How to backup the system of Android Tablet/Smartphone with CWM (ClockWorkMod)?

Written by B Johnson May 10, 2016
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Yesterday, I’ve already given you my step-by-step guide of installing the custom recovery mode on your Android tablet/smartphone with one very powerful recovery mode called ClockWorkMod, which you're probably more familiar with around the Android tech world as CWM.

So basically, this CUSTOM recovery mode (CWM) replaces the STANDARD recovery mode that already comes out of the box on any Android tablet/smartphone available on the market today.

However, what makes CWM so awesome than the STANDARD recovery mode is its capability to create a backup system of not only your data on internal storage, but also the ENTIRE Android system of your device (like apps, games, logged in accounts, web bookmarks, homescreen layout, etc).

And this is a very powerful feature that STANDARD recovery mode CANNOT DO.

So if something goes wrong with your Android tablet/smartphone in the future, like for example:
  • your tablet won’t boot up to the normal homescreen
  • or it keeps rebooting over and over again in the intro/logo (known as bootloop)
then you don’t need to worry anything because you can just restore back your device to normal again with the backup system you’ve already created before using CWM custom recovery mode.

And once you’re done restoring/flashing that backup system, your Android tablet/smartphone will work normally again as it used to be.

So it’s gonna be in the same exact conditions when your tablet was still working fine.

But of course, in order to be able to restore your device, you must firstly create the backup by using CWM custom recovery mode.

So this is why today, after having explained to you the importance of having custom recovery mode and also the step-by-step guide to install CWM on your Android device, right now I’m about to show you how exactly to create the backup of your Android tablet/smartphone (the ENTIRE system) with ClockWorkMod.

Okay then, without further ado, here is my step-by-step guide to create the backup system using custom recovery mode (CWM).

WARNING!! Do this at your own risk!! I will not be responsible for anything wrong that might happen on your device!

1. Free up some space on the storage

In order to create the backup system of your tablet/smartphone with CWM, you must firstly have the sufficient amount of space either on your internal storage or microSD card.

And this is really crucial because the ‘backup system’ file which later will be generated by CWM custom recovery mode is gonna be pretty huge, depending on the amount of data you’re currently having right now on your internal storage.

So before even going to the process of creating the backup with CWM recovery mode, firstly I need you to move all of photos, videos, mp3 and other media files from internal storage to microSD card.

By doing this, not only will it give a huge space for the ‘backup file’ from CWM recovery mode, but it will also keep the ‘backup file’ SMALL in size.

And this is really important because we just want to backup the important things on the device, like bookmarks, contacts, some important apps, homescreen layout and logged in accounts (usernames and passwords).

2. Uninstall some heavy games and apps

Okay, if you have already installed so many games and apps on internal storage of your tablet/smartphone, and your games happen to be so heavy in size, then the backup file generated by CWM is gonna be extremely huge.

And this is because all of the installed games and apps on your device will be automatically included inside the backup file.

This is why I strongly recommend you to keep the size of 'the backup file' SMALL in size so later the process of backing up can go smoothly without a problem because your tablet already has sufficient amount of space on the storage/microSD.

But you probably wonder why would you want to remove most of your heavy games that you’re currently still playing, right?

And besides, it can be really overwhelming to download them all over again on Google Play Store and then play these games from the beginning.

Well, you don’t need to worry anything about that because there are 2 apps that can help you solve this problem. And they are Titanium Backup (requires root access) and X-plore.

So Titanium Backup, as its name implies, is indeed an app that can create the backup for each of your apps and games that you currently have on your device right now.

Meanwhile, X-plore is actually just a normal file manager or file explorer that does exactly what other file managers do, like copying/cutting/pasting files or documents, etc.

3. Go to the CWM Recovery Mode

So after freeing up some space on your internal storage/microSD card and also removing/uninstalling some of heavy apps and games from your device, the next thing you need to do is finally go to the new custom recovery mode of ClockWorkMod (which you’ve already installed before).

Entering to the custom recovery mode is actually pretty simple. You can either do it manually or automatically using an app “Rashr” (which you’ve already installed before in my previous article).

So within this app, there will be some options of actions presented to you right when you open the app.

How to Backup the System of Android Tablet/Smartphone Using CWM (ClockWorkMod)

Now press“Reboot to Recovery” button to reboot your device into the custom recovery mode (CWM).

Alternatively, you can also go to the recovery mode manually by turning OFF your tablet/smartphone, and then turning it ON again by pressing VOLUME UP BUTTON + POWER BUTTON at the same time.

Remember, at the same time!

But I think this is kind of tricky because sometimes you don’t press the buttons properly as it will boot up to the normal system, not to the recovery mode.

So this is why I recommend you to rebooting to the recovery mode by using Rashr as this app provides you the simple way to do that.

4. Select “backup and restore”

Okay, now you’re finally entering to the ClockWorkMod recovery mode. In this CWM, there will be some options presented to you here, like:
  • reboot system now,
  • install zip from sdcard,
  • wipe data/factory reset
  • wipe cache and partition
  • backup and restore
  • and other more.
You can easily control your choice by using the VOLUME UP and VOLUME DOWN BUTTONS. And if you want to select your choice, press the POWER BUTTON.

How to Backup the System of Android Tablet/Smartphone Using CWM (ClockWorkMod)

Now select “backup and restore” in the options to enter to the backup and restore mode.

5. Select“restore and backup”

Now in the ‘backup and restore’ mode, some new options of actions will be prompted to you again in the screen, like:
  • backup to sdcard0
  • backup to sdcard1
  • and other more
Okay, the code/number ‘0’ in ‘backup to sdcard0’ indicates that the CWM backup later will be saved in internal storage (0).

On the other hand, the number ‘1’ in ‘backup to sdcard1’ indicates that the backup will be kept in external storage (1), or in this case, microSD card on your device.

I STRONGLY recommend you to create the CWM backup in the internal storage because the process of creating backup will run much smoother this way than in EXTERNAL STORAGE/microSD card.

And this is because the device can just focus on creating the backup in internal storage without being overwhelmed with other tasks like reading and writing to the microSD card.

I actually have tried it myself many times to create the backup in external storage (microSD card) and most of the times, it’s usually stuck in the middle of the process because the device was kind of ‘chocked’ when trying to read and write to the microSD card.

It's probably because my microSD card has already come to its retirement. So I need to replace it with a new better microSD card that has much faster reading and writing speed.

This is why I already asked you earlier to free up some space on internal storage, including removing some heavy games and apps from your device, in order to give a huge sufficient space for the ‘backup file’ that later will be generated by CWM custom recovery mode.

6. Choose “backup to sdcard0”

Okay, in the ‘backup and restore’ window, now select the option ‘backup to sdcard0’ to let ClockWorkMod create the backup file in internal storage.

In the next prompted window, select again the “Yes” option to ensure that CWM has your permission to create the backup system of your tablet/smartphone in internal storage.

Bear in mind that this process is gonna take a while, probably around 15 minutes. So while waiting for the process to finish, you can just leave your tablet/smartphone alone on the desk without any interruption.

So don’t interrupt this process! And this means, DON’T PRESS ANY BUTTON because your device is doing something pretty heavy right now, which is creating the backup of entire Android system of your tablet/smartphone.

You can actually know directly from the screen about what you're device is currently doing right now because during the process of creating the backup, there will be some messages prompted on the screen.

7. The backup system has been successfully created!

When you finally see the prompted text that indicates the process is complete, then it means, the backup system of your device has been successfully created by ClockWorkMod recovery mode.

Congratulations, now you have finally made the ‘backup system’ of your Android device.

Isn’t that simple, huh? Yet very powerful and even could save your device from disaster that might happen in the future.

8. Reboot to the system now!

Okay, the next thing you need to do is now reboot to the Android system so you can go back again to the homescreen where you can use your tablet/smartphone normally just like before.

How to Backup the System of Android Tablet/Smartphone Using CWM (ClockWorkMod)

Now go back to the previous window by using the VOLUME UP/VOLUME DOWN BUTTON to control/move the option and finally select the option ‘back’ with POWER BUTTON. In the previous window, select the option 'reboot to system now'.

9. Move the backup file to PC or USB flashdisk

So after having successfully created the ‘backup system’ of your Android device using CWM, now you may want to move the ‘backup file’ either to PC or USB flashdisk.

This is really important to do because after the process of creating the backup is finished, the ‘backup file’ generated by CWM usually takes a lot of space in internal storage, probably around 3GB to 4GB (depending on the installed apps/games plus data inside the backup).

I’ve actually already done this before on my phablet in order to free up some space again in internal storage (after the backup is created).

So it’s not very hard to do. You just need to open file manager/file explorer that you currently have on your device.

And then find the folder right in the root directory called “CWM”. Okay, after finding that folder in internal storage, now cut that folder (remember, the entire ‘CWM’ folder) and paste it either to your PC or USB flashdisk.

It’s gonna take a few minutes because the size of the backup folder is pretty huge though, probably around 2GB to 4GB.

So you might want to leave your device there on the desk for a few minutes until the process of moving is done.


Isn’t that simple, huh?

Yes, creating the backup system of your Android device with CWM is actually quite simple. In fact, ClockWorkMod will do all the jobs for you. You just need to relax, take a coffee and wait until the process is finished.

In my opinion, I think CWM is a really powerful tool especially for many Android users out there that love to experiment with the looks/UIs of their devices.

For example, if they think that the UIs of their tablets/smartphones are really heavy and slow down the performance, or maybe the battery lives of their devices won’t last that long, they can just change the pre-installed ROMs of their devices with much simpler and more efficient ROMs like stock Android UI or maybe CyanogenMod UI.

Well, that’s all for now.

Anyway, if what I’ve written in this article is really helpful or informative for you, please don’t hesitate to share this article to your friends on Twitter or Facebook.

I would totally appreciate it.
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