Lost data help

Hi everyone,

My research team are conducting interviews using tablets to collect data for my PhD research. They sent over 100 interviews to ODK Aggregate via Wi-fi, but only the first few columns of basic data (time of interview/name of respondent) has come through for each interview, whereas the rest of the form with the actual important information is blank. This is really odd as they usually send it over without any problems at all, so I'm wondering if there was a problem with the connection or something.

When I saw the data was missing, I asked the team if they had remembered to untick 'delete after save', but they had not, so the data is no longer on the tablets.

I did also receive the MetainstanceID code for each interview. Does anyone know if there is a way of retrieving the interview data using this ID? Or, is my data lost forever? Has anyone encountered anything like this before?

Any help or ideas would be really appreciated.

Best wishes,


There is a folder inside the internal memory of tab named with ODK you can take all your forms from there and I will help you to push them on the server.


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Hi Narendra, thanks for your reply and your help with this! I'm not sure I understand where you mean, where do I find the internal memory of tab?


Tell me which tab do you have and also which computer do you have?

Hello, in your appliance (tab) browse your file manager until you found file named odk, it's in the root of your sd card or in the root of your memory tab. May be you'll found your data there

Hi Narendra,

Ahh sorry I misunderstood I was looking in ODK aggregate. The tablets are Nexus 7, Android v 6.0.1. I do not have the tablets with me, so if you send me instructions, I will pass them onto my field team.

My computer is a MacBook Pro.


If forms have been sent and the "Delete after send" button was checked (during synchronization), everything has been deleted and you are not able to recover lost data from those devices.


Hi Narendra,

I just got an email saying the data was found on the tablet under 'instances'. All the files are there!!!

How do the team resend me the datafiles from the instances folder? Is there a way to also back up the data to harddrive from the Instances file before I ask the team to resend (just in case this happens again)?

Bets wishes and thank all so much for your help and suggestions!


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Now there is a easy way to send data in upper directory there is a folder named ODK, ask them to Zip that ODK folder and then you can push data or you can extract your data in csv file with help of ODK Briefcase.

If the forms are in the /odk folder, you can also try resending from the device. From the Main Menu, go to Send Finalized Form, tap the Menu option (usually 3 vertical dots), then Change View, then Show Sent and Unsent Forms. Now you should be Select the forms you’d like and resend.

As far as backups, you can use whatever method you'd like to back up that /odk folder. The easiest is probably to use an on device file manager, like @abdoul suggests, to zip it up and email it somewhere.

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