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Where does ArcMap actually store my feature classes?

Question asked by jbaugh on Feb 3, 2017
Latest reply on Feb 3, 2017 by rastrauch

ArcGIS 10.4.1 for Desktop Basic License - Windows 7


I have always assumed Arc stores the files associated with my feature classes in the directory of the GDB I made those classes in.  When I navigate to that GDB directory with Windows Explorer there are no files with the names of my feature classes except for lock files (and those disappear as expected after I close ArcMap).  Shapefiles I have created or imported into the GDB do appear in its directory.  Are the feature classes I have created in there somewhere as well (inside one or more of those "a0000000X" files)?  Am I confusing myself by assuming feature classes are made up of a similar looking cluster of files the way a shapefile is?


I'm trying to get all my bases covered for data back up purposes.