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Retrieving Deleted Text Messages & Conversations
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Old 11/23/2009, 12:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My baby brother got ahold of my Palm Pre last night and deleted several of my text message conversations, one of which I was planning to present as evidence in small claims court.

I've been reading a lot of posts on this forum about retreiving deleted text messages, but I can't seem to find any that actually work.

I've tried deleting the person from my contact list then re-adding him (which is what a lot of people on this forum have suggested), but the deleted conversation never reappears in my conversations list.

Another suggestion was to temporarily link the person's contact to another contact, then unlink him. But this didn't work out for me either.

My last option is to go through Sprint's Subpoena Clompliance Group to retreive the deleted conversations, but I'm told that that's a pain in the ****, pricey, and would only help me retreive messages from a few days ago.

I'd really like to avoid going through Sprint's SCG. Does anyone know if it's possible to retreive deleted text messages and conversations on the Palm Pre? Prehaps there's a trick with the backup app?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks folks!
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Old 11/23/2009, 12:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think the instances of recovering deleted text messages were usually in reference to a text messaging bug. As far as I know, in the normal course of things, deleted text messages are gone for good and removed from the database immediately.
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Old 11/23/2009, 12:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You can try pulling a copy of your PalmDatabase.db3 from the /var/luna/data/dbdata/ directory.

This can be accomplished through Internalz by sending a copy to the /media/internal directory then you can put the file on your PC via regular USB connection. Or you can use WebOSQuickInstall to pull a copy directly to your PC.

Once you have the file, open it with Notepad. You will see a lot of gibberish and codes, but you can do a search (CTRL + F) and search for the name of the person, or if you remember some specific text from one of the messages you can search for that.

The formatting will not be pretty, but the actual content of the messages may still be there, provided you haven't done a Partial/Full Erase or used the Doctor since you last had the messages.

It's not the most elegant solution, but it's something to try.
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Old 11/23/2009, 03:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjm223 View Post
I've tried deleting the person from my contact list then re-adding him (which is what a lot of people on this forum have suggested), but the deleted conversation never reappears in my conversations list.

Another suggestion was to temporarily link the person's contact to another contact, then unlink him. But this didn't work out for me either.
These methods were a bug fix when all future conversations with a contact remained invisible following the deletion of previous conversations/messages. If you (or in this case, your brother) have deliberately deleted them, then the only method which might work is the one Spader suggested.

The more texts your phone receives in the meantime though, the more likely that any old data remaining in the .db3 file will be overwritten by new data, so get thyself into Internalz fast! to get that copy of it over onto your /media/internal folder...
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Old 11/24/2009, 08:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, Spader. I haven't been able to try it yet, but it sounds like a potential winner. Fortunately, I don't get/send too many text messages (maybe 1 per day, 2 if I'm lucky) so hopefully that won't affect it too much. I should be able to try it later tonight. I'll let you know what happens.

Thanks again!
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Old 11/24/2009, 08:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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if you need the texts and have a subpoena contact sprint and they can recover the messages for you.
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Old 09/09/2010, 04:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Spader View Post
You can try pulling a copy of your PalmDatabase.db3 from the /var/luna/data/dbdata/ directory.

This can be accomplished through Internalz by sending a copy to the /media/internal directory then you can put the file on your PC via regular USB connection. Or you can use WebOSQuickInstall to pull a copy directly to your PC.

Once you have the file, open it with Notepad. You will see a lot of gibberish and codes, but you can do a search (CTRL + F) and search for the name of the person, or if you remember some specific text from one of the messages you can search for that.

The formatting will not be pretty, but the actual content of the messages may still be there, provided you haven't done a Partial/Full Erase or used the Doctor since you last had the messages.

It's not the most elegant solution, but it's something to try.
This actually worked thanks a bunch! One question... is there away to find the text date? Is it somewhere near or around the garble of information?
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Old 09/09/2010, 04:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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See post #11.
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Last edited by NachoB; 11/29/2010 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 09/09/2010, 04:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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FYI for anyone else who tries this I've recovered texts from as far back as May and I get a bunch
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Old 09/22/2010, 11:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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HOW DO I DO THIS????? NEED STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS- PLS I am so confused. Want to try the steps below but not sure where to start. PLease give advise someone


You can try pulling a copy of your PalmDatabase.db3 from the /var/luna/data/dbdata/ directory.

This can be accomplished through Internalz by sending a copy to the /media/internal directory then you can put the file on your PC via regular USB connection. Or you can use WebOSQuickInstall to pull a copy directly to your PC.

Once you have the file, open it with Notepad. You will see a lot of gibberish and codes, but you can do a search (CTRL + F) and search for the name of the person, or if you remember some specific text from one of the messages you can search for that.

The formatting will not be pretty, but the actual content of the messages may still be there, provided you haven't done a Partial/Full Erase or used the Doctor since you last had the messages.

It's not the most elegant solution, but it's something to try.[/QUOTE]

HOW DO I DO THIS????? NEED STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS- PLS
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Old 11/29/2010, 09:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Using WebOS Quick Install, go to Tools, then Receive File (you'll need to be in Developer mode to do this).
enter: /var/luna/data/dbdata/PalmDatabase.db3 and select your save location.

View the db3 file with: SQLite Database Browser

In SQLite Database Browser, select the "Browse Data" tab and look for com_palm_pim_FolderEntry in the drop down menu.

This will be pretty messy because Email and SMS's are stored in the same table within the database.

The best way to view the data, in my opinion, would be to do an export in SQLite, export com_palm_pim_FolderEntry in csv format (be sure to include .csv at the end of the filename, SQLite doesn't include this for some reason), then open it up with Excel or similar app. I deleted all columns except for deviceTimeStamp, fromAddress, timeStamp, summary, and messageText. I then sorted the data by the timeStamp column which allowed me to view my messages (received and sent) in the order they occurred. Sent messages have no fromAddress so if you attempt to sort by both timeStamp and fromAddress your messages won't appear in order with received messages.

Hope all that makes sense.

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Old 11/30/2010, 02:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NachoB View Post
Using WebOS Quick Install, go to Tools, then Receive File (you'll need to be in Developer mode to do this).
enter: /var/luna/data/dbdata/PalmDatabase.db3 and select your save location.

]
how do you get into developer mode?
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Old 11/30/2010, 02:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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scratch that. i figured out how to get into developer mode but now what? i have my phone connected to the computer via usb and tried going to receive file but i get nada
a
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Old 11/30/2010, 02:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Are you using Windows (which version) or a Mac? Do you know if Palm Novacom service installed okay? Do you get any error messages in WebOS Quick Install?
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Old 12/29/2010, 05:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NachoB View Post
Using WebOS Quick Install, go to Tools, then Receive File (you'll need to be in Developer mode to do this).
enter: /var/luna/data/dbdata/PalmDatabase.db3 and select your save location.

View the db3 file with: SQLite Database Browser

In SQLite Database Browser, select the "Browse Data" tab and look for com_palm_pim_FolderEntry in the drop down menu.

This will be pretty messy because Email and SMS's are stored in the same table within the database.

The best way to view the data, in my opinion, would be to do an export in SQLite, export com_palm_pim_FolderEntry in csv format (be sure to include .csv at the end of the filename, SQLite doesn't include this for some reason), then open it up with Excel or similar app. I deleted all columns except for deviceTimeStamp, fromAddress, timeStamp, summary, and messageText. I then sorted the data by the timeStamp column which allowed me to view my messages (received and sent) in the order they occurred. Sent messages have no fromAddress so if you attempt to sort by both timeStamp and fromAddress your messages won't appear in order with received messages.

Hope all that makes sense.


Just wondering if you know how to make sense of the deviceTimeStamp and timeStamp numbers. I'm getting numbers like "1291854401000" and don't know how to convert that to 8/11/10 or whatever. Is this hopeless?
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Old 01/03/2011, 09:45 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi, just wondering, does this method only work with webOS versions lower than 1.4.5 cos I tried the PalmDatabase.db3 with the SQLite and I can't seem to view my deleted message, I can view all the messages sent and received prior to and after the deleted message but not the deleted message itself.
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Old 01/03/2011, 10:11 AM   #17 (permalink)
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If you continued to send and receive messages, after the deletion, then there is a good chance the file was overwritten and is no longer recoverable.

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Old 01/03/2011, 11:05 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Vertaire View Post
Hi, just wondering, does this method only work with webOS versions lower than 1.4.5 cos I tried the PalmDatabase.db3 with the SQLite and I can't seem to view my deleted message, I can view all the messages sent and received prior to and after the deleted message but not the deleted message itself.
There's no guarantee deleted messages will be there, but it is a possibility as some have been able to find messages that don't actually appear in the messaging app.
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Old 04/12/2011, 12:20 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NachoB View Post
Using WebOS Quick Install, go to Tools, then Receive File (you'll need to be in Developer mode to do this).
enter: /var/luna/data/dbdata/PalmDatabase.db3 and select your save location.

View the db3 file with: SQLite Database Browser

In SQLite Database Browser, select the "Browse Data" tab and look for com_palm_pim_FolderEntry in the drop down menu.

This will be pretty messy because Email and SMS's are stored in the same table within the database.

The best way to view the data, in my opinion, would be to do an export in SQLite, export com_palm_pim_FolderEntry in csv format (be sure to include .csv at the end of the filename, SQLite doesn't include this for some reason), then open it up with Excel or similar app. I deleted all columns except for deviceTimeStamp, fromAddress, timeStamp, summary, and messageText. I then sorted the data by the timeStamp column which allowed me to view my messages (received and sent) in the order they occurred. Sent messages have no fromAddress so if you attempt to sort by both timeStamp and fromAddress your messages won't appear in order with received messages.

Hope all that makes sense.

That does make sense. I also tried this and got back results that are pretty good but I want to go further. I went to this folder that you recommended com_palm_pim_FolderEntry, but that didn't have the deleted texts in it. They are actually in the PalmDatabase.db3 file though, and I can view them in notepad, but they are surrounded by all types of encoding, and I'm not sure if I really got the full thing. I think there is more there in the com_palm_messaging_data_ChatThread folder. It seems to have the chat history with each person, but it will only display the last text from each person. Is there a way to dig into the chat thread for a certain person? I don't know if this makes sense or not, but I am just trying to view a conversation that was deleted, and it really seems like its there...but I just don't know how to get to it. If you have any tips that would be very helpful. Thanks

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Old 04/12/2011, 02:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I haven't messed with palmdatabase.db3 in quite some time and can't provide any further assistance. I pretty much recall finding the same as you in that com_palm_messaging_data_ChatThread only showed the last message in a chat thread. I've never actually gone looking for deleted messages, but did notice back when I was messing around in the db3 file that messages I had deleted I could still find in the db3 file.
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