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My Ice Cream Sandwich just melted

July 1, 2012

Last night I managed to delete all of the pictures and videos, by accident, on my Samsung Galaxy S2.

I understand these things happen to normal people, however I do I.T. for a living and these things should not happen to me.  Fortunately I had a backup, which I will talk about at the end of this post.

If you are unfortunate enough to be reading this post because you have done the same thing I am going to tell you right now how it is…

– You might get some of it back, you probably won’t get all of it back.

Here is what you need to do…

– DO NOTHING WITH YOUR PHONE.  Don’t install any software, don’t run any software, don’t mess with anything.  By default, pictures are stored on the internal memory and when data is deleted it becomes free space for the phone to use; any use of this space will mean you can recover less of the stuff you have deleted.

– Download and install a copy of Recuva from (the free version will do fine).

– Find your data cable for the phone..DO NOT PLUG THE PHONE IN YET.

– You now need to put your phone into “USB mass storage” mode. On a Galaxy S2 running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.3).  Go to “Settings” then under “Wireless and Network” select “More” then “USB Utilities” then click the button “Connect Storage to PC”.

– Plug the phone into your PC.

– You should see a button on the screen that says “Turn on USB Storage”, press it.  Press “OK” to the warning message.

– Your phone’s internal storage (and the SD card if you use it) should be mounted as drive letters under “My Computer” on your PC.  If you get a Windows “Auto play” dialogue box just close it or ignore it.

Now launch the Recuva application on your PC.  You should see the following:

– On the wizard screen select “Next”

You should now see the following screen:

– Select to recover pictures or videos (whichever you wish to do first). Then “Next”.

You will now see the following:

– Select “In a specific location” and browse to the letter given to the internal storage of your phone.  For me this is the “F” drive (your’s may be different).  Once in the drive select the folder names “DCIM”.  Press “OK”.  Press “Next”.

Now you should see this:

– On the next screen, press “Start” to begin the scan.

When the scan is complete you should see a screen similar to the one below:

– Select all of the pictures/videos and then press “Recover”.  WHEN PROMPTED WHERE TO RECOVER THE FILES TO SELECT A LOCATION ON YOUR PC…select the C drive, or your “Desktop” folder…DO NOT SELECT THE PHONE!

When the process has completed repeat (if required) for pictures or videos.

Now don’t get too excited when everything seems to come back.  Some of the pictures and videos will not open and will be gone forever.  Hopefully you will be able to salvage quite a bit though, good luck.

Whether you have gone through this recovery or not I highly recommend some sort of backup solution for your phone.  I use “Sweet Home” on my S2 which is currently free but is still in development, I use it to backup to a file share on my NAS which it attempts to do every time the phone connects to my home wi-fi.

This software has now saved my butt twice (once when my wife’s phone was stolen at work and once for me when I managed to delete my entire gallery); when the author starts to charge for this software I will happily be paying it.

Unfortunately my wife replaced her Galaxy with a second-hand iPhone 3.  I have no idea how to back this up.  It is on my list of things to do.  If anyone has any recommendations please let me know.


From → Gadgets

  1. I am a Developer and I deleted the entire, primary folder for pictures. It’s not just you and I, the ICS interface is at least part of the problem. When I was trying to organize the pictures it was seleted, ‘Delete’ popped up when I was looking at the options, I brushed the FAR bottom left area – well away from the menu choice, BOOM, deleted, no confirmation. That’s not a user problem, that’s bad UI. I love ICS overall, but this was a piss-off for sure.

  2. Hi Dylan, thanks for the comment! Google really need to address this issue…especially with smart phones now becoming the primary way for people to take pictures!

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