I have a folder filled with geodatabase files of the following formats: ATX, FREELIST, GDBINDEXES, GDBTABLE, GDBTABLX and SPX. I would like to convert these to shapefiles using ArcMap. I've been looking around StackExchange for similar problems, but none are quite the same. For instance, see the solutions listed at Converting File Geodatabase feature classes to shapefiles in ArcGIS for Desktop?.

I tried to export the gdb to a shapefile after adding it as a layer. But, under "+ Add Data", the gdb files are not listed. I can't add anything as a layer to TOC unless it shows up in the "Add Data" window.

I tried the "Feature Class to Shapefile" tool, but for input files, the files are not listed here either. I also tried playing around with Catalog, but no success with the conversion.

Any idea how I can work something out of this?

  • 5
    If ArcGIS doesn't recognize the directory, which must have a ".gdb" suffix, as a file geodatabase, then it isn't a file geodatabase, just a partial collection of file geodatabase-like named files. Please edit the question to focus on the "isn't recognized as file geodatabase" issue, since the conversion is a trivial later step.
    – Vince
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 20:44
  • Chances are there are no features in this FGDB, they were deleted
    – FelixIP
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


PLEASE NOTE: The following is not a recommended way to copy File Geodatabases, but rather a possible fix for a broken FGDB as in the original Question. This process has the potential to corrupt the database if there are any open files, and may leave orphaned lock files. Don't use on an FGDB that isn't already broken. Please use with caution!

If the contents of a File Geodatabase (FGDB) have been copied to a new folder, these won't appear as a FGDB from within ArcGIS unless the new folder has a .gdb suffix.

It is possible to just re-add the .gdb suffix if the rest of the contents of the folder are still intact. In fact the folder name doesn't even need to match the original FGDB name.

Example from a quick test I have just run:

  1. Created a new FGDB and added some feature classes to it:
    enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  2. Copied that FGDB folder (in Windows Explorer) to a new location with a new name (without the .gdb suffix)
    enter image description here enter image description here

  3. Renamed the folder to include .gdb and refreshed ArcGIS which now shows it as a FGDB rather than a standard Folder
    enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

As the file contents of the folder weren't touched, other than being copied to a new folder, the feature classes are still intact within the new renamed FGDB.

  • 1
    It's worth noting that this process could corrupt the geodatabase if there were open files or changes to files in the interval between when one file was copied and another paired file was edited. This process could also retain lock files that won't get cleared because the locking process doesn't know they have been moved.
    – Vince
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 11:48
  • I've updated my answer with a note of caution at the top. I wouldn't recommend this process as a quick way to move intact geodatabases around; just as a potential fix for a broken FGDB as in the original Question.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 17:19

The proposed method works. First of all, make a backup copy of the corrupted file and then create a new geodatabase Next, create or import a file inside this new geodatabase Finally, copy the contents of the corrupted geodatabase using Windows Explorer and paste it into the new geodatabase folder.

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