To actually extract text messages or phone information from the SIM card, I figured I needed a program. Some came with their own card readers, some did not. Installing the programs was trial and error. With the packages that came with both the reader and the program, some required installation first, some required plugging in the reader before installing the software. 1. Data doctor recovery.
My first attempt was with a freebie. I found a free Shareware program that said it could recovered deleted information: Data Doctor Recovery. This program popped up over and over through Internet search engines, both as Shareware and as a regular pay-program. It could list the phone numbers that I called, but it could not recognize any of the text messages in my phone. I purposely left messages in the handset, and I deleted messages so I could keep track of what the programs could extract. No luck here. 2. Sim recovery pro.
This was the most expensive of the bunch at $149, http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/cellphone-spy-simcardreader.html. It is a SIM card reader, and it comes with extraction software. The software took not time to install from the provided CD. The program allows the user to organize phone information, restore a deleted phone book, restore deleted text messages, read text messages that have not been deleted, and permanently delete information. I plugged the card reader into my USB port, clicked “Read Deleted SMS,” and … nothing. The dialogue box showed that it was searching the SIM card, and then it just showed the file categories in my text messaging system, but no messages.
I decided to wait a day or so to let some text messages pile up. Then I could see if it was just picking up what was there, or actually extracting. I had several messages in my phone’s inbox, and I purposely deleted two of them. I plugged the reader back in, looking for those two messages. This time? Nothing. You are supposed to be able to click on the following headings to see the messages: Read, Unread, Sent, To Be Send (sic) and Deleted. Nothing was listed. There were at least 20 read and sent messages on my SIM card, and thousands of deleted ones, including the two I deleted right before trying again.
It also showed me the last 10 numbers I dialed, and let me access my phone book. So that told me that the system was partially working. But when it came to the text messages, it just didn’t work. 3. Sim reader.
One of the less expensive products was the SIM Reader from Spyville, http://www.spyville.com/sim-card-reader.html
. Like the SIM Recovery Pro, it was a SIM card reader that came with extraction software. Unfortunately, I could not get the software to install. I tried running the enclosed disk, but there were no startup files. I tried plugging the card reader into my computer, thinking it would find the files I needed. Even when I had it search the disk, it could not find the appropriate software.
Compounding the problem here was the fact that there is no support available when things go wrong. I tried several times to call Spyville for help, and there are no ways to contact the manufacturer of the product. So I was on my own. AT AN IMPASSE
At this point, I got an outside party involved. I had someone else, who is extremely computer savvy, try to get the products to work. He is the computer guru in my life – the guy who always makes everything work. I handed him my cell phone, my neighbor’s cell phone, his cell phone and all of these programs and card readers. He tried everything, too, and he had the same experiences I did – some of the programs work to just see what numbers your phone has dialed, but none of them bring text messages back.
So next time readers ask me the text-message question? I am going to tell them that these programs don’t have the magic answers. FOR MORE INFORMATION
To read more about how to find out if your spouse is cheating
, click here. Michele Bush Kimball has a Ph.D. in mass communication with a specialization in media law. She has spent almost 15 years in the field of journalism, and she teaches at American University in Washington, D.C. She recently won a national research award for her work.