Difference between revisions of "Windows Desktop Search"

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(Dirty database)
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Desktop_Search Wikipedia entry on Windows Desktop Search]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Desktop_Search Wikipedia entry on Windows Desktop Search]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines#Desktop_search_engines Wikipedia list of Desktop search engines]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines#Desktop_search_engines Wikipedia list of Desktop search engines]
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/libesedb/files/Documentation/ESEDB%20Forensics/Forensic%20analysis%20of%20the%20Windows%20Search%20database.pdf/download Forensic analysis of the Windows Search database ]
* [http://code.google.com/p/libesedb/downloads/detail?name=Forensic%20analysis%20of%20the%20Windows%20Search%20database.pdf Forensic analysis of the Windows Search database]
== Tools ==
== Tools ==

Revision as of 06:09, 26 August 2012

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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.


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 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