Geektech: Restore Nandroid backups in Ubuntu

John Walton
Cell Phone Editor
| May 23, 2009

EDIT: Cyanogen has provided a recovery image with Nandroid RESTORE (no computer needed)!

Are you an Ubuntu user? Do you own a G1? Let me introduce you to Nandroid. Nandroid is my new best friend. Windows users can follow Nandroid instructions here. Mac users... are out of luck, I think. But if you use Ubuntu and want to make and restore *complete* back-ups of your G1, this post is for you.

I knew Haykuro had something cooking on the 21st, so I decided to make a Nandroid backup on the night of the 20th. Nandroid backs up your entire phone - the messages, the call history, your icon placement, settings, app data - everything besides your recovery image, radio, and SPL. There is nothing on the Market that matches it. It comes with JF's most recent recovery image (and started with 1.31).

If you boot into recovery mode (Home + Power) you'll see a dark screen with yellow text. Press Alt-L if you can't see the options. Then, Alt-B to start a back-up. This will create a Nandroid folder on your SD card, and subdirectories for each back-up you make - titled as the date of the back-up.

Turns out I had three or four of these back-ups sitting around, but I didn't know what to do with them because the tutorials are all written for Windows users. I don't have a windows computer. And despite having the Android sdk (for adb), I've never compiled an Android of my own - which is where you get the tool needed to restore Nandroid back-ups - fastboot.

Today (5/21) I installed Haykuro's Sapphire ROM. It worked well, and I had fun with it, but JF's Cupcake is just a bit snappier. I wanted to go back, and I've been looking for an excuse to finally complete a Nandroid restore. All I needed was the fastboot binary, which Darkrift of xda-devs has provided. (If you get a 'command not found' error, use the fastboot binary found 1/3 down this page.)

The file must be made executable. Experts can do this on the command line. The rest of us bring up the terminal and type "gksudo nautiuls" then enter a password. This will give you a file manager with root access. Go to your fastboot file, right-click it, go to the permissions tab, and check the box for "make executable."

Copy the folder containing the back-up you want to restore to your computer. Unplug the phone and turn it off. Boot into your bootloader by holding the camera button and pressing the power button. You will see three androids on skateboards. Plug the phone in via USB. If you see the word FASTBOOT, cool. If not, hit the back button until you do.

Back to the computer. Put the fastboot file in the folder with your backed up data. open a terminal, and cd to the directory. Then follow these steps (copied from xda developers):


fastboot flash system system.img
It will say Sending, then writing and say OKAY twice if it was successful.
then type:
fastboot flash userdata data.img
Wait for the *second* OKAY and type:
fastboot flash boot boot.img
Wait for the *second* OKAY and type:
fastboot reboot


Once your safety is confirmed, twiddle to your heart's content. As long as you can get to the bootloader, you can get your phone back. I made 2 really bad videos demonstrating me doing all of this, but I need to get something more polished together. I will ASAP.

So there you go - something to link to the next time an Ubuntu user asks how to restore a Nandroid back-up. (Talk about a niche audience, eh?)