HTC features a nice built-in SMS backup / restore feature on its phones. From within the SMS app you can export messages to a .hbk file, and then you can import that file (on the same device or another) to restore. It’s all explained in this support page. Simple, right? Well, nope! That page neglects a key step without which restores will fail because the device will not see any available backup sets. For restore to work you must create a top level folder named “sms_backup” and save the .hbk file there and then attempt the restore, as that is the only folder the restore utility looks in.
Posting this one so that I have it for future use.

23 thoughts

  1. You’ve saved me… So simple, yet HTC leaving the most important part out… Thank you, worked perfect!!!

  2. I can’t believe how simple that was…
    I have been trying for weeks to restore my old texts, even after SEVERAL chats with HTC customer service…professionals? Lol!
    Thank you SO much!!!
    Legendary!

  3. I recently exchanged my HTC phone for the Moto X and sent my text message backup to my email. Now I can not retrieve my .hbk file text messages from my email from either my laptop or Moto X due to them not understanding the file. Is there a way to retrieve them?

  4. No, the .hbk file is an HTC specific file. If you still have access to the old phone then you can use other apps to move text messages, but .hbk files are not much use on non HTC devices.
    — Ben

  5. If you saved and then restoring via email.. you must use the stock email application. Gmail App wont work. Click the attachment and then it will automatically restore the msgs for you.

  6. Tried this on my HTC One and all that was needed for the ordinary application to work was the sms_backup folder in the root directory.

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