Difference between pages "Windows" and "Executable"

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'''Windows''' is a widely-spread [[operating system]] from [[Microsoft]].
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An executable file is used to perform tasks according to encoded instructions. Executable files are sometimes also referred to as binaries which technically can be considered a sub class of executable files.
  
There are 2 main branches of Windows:
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There are multiple families of executable files:
* the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
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* Scripts; e.g. shell scripts, batch scripts (.bat)
* the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista
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* DOS, Windows executable files (.exe) which can be of various formats like: MZ, PE/COFF, NE
 
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* ELF
== Features ==
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* Mach-O
* Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363785(v=vs.85).aspx]
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=== Introduced in Windows NT ===
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* [[NTFS]]
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=== Introduced in Windows 2000 ===
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=== Introduced in Windows XP ===
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* [[Prefetch]]
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* System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME
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==== SP2 ====
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* Windows Firewall
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=== Introduced in Windows Server 2003 ===
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* Volume Shadow Copies
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=== Introduced in [[Windows Vista]] ===
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* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker]]
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* [[Windows Desktop Search | Search]] integrated in operating system
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* [[ReadyBoost]]
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* [[SuperFetch]]
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* [[NTFS|Transactional NTFS (TxF)]]
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* [[Windows NT Registry File (REGF)|Transactional Registry (TxR)]]
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* [[Windows Shadow Volumes|Shadow Volumes]]; the volume-based storage of the Volume Shadow Copy data
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* $Recycle.Bin
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* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
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* [[User Account Control (UAC)]]
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=== Introduced in Windows Server 2008 ===
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=== Introduced in [[Windows 7]] ===
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* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker To Go]]
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* [[Jump Lists]]
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* [[Sticky Notes]]
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=== Introduced in [[Windows 8]] ===
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* [[Windows File History | File History]]
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* [[Windows Storage Spaces | Storage Spaces]]
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* [[Search Charm History]]
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* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]; Was initially available in the Windows 8 server edition.
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=== Introduced in Windows Server 2012 ===
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* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]
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== Forensics ==
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=== Partition layout ===
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Default partition layout, first partition starts:
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* at sector 63 in Windows 2000, XP, 2003
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* at sector 2048 in Windows Vista, 2008, 7
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=== Filesystems ===
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* [[FAT]], [[FAT|exFAT]]
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* [[NTFS]]
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* [[Resilient File System (ReFS) | ReFS]]
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=== Recycle Bin ===
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==== RECYCLER ====
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Used by Windows 2000, XP.
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Uses INFO2 file.
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See: [http://www.cybersecurityinstitute.biz/downloads/INFO2.pdf]
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==== $RECYCLE.BIN ====
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Used by Windows Vista.
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Uses $I and $R files.
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See: [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf]
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=== Registry ===
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The [[Windows Registry]] is a database of keys and values that provides a wealth of information to forensic [[investigator]]s.
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=== Thumbs.db Files ===
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[[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]].
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See also: [[Vista thumbcache]].
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=== Browser Cache ===
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=== Browser History ===
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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]].
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=== Search ===
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See [[Windows Desktop Search]]
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=== Setup log files (setupapi.log) ===
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Windows Vista introduced several setup log files [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927521].
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=== Sleep/Hibernation ===
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After (at least) Windows 7 recovers from sleep/hibernation there often is a system time change event (event id 1) in the event logs.
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=== Users ===
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Windows stores a users Security identifiers (SIDs) under the following registry key:
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<pre>
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HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
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</pre>
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The %SID%\ProfileImagePath value should also contain the username.
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=== Windows Error Reporting (WER) ===
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As of Vista, for User Access Control (UAC) elevated applications WER reports can be found in:
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<pre>
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C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
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</pre>
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As of Vista, for non-UAC elevated applications (LUA) WER reports can be found in:
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<pre>
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C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
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</pre>
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Corresponding registry key:
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<pre>
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HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting
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</pre>
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== Advanced Format (4KB Sector) Hard Drives ==
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Windows XP does not natively handle drives that use the new standard of 4KB sectors. For information on this, see [[Advanced Format]].
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== %SystemRoot% ==
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The actual value of %SystemRoot% is store in the following registry value:
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<pre>
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Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
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Value: SystemRoot
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</pre>
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== See Also ==
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* [[Windows Event Log (EVT)]]
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* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
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* [[Windows Vista]]
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* [[Windows 7]]
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* [[Windows 8]]
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== External Links ==
 
== External Links ==
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executable Wikipedia: Executable]
 +
* [ftp://ftp.cs.wisc.edu/paradyn/papers/Rosenblum10prov.pdf Extracting Compiler Provenance from Program Binaries], by Nathan E. Rosenblum, Barton P. Miller, Xiaojin Zhu, June 2010
  
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows Wikipedia: Microsoft Windows]
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=== ELF ===
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927521 Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Vista setup log file locations]
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* [http://robinhoksbergen.com/papers/howto_elf.html Manually Creating an ELF Executable], by Robin Hoksbergen
* [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
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* [http://www.ericjhuber.com/2013/02/microsoft-file-system-tunneling.html?m=1 Microsoft Windows File System Tunneling], by [[Eric Huber]], February 24, 2013
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* [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
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=== Malware/Rootkits ===
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* [http://forensicmethods.com/inside-windows-rootkits Inside Windows Rootkits], by [[Chad Tilbury]], September 4, 2013
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=== Program execution ===
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* [http://windowsir.blogspot.com/2013/07/howto-determine-program-execution.html HowTo: Determine Program Execution], by [[Harlan Carvey]], July 06, 2013
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* [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
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* [http://sysforensics.org/2014/01/know-your-windows-processes.html Know your Windows Processes or Die Trying], by [[Patrick Olsen]], January 18, 2014
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=== Tracking removable media ===
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* [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
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=== Under the hood ===
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366533(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: Comparing Memory Allocation Methods], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [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)]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa375142.aspx DLL/COM Redirection]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682586(v=vs.85).aspx Dynamic-Link Library Search Order]
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* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2004/04/28/121871.aspx Image File Execution Options]
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==== MSI ====
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* [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
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* [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
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==== Side-by-side (WinSxS) ====
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side-by-side_assembly Wikipedia: Side-by-side assembly]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa374224.aspx Assembly Searching Sequence]
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* [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]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd408052(v=vs.85).aspx Isolated Applications and Side-by-side Assemblies]
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* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2006/01/24/517221.aspx#531208 DotLocal (.local) Dll Redirection], by [[Junfeng Zhang]], January 24, 2006
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* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2006/04/14/576314.aspx Diagnosing SideBySide failures], by [[Junfeng Zhang]], April 14, 2006
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* [http://omnicognate.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/winsxs/ EVERYTHING YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WINSXS]
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==== Application Experience and Compatibility ====
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* [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd837644(v=ws.10).aspx Technet: Understanding Shims], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb432182(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: Application Compatibility Database], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=39 Secrets of the Application Compatilibity Database (SDB) – Part 1], by [[Alex Ionescu]], May 20, 2007
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* [http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=40 Secrets of the Application Compatilibity Database (SDB) – Part 2], by [[Alex Ionescu]], May 21, 2007
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* [https://dl.mandiant.com/EE/library/Whitepaper_ShimCacheParser.pdf Leveraging the Application Compatibility Cache in Forensic Investigations], by [[Andrew Davis]], May 4, 2012
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* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2013/12/revealing-recentfilecachebcf-file.html Revealing the RecentFileCache.bcf File], by [[Corey Harrell]], December 2, 2013
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* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2013/12/revealing-program-compatibility.html Revealing Program Compatibility Assistant HKCU AppCompatFlags Registry Keys], by [[Corey Harrell]], December 17, 2013
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==== System Restore (Restore Points) ====
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Restore Wikipedia: System Restore]
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* [http://www.stevebunting.org/udpd4n6/forensics/restorepoints.htm Restore Point Forensics], by [[Steve Bunting]]
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* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2007/06/restore-point-analysis.html Restore Point Analysis], by [[Harlan Carvey]],  June 16, 2007
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* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2006/10/restore-point-forensics.html Restore Point Forensics], by [[Harlan Carvey]], October 20, 2006
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* [http://www.ediscovery.co.nz/wip/srp.html System Restore Point Log Decoding]
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==== Crash dumps ====
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* [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
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* [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]]
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==== RPC ====
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* [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
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* [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
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==== User Account Control ====
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=== MZ, PE/COFF ===
* [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
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Executable Wikipedia: Portable Executable]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/gg463119.aspx Microsoft PE and COFF Specification]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ms809762.aspx Peering Inside the PE: A Tour of the Win32 Portable Executable File Format], by Matt Pietrek, March 1994
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* [http://www.microsoft.com/msj/0797/hood0797.aspx Under the Hood], by Matt Pietrek, July 1997
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc301805.aspx An In-Depth Look into the Win32 Portable Executable File Format], by Matt Pietrek, February 2002
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* [https://googledrive.com/host/0B3fBvzttpiiSd1dKQVU0WGVESlU/Executable%20(EXE)%20file%20format.pdf MZ, PE-COFF executable file format (EXE)], by the [[libexe|libexe project]], October 2011
 +
* [http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2013/Oct/157 The Internal of Reloc .text], Full Disclosure Mailing list, October 21, 2013
  
==== Windows Scripting Host ====
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=== DBG, PDB ===
* [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
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_database Wikipedia: Program database]
 +
* [http://www.debuginfo.com/articles/debuginfomatch.html Matching Debug Information], by debuginfo.com
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* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/121366 Description of the .PDB files and of the .DBG files], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff553493(v=vs.85).aspx Public and Private Symbols], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms679293(v=vs.85).aspx DbgHelp Structures], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070915060650/http://www.x86.org/ftp/manuals/tools/sym.pdf Internet Archive: Microsoft Symbol and Type Information], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [http://pierrelib.pagesperso-orange.fr/exec_formats/MS_Symbol_Type_v1.0.pdf Microsoft Symbol and Type Information]
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* [https://code.google.com/p/pdbparse/wiki/StreamDescriptions Stream Descriptions], [https://code.google.com/p/pdbparse/ pdbparse project]
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* [http://sourceforge.net/p/mingw-w64/code/HEAD/tree/experimental/tools/libmsdebug/ libmsdebug], by the [[MinGW|MinGW project]]
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* [http://moyix.blogspot.com/2007/10/types-stream.html The Types Stream], by [[Brendan Dolan-Gavitt]], October 4, 2007
  
==== USB ====
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=== Minidump ===
* [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
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms680378(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: MINIDUMP_HEADER structure]
* [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
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* [https://code.google.com/p/google-breakpad/source/browse/trunk/src/google_breakpad/common/minidump_format.h minidump_format.h], by [[Google]], 2006
 +
* [http://moyix.blogspot.com/2008/05/parsing-windows-minidumps.html Parsing Windows Minidumps], by [[Brendan Dolan-Gavitt]], May 7, 2008
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* [http://web.archive.org/web/20110814041817/http://www.stackhash.com/blog/post/Format-of-a-minidump-(mdmp)-file.aspx Format of a minidump (mdmp) file], Internet Archive: StackHash blog, May 16, 2011
  
==== WMI ====
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=== Mach-O ===
* [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
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mach-O Wikipedia: Mach-O]
  
==== Windows Error Reporting (WER) ====
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=== Packers ===
* [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
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* [http://www.woodmann.com/crackz/Packers.htm Packers & Unpackers]
* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2014/02/exploring-windows-error-reporting.html Exploring Windows Error Reporting], by [[Corey Harrell]], February 24, 2014
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==== Windows Firewall ====
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== Tools ==
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Firewall Wikipedia: Windows Firewall]
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* [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) ====
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=== MZ, PE/COFF ===
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WoW64 Wikipedia: WoW64]
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* [https://code.google.com/p/pefile/ pefile], multi-platform Python module to read and work with Portable Executable (aka PE) files
  
=== Windows XP ===
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=== PDB ===
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q308549 Description of Windows XP System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool]
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* [https://code.google.com/p/pdbparse/ pdbparse], Open-source parser for Microsoft debug symbols (PDB files)
  
[[Category:Operating systems]]
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=== Minidump ===
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315271 Dumpchk.exe], by [[Microsoft]]
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* [http://amnesia.gtisc.gatech.edu/~moyix/minidump.py minidump.py], by [[Brendan Dolan-Gavitt]]

Revision as of 12:11, 18 May 2014

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

An executable file is used to perform tasks according to encoded instructions. Executable files are sometimes also referred to as binaries which technically can be considered a sub class of executable files.

There are multiple families of executable files:

  • Scripts; e.g. shell scripts, batch scripts (.bat)
  • DOS, Windows executable files (.exe) which can be of various formats like: MZ, PE/COFF, NE
  • ELF
  • Mach-O

External Links

ELF

MZ, PE/COFF

DBG, PDB

Minidump

Mach-O

Packers

Tools

MZ, PE/COFF

  • pefile, multi-platform Python module to read and work with Portable Executable (aka PE) files

PDB

  • pdbparse, Open-source parser for Microsoft debug symbols (PDB files)

Minidump