ForensicsWiki will continue to operate as it has before and will not be shutting down. Thank you for your continued support of ForensicsWiki.

Difference between revisions of "Windows Desktop Search"

From ForensicsWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(See Also)
(External Links)
Line 51: Line 51:
* [ Wikipedia list of Desktop search engines]
* [ Wikipedia list of Desktop search engines]
* [ Forensic analysis of the Windows Search database ]
* [ Forensic analysis of the Windows Search database ]
== Tools ==
* [ EseDBViewer]
* [ EseDBViewer]
* [[libesedb]]
[[Category:Desktop Search]]
[[Category:Desktop Search]]

Revision as of 10:40, 29 July 2012

Information icon.png

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

Windows Desktop Search (or Windows Search) is a 'desktop' indexer for Microsoft Windows. In Windows XP, Search 4.0 (or Search XP) was an add-on. However Microsoft integrated Search into Windows Vista as 'part of the package'.

Data location

Windows Search stores its data in:

%Profiles%\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\

Note that '%Profiles%' is dependent on the Windows version.

The search index is stored in a file named Windows.edb. This file is an Extensible Storage Engine Database (EDB).

To access the Windows.edb file (on a live system) the the Windows Search service needs to be deactivated and the necessary access rights are required.


Currently there are not many tools which allow you to 'forensically' analyze the Windows Search database. Some of the available are:

Other useful tools:

  • eseutil (comes with Exchange server) or esentutl (comes with a Windows NT variant which has the ESE engine)


The artifacts in the Windows Search database can be useful in forensic analysis of a desktop Windows system, especially Windows Vista and later. A few applications are:

  • to (partial) recover the content of indexed documents and even email messages stored on a Microsoft Exchange server
  • to indicate the former existence of files
  • time-line analysis

Dirty database

When analyzing Windows Search databases you can come across a 'dirty database'. This is one left in a dirty state. Some of the tools mentioned before fail to open these databases. You might have to resort to repairing the database or use a tools that does not have such limitations.

Obfuscation and compression

Windows Search uses both obfuscation and compression to store some of its data, but according to 'Forensic analysis of the Windows Search database' this is easily circumvented.

See Also

External Links