Jump Lists

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Jump Lists are a feature found in Windows 7.

Jump Lists

Jump Lists are a new Windows 7 Taskbar feature that gives the user quick access to recently accessed application files and actions. Jump Lists come in two flavors, automatic (autodest, or *.automaticDestinations-ms) and custom (custdest, or *.customDestinations-ms) files. Autodest files are created by the operating system

Jump Lists are located in the user profile path, in the C:\Users\user\Recent folder. Autodest Jump Lists are located in the automaticDestinations subdirectory, and custdest files are located in the customDestinations subdirectory.

Author's Note: Jump Lists can prove to be considerably valuable during an examination, as the files appear (in limited testing) to persist after the application itself is removed from the system. In one test, iTunes 10 was installed on a 64-bit Windows 7 system, and two audio files (i.e., CyberSpeak podcasts) were launched via iTunes. The Jump Lists persisted after the iTunes was removed from the system.


Path: C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations
Files: *.automaticDestinations-ms

The autodest files follow the MS-CFB compound file binary format specification. Each of the numbered streams within the file follows the MS-SHLLINK binary format specification.

The autodest files also contain a stream named "DestList" which acts as a most recently/frequently used (MRU/MFU) list. This stream consists of a 32-byte header, followed by the various structures that correspond to each of the individual numbered streams. Each of these structures is 114 bytes in size, followed by a variable length Unicode string. The first 114 bytes of the structure contains the following information at the corresponding offsets:

Offset Size Description
0x48 16 bytes NetBIOS name of the system; padded with zeros to 16 bytes
0x58 8 bytes Stream number; corresponds to the numbered stream within the jump list
0x64 8 bytes FILETIME object
0x70 2 bytes Number of Unicode characters in the string that follows


  • Autodest files can be opened in tools such as the MiTec Structured Storage Viewer, and each of the streams individually/manually extracted. Each of the extracted numbered streams can then be viewed via the Windows File Analyzer.
  • Another approach would be to use Mark Woan's JumpLister tool to view the information within the numbered streams of each autodest file.
  • TZWorks LLC Jump List Parser (jmp) also has a tool that can parse both the custom and automatic Destinations type files. For automaticDestinations it associates the MRU/MFU metadata with that of the SHLLINK metadata. There are versions of the tool that can run in Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X.


Path: C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\CustomDestinations
Files: *.customDestinations-ms

Custdest files reportedly follow a structure of sequential MS-SHLLINK binary format segments.


List of Jump List IDs