out and then roll back on the same night so Ideally I need a process that is quite quick or a bunch of shell commands I can script.

Hopefully someone can steer me on the right course....



  • Are you up and running with the SDK yet?
    – Amanda
    Mar 20, 2011 at 16:02
  • I don't know if I'd flash any 3.0 builds onto a phone. The way I understand it 3.0 is optimized for tablets at the moment, and at best the screen on a phone will just be too small for you to effectively use Honeycomb.
    – newuser
    Mar 20, 2011 at 17:19
  • Are you sure there isn't a friend/family/work Windows PC/laptop that you could borrow for an hour to temporarily put the SE software on, if this is for your wife, and if she's not a technical power-user then she'll probably be better off with the official release. The requirement for a Windows PC isn't that odd, the phone doesn't currently support OTA updates, so it uses an app to load the updates. They've obviously only had resources to write one app and so written it for the OS that 99% of their customers will be able to access.
    – GAThrawn
    Mar 21, 2011 at 15:48
  • howtogeek.com/125375/… It's not very simple, but seems to be posible. As son as anyone can program a software with a suite of all of this, we will have our "Androidclonezilla"...
    – user32121
    Apr 12, 2013 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


Root should not erase any phone data. How do you expect to back up the entire device with only user permissions? You need root permissions, in the absence of a system-level tool built into the OS or bootloader or a PC-side tool for directly accessing the phone storage (both are very unlikely). Update: There is now OS-supported backup which an app like Helium can use to back things up without root.

ClockworkMod / Nandroid is definitely not G1-only, there are dozens if not hundreds of supported devices. It's definitely the best way to back everything up.

I recommend checking out XDA's x10 Mini General forum and possibly the Android Development forum also; read all the sticky threads, they should give you a good overview of all this. You can do the same for the Desire.


With the stock firmware and without root you can’t accomplish what you want.

To backup your entire phone you need complete access to the phone ROM memory to copy all of its contents, and for that you need root access.

I have a HTC Desire and what I’ve done is use Unrevocked to gain root access to the phone and change the android recovery of the phone for one that includes tools to do “nandroid” backups, among other things like install ROM from compressed files on the SD card.

The process is simple and fast and in a few minutes you will have a phone with root access and a recovery system that give you plenty of new tools.

  • If you can get the device to expose all of its partitions while in Clonezilla (on a pc) then could you not use partclone/dd or whatever Clonezilla uses to clone all of those partitions, just as you would a regular hard drive? I can clone a Windows 7 partition without having any root access to it from within a Clonezilla livecd.
    – user37220
    Jul 8, 2013 at 15:32

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