This HOWTO is written primarily for my own future reference but hopefully it’ll help someone else too.
Let’s say you want to back up the entire contents of your Android device. How do you do that?
1) Download the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tool that comes with the Android SDK Platform Tools. The link of which is available here: https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools.html
2) You should end up with the ADB tool in the following location: c:\adb\adb.exe
3) On your mobile phone, go to Options / Developer Options / and enable USB Debugging
4) Connect your phone to your computer via a USB cable
5) Open a command prompt and type c:\adb\adb.exe backup -apk -shared -all -f c:/adb/backup.ab
6) On your phone, you’ll receive a prompt. Enter your password and choose “Backup my Data” You will be prompted to enter the decryption password. Remember this password as you’ll need it to view the contents of the backup
7) Wait for this process to finish. It will take a while depending on how much data you have on your device
That’s it. You should now have a complete backup of the contents of your mobile device including all APKs and any custom files in c:\adb\backup.ab.
To extract files from your backup do the following:
Note: You’ll require at least Java 7 JRE installed (http://download.oracle.com/otn-pub/java/jdk/10.0.2+13/19aef61b38124481863b1413dce1855f/jre-10.0.2_windows-x64_bin.exe)
1) Download the Java based “ADB Backup Extractor” tool available here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/adbextractor/files/latest/download
2) Extract the contents and identify the location of the backup extractor jar file. In my case it’s located here:
3) Run the Java command to decrypt and extract the backup
java -jar "C:\ADB\android-backup-tookit\android-backup-extractor\android-backup-extractor-20180203-bin\abe.jar" unpack c:\adb\backup2.ab backup-extracted.tar (You’ll be asked to enter the password)
4) Use 7-Zip to browse the contents of the c:\adb\backup-extacted.tar file