How To: Nandroid Backup

First of all, let’s start answer the question what is a Nandroid backup?

Nandroid is a set of tools that will enable anyone who has root on their Android device to make FULL system backups, in case something goes wrong or you want to try out that new experimental ROM/theme.

Let’s get started:

  1. Turn your phone off, and then boot into Recovery Mode by turning your device on while holding Power+Home, Power+X, etc. (***Find exactly how your phone boots into recovery)
  2. If for some reason you are not booted directly into the recovery menu, hit ALT +L to get to the main screen.
  3. Once in Recovery Mode, select “Create Nandroid backup” (the visual aspect of this can be seen above). By creating a backup, your giving access to create a folder on your SDcard entitled “nandroid.” In case for some reason you think it didn’t work, you can always check your SDcard and see if the folder is there.

You have now created a Nandroid backup!

OH NO! That pesky nightly, or Bugless beast:

If you ran into some huge problem with your phone, or you just wanted to revert back to your old setup, you can always restore to an earlier backup.

  1. Turn your phone off, and then boot into Recovery Mode by turning your device on while holding Power+Home, Power+X, etc. (***Find exactly how your phone boots into recovery)
  2. If for some reason you are not booted directly into the recovery menu, hit ALT +L to get to the main screen.
  3. nandroid restoreOnce in Recovery Mode, select “restore from latest backup.” This will take a decent amount of time, but it will happen eventually (just like Big Red announcing the Droid2, BAAZING).

You have now restored your system via Nandroid backup.

A little trickier, restoring specific backups:

If you have done multiple Nandroid backups, and you simply want the most recent backup then the above method is for you. If you want a specific version, then you’re going to have to follow the latter method (which isn’t as much fun).

  1. Connect your device to the computer and select “Transfer files to/from computer” on your device, and then select mount on the dialog that follows.
  2. Open the central folder of your device (with vista or windows 7 I know that Autoplay makes that easier).
  3. Navigate to the folder “Nandroid” and follow below

The Nandroid folder on the MicroSD card is ordered by software you are using, most of this is very cryptic as it relates to the SPL and Kernel version; however, if you made a backup prior to flashing cyanogenmod from an unrooted device, then there should be two folders in the nandroid folder. If you have made multiple backups on cyanogenmod, then the folder that contains more additional folders (titled by the date of the backup performed) and this will be the folder you are looking for. Nandroid backups take up a lot of space on the memory card over time, so I recommend keeping the backup of the original firmware safe on your computer at home (make sure to keep folder names as they are or restoring in the future will become very difficult), and then deleting any backups that are old and you do not need any more. The backups stored within each folder are in folders themselves, and these folders are labeled by the date and time that you made the backup, thus it is easy to see which backup is which. Simply by removing either by deleting, or moving a backup temporarily to another location, the backups that are newer than the one you want nandroid to restore will allow you to restore the “latest” backup, which would be the one that is newest found on your MicroSD card.

Example: I have /sdcard/nandroid/SH96SP306000/ <<<– This is my Cyanogen backup folder

Inside of this folder I have other folders that within the text say “20091017″ and another one I made that has “20091019″ in the name, this means these backups were made on 10/17/2009 or 10/19/2009 respectively.& Also included in the name is the time the backup was made; however, in most cases this won’t be used unless you have had many backups in one day.

I want to restore the backup made on 10/17/2009; however, because I have a newer backup, I know for a fact that nandroid will restore the backup from 10/19/2009, but that software was bad, so I need the backup from 10/17/2009. All I do in order to do this, is move or delete the folder that has “20091019″ in the name, and then unmount my phone, restart it using the Home + Power key, and then select restore latest backup. This will restore the newest backup on the MicroSD card, which is the 10/17/2009 backup, which will get my phone up and running again, just how it was the night I performed that backup.

With respect to restoring specific backups. If you are running CM recovery 1.4 or higher the new options built into the allow for a lot of flexibility to manage backups. You can restore a specific backup by specifying it on the command line without having to manually delete or move the unwanted backup and then rebooting. Run –help to see all options.

***NOTE: and it’s authors are not responsible for possible and likely damage that you may cause to your phone via our postings or instructions. Bricking your phone is always a risk when doing anything involving system backups, and rooting. Please understand that by rooting your phone, your warranty is void.

Sources: XDA-DEVS, Cyanogen,


  1. Richard says

    My Droid 1 is rooted (at least as far as I can tell). I have some rooted apps (e.g., Titanium Backup) that obtain Superuser permissions. However, when I book into Recovery, I do not get any options to run a backup. All I get are the standard ones to wipe data cache, etc. How do I get backup options when I boot into recovery mode? Thx.

  2. weapondrift says

    Richard, when you are in the clockwork recovery (green and black screen) there is an option that says nandroid use your volume keys to scroll then click on nandroid and you will see 3 options: Backup, Restore, Advanced Restore. Choose backup and the process will automatically start. :)

  3. Sebastian says


    I have a rooted galaxy s, but I don’t get that option that says nandroid backup when I’m on recovery, am I missing somthing?


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