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Windows memory analysis

Analysis of physical memory from Windows systems can yield significant information about the target operating system. This field is still very new, but holds great promise.

Data types

Data types typical to the WINAPI are documented by Microsoft in MS-DTYP 1.

Sample Memory Images

Getting started with memory analysis can be difficult without some known images to practice with.

See Also


During the 1990s, it became a best practice to capture a memory image during incident response. At the time, the only way to analyze such memory images was using strings. Although this method could reveal interesting details about the memory image, there was no way to associate what data came from what program, let alone what user.

In the summer 2005 the Digital Forensic Research Workshop published a Memory Analysis Challenge. They distributed two memory images and asked researchers to answer a number of questions about a security incident. The challenge produced two seminal works. The first, by Chris Betz, introduced a tool called memparser. The second, by George Garner and Robert-Jan Mora produced KnTList.

At the Blackhat Federal conference in March 2007, AAron Walters and Nick Petroni released a suite called Volatools. Although it only worked on Windows XP Service Pack 2 images, it was able to produce a number of useful data. Volatools was updated and re-released as Volatility in August 2007, and is now maintained and distributed by Volatile Systems.









Kernel debugging

Volatility Labs