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My phone is locked (I forgot the PIN number). I want to back up my files. So I need to enable the USB debugging.

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If it's the PIN of the SIM card, remove the SIM from the phone and you're in.

If it's the PIN you set in Android, you can try to install a custom recovery via ODIN. You can then boot into recovery and download your data from there, since most (if not all) recoveries provide an ADB interface.

In the prevoius version of this answer I expressed my concern that most phones erase their data prior to flashing and I didn't know if Samsungs do. But as Adi Inbar pointed it out, Samsungs don't erase their data when flashed through ODIN so this is a solution. You are lucky to have a Samsung phone which can be flashed in an out-of-spec way, because otherwise:

You can not retrieve your data if you can not unlock your phone. This is a security feature of Android which keeps your data safe if it gets stolen.

You can take the SD card out and copy the files from that, but unless you remember the phone's PIN, your data on the phone's internal memory is not accessible.

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    I've flashed ROMs using Odin and installed custom recoveries on Samsung phones dozens of times. It doesn't touch the data. It's surprising to me if that's true, that most devices erase their data prior to flashing, because I don't see any reason for that; it can only hurt, it can't help. At least on Samsung Galaxy phones I can tell you that the only thing that will wipe your data is doing a wipe/factory reset from recovery mode.
    – Adi Inbar
    Oct 28, 2014 at 23:19
  • +1 Well then there's the solution: install a custom recovery via ODIN, run it and get the data through ADB. The reasoning behind erasing /data is this: if you set a screen lock, you want your data to be safe and unrecoverable without the PIN, so the device deletes it before allowing you to install anything that can be used to bypass this protection. All devices erase /data when you fastboot oem unlock them, which is necessary before flashing. I've never owned a Samsung device, so I wouldn't know if ODIN erases /data, so I just assumed it does. I'll go edit my answer now.
    – matega
    Oct 29, 2014 at 8:38

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