Difference between pages "Windows Prefetch File Format" and "Windows"

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A Windows Prefetch file consists of one file header and multiple file sections with different content. Not all content has an obvious forensic value.
+
'''Windows''' is a widely-spread [[operating system]] from [[Microsoft]].
  
As far as have been possible to ascertain, there is no public description of the format. The description below has been synthesised from examination
+
There are 2 main branches of Windows:
of multiple prefetch files.
+
* the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
 +
* the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista
  
== Characteristics ==
+
== Features ==
Integer values are stored in little-endian.
+
* Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363785(v=vs.85).aspx]
  
Strings are stored as [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTF-16/UCS-2 UTF-16 little-endian] without a byte-order-mark (BOM).
+
=== Introduced in Windows NT ===
 +
* [[NTFS]]
  
Timestamps are stored as [http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms724284.aspx Windows FILETIME] in UTC.
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2000 ===
  
== File header ==
+
=== Introduced in Windows XP ===
 +
* [[Prefetch]]
 +
* System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME
  
{| class="wikitable"
+
==== SP2 ====
|-
+
* Windows Firewall
! Field
+
! Offset
+
! Length
+
! Type
+
! Notes
+
|-
+
| H1
+
| 0x0000
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Format version (see format version section below)
+
|-
+
| H2
+
| 0x0004
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Signature 'SCCA' (or in hexadecimal representation 0x53 0x43 0x43 0x4)
+
|-
+
| H3
+
| 0x0008
+
| 4
+
| DWORD?
+
| Unknown - Values observed: 0x0F - Windows XP, 0x11 - Windows 7, Windows 8.1
+
|-
+
| H4
+
| 0x000C
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Prefetch file size (or length) (sometimes referred to as End of File (EOF)).
+
|-
+
| H5
+
|0x0010
+
| 60
+
| USTR
+
| The name of the (original) executable as a Unicode (UTF-16 litte-endian string), up to 29 characters and terminated by an end-of-string character (U+0000). This name should correspond with the one in the prefetch file filename.
+
|-
+
| H6
+
|0x004C
+
|4
+
|DWORD
+
|The prefetch hash. This hash value should correspond with the one in the prefetch file filename.
+
|-
+
| H7
+
|0x0050
+
|4
+
|?
+
| Unknown (flags)? Values observed: 0 for almost all prefetch files (XP); 1 for NTOSBOOT-B00DFAAD.pf (XP)
+
|-
+
|}
+
  
=== Format version ===
+
=== Introduced in Windows Server 2003 ===
 +
* Volume Shadow Copies
  
{| class="wikitable"
+
=== Introduced in [[Windows Vista]] ===
|-
+
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker]]
! Value
+
* [[Windows Desktop Search | Search]] integrated in operating system
! Windows version
+
* [[ReadyBoost]]
|-
+
* [[SuperFetch]]
| 17 (0x11)
+
* [[NTFS|Transactional NTFS (TxF)]]
| Windows XP, Windows 2003
+
* [[Windows NT Registry File (REGF)|Transactional Registry (TxR)]]
|-
+
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes|Shadow Volumes]]; the volume-based storage of the Volume Shadow Copy data
| 23 (0x17)
+
* $Recycle.Bin
| Windows Vista, Windows 7
+
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
|-
+
* [[User Account Control (UAC)]]
| 26 (0x1a)
+
| Windows 8.1 (note this could be Windows 8 as well but has not been confirmed)
+
|-
+
|}
+
  
=== File information - version 17 ===
+
=== Introduced in Windows Server 2008 ===
  
The following part of the file header is version dependent. It is sometime considered part of the file header. Below the structure for format version 17.
+
=== Introduced in [[Windows 7]] ===
 +
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker To Go]]
 +
* [[Jump Lists]]
 +
* [[Sticky Notes]]
  
{| class="wikitable"
+
=== Introduced in [[Windows 8]] ===
|-
+
* [[Windows File History | File History]]
! Field
+
* [[Windows Storage Spaces | Storage Spaces]]
! Offset
+
* [[Search Charm History]]
! Length
+
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]; Was initially available in the Windows 8 server edition.
! Type
+
! Notes
+
|-
+
| H8
+
| 0x0054
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| The offset to section A. The offset is relative from the start of the file.
+
|-
+
| H9
+
| 0x0058
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| The number of entries in section A.
+
|-
+
| H10
+
| 0x005C
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| The offset to section B. The offset is relative from the start of the file.
+
|-
+
| H11
+
| 0x0060
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| The number of entries in section B.
+
|-
+
| H12
+
| 0x0064
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| The offset to section C. The offset is relative from the start of the file.
+
|-
+
| H13
+
| 0x0068
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Length of section C.
+
|-
+
| H14
+
| 0x006C
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Offset to section D. The offset is relative from the start of the file.
+
|-
+
| H15
+
| 0x0070
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Unknown ? (Previously opted: Probably the number of entries in the D section header.)
+
|-
+
| H16
+
| 0x0074
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Unknown ? (Previously opted: Length of section D)
+
|-
+
| H17
+
| 0x0078
+
| 8
+
| FTIME
+
| Latest execution time (or run time) of executable (FILETIME)
+
|-
+
| H18
+
| 0x0080
+
| 16
+
| ?
+
| Unknown ? Possibly structured as 4 DWORD. Observed values: /0x00000000 0x00000000 0x00000000 0x00000000/, /0x47868c00 0x00000000 0x47860c00 0x00000000/ (don't exclude the possibility here that this is remnant data)
+
|-
+
| H19
+
| 0x0090
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Execution counter (or run count)
+
|-
+
| H20
+
| 0x0094
+
| 4
+
| DWORD?
+
| Unknown ? Observed values: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (XP)
+
|-
+
|}
+
  
It's worth noting that the name of a carved prefetch file can be restored using the information in field H5 and H6, and its size can be determined by field H4.
+
=== Introduced in Windows Server 2012 ===
 +
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]
  
== Section A ==
+
== Forensics ==
This section contains an array with 20 byte (version 17) or 32 byte (version 23 and 26) entry records.
+
  
The actual format and usage of these entry records is currently not known.
+
=== Partition layout ===
 +
Default partition layout, first partition starts:
 +
* at sector 63 in Windows 2000, XP, 2003
 +
* at sector 2048 in Windows Vista, 2008, 7
  
== Section B ==
+
=== Filesystems ===
This section contains an array with 12 byte (version 17, 23 and 26) entry records.
+
* [[FAT]], [[FAT|exFAT]]
 +
* [[NTFS]]
 +
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS) | ReFS]]
  
The actual format and usage of these entry records is currently not known.
+
=== Recycle Bin ===
 +
The Recycle Bin contains "Recycled" files. Moving files and directories to the Recycle Bin is also referred to as soft deletion, since the files are not removed from the file system.
  
== Section C ==
+
==== RECYCLER ====
This section contains an array of UTF-16 little-endian formatted strings with end-of-string characters (U+0000).
+
The Recycler format is used by Windows 2000, XP.
  
At the end of the section there seems to be alignment padding that can contain remnant values.
+
Per user Recycle Bin folder in the form:
 +
<pre>
 +
C:\Recycler\%SID%\
 +
</pre>
  
== Section D - Volume information (block) ==
+
Which contains:
 +
* INFO2 file; "Recycled" files metadata
  
Section D contains one or more subsections. The number is (most likely) determined by the DWORD at file offset 0x0070. Each subsection refers to directories on an identified volume.
+
==== $RECYCLE.BIN ====
 +
The $Recycle.Bin is used as of Windows Vista.
  
In this section, all offsets are assumed to be counted from the start of the D section.
+
Per user Recycle Bin folder in the form:
 +
<pre>
 +
C:\$Recycle.Bin\%SID%\
 +
</pre>
  
=== Volume information - version 17 ===
+
Which contains:
The following values are version dependent. Below the structure for format version 17.
+
* $I files; "Recycled" file metadata
 +
* $R files; the original data
  
{| class="wikitable"
+
=== Registry ===
|-
+
! Field
+
! Offset
+
! Length
+
! Type
+
! Notes
+
|-
+
| DH1
+
| +0x0000
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Offset to volume string (Unicode, terminated by U+0000)
+
|-
+
| DH2
+
| +0x0004
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Length of volume string (nr of characters, including terminating U+0000)
+
|-
+
| DH3
+
| +0x0008
+
| 8
+
| FILETIME
+
| Volume creation time.
+
|-
+
| DH4
+
| +0x0010
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| Volume serial number of volume indicated by volume string
+
|-
+
| DH5
+
| +0x0014
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| ? Offset to section DHS1
+
|-
+
| DH6
+
| +0x0018
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| ? Length of section DHS1 (in bytes)
+
|-
+
| DH7
+
| +0x001C
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| ? Offset to section DHS2
+
|-
+
| DH8
+
| +0x0020
+
| 4
+
| DWORD
+
| ? Nr of strings in section DHS2
+
|-
+
| ?
+
| +0x0024
+
| ?
+
| ?
+
| ? additional 28 bytes (includes one timestamp?)
+
|}
+
  
If all the executables and libraries referenced in the C section are from one single disk volume, there will be only one section in the D section. If multiple volumes are referenced by section C, section D will contain multiple sections. (A simple way to force this situation is to copy, say, NOTEPAD.EXE to a USB drive, and start it from that volume. The corresponding prefetch file will have one D header referring to, e.g. \DEVICE\HARDDISK1\DP(1)0-0+4 (the USB drive), and one to, e.g. \DEVICE\HARDDISKVOLUME1\ (where the .DLLs and other support files were found).
+
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 API Logs ===
 +
Windows Vista introduced several new [[Setup API Logs|Setup API Log files]].
 +
 
 +
Also see [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 ==
 
== See Also ==
 
* [[Prefetch]]
 
* [[Prefetch]]
 +
* [[Setup API Logs]]
 +
* [[SuperFetch]]
 +
* [[Windows Desktop Search]]
 +
* [[Windows Event Log (EVT)]]
 +
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
 +
* [[Windows Vista]]
 +
* [[Windows 7]]
 +
* [[Windows 8]]
  
 
== External Links ==
 
== External Links ==
* [https://googledrive.com/host/0B3fBvzttpiiSbl9XZGZzQ05hZkU/Windows%20Prefetch%20File%20(PF)%20format.pdf Windows Prefetch File (PF) format], by the [[libssca|libssca project]]
 
  
[[Category:File Formats]]
+
* [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
 +
* [http://www.swiftforensics.com/2014/04/search-history-on-windows-8-and-81.html Search history on Windows 8 and 8.1], by [[Yogesh Khatri's]], April 1, 2014
 +
* [http://www.swiftforensics.com/2014/04/search-history-on-windows-81-part-2.html Search history on windows 8.1 - Part 2], by [[Yogesh Khatri's]], April 21, 2014
 +
 
 +
=== Recycle Bin ===
 +
* [http://www.cybersecurityinstitute.biz/downloads/INFO2.pdf Lesson 3 – The Recycle Bin], by Steve Hailey
 +
* [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf The Forensic Analysis of the Microsoft Windows Vista Recycle Bin], by Mitchell Machor, January 22, 2008
 +
 
 +
=== Malware/Rootkits ===
 +
* [http://forensicmethods.com/inside-windows-rootkits Inside Windows Rootkits], by [[Chad Tilbury]], September 4, 2013
 +
 
 +
=== Program execution ===
 +
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.com/2013/07/howto-determine-program-execution.html HowTo: Determine Program Execution], by [[Harlan Carvey]], July 06, 2013
 +
* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.com/2014/01/it-is-all-about-program-execution.html It Is All About Program Execution], by [[Corey Harrell]], January 14, 2014
 +
* [http://sysforensics.org/2014/01/know-your-windows-processes.html Know your Windows Processes or Die Trying], by [[Patrick Olsen]], January 18, 2014
 +
 
 +
=== 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
 +
 
 +
=== 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]
 +
* [http://www.fireeye.com/resources/pdfs/fireeye-dll-sideloading.pdf DLL Side-loading: A Thorn in the Side of the Anti-Virus Industry], by Amanda Stewart, April 2014
 +
 
 +
==== Application Experience and Compatibility ====
 +
* [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://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=41 Secrets of the Application Compatilibity Database (SDB) – Part 3], by [[Alex Ionescu]], May 26, 2007
 +
* [https://dl.mandiant.com/EE/library/Whitepaper_ShimCacheParser.pdf Leveraging the Application Compatibility Cache in Forensic Investigations], by [[Andrew Davis]], May 4, 2012
 +
* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2013/12/revealing-recentfilecachebcf-file.html Revealing the RecentFileCache.bcf File], by [[Corey Harrell]], December 2, 2013
 +
* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2013/12/revealing-program-compatibility.html Revealing Program Compatibility Assistant HKCU AppCompatFlags Registry Keys], by [[Corey Harrell]], December 17, 2013
 +
 
 +
==== 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]
 +
 
 +
==== 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]]
 +
 
 +
==== RPC ====
 +
* [http://blogs.technet.com/b/networking/archive/2008/10/24/rpc-to-go-v-1.aspx RPC to Go v.1], by Michael Platts, October 24, 2008
 +
* [http://blogs.technet.com/b/networking/archive/2008/12/04/rpc-to-go-v-2.aspx RPC to Go v.2], by Michael Platts, December 4, 2008
 +
 
 +
==== User Account Control (UAC) ====
 +
* [http://blog.strategiccyber.com/2014/03/20/user-account-control-what-penetration-testers-should-know/ User Account Control – What Penetration Testers Should Know], by Raphael Mudge, March 20, 2014
 +
 
 +
==== Windows Event Logs ====
 +
* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2014/03/exploring-program-inventory-event-log.html Exploring the Program Inventory Event Log], by [[Corey Harrell]], March 24, 2014
 +
 
 +
==== Windows Scripting Host ====
 +
* [https://www.mandiant.com/blog/ground-windows-scripting-host-wsh/ Going To Ground with The Windows Scripting Host (WSH)], by Devon Kerr, February 19, 2014
 +
 
 +
==== USB ====
 +
* [https://blogs.sans.org/computer-forensics/files/2009/09/USBKEY-Guide.pdf USBKEY Guide], by [[SANS | SANS Institute - Digital Forensics and Incident Response]], September 2009
 +
* [https://blogs.sans.org/computer-forensics/files/2009/09/USB_Drive_Enclosure-Guide.pdf USB Drive Enclosure Guide], by [[SANS | SANS Institute - Digital Forensics and Incident Response]], September 2009
 +
 
 +
==== WMI ====
 +
* [http://www.trendmicro.com/cloud-content/us/pdfs/security-intelligence/white-papers/wp__understanding-wmi-malware.pdf Understanding WMI Malware], by Julius Dizon, Lennard Galang, and Marvin Cruz, July 2010
 +
 
 +
==== Windows Error Reporting (WER) ====
 +
* [http://blogs.technet.com/b/yongrhee/archive/2010/12/29/drwtsn32-on-windows-vista-windows-server-2008-windows-7-windows-server-2008-r2.aspx Drwtsn32 on Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008/Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2], by Yong Rhee, December 29, 2010
 +
* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2014/02/exploring-windows-error-reporting.html Exploring Windows Error Reporting], by [[Corey Harrell]], February 24, 2014
 +
 
 +
==== 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]
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==== Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64) ====
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WoW64 Wikipedia: WoW64]
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=== Windows XP ===
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* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q308549 Description of Windows XP System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool]
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[[Category:Operating systems]]
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[[Category:Windows]]

Revision as of 15:15, 21 April 2014

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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 Server 2003

  • Volume Shadow Copies

Introduced in Windows Vista

Introduced in Windows Server 2008

Introduced in Windows 7

Introduced in Windows 8

Introduced in Windows Server 2012

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

The Recycle Bin contains "Recycled" files. Moving files and directories to the Recycle Bin is also referred to as soft deletion, since the files are not removed from the file system.

RECYCLER

The Recycler format is used by Windows 2000, XP.

Per user Recycle Bin folder in the form:

C:\Recycler\%SID%\

Which contains:

  • INFO2 file; "Recycled" files metadata

$RECYCLE.BIN

The $Recycle.Bin is used as of Windows Vista.

Per user Recycle Bin folder in the form:

C:\$Recycle.Bin\%SID%\

Which contains:

  • $I files; "Recycled" file metadata
  • $R files; the original data

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 API Logs

Windows Vista introduced several new Setup API Log files.

Also see [2].

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

Recycle Bin

Malware/Rootkits

Program execution

Tracking removable media

Under the hood

MSI

Side-by-side (WinSxS)

Application Experience and Compatibility

System Restore (Restore Points)

Crash dumps

RPC

User Account Control (UAC)

Windows Event Logs

Windows Scripting Host

USB

WMI

Windows Error Reporting (WER)

Windows Firewall

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

Windows XP