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How to View, Read, Extract and Open NBU Nokia Backup files? at Killer Tech Tips

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Read and extract data from .NBU Nokia Backup Files

with 52 comments

If you have a Nokia mobile phone and have ever tried backing up data from your phone on to your PC, you’d have noticed the Nokia PC Suite creating a file called .NBU that contains a backup of your data. These .NBU files can be restored to your phone later using the PC Suite itself but the bottom-line is that you can’t extract pieces of data from that file.

Here’s what I mean: You can create an .NBU backup and restore it completely to your phone afterward. But you just can’t read an individual SMS message, contacts list data, graphic or theme from that backup. That means it’s pretty useless from one point of view. You could even face problems if you try to restore the backup to a phone of a different model.

Is there a way to make these files readable, you ask? Well, there is. Thanks to a third party software called Noki, it’s possible to view individual graphics, messages, drafts, contacts and other data from your backed up .NBU file. What’s more, you could even extract this data into a simple format. For instance, you could convert your contacts into a simple .csv/text/html file. Cool, isn’t it?

Extract SMS text messages, graphics, contacts from .nbu Nokia backup files

Noki, which tags itself as the Explorer for Nokia PC Suite files, can be downloaded from here. It does live up to its name by allowing you to extract all kinds of data from your Nokia mobile phone backup. Good luck!

Written by Killer Tech Tips

December 31st, 2008 at 11:29 am

  • Seb

    Unfortunately, such simple software is not free!

  • bryan Zee

    oh Gosh..
    is it realy not free.
    can we have a trail version. somehow.??

  • Yerik

    It could not open *.NBF file Which is in build backup fuction in nokia phone (Nokia 5310 Xpress|v 9.42) It open just nokia pc suit backup file( i think) & it take much time to load msg when massegs in phone memory of msgs more then then some MB (i have stored my msgs 10MB:more then 9535 MSGS +22 MMS included) & it took much time to create backup so it’s fact it’s take much time to load msgs.

  • bryan Zee

    Better solution is to get all your contents exported into a .csv file. wich can be later read easily by many softwares. or even simpl text file.
    take back up and export the data same day ..soo all the back would be in csv file as well to review..
    please let me know if u have further problems. Bryan.zee.zee@gmail.com

  • suicide

    thank you

  • http://www.killertechtips.com JONY

    Dear Sirs,
    Just lost my Nokia phone. To get back my phone numbers from PC file file NOKIA E65…nbu used the software NOKI.
    The problem is that it extracts the phonebook saying – phonebook (192) but then I only can see 50 persons/numbers. Where are the remaining as indeed I have 192? Anybody know anything to help me?
    Much apreciated & Thanks

  • KY1S

    I took a peek inside my nbu file with an hexa editor and extracted successfully whatever file I wanted, the format is actually very straightforward, the “user files” part at least, I didn’t look at the way contacts, messages, etc… were stored but it’s probably as simple as the rest, that’s my first time at file format reverse engineering, and it’s kind of fun. ^^
    I don’t know any programming language that are able to manipulate binary files yet but if I find time I’ll probably pick up perl or python and build a (free) parser. (not promising anything, time’s hard to find these days -_-), anyway for user files you better just copy/paste everything from your phone as it’s basically the way nokia pc suite does it (apart from embedding the whole thing in an useless proprietary format (they could at least compress it)).
    If you’re worried about privacy (which is partly why the nbu format exist I believe…) just zip or rar your stuff with a key.

    Hope I can find time to do this ^^

  • http://www.needpatch.com red

    thanks for this software..

  • idabengt

    Great recommendation & it works. Hard time trying to find my “lost” Notes imported to E75 from E61i backup file. Now that I can read all those important notes using Noki..thanks

  • Dev

    how 2 transfer or move my messages from nokia 3230 to nokia n73. Plz help me. Send ur reply on my mail id.

  • http://www.nokisoft.com marvin

    Text messages can only be restored via Nokia backup file (.nbu or backup.arc in sd card). Otherwise, you can convert them as readable format (.txt, .html etc) and read on the phone via proper readers.

  • http://sourceforge.net/projects/nbuexplorer/ petrusek

    If you are looking for free alternative to this softeare try to find project “nbuexplorer” at sourceforge.

  • Uttamraj

    I tried nbuexplorer but unable to get contacts. it’s showing photos, msgs but not contacts..any help will be appreciated..

  • http://sourceforge.net/projects/nbuexplorer/ petrusek

    Try to ask author (me) wia project’s web at sourceforge. It’s difficult to help without any contact.

  • Virus

    You can use NbuExplorer guys…It’s freeware and portable..


    i have bought blackberry 8900 curve.
    the problem is that i am unable to syncro. my total contact from my nokia e61i to outlook or adress. i am loosing my muultiple mobile numbers saved in one name

    pls help me out

  • http://www.nokisoft.com al_lea

    You’d better copy out the contacts as vCard via PC Suite (or you can backup the content of the phone via PC Suite and extract contacts as vCard from the .nbu file using Noki (www.nokisoft.com)). vCard can keep multi-numbers of a contact and can be copied to your blackberry.

  • Shahbaz

    I m a user of N70 nd while trying to backup my phone i had to stop dat process before it completed nd during this I hav lost all my data frm my sd card nd phone memory is absolutely fine. While trying to restore dat mmc card data in my phone i am not able to get dat back…… Can any1 pls help me in this regards?

  • Shahbaz

    I m a user of N70 nd while trying to backup my phone, unfortunately i had to stop dat process before it got completed nd during this I hav lost all my data frm my sd card but the phone memory is absolutely fine.MMC card shows dat there are data in it but i cant see dat in my phone. While trying to restore dat mmc card data in my phone i am not able to get dat back. I have also tried noki but it cant read dat particular nbu file of (mmc card data). Can u pls help me in this regards? Hoping to get your reply asap.

  • Shabbir

    Used NbuExplorer. Worked for me. Thanks virus.

  • ollie

    hi, is there a way to see what backups have been done in the past and where they are saved? I know I’ve done one, and now I want to find the file but am not sure where it is. All it says when I click on backup is “no phones are connected, connect your phone now”. I’ve lost my phone, so can’t connect anything, but just want to find the file. thanks

  • http://www.nokisoft.com al_lea

    @ ollie:

    it’s usually in c:\document and settings\application data\Nokia with .nbu extension.

    The “application data” folder is hidden by default. You need to set it to visible.

    You can also search for *.nbu to find it.

  • Anas Usman


    I am able to extract the nbu file. But phonebook contact shows 437 contact but am able to view only 50 of those. How can i get the remaining contacts. pls help

  • Lou

    Hi, same problem: only 50 contacts shown (this problem was also reported June 30th 2009. No solution found in this thread, or did I overlook?)

    What to do?

  • Dev

    Hi, I can able to see only 50 contacts. Please help me to see all the contacts… Appreciate your Help!!!

  • Daniel

    Lads please can anybody help us, I have the same problem. My phone was stolen so I can not connect it in order to retrieve the contacts. I used the Noki but have only 30 contacts and I have around 500.

    How to solve this. Everybody having the same problem seems.

  • http://www.rediff.com BRAJESH

    Hi, I can able to see only 50 contacts. Please help me to see all the contacts… Appreciate your Help!!!

    How to solve this. Everybody having the same problem seems.

  • Crookers

    Hi, same problem here as well: use Noki to open nbu file and there are only 50 contacts shown. This problem was reported June 30th 2009 & 2nd August 2010 and 27th August 2010 and 1st September 2010, so it’s not just me!

  • http://www.nokisoft.com al_lea

    @Crookers, BRAJESH:

    It’s the trial version limit:

    The trial version has extraction limiations:

    1. Media files: 30
    2. Phonebook: 50
    3. Text messages: 50
    4. Calender: 30
    5. Note/Memo: 30
    6. Bookmark: 20
    7. MMS: 20
    8. Email: 20
    9. SD card files: 50

  • http://sourceforge.net/projects/nbuexplorer/ petrusek

    The solution of your problem could be NbuExplorer

  • easyrider

    incredible, great! I just extracted the calendar entries as *.vcs files and my precious notes as .txt files from my N97. Now I can import them (hopefully) into my HTC Desire :-)

    Many thanks for the good information!

  • Bryan

    Excellent FREE solution! Thank you!

  • sanjay

    Free and useful : it is actually what everybody is looking for
    ABC Amber NBU Converter 1.03

  • Zstefc

    Noki it’s save only 50 contacts !! sucks

  • Panther

    noki does not extract sms and contacts from arc file sucksssssssss

  • Lion

     Perfect… Thank you very much :)

  • Panther Rroad

     is there any other soft ware which could read sms and contacts from arc file ??????????????????????????????????????

  • AnyUser

    same problem here… =/
    Why this??

  • Harpals61

    plz help me ……..my massage backup fille is not open plz tell me how open this

  • Pasha

    try NbuExplorer: http://sourceforge.net/projects/nbuexplorer/. It worked perfectly well for me..

  • al_lea

    it’s the trial version limit.

  • al_lea


    we start blog the tips/story behind Noki/Gems software dev.

  • Zenekpiwko

    Noki sucks.

    Better is  “nbuexplorer”!  It’s FREE, simple and working.http://sourceforge.net/projects/nbuexplorer/?   – definitely try ? this one.  On the contrary, Noki is quite SH|TTY, because a free version is only a demo and can export only 50 random messages, grrrrrrr.

  • Zenekpiwko

    Noki sucks.Better is  “nbuexplorer”!  It’s FREE, simple and working.http://sourceforge.net/projects/nbuex…   – definitely try ? this one.  On the contrary, Noki is quite SH|TTY, because a free version is only a demo and can export only 50 random messages, grrrrrrr.

  • aftab

    waste of time only 50 contacts are backed up sucks………

  • Vijji Fun

    It shows only 50 contacts. How to see rest

  • getsupport.webs.com
  • Sumitpisalkar

    how to view all contacts. i have 315 contacts but display only 50 contacts.

  • eva

    How can i read NBF format ? cant find any software outthere :(

  • L.R. Lathar

    noki doesn’t read nbf files…….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697630705 Salah El Mouled

    NBUexplorer is the best! I tired it and it was awesome :) I restored all data in a second 

  • sam

    superrrrr, thnx