Autopsy User Documentation  4.4.1
Graphical digital forensics platform for The Sleuth Kit and other tools.
Central Repository


The central repository allows a user to find matching artifacts both across cases and across data sources in the same case. It is a combination of an ingest module that extracts, stores, and compares properties against lists of notable properties, a database that stores these properties, and an additional panel in Autopsy to display other instances of each property. The central repository database can either be SQLite or PostgreSQL.

The following are some use cases for the Central Repository:

Terms and Concepts


To start, open the main options panel and select the Central Repository icon.


Setting up the Database

On the Central Repository options panel, check the 'Use a Central Repository' option and then click the Configure button to set up a database. There are two options here:

Once a database has been configured, the lower two buttons on the main panel will be enabled, which will be described below.

Setting up PostgreSQL Deployment

If needed, see the Install and Configure PostgreSQL for help setting up your PostgreSQL server.

For PostgreSQL all values are required, but some defaults are provided for convenience.


If the database does not exist, you wll be prompted to create it.

Setting Up SQLite Deployment

Select SQLite in the Database Type to set up a SQLite database. SQLite databases should not be used if more than one client will be accessing the central repository.


Enter or browse to a folder for the database. If the database file does not exist in that folder, you will be prompted to create it.

Manage Tags

In Autopsy, you are allowed to define your own Tag names, tag files and artifacts,and add comments when you tag a file or artifact. The purpose of this feature is to associate one or more of those tags with this module to be used for Correlation. Associating a tag with the Correlation Engine means that when a file/artifact is tagged by the user, any property created from that file/artifact in the Correlation Database is marked as notable. After this point, whenever the Correlation Engine Ingest Module creates a property that matches this notable one, it is automatically flagged and added to the list of Interesting Items.


If a case is open, checking the Notable checkbox will give you the option to add the notable status to anything in the current case that has already been tagged. For example, if you create a tag named "Alpha", tag a few items and then go into Manage Tags and check the box for the Alpha tag, you can optionally choose to have the status for those tagged items changed in the central repository. The effect is the same as if you had checked the box in Manage Tags before tagging the items. Note that data from any previous cases will not be changed.

By default there is a tag called "Evidence" as the only tag associated with this module. To associate one or more tag(s) with this module, check the Correlate box next to the tag name(s) and click OK. To create additional tags, use the Tags options panel.

Manage Correlation Properties

The Correlation Engine ingest module can save different types of properties to the database. By default, only files are recorded, but this setting can be changed on the options panel through the Manage Correlation Properties button. Note that these settings are saved to the database, so in a multi-user setting any changes will affect all users.


Descriptions of the property types:

Using the Central Repository

Correlation Engine Module

The Correlation Engine ingest module is responsible for adding properties to the database and comparing each property against the list of notable properties. It is best to run all ingest modules to get the most out of the Correlation Engine. For example, if Hash Lookup is not run then the Correlation Engine module will not put any files into the database. If the Correlation Engine module is not run on a particular case but a central repository is enabled, there will still be some limited functionality. The Content Viewer will still display matching properties from other cases/data sources where the Correlation Engine was run.

Tagging Files and Artifacts

Any file or artifact that a user tags with one of the tags associated with the Correlation Engine will be added to the database as a file or artifact of interest. Any future data source ingest, where this module is enabled, will use those files or artifacts in a similar manner as a Known Bad hash set, causing matching files from that ingest to be added to the Interesting Artifacts list in that currently open case.


If a tag is accidentally added to a file or artifact, it can be removed though the context menu. This will remove its notable status in the Central Repository.

Edit Central Repository Case Properties

By default, Autopsy lets you edit Case Details in the Case menu. When this module is enabled, there is an additional option in the Case menu, called "Central Repository Case Properties".

This is where the examiner can store a number of details about the case.

Viewing Results

Results from enabling a central repository and running the Correlation Engine Ingest Module can be seen in two places:

Content Viewer

The Content Viewer panel is where previous instances of properties are displayed. This module adds a new tab to the Content Viewer. The tab for this module is called "Other Occurrences". It can display data that is found in other cases, other data sources for the same case, or imported global artifacts.

If at least one other case or data source has been ingested with this module enabled, there is a potential that data will be displayed in the Other Occurrences content viewer. Note that the Correlation Engine Ingest Module does not have to have been run on the current data source to see correlated files from other cases/data sources. If the selected file or artifact is associated by one of the supported Correlation Types, to one or more file(s) or artifact(s) in the database, the associated files/artifacts will be displayed. Note: the Content Viewer will display ALL associated files and artifacts available in the database. It ignores the user's enabled/disabled Correlation Properties.

By default, the rows in the content viewer will have background colors to indicate if they are known to be of interest. Files/artifacts that are notable will have a Red background, unknown will have Yellow background, and known will have a White background.


The user can click on any column heading to sort by the values in that column.

If the user right-clicks on a row, a menu will be displayed. This menu has several options.

  1. Select All
  2. Export Selected Rows to CSV
  3. Show Case Details
  4. Show Commonality Details

Select All

This option will select all rows in the Content Viewer table.

Export Selected Rows to CSV

This option will save ALL SELECTED rows in the Content Viewer table to a CSV file. By default, the CSV file is saved into the Export directory inside the currently open Autopsy case, but the user is free to select a different location.

Note: if you want to copy/paste rows, it is usually possible to use CTRL+C to copy the selected rows and then CTRL+V to paste them into a file, but it will not be CSV formatted.

Show Case Details

This option will open a dialog that displays all of the relevant details for the selected case. The details will include:

These details would have been entered by the examiner of the selected case, by visiting the Case -> Central Repository Case Properties menu, when that case was open.

Show Commonality Details

The concept of Commonality simply means, how common is the selected file. The value is the percentage of case/data source tuples that have the selected file or artifact.

Interesting Items

In the Results tree of an open case is an entry called Interesting Items. When this module is enabled, all of the enabled Correlatable Properties will cause matching files to be added to this Interesting Items tree during ingest.


As an example, if the Files Correlatable Property is enabled, and the ingest is currently processing a file, for example "badfile.exe", and the MD5 hash for that file already exists in the database as a notable file, then an entry in the Interesting Items tree will be added for the current instance of "badfile.exe" in the data source currently being ingested.

The same type of thing will happen for each enabled Correlatable Property.

In the case of the phone number correlatable type, the Interesting Items tree will start a sub-tree for each phone number. The sub-tree will then contain each instance of that notable phone number.

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