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Difference between revisions of "Windows Registry"

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Basically the following Registry hives are stored in the corresponding files:
 
Basically the following Registry hives are stored in the corresponding files:
 
* HKEY_USERS: \Documents and Setting\User Profile\NTUSER.DAT
 
* HKEY_USERS: \Documents and Setting\User Profile\NTUSER.DAT
* HKEY_USERS/DEFAULT: \Windows\system32\config\default
+
* HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT: C:\Windows\system32\config\default
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SAM: \Windows\system32\config\SAM
+
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM: C:\Windows\system32\config\SAM
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SECURITY: \Windows\system32\config\SECURITY
+
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY: C:\Windows\system32\config\SECURITY
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE: \Windows\system32\config\software
+
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE: C:\Windows\system32\config\software
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM: \Windows\system32\config\system
+
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM: C:\Windows\system32\config\system
  
 
===Windows 98/ME===
 
===Windows 98/ME===
Line 17: Line 17:
 
* \Windows\system.dat
 
* \Windows\system.dat
 
* \Windows\profiles\user profile\user.dat
 
* \Windows\profiles\user profile\user.dat
 +
 +
== Keys ==
 +
 +
=== Run/RunOnce ===
 +
System-wide:
 +
<pre>
 +
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
 +
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
 +
</pre>
 +
 +
Per user:
 +
<pre>
 +
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
 +
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
 +
</pre>
  
 
== Special cases ==
 
== Special cases ==
The Windows Registry has several special case scenarios, mainly concerning key and value name, that most tools fail to account for:
+
The Windows Registry has several special case scenarios, mainly concerning key and value name, that are easy to fail to account for:
 
* special characters key and value names
 
* special characters key and value names
 
* duplicate key and value names
 
* duplicate key and value names
Line 43: Line 58:
 
Value: SchemaFile
 
Value: SchemaFile
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
 +
 +
=== codepaged ASCII strings ===
 +
 +
Value with name "ëigenaardig" created on Windows XP codepage 1252.
 +
 +
<pre>
 +
value key data:
 +
00000000: 76 6b 0b 00 46 00 00 00  20 98 1a 00 01 00 00 00  vk..F...  .......
 +
00000010: 01 00 69 6e eb 69 67 65  6e 61 61 72 64 69 67 00  ..in.ige naardig.
 +
00000020: 55 4e 49 43                                        UNIC
 +
 +
value key signature                    : vk
 +
value key value name size              : 11
 +
value key data size                    : 0x00000046 (70)
 +
value key data offset                  : 0x001a9820
 +
value key data type                    : 1 (REG_SZ) String
 +
value key flags                        : 0x0001
 +
        Value name is an ASCII string
 +
 +
value key unknown1                      : 0x6e69 (28265)
 +
value key value name                    : ëigenaardig
 +
value key value name hash              : 0xb78835ee
 +
value key padding:
 +
00000000: 00 55 4e 49 43                                    .UNIC
 +
</pre>
 +
 +
As you can see the name is stored in extended ASCII (ANSI) using codepage 1252.
  
 
==Tools==
 
==Tools==
 
===Open Source===
 
===Open Source===
* [https://www.pinguin.lu/index.php Forensic Registry EDitor (fred)] - "Forensic Registry EDitor (fred) is a cross-platform M$ registry hive editor" by Gillen Dan
+
* [https://www.pinguin.lu/index.php Forensic Registry EDitor (fred)] - "Forensic Registry EDitor (fred) is a cross-platform M$ registry hive editor" by [[Daniel Gillen]]
 
* [http://projects.sentinelchicken.org/data/doc/reglookup/regfi/ libregfi] - The regfi library is a read-only NT registry library which serves as the main engine behind the reglookup tool
 
* [http://projects.sentinelchicken.org/data/doc/reglookup/regfi/ libregfi] - The regfi library is a read-only NT registry library which serves as the main engine behind the reglookup tool
 
* [http://projects.sentinelchicken.org/reglookup/ reglookup] — "small command line utility for reading and querying Windows NT-based registries."
 
* [http://projects.sentinelchicken.org/reglookup/ reglookup] — "small command line utility for reading and querying Windows NT-based registries."
 
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/regviewer/ regviewer] — a tool for looking at the registry.
 
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/regviewer/ regviewer] — a tool for looking at the registry.
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.com/ RegRipper] — "the fastest, easiest, and best tool for registry analysis in forensics examinations."
+
* [[Regripper|RegRipper]] — "the fastest, easiest, and best tool for registry analysis in forensics examinations."
 
* [http://search.cpan.org/~jmacfarla/Parse-Win32Registry-0.51/lib/Parse/Win32Registry.pm Parse::Win32Registry] Perl module.
 
* [http://search.cpan.org/~jmacfarla/Parse-Win32Registry-0.51/lib/Parse/Win32Registry.pm Parse::Win32Registry] Perl module.
 
* [http://www.williballenthin.com/registry/index.html python-registry] Python module.
 
* [http://www.williballenthin.com/registry/index.html python-registry] Python module.
* [http://code.google.com/p/registrydecoder/ Registry Decoder] offline analysis component, by Andrew Case
+
* [http://code.google.com/p/registrydecoder/ Registry Decoder] offline analysis component, by [[Andrew Case]]
* [http://code.google.com/p/registrydecoder/ RegDecoderLive] live hive acquisition component, by Andrew Case
+
* [http://code.google.com/p/registrydecoder/ RegDecoderLive] live hive acquisition component, by [[Andrew Case]]
 
* [[libregf]] - Library and tools to access the Windows NT Registry File (REGF) format
 
* [[libregf]] - Library and tools to access the Windows NT Registry File (REGF) format
 +
* [[Registryasxml]] - Tool to import/export registry sections as XML
 +
* [http://samba.org/~jelmer/kregedit/ kregedit] - a KDE utility for viewing and editing registry files.
 +
* [http://www.bindview.com/Services/RAZOR/Utilities/Unix_Linux/ntreg_readme.cfm ntreg] a file system driver for linux, which understands the NT registry file format.
  
 
===Freeware===
 
===Freeware===
Line 70: Line 115:
 
* [http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/index.htm NT Registry Optimizer]
 
* [http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/index.htm NT Registry Optimizer]
 
* [http://www.registry-clean.net/free-registry-defrag.htm iExpert Software-Free Registry Defrag]
 
* [http://www.registry-clean.net/free-registry-defrag.htm iExpert Software-Free Registry Defrag]
 +
* [http://arsenalrecon.com/apps Registry Recon]
 
* [http://paullee.ru/regundel Registry Undelete (russian)]
 
* [http://paullee.ru/regundel Registry Undelete (russian)]
 
* [http://mitec.cz/wrr.html Windows Registry Recovery]
 
* [http://mitec.cz/wrr.html Windows Registry Recovery]
Line 75: Line 121:
  
 
==Bibliography==
 
==Bibliography==
* [http://www.dfrws.org/2009/proceedings/p69-zhu.pdf Using ShellBag Information to Reconstruct User Activities.], Yuandong Zhu*, Pavel Gladyshev, Joshua James, DFRWS 2009
+
* [http://www.dfrws.org/2009/proceedings/p69-zhu.pdf Using ShellBag Information to Reconstruct User Activities], by Yuandong Zhu*, Pavel Gladyshev, Joshua James, DFRWS 2009
* Recovering Deleted Data From the Windows Registry. Timothy Morgan, DFRWS 2008 [http://www.dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p33-morgan.pdf [paper]] [http://www.dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p33-morgan_pres.pdf [slides]]
+
* [http://www.sentinelchicken.com/research/registry_format/ The Windows NT Registry File Format], by [[Timothy Morgan]], June 9, 2009
* [http://www.pkdavies.co.uk/documents/Computer_Forensics/registry_examination.pdf Registry Examination, by Paul Davies]
+
* [http://amnesia.gtisc.gatech.edu/~moyix/suzibandit.ltd.uk/MSc/ The Internal Structure of the Windows Registry], by Peter Norris, February 2009
 
+
* [http://www.dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p33-morgan.pdf Recovering Deleted Data From the Windows Registry] and [http://www.dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p33-morgan_pres.pdf slides], by [[Timothy Morgan]], DFRWS 2008
* [http://dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p26-dolan-gavitt.pdf Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry in Memory], Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, DFRWS 2008  [http://dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p26-dolan-gavitt_pres.pdf [slides]]
+
* [http://dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p26-dolan-gavitt.pdf Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry in Memory] and [http://dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p26-dolan-gavitt_pres.pdf slides], by Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, DFRWS 2008
* [http://www.pkdavies.co.uk/downloads/registry_examination.pdf Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry], Peter Davies, Computer Forensics: Coursework 2 (student paper)
+
* [http://www.sentinelchicken.com/data/JolantaThomassenDISSERTATION.pdf Forensic analysis of unallocated space in Windows Registry Hive files], by Jolanta Thomassen, March 11, 2008
* [http://eptuners.com/forensics/A%20Windows%20Registry%20Quick%20Reference.pdf A Windows Registry Quick-Reference], Derrick Farmer, Burlington, VT.
+
 
+
 
* [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7CW4-4GX1J3B-1&_user=3326500&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000060280&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=3326500&md5=ab887593e7be6d5257696707886978f1 The Windows Registry as a forensic resource], Digital Investigation, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2005, Pages 201--205.
 
* [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7CW4-4GX1J3B-1&_user=3326500&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000060280&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=3326500&md5=ab887593e7be6d5257696707886978f1 The Windows Registry as a forensic resource], Digital Investigation, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2005, Pages 201--205.
  
* [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-windows-registry.pdf Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry], Lih Wern Wong , School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University
+
=== Undated ===
 
+
* [http://eptuners.com/forensics/A%20Windows%20Registry%20Quick%20Reference.pdf A Windows Registry Quick Reference: For the Everyday Examiner], by Derrick Farmer, Burlington, VT.
* [http://www.sentinelchicken.com/research/registry_format/ The Windows NT Registry File Format], Timothy D. Morgan
+
* [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-windows-registry.pdf Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry], by Lih Wern Wong , School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University
  
 
==See Also==
 
==See Also==
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry Wikipedia: Windows Registry]
 
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.com/search/label/Registry Windows Incident Response Articles on Registry]
 
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.com/search/label/Registry Windows Incident Response Articles on Registry]
 
* [http://www.answers.com/topic/win-registry Windows Registry Information]
 
* [http://www.answers.com/topic/win-registry Windows Registry Information]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry Wikipedia Article on Windows Registry]
 
[[Category:Bibliographies]]
 
 
* [http://moyix.blogspot.com/search/label/registry Push the Red Button] — Articles on Registry
 
* [http://moyix.blogspot.com/search/label/registry Push the Red Button] — Articles on Registry
* [http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/win4n6/ Windows Forensics Mailing List]
 
* [http://samba.org/~jelmer/kregedit/ kregedit] - a KDE utility for viewing and editing registry files.
 
* [http://www.bindview.com/Services/RAZOR/Utilities/Unix_Linux/ntreg_readme.cfm ntreg] a file system driver for linux, which understands the NT registry file format.
 
 
* [http://www.beginningtoseethelight.org/ntsecurity/ Security Accounts Manager]
 
* [http://www.beginningtoseethelight.org/ntsecurity/ Security Accounts Manager]
 +
* [http://windowsxp.mvps.org/RegistryMRU.htm Registry MRU Locations]
  
* http://www.opensourceforensics.org/tools/unix.html - Open Source Forensic Tools on Brian Carrier's website.
+
=== Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64) ===
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa384253(v=vs.85).aspx Registry Keys Affected by WOW64], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa384232(VS.85).aspx Registry Redirector], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Windows Analysis]]
 +
[[Category:Bibliographies]]

Revision as of 05:46, 20 July 2013

File Locations

The Windows Registry is stored in multiple files.

Windows NT 4

In Windows NT 4 (and later) the Registry is stored in the Windows NT Registry File (REGF) format.

Basically the following Registry hives are stored in the corresponding files:

  • HKEY_USERS: \Documents and Setting\User Profile\NTUSER.DAT
  • HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT: C:\Windows\system32\config\default
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM: C:\Windows\system32\config\SAM
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY: C:\Windows\system32\config\SECURITY
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE: C:\Windows\system32\config\software
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM: C:\Windows\system32\config\system

Windows 98/ME

  • \Windows\user.dat
  • \Windows\system.dat
  • \Windows\profiles\user profile\user.dat

Keys

Run/RunOnce

System-wide:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

Per user:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

Special cases

The Windows Registry has several special case scenarios, mainly concerning key and value name, that are easy to fail to account for:

  • special characters key and value names
  • duplicate key and value names
  • the names when stored in extended ASCII (ANSI string) use a codepage that is dependent on the system settings

special characters key and value names

Both key and values names are case insensitive. The \ character is used as the key separator. Note that the \ character can be used in value names. The / character is used in both key and value names. Some examples of which are:

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Services\NetBT\Parameters\
Value: Size/Small/Medium/Large
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Terminal Server\VIDEO\disc\
Value: \Device\Video0
Key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\services\xmlprov\Parameters\SchemaGroups\User\http://www.microsoft.com/provisioning/eaptlsuserpropertiesv1\
Value: SchemaFile

codepaged ASCII strings

Value with name "ëigenaardig" created on Windows XP codepage 1252.

value key data:
00000000: 76 6b 0b 00 46 00 00 00  20 98 1a 00 01 00 00 00   vk..F...  .......
00000010: 01 00 69 6e eb 69 67 65  6e 61 61 72 64 69 67 00   ..in.ige naardig.
00000020: 55 4e 49 43                                        UNIC

value key signature                     : vk
value key value name size               : 11
value key data size                     : 0x00000046 (70)
value key data offset                   : 0x001a9820
value key data type                     : 1 (REG_SZ) String
value key flags                         : 0x0001
        Value name is an ASCII string

value key unknown1                      : 0x6e69 (28265)
value key value name                    : ëigenaardig
value key value name hash               : 0xb78835ee
value key padding:
00000000: 00 55 4e 49 43                                     .UNIC

As you can see the name is stored in extended ASCII (ANSI) using codepage 1252.

Tools

Open Source

Freeware

  • cafae - Computer Account Forensic Artifact Extractor. Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X to parse ntuser.dat hives.

Commercial

Bibliography

Undated

See Also

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