Monday, June 7, 2010

Forensics Analysis: Windows Shadow Copies

Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 includes the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) which are leveraged by System Restore and Windows Backup features of the Operating System. By default, this service is turned on and the amount of backups stored depends on the disk size and settings. There is a potential wealth of forensic evidence available within Shadow Copies and even though I am not the first to write about leveraging Shadow Copies for forensic purposes, I thought it was worth writing a quick post here.

Vssadmin is a command line tool that can be used to display current VSS backups. To do so, use the syntax;
vssadmin list shadows /for=c: (where c: is the volume your working with). 
Here is an example of the output;

Make sure to note the Shadow Copy Volume you want to analyze and use it with Mklink to create a symbolic link to the backup. For example;
mklink /d C:\shadow_copy1 \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy1\ (note: the trailing back slash as it is needed). 
 Once created you can browse the symbolic link as you would any folder and restore files of interest by copying them out.

Happy Hunting.

MSDN Blog: A Simple Way to Access Shadow Copies in Vista

Updated June 10, 2011

I came across a great post from @4n6woman on using Log Parser to parse mounted VSC's and preserve the MD5 HAshes and Metadata for easy querying. Thought I would share.

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