Difference between pages "Windows Registry" and "Windows"

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==File Locations==
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{{Expand}}
The Windows Registry is stored in multiple files.
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===Windows NT 4 ===
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'''Windows''' is a widely-spread [[operating system]] from [[Microsoft]].
In Windows NT 4 (and later) the Registry is stored in the [[Windows NT Registry File (REGF)]] format.
+
  
Basically the following Registry hives are stored in the corresponding files:
+
There are 2 main branches of Windows:
* HKEY_USERS: \Documents and Setting\User Profile\NTUSER.DAT
+
* the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
* HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT: C:\Windows\system32\config\default
+
* the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM: C:\Windows\system32\config\SAM
+
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY: C:\Windows\system32\config\SECURITY
+
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE: C:\Windows\system32\config\software
+
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM: C:\Windows\system32\config\system
+
  
===Windows 98/ME===
+
== Features ==
* \Windows\user.dat
+
* Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363785(v=vs.85).aspx]
* \Windows\system.dat
+
* \Windows\profiles\user profile\user.dat
+
  
== Keys ==
+
=== Introduced in Windows NT ===
 +
* [[NTFS]]
  
=== Run/RunOnce ===
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2000 ===  
System-wide:
+
<pre>
+
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
+
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
+
</pre>
+
  
Per user:
+
=== Introduced in Windows XP ===
<pre>
+
* [[Prefetch]]
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
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* System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
+
</pre>
+
  
== Special cases ==
+
==== SP2 ====
The Windows Registry has several special case scenarios, mainly concerning key and value name, that are easy to fail to account for:
+
* Windows Firewall
* special characters key and value names
+
* duplicate key and value names
+
* the names when stored in extended ASCII (ANSI string) use a codepage that is dependent on the system settings
+
  
=== special characters key and value names ===
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2003 (Server) ===
Both key and values names are case insensitive. The \ character is used as the key separator. Note
+
* Volume Shadow Copies
that the \ character can be used in value names. The / character is used in both key and value names.
+
Some examples of which are:
+
<pre>
+
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Services\NetBT\Parameters\
+
Value: Size/Small/Medium/Large
+
</pre>
+
  
<pre>
+
=== Introduced in Windows Vista ===
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Terminal Server\VIDEO\disc\
+
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker]]
Value: \Device\Video0
+
* [[Windows Desktop Search | Search]] integrated in operating system
</pre>
+
* [[SuperFetch]]
 +
* [[NTFS|Transactional NTFS (TxF)]]
 +
* [[Windows NT Registry File (REGF)|Transactional Registry (TxR)]]
 +
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes|Shadow Volumes]]; the volume-based storage of the Volume Shadow Copy data
 +
* $Recycle.Bin
 +
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
 +
* [[User Account Control (UAC)]]
  
<pre>
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2008 (Server) ===
Key:
+
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\services\xmlprov\Parameters\SchemaGroups\User\http://www.microsoft.com/provisioning/eaptlsuserpropertiesv1\
+
Value: SchemaFile
+
</pre>
+
  
=== codepaged ASCII strings ===
+
=== Introduced in Windows 7 ===
 +
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker To Go]]
 +
* [[Jump Lists]]
 +
* [[Sticky Notes]]
  
Value with name "ëigenaardig" created on Windows XP codepage 1252.
+
=== Introduced in Windows 8 ===
 +
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes | File History]]
 +
* [[Windows Storage Spaces | Storage Spaces]]
 +
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]; server edition will likely be available in Windows Server 2012
  
<pre>
+
== Forensics ==
value key data:
+
00000000: 76 6b 0b 00 46 00 00 00  20 98 1a 00 01 00 00 00  vk..F...  .......
+
00000010: 01 00 69 6e eb 69 67 65  6e 61 61 72 64 69 67 00  ..in.ige naardig.
+
00000020: 55 4e 49 43                                        UNIC
+
  
value key signature                    : vk
+
=== Partition layout ===
value key value name size              : 11
+
Default partition layout, first partition starts:
value key data size                    : 0x00000046 (70)
+
* at sector 63 in Windows 2000, XP, 2003
value key data offset                  : 0x001a9820
+
* at sector 2048 in Windows Vista, 2008, 7
value key data type                    : 1 (REG_SZ) String
+
value key flags                        : 0x0001
+
        Value name is an ASCII string
+
  
value key unknown1                      : 0x6e69 (28265)
+
=== Filesystems ===
value key value name                    : ëigenaardig
+
* [[FAT]], [[FAT|exFAT]]
value key value name hash              : 0xb78835ee
+
* [[NTFS]]
value key padding:
+
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS) | ReFS]]
00000000: 00 55 4e 49 43                                    .UNIC
+
</pre>
+
  
As you can see the name is stored in extended ASCII (ANSI) using codepage 1252.
+
=== Recycle Bin ===
  
==Tools==
+
==== RECYCLER ====
===Open Source===
+
Used by Windows 2000, XP.
* [https://www.pinguin.lu/index.php Forensic Registry EDitor (fred)] - "Forensic Registry EDitor (fred) is a cross-platform M$ registry hive editor" by [[Daniel Gillen]]
+
Uses INFO2 file.
* [http://projects.sentinelchicken.org/data/doc/reglookup/regfi/ libregfi] - The regfi library is a read-only NT registry library which serves as the main engine behind the reglookup tool
+
* [http://projects.sentinelchicken.org/reglookup/ reglookup] — "small command line utility for reading and querying Windows NT-based registries."
+
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/regviewer/ regviewer] — a tool for looking at the registry.
+
* [[Regripper|RegRipper]] — "the fastest, easiest, and best tool for registry analysis in forensics examinations."
+
* [http://search.cpan.org/~jmacfarla/Parse-Win32Registry-0.51/lib/Parse/Win32Registry.pm Parse::Win32Registry] Perl module.
+
* [http://www.williballenthin.com/registry/index.html python-registry] Python module.
+
* [http://code.google.com/p/registrydecoder/ Registry Decoder] offline analysis component, by [[Andrew Case]]
+
* [http://code.google.com/p/registrydecoder/ RegDecoderLive] live hive acquisition component, by [[Andrew Case]]
+
* [[libregf]] - Library and tools to access the Windows NT Registry File (REGF) format
+
* [[Registryasxml]] - Tool to import/export registry sections as XML
+
  
===Freeware===
+
See: [http://www.cybersecurityinstitute.biz/downloads/INFO2.pdf]
* [http://www.tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=3 Yet Another Registry Utility (yaru)] Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X. If run in admin mode, allows viewing of registry hives on live system.
+
  
* [http://www.tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=14 Windows ShellBag Parser] Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X.
+
==== $RECYCLE.BIN ====
 +
Used by Windows Vista.
 +
Uses $I and $R files.
  
* [http://tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=19 ''cafae''] - Computer Account Forensic Artifact Extractor.  Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X to parse ntuser.dat hives.
+
See: [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf]
  
===Commercial===
+
=== Registry ===
* [http://www.abexo.com/free-registry-cleaner.htm Abexo Free Regisry Cleaner]
+
* [http://www.auslogics.com/registry-defrag Auslogics Registry Defrag]
+
* [http://lastbit.com/arv/ Alien Registry Viewer]
+
* [http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/index.htm NT Registry Optimizer]
+
* [http://www.registry-clean.net/free-registry-defrag.htm iExpert Software-Free Registry Defrag]
+
* [http://arsenalrecon.com/apps Registry Recon]
+
* [http://paullee.ru/regundel Registry Undelete (russian)]
+
* [http://mitec.cz/wrr.html Windows Registry Recovery]
+
* [http://registrytool.com/ Registry Tool]
+
  
==Bibliography==
+
The [[Windows Registry]] is a database of keys and values that provides a wealth of information to forensic [[investigator]]s.
* [http://www.dfrws.org/2009/proceedings/p69-zhu.pdf Using ShellBag Information to Reconstruct User Activities], by Yuandong Zhu*, Pavel Gladyshev, Joshua James, DFRWS 2009
+
* [http://www.dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p33-morgan.pdf Recovering Deleted Data From the Windows Registry] and [http://www.dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p33-morgan_pres.pdf slides], by [[Timothy Morgan]], DFRWS 2008
+
* [http://dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p26-dolan-gavitt.pdf Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry in Memory] and [http://dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p26-dolan-gavitt_pres.pdf slides], by Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, DFRWS 2008
+
* [http://eptuners.com/forensics/A%20Windows%20Registry%20Quick%20Reference.pdf A Windows Registry Quick-Reference], by Derrick Farmer, Burlington, VT.
+
  
* [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7CW4-4GX1J3B-1&_user=3326500&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000060280&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=3326500&md5=ab887593e7be6d5257696707886978f1 The Windows Registry as a forensic resource], Digital Investigation, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2005, Pages 201--205.
+
=== Thumbs.db Files ===
  
* [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-windows-registry.pdf Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry], by Lih Wern Wong , School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University
+
[[Thumbs.db]] files can be found on many Windows systems. They contain thumbnails of images or documents and can be of great value for the [[investigator]].
  
* [http://www.sentinelchicken.com/research/registry_format/ The Windows NT Registry File Format], by [[Timothy Morgan]]
+
See also: [[Vista thumbcache]].
  
==See Also==
+
=== Browser Cache ===
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.com/search/label/Registry Windows Incident Response Articles on Registry]
+
* [http://www.answers.com/topic/win-registry Windows Registry Information]
+
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry Wikipedia Article on Windows Registry]
+
[[Category:Bibliographies]]
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* [http://moyix.blogspot.com/search/label/registry Push the Red Button] — Articles on Registry
+
* [http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/win4n6/ Windows Forensics Mailing List]
+
* [http://samba.org/~jelmer/kregedit/ kregedit] - a KDE utility for viewing and editing registry files.
+
* [http://www.bindview.com/Services/RAZOR/Utilities/Unix_Linux/ntreg_readme.cfm ntreg] a file system driver for linux, which understands the NT registry file format.
+
* [http://www.beginningtoseethelight.org/ntsecurity/ Security Accounts Manager]
+
  
* http://www.opensourceforensics.org/tools/unix.html - Open Source Forensic Tools on Brian Carrier's website.
+
=== Browser History ===
 +
 
 +
The [[Web Browser History]] files can contain significant information. The default [[Web browser|web browser]] that comes with Windows is [[Internet Explorer|Microsoft Internet Explorer]] but other common browsers on Windows are [[Apple Safari]], [[Google Chrome]], [[Mozilla Firefox]] and [[Opera]].
 +
 
 +
=== Search ===
 +
See [[Windows Desktop Search]]
 +
 
 +
=== Setup log files (setupapi.log) ===
 +
Windows Vista introduced several setup log files [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927521].
 +
 
 +
=== Sleep/Hibernation ===
 +
 
 +
After (at least) Windows 7 recovers from sleep/hibernation there often is a system time change event (event id 1) in the event logs.
 +
 
 +
=== Users ===
 +
Windows stores a users Security identifiers (SIDs) under the following registry key:
 +
<pre>
 +
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
The %SID%\ProfileImagePath value should also contain the username.
 +
 
 +
== Advanced Format (4KB Sector) Hard Drives ==
 +
Windows XP does not natively handle drives that use the new standard of 4KB sectors. For information on this, see [[Advanced Format]].
 +
 
 +
== %SystemRoot% ==
 +
The actual value of %SystemRoot% is store in the following registry value:
 +
<pre>
 +
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
 +
Value: SystemRoot
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
== See Also ==
 +
* [[Windows Event Log (EVT)]]
 +
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
 +
 
 +
== External Links ==
 +
 
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows Wikipedia: Microsoft Windows]
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927521 Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Vista setup log file locations]
 +
* [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf The Forensic Analysis of the Microsoft Windows Vista Recycle Bin], by [[Mitchell Machor]], 2008
 +
* [http://www.ericjhuber.com/2013/02/microsoft-file-system-tunneling.html?m=1 Microsoft Windows File System Tunneling], by [[Eric Huber]], February 24, 2013
 +
 
 +
=== Under the hood ===
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366533(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: Comparing Memory Allocation Methods], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ntdebugging/archive/2007/06/28/how-windows-starts-up-part-the-second.aspx How Windows Starts Up (Part the second)]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa375142.aspx DLL/COM Redirection]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682586(v=vs.85).aspx Dynamic-Link Library Search Order]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2004/04/28/121871.aspx Image File Execution Options]
 +
 
 +
=== Side-by-side (WinSxS) ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side-by-side_assembly Wikipedia: Side-by-side assembly]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa374224.aspx Assembly Searching Sequence]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2007/06/26/rt-manifest-resource-and-isolation-aware-enabled.aspx RT_MANIFEST resource, and ISOLATION_AWARE_ENABLED]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd408052(v=vs.85).aspx Isolated Applications and Side-by-side Assemblies]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2006/01/24/517221.aspx#531208 DotLocal (.local) Dll Redirection], by [[Junfeng Zhang]], January 24, 2006
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2006/04/14/576314.aspx Diagnosing SideBySide failures], by [[Junfeng Zhang]], April 14, 2006
 +
* [http://omnicognate.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/winsxs/ EVERYTHING YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WINSXS]
 +
 
 +
=== Application Compatibility Database ===
 +
* [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd837644(v=ws.10).aspx Technet: Understanding Shims], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb432182(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: Application Compatibility Database], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
* [http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=39 Secrets of the Application Compatilibity Database (SDB) – Part 1], by [[Alex Ionescu]], May 20, 2007
 +
* [http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=40 Secrets of the Application Compatilibity Database (SDB) – Part 2], by [[Alex Ionescu]], May 21, 2007
 +
* [http://fred.mandiant.com/Whitepaper_ShimCacheParser.pdf Leveraging the Application Compatibility Cache in Forensic Investigations], by [[Andrew Davis]], May 4, 2012
 +
 
 +
=== System Restore (Restore Points) ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Restore Wikipedia: System Restore]
 +
* [http://www.stevebunting.org/udpd4n6/forensics/restorepoints.htm Restore Point Forensics], by [[Steve Bunting]]
 +
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2007/06/restore-point-analysis.html Restore Point Analysis], by [[Harlan Carvey]],  June 16, 2007
 +
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2006/10/restore-point-forensics.html Restore Point Forensics], by [[Harlan Carvey]], October 20, 2006
 +
* [http://www.ediscovery.co.nz/wip/srp.html System Restore Point Log Decoding]
 +
 
 +
=== Windows Firewall ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Firewall Wikipedia: Windows Firewall]
 +
* [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc737845(v=ws.10).aspx#BKMK_log Windows Firewall Tools and Settings]
  
 
=== Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64) ===
 
=== Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64) ===
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa384253(v=vs.85).aspx Registry Keys Affected by WOW64], by [[Microsoft]]
+
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WoW64 Wikipedia: WoW64]
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa384232(VS.85).aspx Registry Redirector], by [[Microsoft]]
+
 
 +
=== Windows XP ===
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q308549 Description of Windows XP System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool]
 +
 
 +
=== Windows 8 ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_8 Features new to Windows 8], Wikipedia
 +
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics Windows 8 Forensics - part 1]
 +
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics-part-2 Windows 8 Forensics - part 2]
 +
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics-part-3 Windows 8 Forensics - part 3]
 +
* [http://propellerheadforensics.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/thomson_windows-8-forensic-guide2.pdf Windows 8 Forensic Guide], by [[Amanda Thomson|Amanda C. F. Thomson]], 2012
 +
* [http://forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=9604/ Forensic Focus: Windows 8 Forensics - A First Look], [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhCooEz9FQs&feature=youtu.be Presentation], [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/windows-8-forensics-josh-brunty.pdf Slides], by [[Josh Brunty]], August 2012
 +
* [http://dfstream.blogspot.ch/2013/03/windows-8-tracking-opened-photos.html Windows 8: Tracking Opened Photos], by [[Jason Hale]], March 8, 2013
  
[[Category:Windows Analysis]]
+
[[Category:Operating systems]]

Revision as of 01:24, 29 April 2013

Information icon.png

Please help to improve this article by expanding it.
Further information might be found on the discussion page.

Windows is a widely-spread operating system from Microsoft.

There are 2 main branches of Windows:

  • the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
  • the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista

Features

  • Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [1]

Introduced in Windows NT

Introduced in Windows 2000

Introduced in Windows XP

  • Prefetch
  • System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME

SP2

  • Windows Firewall

Introduced in Windows 2003 (Server)

  • Volume Shadow Copies

Introduced in Windows Vista

Introduced in Windows 2008 (Server)

Introduced in Windows 7

Introduced in Windows 8

Forensics

Partition layout

Default partition layout, first partition starts:

  • at sector 63 in Windows 2000, XP, 2003
  • at sector 2048 in Windows Vista, 2008, 7

Filesystems

Recycle Bin

RECYCLER

Used by Windows 2000, XP. Uses INFO2 file.

See: [2]

$RECYCLE.BIN

Used by Windows Vista. Uses $I and $R files.

See: [3]

Registry

The Windows Registry is a database of keys and values that provides a wealth of information to forensic investigators.

Thumbs.db Files

Thumbs.db files can be found on many Windows systems. They contain thumbnails of images or documents and can be of great value for the investigator.

See also: Vista thumbcache.

Browser Cache

Browser History

The Web Browser History files can contain significant information. The default web browser that comes with Windows is Microsoft Internet Explorer but other common browsers on Windows are Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

Search

See Windows Desktop Search

Setup log files (setupapi.log)

Windows Vista introduced several setup log files [4].

Sleep/Hibernation

After (at least) Windows 7 recovers from sleep/hibernation there often is a system time change event (event id 1) in the event logs.

Users

Windows stores a users Security identifiers (SIDs) under the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

The %SID%\ProfileImagePath value should also contain the username.

Advanced Format (4KB Sector) Hard Drives

Windows XP does not natively handle drives that use the new standard of 4KB sectors. For information on this, see Advanced Format.

%SystemRoot%

The actual value of %SystemRoot% is store in the following registry value:

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
Value: SystemRoot

See Also

External Links

Under the hood

Side-by-side (WinSxS)

Application Compatibility Database

System Restore (Restore Points)

Windows Firewall

Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64)

Windows XP

Windows 8