How to Backup/Restore ROM on Galaxy S4 with Root! [CWM Recovery]

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After rooting your Galaxy S4 with CWM method, I highly suggest you to make a backup ROM before you start installing a custom ROM or anything else.

What is a backup ROM?

Backing up your ROM will back up your whole system including your apps, app settings, and everything except your personal media such as photos and videos.  Having a backup ROM makes it easy to recover your phone when something goes wrong such as bootloops.

So, if you did root your Galaxy S4 using CWM method, here’s how to backup and restore ROM on your Galaxy S4.

Step 1. Power off your phone and hold down Volume Up, Center Home, and Power button together for about 5 seconds.


Step 2. When you see Samsung logo, keep holding down Volume Up and Center Home buttons but let go of the Power button.


Step 3. You should be now in CWM (ClockworkMod) recovery.  Choose “backup and restore” and hit the Power button.


Step 4. Choose “backup” to backup ROM on your internal storage or choose “backup to external sdcard” to backup ROM on your microSD card.


Step 5. Backing up will take around 5-10 minutes.  And if you don’t get any error messages, you are good to go.


Step 6. Anytime you need to restore ROM, it’s just as simple.  Choose “restore” or “restore from external sdcard” depending on where your backups are.


Step 7. You should be able to find your backups timestamped the day you backed them up.  Notice the directory that it gets stored in such as “/sdcard/clockworkmod/backup/”.  You can copy that whole folder to your computer if you don’t want your backups taking space and copy it back when you need to restore.

Simply choose the backup folder you want to restore and you will start restoring.


Step 8. Once everything restored, you should look for any errors.  If no errors, you are good to go, you can ignore the android_secure.img not found error.


Step 9. Once rebooted, you will find yourself with your ROM restored exactly the way it was when you backed it up.



Q: Can I backup custom ROMs also?
A: Yes, you can use this backup method any time, it will backup your whole system whether it’s running stock ROM or custom ROM including your kernel also.


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22 Responses

  1. new2android says:

    thanks alot for this tutorial!
    i have just bought a new s4 and currently im a noob in android and would be very thankfull if you can answer two questions regarding backup and restore: it possible to backup my stock rom wich i recieved with my s4 in cmw before rooting the device?
    2. does restoring a rom wich you backed up after rooting will gain you automaticly root access when in restoring it? (superuser and the premissions will be installed and activated automaticly?)

    thanks in advance !

    • Jonathan Woodward says:

      1. No. You cannot use CWM without root access.
      2. Not sure exactly what you mean. If you restore a stock rom after rooting, yes your device will still be rooted because you backed it up in the custom recovery after rooting. There’s no way around this that I know of.

  2. mike says:

    need TWRP backup/flashing tutorials

  3. bharat says:

    my phone screen stuck on model number after restoring stock version on galaxy ace kindly help me

  4. Paulo Serra says:

    hai Max, i dont have backup option to external sd card internal sd card backup gives a error,what to do? please HELP,thanks

  5. Nichelle says:

    It says the back up is complete but when I go back to CWM recovery and select the backup it wont restore the backup. Please help

  6. Nichelle says:

    “md5 does not match”

    • Max Lee says:

      Did you rename the folder? If you did, make sure there was no spaces, just rename it back and restore should work again.

  7. Jay says:

    Help! i cant restore rom.

    “error mounting external sd”

    it mounts in twrp but cant restore a cwm backup

    copyinhg to internal leaves 540 mb space! (16gb internal, but galaxy s4 only shows 7gb)

    how do i restore as trwp cant mount /cache or boot rom, and cwm cant mount s external sd”

  8. Shivank Sharma says:

    hey max,
    i have backed up my stock rom using cwm in the recovery mode when i go to restore it shows the backup and i am able to restore my phone but when i search my sdcard using a root browser it shows the backup folder as empty, also in pc there is nothing, but 3gb of my sdcard’s space has been used by the backup so where is it??please help

  9. Don Ray says:

    I backed up rom to internal storage and then moved it to ext sd card (running out of internal storage). Then, curious to see if I could backup the rom directly to the ext card, I entered recovery and worked my way to “backup to ext card”. When I selected that I got an error message “can’t mount backup path”. Something I am doing incorrectly? Also, I am wondering if I can restore the rom directly from the ext card or do I have to move it back to internal storage first? I am a little concerned because when the time comes that I have to restore a backed up rom, I don’t know what capabilities I will have to move the backup to internal storage (noob here).

  10. Wolfor says:

    Hello, i Backup all my SGS4 on my microsd. Later on when i wanted to restore, i clicked restore it finished everything except one thing…. android_secure.img not found. Skipping restore_secure.

    After that when i reboot it stuck on Sgs4 logo, for hours, i just left it there for at least 2 hours.

  11. Nativius says:

    Excelente información.
    Muchas gracias por el aporte!

  12. bob says:

    I can’t seem to get this…have att galaxy s4. I want custom 4.4.3 romantic that was put out the other day. I downloaded zip for that and gapps zip to external so card. Forgot to mention I am already rooted. Then I downloaded goo manager. I think I made a back up of original rom then tried to flash new rom all with goo manager. Well after rebooting unsuccessfully many times somehow got it to boot in safe mode then rebooted again an I am back to my starting point. Where am I going wrong? Any help would be great…thanks.

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  14. zishan says:

    why my phone does not show backup option ?

  15. stanstan says:

    I got the gapps stopped error after restoring
    I ddnt know how’d I fixed it..
    I just followed the instructions I saw which is
    Settings -> Manage Apps -> All -> Download Manager
    then disabled it then enabled it again but it ddnt stopped so
    Find Internet in Manage apps->All->Internet
    Clear cache and it stopped showing

  16. raghav dhawan says:

    i have no back up option on in my recovery mode
    its just showing options related to updating the device
    my model is s4-i9500 and i have rooted my device through kingo root app
    so basically i dont know which recovery mode i am using .. can u pls help me out

  17. Sushil Rana says:

    Is it possible? Install another language on Samsung galaxy s4 GT – I95oo without root.

    Thanks for your support.

    Sushil Rana

  1. November 4, 2013

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    […] install, reboot into recovery, make backup ROM, wipe data/factory reset, install ROM, install Gapps, and reboot. (If for some reason you end up in […]

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