I'm trying to evaluate the options for recovering some important files that were deleted from a Moto G 1st generation. I have sufficient experience with the data recovery itself once I have an image file, and I know how to extract an image of the /sdcard partition once the phone is rooted.

However, I see the following problems:

  • The phone isn't rooted, and the bootloader is still locked. Unlocking the bootloader will wipe the phone.

  • The phone is updated to Android 4.4.4 . Therefore it isn't possible to root it without unlocking the bootloader. (this seemed to work for 4.4.2 , but a downgrade requires an unlocked bootloader)

What I think might be a solution:

  1. Backup to PC with adb
  2. Unlock bootloader (wipes all data!)
  3. Root phone
  4. Extract image of /sdcard partition to PC
  5. Recover files on PC using the usual forensics tools
  6. Maybe lock bootloader again/unroot phone (still tbd)
  7. Restore backuped files with adb


  • Is the wipe during bootloader unlocking just a normal "delete" (quick-format) operation or will the whole partition be overwritten? If the former, will I have chances to recover the files, with the usual caveats (i.e. files not overwritten yet by new files). If the latter, I prefer to avoid this tedious procedure...

  • Does the procedure make sense or am I missing something important?

  • Were you able to find the solution for this problem. I am having the same problem so if i could get help. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


I had the same question. Then I used a retired Moto G to test ROOT (as usual) and recovery with this method: http://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-nexus/general/guide-internal-memory-data-recovery-yes-t1994705

Now I have a RAW file with 13 GB and neither Handy Recovery can find files earlier than wipe. It doesn't seem a quick-format.

I'm still looking for a non-wipe method meanwile talking to Motorola to recover a folder lost during an MTP's error. I still hope...

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