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(Current version is: 14.5, released 20-06-2017)
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DFSee, Disk analysis, maintenance and recovery utility

DFSee USB stick
Award eCs best utility 2009
DFSee12 12cm CDROM

Multiplatform Swiss army knife to examine disks in great detail and fix problems with partition definitions and file systems. Create an exact clone or a compressed imagefile from your whole disk or a single partition. BROWSE through directories, and view or copy/recover files directly from the browser. DFSee is a generic disk, partition and filesystem utility for maintenance and data-recovery. It supports partition-tables (FDISK, LVM), (V)FAT, FAT-32, EFAT, HPFS, NTFS, JFS, EXT2/3/4, and some functionality for HFS+, ReiserFS, XFS, SWAP and GRUB

DFSee is NOT free software, however a fully functional evaluation version is available without requiring immediate registration. For regular use several licence models are available, starting with a single-user individual registration for just € 49

DFSee functional diagram

DFSee conceptual diagram

Developed with OpenWatcom

OS2/eCS, DOS, Windows, Mac and Linux version in one package! Main functionality:

Disk partitioning

As a replacement for the classic FDISK and (OS/2) LVM programs, with support for MBR as well as GPT style tables.

DFSee is a complete replacement for the partitioning tools as found with DOS, OS/2, Win9x, Windows-NT/2000/XP/7/8/9/10 and Linux.
It is also a replacement for the LVM utility that comes with eComStation, ArcaOS 5.x and all OS/2 versions 4.50 or newer. Only the more obscure features like disk-spanning is not supported.
Apart from the standard create/delete type of functions there are a lot of special commands to display information and fix all kinds of problems related to partition-tables and LVM information. A fully interactive partition-table editor is included as well (PTEdit), both for classic MBR-style partitiong as the more recent GPT (Guid Partition Tables).

Finally, the FDISK functionality combined with the scripting capabilities is being used by large organisations for automatic (and unattended) roll-out scenarios.

Disk and partition recovery

To recover from partition problems and disasters (UNFDISK)

An often used function here is the DFSDISK command/menu-item/script that automate the collection of needed information to 'UNDO' an accidental FDISK operation or other partitioning related disasters.
Another important feature is the ability to save and restore ALL partitioning information in a regular file that you can keep as a backup on a diskette so recovery operations will be MUCH easier.

Disk and partition copying

As a tool to copy whole disks or partitions

Two main functions are available:

IMAGING Whole disks, partitions or parts of partition can be saved to an imagefile, either RAW or in a compressed format. The imagefiles can be restored to the same or a different location resulting in backup or copy functionality. The compressed images can be opened for directory/file browsing, to view or to retrieve individual files from such a backup image. This works for partition images as well as full-disk images.

For large images, and using removable media to store them, it is possible to limit the size of the generated files and create multiple numbered files for one image. For direct writing to removable media like diskettes, CDR or DVD-R (streaming) it will prompt for media-change too.

CLONING Cloning can make an exact copy of (part of) a partition or disk to another area on the same or another disk. This can be used as a very fast backup facility (speeds of 30 MB/sec are not uncommon) and to move partitions arround. Check the CLONE, MOVE and COPY commands and menu-items ...

On the bootable CD, the bootimage uses an Ultra-DMA driver to allow maximum speeds on modern ultra-DMA IDE disks.

For both imaging and cloning, DFSee can use internal allocation information from the filesystem structures to skip unused areas (SMART clone/image) minimizing imagesize and speeding up the process.

These DFSee functions are comparable to programs like Norton GHOST and PowerQuest DriveImage

Filesystem browser, navigating files and directories

As a minimal directory and file BROWSER, much like a filemanager.

This is an easy to use and powerful way to access files in filesystems that may otherwise be inaccesible, either beacues there is some filesystem damage that prevents it from being 'mounted' in the normal way, or because you need to access it from an operating system that does NOT have a driver for this type of filesystem.

Once in the browser, you can navigate through the directory structure and edit/view/copy one or more of the presented files.


As a tool to 'UNDELETE' files that have been accidentaly deleted or RECOVER files from unaccessible filesystems

This feature is implemented for FAT, HPFS, JFS and NTFS, but on those filesystems it is a very powerful tool.

It is operated either using the user-friendly BROWSE interface, where you navigate to the files to be recovered, or by using the underlying commands directly for maximum flexibility abd effectiveness.

It works by finding all deleted or normal files (DELFIND/FILEFIND), and then letting the user make a selection based on a wild-card filespecification and a recoverability outlook percentage (DELSHOW, or through the BROWSER). The actual recover operation will copy the matching files to a specified directory, if possible on another disk (RECOVER).

You can find the file-recover and undelete functions in the menu as well, in the specific 'Mode=...' submenus for the filesystems that support it.

Filesystem analysis and recovery

As an analysis and recovery tool for most used filesystems.

This includes boot-sectors, superblocks and low-level directory structures. For most supported filesystems some specific commands are available that fix common problems with that filesystem.
To support a large number of possible filesystems, DFSee uses specific modes of operation. Every mode has its own set of dedicated commands and recognized data formats (sector types). Generic commands (and sector types) are available in all modes. On selecting a data-source (disk, partition, volume) DFSee will try to recognize the involved filesystem and activate support for it automatically.

The most important modes are:

FDISK for partitioning work, default active at startup
HPFS native filesystem on OS/2, eComStation, ArcaOS
FAT classic PC filesystems including FAT32 and VFAT
EFAT Enhanced FAT filesystem intended for huge media
NTFS native filesystem on Windows-NT or Windows-2000
JFS journaled filesystem on OS/2, eCS or ArcaOS
EXT2/3/4 native filesystem on Linux, EXT3/4 are journaled
REISER journaled filesystem on Linux by Hans Reiser
XFS the 'X' terabyte journaled filesystem on Linux
HFS the journalled filesystem HFS+ for MAC OSX
AUX Auxilary mode for unrecognized data

Commands specific to a mode are available in that mode only, except for the FDISK commands that are available all the time just as all the generic commands are.

Binary/HEX viewer/editor

As a powerful binary (or rather HEX) display and edit tool, including an x86 disasssembler and an ASCII viewer

DFSee can access data on hard-disks, operating-system volumes like diskettes or CDROM and files, inclusing DFSee compressed images (.IMZ) and VirtualBox disk images (.VDI)


DFSee is NOT a beginners tool!
It was written for system administrators and power-users

Although DFSee has been written with recovery and analysis in mind, and tries to take the safest approach to all operations, I can not give any guarantee regarding use of the DFSee program. The power of the program may lead to unexpected and undesirable results including data-loss in the hands of inexperienced users.

Only use DFSee and any function in it, if you know what you are doing, or when instructed by someone who does!
Really READ warning and confirmation messages, don't just acknowledge them!

Known bugs

None, sofar ...

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