Difference between pages "Tools:Visualization" and "Windows"

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(Introduced in Windows Vista)
 
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Although not strictly for forensic purposes, '''visualization tools''' such as the ones discussed here can be very useful for visualizing large data sets. As forensic practitioners need to process more and more data, it is likely that some of the techniques implemented by these tools will need to be adopted.
+
{{Expand}}
  
==Programming Languages and Developer Toolkits==
+
'''Windows''' is a widely-spread [[operating system]] from [[Microsoft]].
If you are building forensic tools, you probably want to start with one of these:
+
; Java and Swing
+
: Advantage: Portable and lots of good documentation out there.
+
: Disadvantage: Programs are a bit verbose, and only offers about 1/2 the performance of C
+
  
; Python with tkinter
+
There are 2 main branches of Windows:
: Advantage: Portable
+
* the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
: Disadvantage: Python is one of the slowest modern languages around.
+
* the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista
  
; Python with wxWidgets
+
== Features ==
: Advantage: Portable and a better development environment than tkiner
+
* Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363785(v=vs.85).aspx]
: Disadvantage: wxWidgets is not installed by default, so you'll need to get it installed. Not as well documented as Tkinter
+
  
; [http://processing.org processing.org]
+
=== Introduced in Windows NT ===
: Advantage: Programming language specifically developed for visualization; compiles to java byte code
+
* [[NTFS]]
: Disadvantage: Very oddball
+
  
; JavaFX - Java's version of Flash
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2000 ===
  
; Flash
+
=== Introduced in Windows XP ===
 +
* [[Prefetch]]
 +
* System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME
  
== Applications ==
+
==== SP2 ====
Most of these are scriptable.
+
* Windows Firewall
===Open Source===
+
====Data Plotting====
+
* http://ploticus.sourceforge.net
+
* http://www.gnuplot.info/
+
====Graph and Network Visualization====
+
* [http://www.graphviz.org/ Graphviz] - Originally developed by the [http://public.research.att.com/areas/visualization/ AT&T Information Visualization Gorup], designed for drawing connected graphs of nodes and edges. Neato is a similar system but does layout based on a spring model. Can produce output as [[PostScript]], [[PNG]], [[GIF]], or as an annotated graph file with the locations of all of the objects — ideal for drawing in a GUI. Runs from the command line on [[Unix]], [[Windows]] and [[Mac]], although there is also a [http://www.pixelglow.com/graphviz/ MacOS GUI version].
+
* [http://graphexploration.cond.org/ Guess: The Graph Exploration System] - Originally developed at HP, this is a large Jython/Java-based system that you can use for building your own applications. Distributed under GPL.
+
* [http://www.codeplex.com/nodexl NodeXL] - Free/open excel add-in extends the spreadsheet with network metrics and visualizations
+
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/ivc/ InfoVis Cyberinfrastructure] - Another graph drawing system written in Java.
+
* [http://jung.sourceforge.net/ Java Universal Network/Graph Framework (JUNG)] - Graphing, [[data mining]], [[social network]] analysis, and other stuff.
+
* [http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/krack/krackplot.shtml Krackplot] - "KrackPlot is a program for network visualization designed for social network analysts."
+
* [http://bioinformatics.icmb.utexas.edu/lgl/ Large Graph Layout (LGL)] - A bioinformatics system from University of Texas. They really mean Large.
+
* [http://www.sfu.ca/~richards/Multinet/Pages/multinet.htm MultiNet] - A data analysis package for drawing conventional data and graph data.
+
* [http://www.analytictech.com/netdraw.htm NetDraw] - "a free program written by Steve Borgatti for visualizing both 1-mode and 2-mode social network data."
+
* [http://web.mit.edu/bshi/Public/nv2d/ NetVis 2D] - Another graph visualization and layout tool written in Java.
+
* [http://www.opendx.org/ OpenDX] - Based on [[IBM]]'s Visualization Data Explorer, runs on [[Unix]]/X11/Motif.
+
* [http://vlado.fmf.uni-lj.si/pub/networks/pajek/ Pajek] - Windows program for drawing large networks.
+
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/sonia/ Social Network Image Animator (SoNIA)] - Originally developed at Stanford. Written in Java. Makes movies.
+
* [http://www.informatik.uni-bremen.de/uDrawGraph/en/uDrawGraph/uDrawGraph.html uDrawGraph]
+
* [http://wilma.sourceforge.net/ WilmaScope] - Real-time animations of dynamic graph structures. Written in Java. Sophisticated force model with strings and attraction.
+
* [http://www.caida.org/tools/visualization/walrus/ Walrus] - A 3-d graph network exploration tool. Employs 3D hyperbolic displays and layout based on a user-supplied spanning tree.
+
  
=== Commercial Graphic Applications and Tools===
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2003 (Server) ===
 +
* Volume Shadow Copies
  
* [http://www.aisee.com/ aiSee Graph Layout Software] - Supports 15 layout algorithms, recursive graph nesting, and easy printing. Runs on [[Windows]], [[Linux]], [[Solaris]], [[NetBSD]], and [[MacOS]]. 30-day trial and free registered versions available. Academic pricing available.
+
=== Introduced in Windows Vista ===
* [http://www.geomantics.com/ Geomantics] - Geographical, Visualization and Graphics software. Runs on [[Windows]].
+
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker]]
* [http://www.kylebank.com/ Graphis 2D and 3D graphing software] - Runs on [[Windows]]. Free 30-day evaluation copy available.
+
* [[Windows Desktop Search | Search]] integrated in operating system
* [http://www.openviz.com/ OpenViz] and  [http://www.powerviz.com/ PowerViz] - Both from Advanced Visual Systems, super high-end visualization toolkits. $$$$
+
* [[ReadyBoost]]
* [http://www.tomsawyer.com/ Tom Sawyer Software] Analysis, Visualizaiton, and Layout programs. - Heavy support for drawing graphs. Beautiful gallery. ActiveX, Java, C++ and .NET editions.
+
* [[SuperFetch]]
* [http://www.netminer.com/ NetMiner] - A comprehensive tool for Social Network Analysis. Runs on Windows, with a Linux version under development. $35 for "Express" student version, $250 for "Professional" student version, $950 for "Normal" "Professional" version.
+
* [[NTFS|Transactional NTFS (TxF)]]
* [http://www.analytictech.com/ucinet.htm UCINET] - A comprehensive package for the analysis of social network data as well as other 1-mode and 2-mode data.
+
* [[Windows NT Registry File (REGF)|Transactional Registry (TxR)]]
* [http://www.clarifiednetworks.com/logster Logster] - an ultra-easy software tool to visualize Apache-style logs on a world map.
+
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes|Shadow Volumes]]; the volume-based storage of the Volume Shadow Copy data
* [http://www.clarifiednetworks.com/Clarified%20Analyzer Clarified Analyzer] - Visualizes Network Traffic and allows to drill down from visualizations to the packet level.
+
* $Recycle.Bin
 +
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
 +
* [[User Account Control (UAC)]]
  
== Visualization Toolkits and Libraries ==
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2008 (Server) ===  
===C/C++===
+
* [http://public.kitware.com/VTK/ The Visualization Toolkit] - C++ multi-platform with interfaces available for Tcl/Tk, Java and Python. Professional support provided by [http://www.kitware.com/ Kitware].
+
* [http://kdirstat.sourceforge.net/ KDirStat], an open source implementation of [http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/treemap-history/index.shtml Treemaps] written in C. (Treemaps are a visualization technique developed at the University of Maryland for visualizing large amounts of multi-dimensional data.) You can find a copy of it in [http://www.derlien.com/ Disk Inventory X] and
+
===Java===
+
* [http://csbi.sourceforge.net/index.html Graph Interface Library (GINY)] - Java
+
* [http://hypergraph.sourceforge.net/ HyperGraph] - Hyperbolic trees, in Java. Check out the home page. Try clicking on the logo...
+
* [http://ivtk.sourceforge.net/ InfoViz Toolkit] - Java, originally developed at [[INRA]].
+
* [https://jdigraph.dev.java.net/ Jdigrah] - Java Directed Graphs.
+
* [http://jgrapht.sourceforge.net/ JGraphT] - A Java visualization kit designed to be simple and extensible.
+
* [http://prefuse.sourceforge.net/ Perfuse] - A Java-based toolkit for building interactive information visualization applications
+
* [http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/~billh/visad.html#intro VisAD] - A Java component library for interactive and collaborative visualization.
+
* [http://www.softwaresecretweapons.com/jspwiki/Wiki.jsp?page=LinguineMaps Linguine Maps] - An open-source Java-based system for visualizing software call maps.
+
* [http://zvtm.sourceforge.net/index.html Zoomable Visual Transformation Machine] - Java. Originally started at Xerox Research Europe.
+
* [http://openmap.bbn.com/ OpenMap] A Java-based Geographical Information System framework, from [[BBN]].
+
  
===Unclassified===
+
=== Introduced in Windows 7 ===
* [http://gravisto.fim.uni-passau.de/ Gravisto: Graph Visualization Toolkit] - An editor and toolkit for developing graph visualization algorithms.
+
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker To Go]]
* [http://www.gnu.frb.br:8080/rox Rox Graph Theory Framework] - An open-source plug-in framework for graph theory visualization.
+
* [[Jump Lists]]
* [http://touchgraph.sourceforge.net/ TouchGraph] - Library for building graph-based interfaces.
+
* [[Sticky Notes]]
  
==Journals and Conferences==
+
=== Introduced in Windows 8 ===
* [http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ivs/index.html Information Visualization Journal]
+
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes | File History]]
* [http://rw4.cs.uni-sb.de/~diehl/softvis/seminar/index.php?goto=seminar ACM Symposium on Software Visualization]
+
* [[Windows Storage Spaces | Storage Spaces]]
==Research Groups==
+
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]; server edition will likely be available in Windows Server 2012
===Berkeley===
+
 
* [http://bailando.sims.berkeley.edu/infovis.html Bailando Visualization]
+
== Forensics ==
* [http://vis.berkeley.edu/ Berkeley Visualization Lab]
+
 
===Brown===
+
=== Partition layout ===
* [http://www.cs.brown.edu/people/rt/gd.html Roberto Tamassia's resources on Graph Drawing]
+
Default partition layout, first partition starts:
===Stanford===
+
* at sector 63 in Windows 2000, XP, 2003
* [http://window.stanford.edu/projects/rivet/ Rivet Project] (Visualization complex systems)
+
* at sector 2048 in Windows Vista, 2008, 7
===UNM===
+
 
* [http://www.msi.umn.edu/user_support/scivis/scivis-list.html Scientific Visualization at the Supercomputing Institute]
+
=== Filesystems ===
===Wattenberg===
+
* [[FAT]], [[FAT|exFAT]]
* [http://www.bewitched.com/ Bewitched], a one-man research group.
+
* [[NTFS]]
==See Also==
+
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS) | ReFS]]
* [http://www-static.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/ii/resources/infovis.html GVU's Information Visualization Resources link farm]
+
 
* [http://directory.google.com/Top/Science/Math/Combinatorics/Software/Graph_Drawing/ Google Directory of Graph Drawing Software]
+
=== Recycle Bin ===
* [http://directory.fsf.org/science/visual/ GNU Free Software directory of scientific visualization software]
+
 
* [http://www.manageability.org/blog/stuff/open-source-graph-network-visualization-in-java/view Open Source Graph Network Visualization in Java]
+
==== RECYCLER ====
* [http://www.insna.org/INSNA/soft_inf.html INSNA's web page of Computer Programs for Social Network Analysis]
+
Used by Windows 2000, XP.
 +
Uses INFO2 file.
 +
 
 +
See: [http://www.cybersecurityinstitute.biz/downloads/INFO2.pdf]
 +
 
 +
==== $RECYCLE.BIN ====
 +
Used by Windows Vista.
 +
Uses $I and $R files.
 +
 
 +
See: [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf]
 +
 
 +
=== Registry ===
 +
 
 +
The [[Windows Registry]] is a database of keys and values that provides a wealth of information to forensic [[investigator]]s.
 +
 
 +
=== 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|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.
 +
 
 +
=== Windows Error Reporting (WER) ===
 +
 
 +
As of Vista, for User Access Control (UAC) elevated applications WER reports can be found in:
 +
<pre>
 +
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
As of Vista, for non-UAC elevated applications (LUA) WER reports can be found in:
 +
<pre>
 +
C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
Corresponding registry key:
 +
<pre>
 +
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
== 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
 +
* [http://www.nsa.gov/ia/_files/app/Spotting_the_Adversary_with_Windows_Event_Log_Monitoring.pdf Spotting the Adversary with Windows Event Log Monitoring], by National Security Agency/Central Security Service, February 28, 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]
 +
 
 +
=== MSI ===
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/heaths/archive/2009/02/02/changes-to-package-caching-in-windows-installer-5-0.aspx?Redirected=true Changes to Package Caching in Windows Installer 5.0], by Heath Stewart, February 2, 2009
 +
* [http://blog.didierstevens.com/2013/07/26/msi-the-case-of-the-invalid-signature/ MSI: The Case Of The Invalid Signature], by Didier Stevens, July 26, 2013
 +
 
 +
=== 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]
 +
 
 +
=== Tracking removable media ===
 +
* [http://www.swiftforensics.com/2012/08/tracking-usb-first-insertion-in-event.html Tracking USB First insertion in Event logs], by Yogesh Khatri, August 18, 2012
 +
 
 +
=== Crash dumps ===
 +
* [http://blogs.technet.com/b/yongrhee/archive/2010/12/29/drwtsn32-on-windows-vista-windows-server-2008-windows-7-windows-server-2008-r2.aspx Technet: Drwtsn32 on Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008/Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2], by Yong Rhee, December 29, 2010
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263 MSDN: How to read the small memory dump file that is created by Windows if a crash occurs], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
 
 +
=== ReadyBoost ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost Wikipedia: ReadyBoost]
 +
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2013/04/plugin-emdmgmt.html Plugin: EMDMgmt], by [[Harlan Carvey]], April 05, 2013
 +
* [http://hackingexposedcomputerforensicsblog.blogspot.ch/2013/08/daily-blog-65-understanding-artifacts.html Understanding the artifacts EMDMgmt], by [[David Cowen]], August 27, 2013
 +
 
 +
=== SuperFetch ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista_I/O_technologies#SuperFetch Wikipedia: Windows Vista I/O technologies - SuperFetch]
 +
 
 +
=== 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) ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WoW64 Wikipedia: WoW64]
 +
 
 +
=== 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:Operating systems]]

Revision as of 01:39, 3 September 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.

Windows Error Reporting (WER)

As of Vista, for User Access Control (UAC) elevated applications WER reports can be found in:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\WER\

As of Vista, for non-UAC elevated applications (LUA) WER reports can be found in:

C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\

Corresponding registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting

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

MSI

Side-by-side (WinSxS)

Application Compatibility Database

System Restore (Restore Points)

Tracking removable media

Crash dumps

ReadyBoost

SuperFetch

Windows Firewall

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

Windows XP

Windows 8