Difference between revisions of "New Technology File System (NTFS)"

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The '''New Technology File System''' ('''NTFS''') is a [[file system]] developed and introduced by [[Microsoft]] in 1993 with [[Windows]] 3.1. As a replacement for the [[FAT]] file system, it quickly became the standard for [[Windows 2000]], [[Windows XP]] and [[Windows Server 2003]].
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The '''New Technology File System''' ('''NTFS''') is a [[file system]] developed and introduced by [[Microsoft]] in 1995 with [[Windows]] NT. As a replacement for the [[FAT]] file system, it quickly became the standard for [[Windows 2000]], [[Windows XP]] and [[Windows Server 2003]].
  
 
The features of NTFS include:
 
The features of NTFS include:
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NTFS keeps track of lots of time stamps. Each file has a time stamp for 'Create', 'Modify', 'Access', and 'Entry Modified'. The latter refers to the time when the MFT entry itself was modified. These four values are commonly abbreviated as the 'MACE' values. Note that other attributes in each MFT record may also contain timestamps that are of forensic value.
 
NTFS keeps track of lots of time stamps. Each file has a time stamp for 'Create', 'Modify', 'Access', and 'Entry Modified'. The latter refers to the time when the MFT entry itself was modified. These four values are commonly abbreviated as the 'MACE' values. Note that other attributes in each MFT record may also contain timestamps that are of forensic value.
  
Additional information on how NTFS timestamps work when files are moved or copies is available here: [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299648 Microsoft KB 299648]
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Additional information on how NTFS timestamps work when files are moved or copied is available here: [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299648 Microsoft KB 299648]
  
 
=== Changes in Windows Vista  ===
 
=== Changes in Windows Vista  ===
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== Alternate Data Streams ==
 
== Alternate Data Streams ==
The '''NTFS''' file system includes a feature referred to as Alternate Data Streams (ADSs).  This feature has also been referred to as "multiple data streams", "alternative data streams", etc.  ADSs were included in '''NTFS''' in order to support the resource forks employed by the Hierarchal File System (HFS) employed by Macintosh systems.   
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The '''NTFS''' file system includes a feature referred to as Alternate Data Streams (ADSs).  This feature has also been referred to as "multiple data streams", "alternative data streams", etc.  ADSs were included in '''NTFS''' in order to support the resource forks employed by the Hierarchal File System ([[HFS]]) employed by Macintosh systems.   
  
As of [[Windows XP]] SP2, files downloaded via Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Windows Messenger were automatically given specific "zoneid" ADSs.  The Windows Explorer shell would then display a warning when the user attempted to execute these files (by double-clicking them).
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As of [[Windows XP]] SP2, files downloaded via Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Windows Messenger were automatically given specific "zoneid" ADSs.  The [[Windows]] Explorer shell would then display a warning when the user attempted to execute these files (by double-clicking them).
  
 
Sysadmins should be aware that prior to Vista, there are no tools native to the [[Windows]] platform that would allow you to view the existence of arbitrary ADSs.  While ADSs can be created and their contents executed or viewed, it wasn't until the "/r" switch was introduced with the "dir" command on Vista that arbitrary ADSs would be visible.  Prior to this, tools such as [http://www.heysoft.de/Frames/f_sw_la_en.htm LADS] could be used to view the existence of these files.
 
Sysadmins should be aware that prior to Vista, there are no tools native to the [[Windows]] platform that would allow you to view the existence of arbitrary ADSs.  While ADSs can be created and their contents executed or viewed, it wasn't until the "/r" switch was introduced with the "dir" command on Vista that arbitrary ADSs would be visible.  Prior to this, tools such as [http://www.heysoft.de/Frames/f_sw_la_en.htm LADS] could be used to view the existence of these files.
  
Examiners should be aware that most forensic analysis applications, including EnCase and ProDiscover, will display ADSs found in acquired images in red.
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Examiners should be aware that most forensic analysis applications, including [[EnCase]] and ProDiscover, will display ADSs found in acquired images in red.
  
 
== External links ==
 
== External links ==
 
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS Wikipedia: NTFS]
 
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS Wikipedia: NTFS]
 
[[Category:Disk file systems]]
 
[[Category:Disk file systems]]

Revision as of 14:53, 25 October 2008

The New Technology File System (NTFS) is a file system developed and introduced by Microsoft in 1995 with Windows NT. As a replacement for the FAT file system, it quickly became the standard for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The features of NTFS include:

Contents

Time Stamps

NTFS keeps track of lots of time stamps. Each file has a time stamp for 'Create', 'Modify', 'Access', and 'Entry Modified'. The latter refers to the time when the MFT entry itself was modified. These four values are commonly abbreviated as the 'MACE' values. Note that other attributes in each MFT record may also contain timestamps that are of forensic value.

Additional information on how NTFS timestamps work when files are moved or copied is available here: Microsoft KB 299648

Changes in Windows Vista

In Windows Vista, NTFS no longer tracks the Last Access time of a file by default. This feature can be enabled by the user if desired via setting the registry key 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem\NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate' to '0'.

Alternate Data Streams

The NTFS file system includes a feature referred to as Alternate Data Streams (ADSs). This feature has also been referred to as "multiple data streams", "alternative data streams", etc. ADSs were included in NTFS in order to support the resource forks employed by the Hierarchal File System (HFS) employed by Macintosh systems.

As of Windows XP SP2, files downloaded via Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Windows Messenger were automatically given specific "zoneid" ADSs. The Windows Explorer shell would then display a warning when the user attempted to execute these files (by double-clicking them).

Sysadmins should be aware that prior to Vista, there are no tools native to the Windows platform that would allow you to view the existence of arbitrary ADSs. While ADSs can be created and their contents executed or viewed, it wasn't until the "/r" switch was introduced with the "dir" command on Vista that arbitrary ADSs would be visible. Prior to this, tools such as LADS could be used to view the existence of these files.

Examiners should be aware that most forensic analysis applications, including EnCase and ProDiscover, will display ADSs found in acquired images in red.

External links