ext3grep [OPTIONS] FILE ...


ext3grep is a simple tool intended to aid anyone who accidentally deletes a file on an ext3 filesystem, only to find that they wanted it shortly thereafter.



Print contents of superblock in addition to the rest. If no action is specified then this option is implied.


Print contents of block or inode, if any.


Print directories, one line per entry. See the FILTERS section for details on filtering this output.

--accept FILE

Accepts 'file' as a legal filename. Can be used multiple times. If you change any --accept you must remove BOTH stage* files!


Prints the contents of the journal.


Show the inode of each directory component in paths.


--group gid

Only show/process files owned by process group gid.


Only show/process process directory inodes.

--after dtime

Only show/process entries deleted on or after dtime.

--before dtime

Only show/process entries deleted before dtime.


Only show/process deleted entries.


Only show/process allocated inodes/blocks.


Only show/process unallocated inodes/blocks.


Do not suppress entries with reallocated inodes. Inodes are considered 'reallocated' if the entry is deleted but the inode is allocated, but also when the file type in the dir entry and the inode are different.


Do not suppress entries with zeroed inodes. Linked entries are always shown, regardless of this option.

--depth depth

Process directories recursively up till a depth of 'depth'.


--inode-to-block inode_num

Print the block that contains inode inode_num.

--inode inode_num

Show info on inode inode_num. If --ls is used and the inode is a directory, then the filters apply to the entries of the directory. If you do not use --ls then --print is implied.

--block block_num

Show info on block block_num. If --ls is used and the block is the first block of a directory, then the filters apply to entries of the directory. If you do not use --ls then --print is implied.


Generate a histogram based on the given specs. Using atime, ctime or mtime will change the meaning of --after and --before to those times.

--journal-block block_num

Show info on journal block block_num.

--journal-transaction seq

Show info on transaction with sequence number seq.


Write the paths of files to stdout. This implies --ls but suppresses its output.

--search-start str

Find blocks that start with the fixed string str.

--search str

Find blocks that contain the fixed string str.

--search-inode block_num

Find inodes that refer to block block_num.


Return allocated inode table entries that are zeroed.

--inode-dirblock-table dir

Print a table for directory path dir of directory block numbers found and the inodes used for each file.

--show-journal-inodes inode_num

Show copies of inode inode_num still in the journal.

--restore-file path

Will restore file path. path is relative to root of the partition and does not start with a '/' (it must be one of the paths returned by --dump-names). The restored directory, file or symbolic link is created in the current directory as ./path.


As --restore-file but attempts to restore everything. The use of --after is highly recommended because the attempt to restore very old files will only result in them being hard linked to a more recently deleted file and as such pollute the output.


Show all inodes that are shared by two or more files.

--version, -[vV]

Prints the version information and exits.


Prints a help message and exits.


Restoring all files from the ext3 partition/file /backup/sda1:

ext3grep --restore-all /backup/sda1

Listing the files owned by GID 1000 on /backup/sda1:

ext3grep --ls --group 1000 /backup/sda1

Finding all files containing the string Critical_report in their name on /backup/sda1:

ext3grep --dump-names /backup/sda1 | grep 'Critical_report'


Do not attempt to use ext3grep for recovery from a mounted filesystem. Ever.

No, not even then.

ext3grep sometimes runs out of memory spare on 32-bit architectures and crashes. It is highly recommended that you run ext3grep in a 64-bit environment when dealing with large filesystems, though this is seen as a bug.

ext3grep cannot recover files if there are no remnants of them.

Some files that ext3grep recovers may have trailing null bytes - just scrape them off like the burnt bits on toast.

RELATED TO ext3grep…


ext3grep was written by Carlo Wood <[email protected]>.

This manual page was written by Rich Ercolani <[email protected]>, for the Debian project (but may be used by others). It may be distributed under the same terms as ext3grep, the GNU General Public License, either version 2 or (at your option) any later version.