I recently changed jobs and got a Galaxy SII (i9100) from my new employer, which was running some ancient Samsung’d version of Android 4.1. I now have it running a non-official but for me fully functional version of CyanogenMod 12 (Android 5.0.2), with the full version of Google Apps installed and working.

First of all I should say I’m new to the whole Android and alternative ROMs thing, my personal phone has been an iPhone for a long time. That said I’m very familiar with Linux and embedded systems, I’ve jailbroken iPhones and done data recovery from iPhones too. This isn’t really meant as a fully comprehensive “howto” more just a record of what I did and it all worked for me.

There a standard set of tools for working with Android devices, so lets get them installed before anything else. On modern versions of Debian / Ubuntu the command to install the packages is as simple as:

sudo apt-get install heimdall-flash android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

First of all I took a backup of the phone, to do this I installed a CWM enabled kernel zImage using heimdall. The kernel zImage I used was from LysergicAcid the developer on XDA who created the CM12 build for the Galaxy S2. The kernels with CWM or TWRP can be found on Android File Host, I used the file lp-kernel-02-01-CWM.zip.

Get the phone into download mode with power+volume down+home button and then OK (with volume up) the warning that appears. Plug the phone in via USB and run:

sudo heimdall flash --KERNEL zImage --no-reboot

Now reboot the phone and enter recover mode using power+volume up+home together, and you should be in clockwork recovery. Because I know more about Linux than Android I just cloned the entire nand image using good old dd and netcat. To do this open up two terminal windows and run in the first one:

adb forward tcp:5555 tcp:5555
adb shell mount /system
adb shell /system/xbin/busybox nc -l -p 5555 -e /system/xbin/busybox dd if=/dev/block/mmcblk0

In In the second terminal window run:

size=$(adb shell cat /proc/partitions | grep -w mmcblk0| awk '{print $3}')
nc 5555 |  pv -s ${size}k -erp | pigz -c > /path/to/backup/mmcblk0.raw.gz

This will pull a full raw backup out of the onboard flash, transfer it with netcat, compress it and write it to the file /path/to/backup/mmcblk0.raw.gz