NTUser.Dat Hive File Analysis

This course demonstrates an in-depth analysis of the artifacts contained within the NTUser.Dat hive file.

10 videos  //  146 minutes of training

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Course description

This course will show examiners how to locate programs and applications, mounted volumes and connected devices specific to a user, user search terms and typed URLs. Examiners will also be able to locate and identify opened and saved files, typed URLs, user-specific programs set to run at startup and application installation and execution. Examiners will be able to locate, examine and interpret MRU lists (Most Recently Used), UserAssist, user system settings and recently used files.

Course syllabus

Recent DocsDuration: 16:53

User-specific recently accessed or modified documents. An overall view and a view of things broken down by file type.

Typed URLsDuration: 11:11

A look at URLs (web addresses) typed into the Internet Explorer browser address bar, including addresses obtained through or completed as a result of the autocomplete function or from history.

UserAssistDuration: 39:32

In this video, explore UserAssist and the programs frequently accessed by a specific user that populate the Windows start menu. A function that is built into the system for user ease of access.

Recent AppsDuration: 15:34

Recent apps are applications run by a specific user and files accessed using those applications. This is Windows 10 only, and it contains a date and time of application execution.

Run and Run OnceDuration: 7:27

Run and Run Once programs are set to run at startup with little or no interaction from the user. This can be a place to look for malware.

ComDIg32 SubkeyDuration: 13:17

The ComDlg32 subkey tracks applications globally. It has a most recently used order, starting at 0. There will be a date and time stamp for the most recent entry.

Run MRU SubkeyDuration: 9:41

This key maintains a list of all the values typed into the Run box on the Start menu.

Typed Paths SubkeyDuration: 8:27

Look at typed paths, or file paths typed into the Windows Explorer address box by a specific user.

Microsoft Office Applications and the MRU SubkeyDuration: 8:38

Let's look at the MRU subkey. Microsoft Office applications have a MRU list and the list is specific to the particular application, like Word, Excel or PowerPoint. This subkey tracks recently accessed files opened with a specific application. There is also a file time and a full path to the file or directory that was accessed. This path includes the file name.

Windows Search Function and the Wordwheel QueryDuration: 14:57

Explore the wordwheel query key, which tracks and maintains a list of user-specific key word searches typed into the Windows search bar and the Windows Explorer search box.

Meet the author

Denise Duffy


In addition to being an Infosec instructor, Denise Duffy teaches computer forensics worldwide to European law enforcement through the European Anti-Fraud Office. During her 25-year career at the Middletown Police Department, Denise underwent extensive training in specialized computer and mobile device forensics, including widespread access data courses, multiple IACIS trainings, U.S. Secret Service Training at the National Computer Forensics Institute, BlackBag Technologies Training, many National White Collar Crime (NW3C) courses, an X-Ways online course and considerable Internet Crimes Against Children Training (ICAC) courses.

Denise currently holds the following certifications: CFCE (Certified Forensic Computer Examiner), CCFE (Certified Computer Forensics Examiner), CMFE (Certified Mobile Forensics Examiner) and CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker). She is most proud of her two sons who joined the U.S. Military, as Denise is a Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran herself.

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