Difference between pages "Windows Registry" and "Windows"

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==File Locations==
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{{Expand}}
The Windows Registry is stored in multiple files.
+
  
===Windows NT 4 ===
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'''Windows''' is a widely-spread [[operating system]] from [[Microsoft]].
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:
+
There are 2 main branches of Windows:
* HKEY_USERS: \Documents and Setting\User Profile\NTUSER.DAT
+
* the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
* HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT: C:\Windows\system32\config\default
+
* the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista
* 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===
+
== Features ==
* \Windows\user.dat
+
* Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363785(v=vs.85).aspx]
* \Windows\system.dat
+
* \Windows\profiles\user profile\user.dat
+
  
== Keys ==
+
=== Introduced in Windows NT ===
 +
* [[NTFS]]
  
=== Run/RunOnce ===
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2000 ===  
System-wide:
+
 
<pre>
+
=== Introduced in Windows XP ===
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
+
* [[Prefetch]]
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
+
* System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME
</pre>
+
 
 +
==== SP2 ====
 +
* Windows Firewall
 +
 
 +
=== Introduced in Windows 2003 (Server) ===
 +
* Volume Shadow Copies
 +
 
 +
=== Introduced in Windows Vista ===
 +
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker]]
 +
* [[Windows Desktop Search | Search]] integrated in operating system
 +
* [[ReadyBoost]]
 +
* [[SuperFetch]]
 +
* [[NTFS|Transactional NTFS (TxF)]]
 +
* [[Windows NT Registry File (REGF)|Transactional Registry (TxR)]]
 +
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes|Shadow Volumes]]; the volume-based storage of the Volume Shadow Copy data
 +
* $Recycle.Bin
 +
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
 +
* [[User Account Control (UAC)]]
 +
 
 +
=== Introduced in Windows 2008 (Server) ===
 +
 
 +
=== Introduced in Windows 7 ===
 +
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker To Go]]
 +
* [[Jump Lists]]
 +
* [[Sticky Notes]]
 +
 
 +
=== Introduced in Windows 8 ===
 +
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes | File History]]
 +
* [[Windows Storage Spaces | Storage Spaces]]
 +
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]; server edition will likely be available 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 ===
 +
* [[FAT]], [[FAT|exFAT]]
 +
* [[NTFS]]
 +
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS) | ReFS]]
 +
 
 +
=== Recycle Bin ===
 +
 
 +
==== RECYCLER ====
 +
Used by Windows 2000, XP.
 +
Uses INFO2 file.
 +
 
 +
See: [http://www.cybersecurityinstitute.biz/downloads/INFO2.pdf]
 +
 
 +
==== $RECYCLE.BIN ====
 +
Used by Windows Vista.
 +
Uses $I and $R files.
 +
 
 +
See: [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf]
 +
 
 +
=== Registry ===
 +
 
 +
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 log files (setupapi.log) ===
 +
Windows Vista introduced several setup log files [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.
  
Per user:
+
=== Users ===
 +
Windows stores a users Security identifiers (SIDs) under the following registry key:
 
<pre>
 
<pre>
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
+
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
+
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
  
== Special cases ==
+
The %SID%\ProfileImagePath value should also contain the username.
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 ===
+
=== Windows Error Reporting (WER) ===
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.
+
As of Vista, for User Access Control (UAC) elevated applications WER reports can be found in:
Some examples of which are:
+
 
<pre>
 
<pre>
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Services\NetBT\Parameters\
+
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
Value: Size/Small/Medium/Large
+
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
  
 +
As of Vista, for non-UAC elevated applications (LUA) WER reports can be found in:
 
<pre>
 
<pre>
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Terminal Server\VIDEO\disc\
+
C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
Value: \Device\Video0
+
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
  
 +
Corresponding registry key:
 
<pre>
 
<pre>
Key:
+
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\services\xmlprov\Parameters\SchemaGroups\User\http://www.microsoft.com/provisioning/eaptlsuserpropertiesv1\
+
Value: SchemaFile
+
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
  
=== codepaged ASCII strings ===
+
== 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]].
Value with name "ëigenaardig" created on Windows XP codepage 1252.
+
  
 +
== %SystemRoot% ==
 +
The actual value of %SystemRoot% is store in the following registry value:
 
<pre>
 
<pre>
value key data:
+
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
00000000: 76 6b 0b 00 46 00 00 00  20 98 1a 00 01 00 00 00  vk..F...  .......
+
Value: SystemRoot
00000010: 01 00 69 6e eb 69 67 65  6e 61 61 72 64 69 67 00  ..in.ige naardig.
+
</pre>
00000020: 55 4e 49 43                                        UNIC
+
  
value key signature                    : vk
+
== See Also ==
value key value name size              : 11
+
* [[Windows Event Log (EVT)]]
value key data size                    : 0x00000046 (70)
+
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
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)
+
== External Links ==
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.
+
* [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
  
==Tools==
+
=== Under the hood ===
===Open Source===
+
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366533(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: Comparing Memory Allocation Methods], by [[Microsoft]]
* [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://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://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://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa375142.aspx DLL/COM Redirection]
* [http://projects.sentinelchicken.org/reglookup/ reglookup] — "small command line utility for reading and querying Windows NT-based registries."
+
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682586(v=vs.85).aspx Dynamic-Link Library Search Order]
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/regviewer/ regviewer] — a tool for looking at the registry.
+
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2004/04/28/121871.aspx Image File Execution Options]
* [[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://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/ RegDecoderLive] live hive acquisition component, by [[Andrew Case]]
+
* [[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===
+
=== MSI ===
* [http://www.tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=3 Yet Another Registry Utility (yaru)] Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X. If run in admin mode, allows viewing of registry hives on live system.
+
* [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
  
* [http://www.tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=14 Windows ShellBag Parser] Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X.
+
=== 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://tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=19 ''cafae''] - Computer Account Forensic Artifact Extractor. Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X to parse ntuser.dat hives.
+
=== Application Compatibility Database ===
 +
* [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://fred.mandiant.com/Whitepaper_ShimCacheParser.pdf Leveraging the Application Compatibility Cache in Forensic Investigations], by [[Andrew Davis]], May 4, 2012
  
===Commercial===
+
=== System Restore (Restore Points) ===
* [http://www.abexo.com/free-registry-cleaner.htm Abexo Free Regisry Cleaner]
+
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Restore Wikipedia: System Restore]
* [http://www.auslogics.com/registry-defrag Auslogics Registry Defrag]
+
* [http://www.stevebunting.org/udpd4n6/forensics/restorepoints.htm Restore Point Forensics], by [[Steve Bunting]]
* [http://lastbit.com/arv/ Alien Registry Viewer]
+
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2007/06/restore-point-analysis.html Restore Point Analysis], by [[Harlan Carvey]],  June 16, 2007
* [http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/index.htm NT Registry Optimizer]
+
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2006/10/restore-point-forensics.html Restore Point Forensics], by [[Harlan Carvey]], October 20, 2006
* [http://www.registry-clean.net/free-registry-defrag.htm iExpert Software-Free Registry Defrag]
+
* [http://www.ediscovery.co.nz/wip/srp.html System Restore Point Log Decoding]
* [http://arsenalrecon.com/apps Registry Recon]
+
* [http://paullee.ru/regundel Registry Undelete (russian)]
+
* [http://mitec.cz/wrr.html Windows Registry Recovery]
+
* [http://registrytool.com/ Registry Tool]
+
  
==Bibliography==
+
=== Tracking removable media ===
* [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
+
* [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
* [http://www.sentinelchicken.com/research/registry_format/ The Windows NT Registry File Format], by [[Timothy Morgan]], June 9, 2009
+
* [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] and [http://dfrws.org/2008/proceedings/p26-dolan-gavitt_pres.pdf slides], by Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, DFRWS 2008
+
* [http://www.sentinelchicken.com/data/JolantaThomassenDISSERTATION.pdf Forensic analysis of unallocated space in Windows Registry Hive files], by Jolanta Thomassen, March 11, 2008
+
* [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.
+
  
=== Undated ===
+
=== Crash dumps ===
* [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://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://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
+
* [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]]
  
== External Links ==
+
=== ReadyBoost ===
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry Wikipedia: Windows Registry]
+
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost Wikipedia: ReadyBoost]
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.com/search/label/Registry Windows Incident Response Articles on Registry]
+
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2013/04/plugin-emdmgmt.html Plugin: EMDMgmt], by [[Harlan Carvey]], April 05, 2013
* [http://www.answers.com/topic/win-registry Windows Registry Information]
+
* [http://hackingexposedcomputerforensicsblog.blogspot.ch/2013/08/daily-blog-65-understanding-artifacts.html Understanding the artifacts EMDMgmt], by [[David Cowen]], August 27, 2013
* [http://moyix.blogspot.com/search/label/registry Push the Red Button] — Articles on Registry
+
 
* [http://www.beginningtoseethelight.org/ntsecurity/ Security Accounts Manager]
+
=== Windows Firewall ===
* [http://windowsxp.mvps.org/RegistryMRU.htm Registry MRU Locations]
+
* [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]
  
 
=== Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64) ===
 
=== 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WoW64 Wikipedia: WoW64]
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa384232(VS.85).aspx Registry Redirector], by [[Microsoft]]
+
 
 +
=== Windows XP ===
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q308549 Description of Windows XP System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool]
  
=== User Assist ===
+
=== Windows 8 ===
* [http://blog.didierstevens.com/programs/userassist/ UserAssist], by Didier Stevens
+
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_8 Features new to Windows 8], Wikipedia
* [http://blog.didierstevens.com/2007/07/17/userassist-v230/ UserAssist V2.3.0], by Didier Stevens, Tuesday 17 July 2007
+
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics Windows 8 Forensics - part 1]
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2007/09/more-on-userassist-keys.html More on (the) UserAssist keys], by [[Harlan Carvey]], Monday, September 03, 2007
+
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics-part-2 Windows 8 Forensics - part 2]
* [http://blog.didierstevens.com/2009/01/18/quickpost-windows-7-beta-rot13-replaced-with-vigenere-great-joke/ Windows 7 Beta: ROT13 Replaced With Vigenère? Great Joke!], by Didier Stevens, January 18, 2009
+
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics-part-3 Windows 8 Forensics - part 3]
* [http://forensicsfromthesausagefactory.blogspot.ch/2010/05/prefetch-and-user-assist.html Prefetch and User Assist], by DC174, Thursday, 27 May 2010
+
* [http://propellerheadforensics.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/thomson_windows-8-forensic-guide2.pdf Windows 8 Forensic Guide], by [[Amanda Thomson|Amanda C. F. Thomson]], 2012
* [http://forensicartifacts.com/2010/07/userassist/ Forensic Artifact: UserAssist], July 2010
+
* [http://forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=9604/ Forensic Focus: Windows 8 Forensics - A First Look], [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhCooEz9FQs&feature=youtu.be Presentation], [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/windows-8-forensics-josh-brunty.pdf Slides], by [[Josh Brunty]], August 2012
* [http://sploited.blogspot.ch/2012/12/sans-forensic-artifact-6-userassist.html SANS Forensic Artifact 6: UserAssist], by Sploited, Thursday, 27 December 2012
+
* [http://dfstream.blogspot.ch/2013/03/windows-8-tracking-opened-photos.html Windows 8: Tracking Opened Photos], by [[Jason Hale]], March 8, 2013
* [http://www.4n6k.com/2013/05/userassist-forensics-timelines.html UserAssist Forensics (timelines, interpretation, testing, & more)], by Dan (@4n6k), Tuesday, May 14, 2013
+
* [http://hackingexposedcomputerforensicsblog.blogspot.ch/2013/08/daily-blog-45-understanding-artifacts.html Daily Blog #45: Understanding the artifacts: User Assist], by [[David Cowen]], Wednesday, August 7, 2013
+
  
[[Category:Windows Analysis]]
+
[[Category:Operating systems]]
[[Category:Bibliographies]]
+

Revision as of 00:40, 3 September 2013

Information icon.png

Please help to improve this article by expanding it.
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 2003 (Server)

  • Volume Shadow Copies

Introduced in Windows Vista

Introduced in Windows 2008 (Server)

Introduced in Windows 7

Introduced in Windows 8

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

RECYCLER

Used by Windows 2000, XP. Uses INFO2 file.

See: [2]

$RECYCLE.BIN

Used by Windows Vista. Uses $I and $R files.

See: [3]

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 log files (setupapi.log)

Windows Vista introduced several setup log files [4].

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

Under the hood

MSI

Side-by-side (WinSxS)

Application Compatibility Database

System Restore (Restore Points)

Tracking removable media

Crash dumps

ReadyBoost

Windows Firewall

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

Windows XP

Windows 8