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Foremost is a Linux based program data for recovering deleted files and served as the basis for the more modern Scalpel. The program uses a configuration file to specify headers and footers to search for. Intended to be run on disk images, foremost can search through most any kind of data without worrying about the format.


Foremost was developed by Jesse Kornblum and Kris Kendall when they served in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Originally designed to imitate the Defense Computer Forensics Lab's

carvthis program, it gained popularity among Air Force investigators and was eventually distributed to the general public.

First published in 2000, a major update was released in 2005 when Nick Mikus joined the project.


Foremost served as the basis for Golden G. Richard III's Scalpel, a significantly faster program to also recover deleted files. It has also inspired tcpxtract, a program for extracting file from network traffic.

Foremost's authors have recommended that practitioners use Scalpel instead of Foremost.


Due to programming difficulties, foremost is limited to processing files smaller than 2GB.