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Eggs Green
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How to recover (internal data from) completely dead/powerless phone?

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My son dunked my Evo 4G LTE under a foot of water. It was still on, so I powered it off by holding the top button down, then dried it out in rice for several days. Plugged it in, powered it on - amazing! Looked great! Had to leave for work, by the time I arrived an hour later the phone was a brick - no power, no reset holding the top button (with or without volume up or down), when connected to a computer via USB it neither registers no demonstrates any sign of power.

My main concern is the first four months of my daughter's life in video and photo stored on the phone's internal storage (android "phone memory"). I know, I should have backed it up, but I have two in diapers so best practice sometimes falls by the wayside. I did not have automatic upload set up via dropbox or google.

The phone is under warranty, sprint offered a refurbished for $35 - so I know I can get a working phone back, but I'll gladly opt to pay for a new phone and rip this one apart to get my data back.

Questions for the pros:

1. Is there any hope of recovering the data by recovering the phone? I'm not much of a hardware hacker so this would be easiest for me.

. 1a. Could it just be the battery is trashed? Is it possible to get/replace just the battery?

. 1b. Since USB doesn't bring power, could it be part of the power "subsystem," something that I could independently replace?

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2. Alternatively, does anyone out there know how to get to and read this phone's internal storage?

. 2a. Is it a card or chip that can be removed and accessed outside of a phone?

. 2b. A card or chip that I could remove an put into another Evo 4g LTE, or that I could put into a replacement "motherboard" for the same phone?

. 2c. Can I solder some wires somewhere on the phone to try to access the data from another UI (this would be running in the tall grass for me, but I'll certainly try anything)?

For any solution, links to video or written narrative / instructions would be great, but even tips in the right direction or things that have worked on other phones could be helpful.

Thanks!

Edited by: mayer ( )

future reference dont use rice or try manually tuning off the phone, just go straight for the battery and pull it out and leave it out till it is 100% fully dry and clean.

qpunk,

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oldturkey03
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Eggs Green, you may check if you have saved it to an SD card. The slot should be at the top of the phone, you will see a notch below the power button. Insert your fingernail or a coin into that notch and pull back to remove the upper portion of the back. your SD card (if you have one) should be in there. Use an external adapter on your computer to access it. If you do not have it, and were saving to the external NAND memory, there is no way (only for the very advanced hackers ;-)) to access that. If you are adventurous enough check on here. I would try and see if the phone will give you enough life after cleaning it and seeing if you can resolve some of the water damage. Use the iPhone 3G guide from here for a general idea on how to clean it. Here is a good video that will show you how to tear down your phone. After you cleaned it, replace the battery and reevaluate. If that does not work for you, I would suggest a data recovery company to get your videos. Hope this helps, good luck.

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alxxxluvzpeaches
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there's too many useless responses here people. the phone was in water, that means it surged out. it's not just a dead battery issue. it's a dead phone. Androids do the same thing iPhone's do, except iPhone's give people bragging rights, as far as usability is concerned, it's not worth the price/bill difference.

I just did the same thing (phone in water, rice, nothing). there appears to be no hope. I can install retrieval apps to my dead phone via the computer but I can't open them to activate them on the phone so they'll sync to the web access. I'm installing FolderSync (and there's several other apps that do the same) now which is automatically syncing my pics to GoogleDrive from now on. I'm screwed for the old pics but it won't happen again. all we can do is be better prepared next time.

Edited by: alxxxluvzpeaches ( )

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BeauSwann
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It seems possible ...

WARNING! - Refurbished only means you will get a working phone back.

Even if they guarantee to return it with your data intact, be VERY CAREFUL! they are just telephone call handlers and do not know for sure what will happen, also people do not tick all the correct boxes and others do not look at all the boxes, so you could loose out those ways!

I am very surprised that there is no information on this subject.

It must have been an issue for 1000's of people over the past few years.

My problem is that "back up has stopped", would not re-install, and I could not find out why (it said memory, but there was loads free - since found it was talking about Dalvik).

Over the weeks I built up a collection of useful information and photos which I do not want to loose.

I am assuming yours is an Android phone, but even if it's a Windows phone, the principle is still probably the same.

It appears to be possible to recover files from the internal memory of a dead phone using a PC, free software and USB cable.

The principle is start the Flashing process, BUT do not Flash the phone, because I can not be sure it would not destroy your data / files.

When at the stage to be able to Flash the phone, effectively your PC thinks it is communicating have a "USB memory device".

This is achieved by removing the phones USB driver and substituting another driver (to enable the Flashing process).

I've not had the time to spend on it that I need.

I will come back when I do finish ...

BUT do not wait for me, there seems to be too many things going wrong, and the most important get done first. Which is why I have things waiting for over 1 year now.

One problem I have is that Windows keeps throwing out the "substitution USB driver" and replacing it with the original phone USB driver.

Windows thinks the phones driver is more suitable, so automatically re-installs it.

I know the issue, I've had it several times previously with the "unknown device USB driver" (a crash causes the driver change). I just need to find the "Windows stored back up driver", delete it, then Windows will happily accept the "substitution driver".

Ahhh, the joys of owning a MS Windows computer :-(

Some usefull software names :-

USB VCOM Driver

Windows drivers - A25_USB_VCOM_Drivers

usbdeview_droidtricks

Some useful search terms :-

brick

unbrick

flash rom

SP Flash Tool exe v3 (not to use, but the process' before is what's wanted).

Searches with search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.), also You Tube (I could only find Flashing, but as previously, it's the process up to the "Flashing point" that you are interested in).

Sorry it's unfinished information, but at least it gives you hope and some where to start.

Data Recovery firms will be able to recovery the data / files and some are open to "please help, I'm skint ...", by reducing their prices to a poor private person, but they will not do it for free.

So good luck to all of us.

Thank you very much for your long post. Definately something to try out there before sending it anywhere. Thank you

Jacob,

I don't think I will get this solution to work though since there seems to be no connection to my phone on the micro-USB. Nothing shows when I try to charge it, no light is turned on or anything nor when I plug into the computer and try with adb. Do you reckon I should still try the process you described?

Jacob,

I got seriously lucky. A repairing company took my phone in and tested it and said it couldn't be done. It was dead. Then an other company said - nah other companies quit too easily. Send it to us, if we can't repair it or you don't want to pay we will send it back to you for free. An offer too good to be true it seemed. Yet within a couple of days they told me they were now almost able to boot it but it failed just before the OS loaded. It showed to be a heating problem. This they solved by cooling it to -40 degree Celcius and now they were able to boot it up and recover the data. Phone was dead after that but I got what I needed - all the beautiful pictures of my baby daugther and the rest of the family. Most excellent service. A danish company though if anyone is looking for one let me know.

Jacob,

I am facing same problem.could you please help me.

Ranjith,

Hi jacob, Please give me details....

Ranjith,

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bbhank
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CMon. How about an actual answer to the question - AS ASKED. I too have a bricked phone with information on the phone and not on the SD Card or SIM. I need to access the PHONE. IT WILL NOT TURN ON!!!

The question has been here is how to access the data on the phone once this happens. A succinct and no BS answer is needed.

"It can't be done" is not an answer, just a cop out. What is needed and requested is exact methodology and/or software.

If thats the issue open the phone and make sure that the entire chip is dried out since it seems that the water that short circuited the phone is still in there then check also if it affected the battery ie try the battery on another phone. If the chip it is not the battery then it means the phones resistors still has water on them Use a blow dryer if possible. If it doesnt work take the phone to someone who can change your phones tiny resistors as its memory is still intact.

Tim,

The phone was never wet! The battery is not dead. What "chip"?! A phone has dozens, even hundreds of, micro "chips". The phone is dead. There is no one you can take a phone or any other electronic device to that can "charge" the resistors since Resistors do not "charge". This "answer" is incorrect and does not address the question AS ASKED!

bbhank,

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bbhank
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'''PLEASE - READ THE QUESTION AND ANSWER IT AS ASKED - THIS TOPIC IS ABOUT PHONES THAT DO NOT POWER UP, ARE NOT RECOGNIZED BY ANY COMPUTER, "BRICKED" - the question clearly states the issue.

If you can't or won't make a positive contribution relative to the question as asked, please don't post!'''

Edited by: bbhank ( )

i have a htc desire x , idropped it in water and now its dead, can anyone help me to recover the messages and contacts

Ghazanfer,

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bbhank
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FIRST: A method is needed to power up the phone, a way to bypass, substitute for the power supply. Once the phone is powered up, then and ONLY THEN might data be accessible.

SECOND: Phone chips as well as newer computer board chips cannot be easily taken off their boards and read without very specialized, dedicated, expensive, equipment and by people with the knowledge and ability to use it. It's no longer possible to just go in with your trusty soldering iron and magnifying glass, tinker away, and achieve success.

THIRD: All discussion about recovery software that does not first address powering up the board is useless and no more than SPAM. Any notion of easily removing chips from boards is just as baseless, as well as trying to read data from them once they are.

FYI: Several data recovery companies were contacted who unanimously stated that if it didn't power up there was no recovery possible by them or most other companies. The phone was eventually sent to one of the most promising. It was returned at no cost after examination due to not being able to be powered up.

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hatem
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really i feel sorry about your phone because i have the same problem , and i feel sorry for you because all of those silly stupid answers . no one read that your phone is COMPLETELY DEAD WITH NO POWER TO MAKE IT ON.

really you are Brave one that you didn't get heart attack from those stupid answers

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Linda Heller
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I am having the same problem. My Dad made his own ring tone for me with his voice talking to me. We even played it at his funeral. Phone is not an android or a smart phone of any kind. It has an internal memory and no sim card. It is dead will not turn on. What company can I send it to to get my Dad's voice from the audio files? Help Please~ beyondyonder@yahoo.com

First - The phone Does have internal "memory". If it also does not have an SD card, which many of the non smart phones don't, then the ring tone is on the phone itself. As has been established here, if the phone won't power up, it will not be possible to recover any information from it by NORMAL means. I just got a smart phone back from DataRecovery in Arizona who were not able to recover any data whatsoever. They are one of the better at this and do jobs for the court systems. They say that bricked smart phones are not recoverable except by very expensive super high tech means available only to outfits like the CIA and FBI and at costs only they can afford. They are very nice and will look at your phone for free. It costs nothing but time to send it to them as they pay postage. If he made the ring tone using the phone itself then the only copy will be on that phone. If it were made using a computer or another phone, a copy might be there.

bbhank,

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Brenainn Woodsend
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This answer doesn't apply to a water damaged phone.

Normally being unable to charge is to do with the micro usb port and thus also results in extraction of data via usb and computer becoming impossible as they will never connect.

This means that the only way into your phone is to either artificially power the phone or to artificially recharge the battery.

I would recommend you recharge the battery as it is safer and a lot less fiddly. To do this you need a low voltage power source and your battery. You want a power supply of around 4-5v. This can be your original (and now somewhat useless) phone charger or any kind of usb cable or alternatively a 4.5v mains transformer/power adapter.

Next you need to expose the wiring. If you're using a charger of usb cable then the easiest way is just the wire cutters. If you're using a power adaptor then you don't need to cut it.

You need to identify the positive and negative leads. Your charger/usb cable should contain a live/hot negative lead (red/brown) and a neutral lead (blue/black). It's best to check this with a voltmeter as I'm not sure this is always the case. If you don't have a voltmeter try plugging your leads into an LED and see which way round it illuminates. If it lights up, the lead connected to the terminal next to a + sign is the positive. On a power adaptor the inside is the negative. If you have spare electrical wire kicking around you can simply stick it down the middle.

Now identify the positive and negative of the battery. They should be labeled however these labels are often hard to spot at first. Once you have identified them tape over any of the other terminals to just leave positive and negative.

Now its time to charge the battery. Connect the negative to the - and the positive to the + and turn it on / plug the usb into a computer. It helps to add a small light bulb (do not use LEDs) in between one of the leads and its corresponding battery terminal. This serves as an indicator as to whether its charging or not.

If you can then secure everything in place and leave for 20 mins. If the battery shows signs of overheating then alternate power on and off to keep temperature safe.

If all works then you should be able to remove the tape and put the battery back in your phone and bluetooth everything you want onto a different device or an SD card.

Warning: it is very easy to think everything is wired up but isn't actually connected. I thoroughly recommend the indicator bulb.

5v is harmless so no worries about electric shocks - you won't even feel them. Providing you don't touch positive and negative terminals for more than a second or 2, there is no chance of tripping fuses.

Please read the question. Charging the battery will not make the phone come on. It will not power up - PERIOD, with power supply or battery! Many major companies make external chargers that will charge many common batteries. No need to rewire anything.

bbhank,

As far as retrieving data off a dead phone, all I can say is research JTAG (used by law enforcement, and who ever can afford it, to recover data from cell phones), which seems quit complicated for the end user but you may find someone with the knowledge and equipment to retrieve your data. I find this wiring information quit useful because I thought the logic board in the phone I'm working on (HTC One M8) was fried after slight water damage (liquid indicator in the phone wasn't even activated), but it turns out the battery is faulty which I'm guessing shorted the batteries protective circuitry which protects it from over voltage, under voltage, heat sensing, shorting, etc.) It stays at 2.7v even after trying to charge it for hours even days. I know this battery wont even turn the phone on until its at least 3.4v or more, and at 3.0v ya might as well consider it dead. I've checked the usb charging port and had continuity so that working with no issue. Faulty battery for sure. Thanks again multimeter.

BurnieG,

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Tony
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Jacob what is the name of the company you sent your phone to or info need to do the same

Hi Tony, they are called http://iekspert.dk/ or iexpert.dk - try and write to them. Good luck! Best regards Jacob

Jacob,

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Valerie Amos
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Hello, I have a Motorola Photon 4G that is stuck in the reboot cycle. I foolishly thought there was an SD card in thee phone, that was saving all my precious pictures. Now I find out those thousands of pictures are in the internal memory. Im at a loss...is there any help for me?.

If you are in continuous reboot thre is hope. There are several methods listed on the web. Here is one of the more common methods: "<i>remove the battery put back in then press vol down and power till you see fastboot at the top of the screen..scroll down till you see android recovery. once that is visible press the up key it will start recovery and you will see tux with a triangle...from there press both vol keys to get into the recovery. from there you will be given similar options to that of cwm. do a full wipe</i>"

bbhank,

You don't want to do a full wipe. Just a clean start. Many times just taking out the battery and letting the phone set for a few minutes is all that's needed. If this doesn't work, the problem gets more complex. There is a lot of information on the web about this phone with this particular issue. Google it and take a look. There are data recovery services, none of which are cheap, that can recover data from phones that will power.

bbhank,

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Piter
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You can try a call MobiKin Doctor for Android to recover internal data from your HTC phone. Here you can restore internal data from HTC easily. Besides, you can recover contacts, text messages, photos, music, video, books, app, files, etc from android phone to computer or mac. It have high compatibility and can support more than 2000 android phones. You can have a detailed view. Hope this helps!

This is a detail guide: http://goo.gl/UCHXAG

Again, this is useless if the phone won't power up.

bbhank,

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Nick
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Wow non of those answers were helpful...

When someone says DEAD phone... It's 100% a brick... Can't turn on, no lights, computer doesn't detect!!

I'm having this problem and was hoping for some sort of internal phone hard drive to USB adapter. I can turn ANY other type of hard drive into an external USB. So is there such a device to use with a small phone internal hard drive. (Not an SD card...)

I wouldn't minding soldering the thing in / out or a 1 time use thing but I too have the first 2 months of my daughters life on that phone, along with some other videos of my 1 1/2 year old playing...

So with a DEAD phone there is no way to download / upload a program to run data recovery software. Only way is to remove HD and put into something that will work... So I think the question is who makes one and where can I buy it? Or do I need to get another same model phone and try to swap the drives out?

Any luck so far with regards to this getting data directly from the internal storage? I ask since I'm roughly in the same situation. One morning I snoozed the phone - next thing the phone was permanently dead and I too have precious pictucres of my baby daugther. Alternately I'm looking for the service online but I don't seem to have much luck finding any offering this service.

Jacob,

@Nick, sorry but there are no hard drives in smart phones. All the information is stored on memory IC's (chips) which are in turn soldered to the logic board. There are no adapters, no shortcuts. It's a situation where you either fix the logic board, use a professional data recovery service and consider your information a lost cause.

oldturkey03,

No luck yet no. Those chips can be removed very easily from computer motherboards and replaced with working chips. So it's with reasonable logic they can do that for phones. I realize this involves soldering, as I mentioned in first comment. Do you think a phone that can't turn on would stop the FBI or NSA from taking a look at it's contents? It seems like a very easy task for someone with some nice soldering equipment... Potential $$$ in this apparently

Nick,

Nand card reader is what we need by the sounds of it... I found a local guy in Minnesota that claims he can do it for $150. Or check out the Nand readers, seems a bit technical but I think I'm on the right path now

Nick,

anything but easy to resolder those unless you know how to reball. There is a bit more to it than just throwing it in a NAND reader. You will need a complete setup in order to read the information within the chip, which is also encrypted. "Do you think a phone that can't turn on would stop the FBI or NSA from taking a look at it's contents?" I am actually quite familiar with the process that is being used by any decent forensic lab.....Let us know how it works out for you.

oldturkey03,

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