The Sleuthkit and Ext4


I have developed a set of patches that bring basic support for the Ext4 file system to The Sleuth Kit. Specific features that are supported, or not, are detailed below.

The major feature of Ext4 that affects most users is the use of extents that replace indirect blocks. This set of patches supports the new extent structures, and most Ext4 file systems.

Until the patches are fully incorporated by Brian Carrier into TSK, they will be developed in parallel and released on this webpage. Support is provided to users and testers of the patches that provide feedback and bug reports.

I recommmend users interested in Ext4 support in TSK review Kevin Fairbanks’s branch of TSK on Github. This fork is under active development, and may have rendered these patches unnecessary.


  • Extents - Done
  • Updated Superblock - Done
  • Updated Inode - Done
    • created timestamp - Done
    • modified timestamp, subsecond precision - Done
    • accessed timestamp, subsecond precision - Done
    • changed timestamp, subsecond precision - Done
    • created timestamp, subsecond precision - Done
  • Updated Block Group Descriptor Todo
  • 64-bit support Todo
    • inode table entries - Todo
    • group descriptor table entry structures - Todo
    • superblock s_blocks_count_hi - Todo
    • superblock s_r_blocks_count_hi - Todo
    • superblock s_free_blocks_count_hi - Todo
  • Huge Files - Todo
  • Multiple Mount Protection (MMP) - Todo
  • Meta Block Groups - Todo
  • Uninitialized Block Groups - Todo
  • Flexible Block Groups - Todo
  • Journal Checksumming - Todo


  • TSK 3.2.2
    • r3 (2011-08-21) fix bug affecting older Ext2/3 file systems
    • r2 (2011-07-23) fix sorter tool
  • TSK 3.2.1
    • r3 (2011-08-21) fix bug affecting older Ext2/3 file systems
    • r2 (2011-07-23) fix sorter tool
    • r1 (2011-06-05) initial patch


You must build TSK from source to use the Ext4 patches. You must also have the patch utility installed, as well as a compiler toolset such as GCC.

  1. Download TSK source. Download and extract a version of TSK from the homepage.
  2. Download Ext4 patch. Download a patch from this website that corresponds to TSK version you downloaded in the above step. Try to pick the greatest revision number.
  3. Apply patch. From the command line, change directory into TSK source directory. If you perform a directory listing, you should see the file “Makefile”. Now, run the patch command patch -p1 < "../path/to/patch/file".
  4. Build TSK. Configure and install by running the following commands:
    1. ./configure
    2. make
    3. make install