Virtual machine

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Creating a VM instance file from a forensic image

There are a number of ways to convert forensic image to a VM instance. At present, this article provides a series of tools that can convert images to VMDK files.

Creating a VMDK file from a forensic image

Linux tools as included in SIFT

Via the SIFT workstation (free), use the following steps: a terminal window
2.type in sudo su
3.type mkdir /mnt/ewf1
4.type (Encase Image file path) /mnt/ewf1
5.type in qemu-img convert /mnt/ewf1/(encase image file name) -O vmdk (give_a_name).vmdk

Paladin 4

- Paladin 4 (free) can convert DD and E01 images to VDMK as well.

Live View

Live View (opensource) is reported as not reliable, but it does work with some images.


use EnCase (Commercial) to mount the E01 image as an emulated disk (you need to have the Physical Disk Emulator (“PDE”) module installed), then VMware to create virtual machine from the emulated physical disk. Guidance software has a good guide on how to do this in their support portal.

Note – EnCase v7 hasn't been proven to support this, just EnCase 6

VFC - Virtual Forensic Computing

VFC (Commercial) is reportedly very good, but troubles with booting Windows 2003 servers have been reported. It's a little pricey ($1350 for a Corp license) but per one user it WORKS the vast majority of the time and the developer provides excellent support.

Using the VMDK file

Once you have the VMDK file, you can create a virtual machine in Virtualbox or VMware Workstation and use the VMDK as an existing hard disk for the virtual machine. I prefer to use VMware Workstation because it has a non persistent mode which allows you to write changes to a cache file rather than the forensic image itself thus maintaining integrity.

External Links