Autopsy User Documentation  4.0
Graphical digital forensics platform for The Sleuth Kit and other tools.
Quick Start Guide

Adding a Data Source (image, local disk, logical files)

Data sources are added to a case. A case can have a single data source or it can have multiple data sources. Currently, a single report is generated for an entire case, so if you need to report on individual data sources, then you should use one data source per case. If there are many drives/phones/other data sources for one investigation, then your case should have multiple data sources.

Creating a Case

To create a case, use either the "Create New Case" option on the Welcome screen or from the "File" menu. This will start the New Case Wizard. You will need to supply it with the name of the case and a directory to store the case results into. You can optionally provide case numbers and reviewer names.

Adding a Data Source

The next step is to add an input data source to the case. The Add Data Source Wizard will start automatically after the case is created or you can manually start it from the "File" menu or toolbar. You will need to choose the type of input data source to add (image, local disk, or logical files and folders). Next, supply it with the location of the source to add.

There are a couple of options in the wizard that will allow you to make the ingest process faster. These typically deal with deleted files. It will take longer if unallocated space is analyzed and the entire drive is searched for deleted files. In some scenarios, these recovery steps must be performed and in other scenarios these steps are not needed and instead fast results on the allocated files are needed. Use these options to control how long the analysis will take.

Autopsy will start to analyze these data sources and add them to the case and the internal database. While it is doing that, it will prompt you to configure the Ingest Modules.

Ingest Modules

You will next be prompted to configure the Ingest Modules. Ingest modules will run in the background and perform specific tasks. The Ingest Modules analyze files in a prioritized order so that files in a user's directory are analyzed before files in other folders. Ingest modules can be developed by third-parties. The standard ingest modules included with Autopsy are:

When you select a module, you will have the option to change its settings. For example, you can configure which keyword search lists to use during ingest and which hash databases to use. Refer to the individual module help for details on configuring each module.

While ingest modules are running in the background, you will see a progress bar in the lower right. You can use the GUI to review incoming results and perform other tasks while ingesting at the same time.

Analysis Basics


You will start all of your analysis techniques from the tree on the left.

When you select a node from the tree on the left, a list of files will be shown in the upper right. You can use the Thumbnail view in the upper right to view the pictures. When you select a file from the upper right, its contents will be shown in the lower right. You can use the tabs in the lower right to view the text of the file, an image, or the hex data.

If you are viewing files from the Views and Results nodes, you can right-click on a file to go to its file system location. This feature is useful to see what else the user stored in the same folder as the file that you are currently looking at. You can also right click on a file to extract it to the local system.

If you want to search for single keywords, then you can use the search box in the upper right of the program. The results will be shown in a table in the upper right.

You can tag (bookmark) arbitrary files so that you can more quickly find them later or so that you can include them specifically in a report.

Ingest Inbox

As you are going through the results in the tree, the ingest modules are running in the background. The results are shown in the tree as soon as the ingest modules find them and report them.

The Ingest Inbox receives messages from the ingest modules as they find results. You can open the inbox to see what has been recently found. It keeps track of what messages you have read.

The intended use of this inbox is that you can focus on some data for a while and then check back on the inbox at a time that is convenient for them. You can then see what else was found while you were focused on the previous task. You may learn that a known bad file was found or that a file was found with a relevant keyword and then decide to focus on that for a while.

When you select a message, you can then jump to the Results tree where more details can be found or jump to the file's location in the filesystem.


There is a basic timeline view that you can access via the "Tools", "Make Timeline" feature. This will take a few minutes to create the timeline for analysis. Its features are still in development.

Example Use Cases

In this section, we will provide examples of how to do common analysis tasks.

Web Artifacts

If you want to view the user's recent web activity, make sure that the Recent Activity ingest module was enabled. You can then go to the "Results " node in the tree on the left and then into the "Extracted Data" node. There, you can find bookmarks, cookies, downloads, and history.

Known Bad Hash Files

If you want to see if the data source had known bad files, make sure that the Hash Lookup ingest module was enabled. You can then view the "Hashset Hits" section in the "Results" area of the tree on the left. Note that hash lookup can take a long time, so this section will be updated as long as the ingest process is ongoing. Use the Ingest Inbox to keep track of what known bad files were recently found.

When you find a known bad file in this interface, you may want to right click on the file to also view the file's original location. You may find additional files that are relevant and stored in the same folder as this file.

Media: Images and Videos

If you want to see all images and video on the disk image, then go to the "Views" section in the tree on the left and then "File Types". Select either "Images" or "Videos". You can use the thumbnail option in the upper right to view thumbnails of all images.

Note: We are working on making this more efficient when there are lots of images. We are also working on the feature to display video thumbnails.

You can select an image or video from the upper right and view the video or image in the lower right. Video will be played with sound.


A final report can be generated that will include all analysis results. Use the "Generate Report" button to create this. It will create an HTML or XLS report in the Reports folder of the case folder. If you forgot the location of your case folder, you can determine it using the "Case Properties" option in the "File" menu. There is also an option to export report files to a separate folder outside of the case folder.

Copyright © 2012-2015 Basis Technology. Generated on Wed Apr 6 2016
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