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  X-Ways Software Technology AG

WinHex & X-Ways Forensics Newsletter Archive

(You may sign up for the newsletter here.)

#143a: X-Ways Forensics 18.1 Beta released

Jan 27, 2015

This mailing is to announce various company news and the release of a beta version of X-Ways Forensics 18.1, with many interesting improvements. v18.1 Beta is only available for X-Ways Forensics. Note that all Preview and Beta versions expire after some time! The next newsletter issue will notify you when v18.1 is officially released, and at that time v18.1 will also be available as WinHex (for users with a personal, professional or specialist license) as well as X-Ways Investigator and X-Ways Imager.

Users of X-Ways Forensics please go to http://www.x-ways.net/winhex/license.html for download links, the latest log-in data, details about their update maintenance, etc. Licensed users whose update maintenance has expired can receive upgrade offers from there.

Please be reminded that if you are generally interested in receiving information about service releases, preview and beta versions when they become available, you can find those in the Announcement section of the forum and (with active update maintenance) can subscribe to them, too, by creating a forum profile.

Upcoming Training

Washington DC, Feb 24-Mar 4, 2015 (first delivery of the advanced course in the US!)
London, England, Mar 24-Apr 1, 2015
Indianapolis, IN, Apr 21-24, 2015
Kingston, ON, Apr 27-31, 2015
Ottawa, ON, Jun 1-5, 2015

Please send e-mail if you would like to be kept up to date on classes in the USA, Europe, or Asia/Pacific.

Miscellaneous News/Policy Improvements

  • The value of the Euro is currently very low compared to most other currencies. If you reside outside of the Euro zone, please be advised that now is a great time to buy licenses! Much lower prices than usually. Should you decide to order online, you will see that all major currencies are offered. However, you may want to pay in Euros, as your bank or credit card provider will probably be able to give you a better exchange rate.

  • We have recently updated our loyalty reward program. There are now two tiers, Silver and Gold, instead of just one, and it is easier to reach a status than during all the years before, and there are more very practical benefits to be gained. All details here.

  • For insurance against theft (not merely loss), if you have insured your dongle with a version before v18.0, please uninsure your dongle and immediately re-insure it with v18.0 or later. v18.0 and later allow you to register at least one e-mail address for your dongle when you top it up for the first time. This is potentially important as it will prevent clever thieves from uninsuring a stolen dongle immediately, before you may have a chance to report it as lost/stolen. Only the owners of the registered e-mail addresses can uninsure insured dongles, if any e-mail address is registered.

  • It is now possible to renew non-perpetual (temporary) licenses at a discount at any time after such licenses have expired, by 1 year starting from the renewal date, or already 2 months in advance, by 1 whole year as well counted from the end of the current license term.

  • Temporary licenses are now available on a daily basis as well. Those come in handy if you have a need to run the software on more computers at the same time than usually, such as for training purposes or if you wish to parallelize processing (keyword searches, volume snapshot refinements) with X-Ways Forensics using multiple instances on multiple computers of an unusually large or urgent case.
    Useful and cost-effective also when conducting triage on a large number of computers on site, i.e. where you have to quickly verify using special methods (keyword search, filename filter, skin tone computation on 10% of all pictures, ...) whether or not there is potential evidence on a computer, and depending on the result decide to acquire all its data on site or take the hardware away or just leave the computer alone. 1 day usage refers to a whole calendar day (24 hours) in your time zone. Very cost-effective if you need many additional licenses for just a short time or very rarely.

  • All licensing terminology explained here.

What's new in v18.1?
(please note that most changes affect X-Ways Forensics only)


  • Support for Windows 10 (Technical Preview) as a platform.

  • Improved scaling of various elements of the user interface with high DPI settings in Windows, especially directory browser and case tree icons, center screen buttons, the status bar, tag squares, sort arrows. Several toolbar and menu icons have been revised. In particular, almost all icons are now available in high resolution for high DPI settings. File and directory icons have been revised as well and are now more consistent between directory tree and the directory browser. New icons are now shown to represent pictures, e-mails, and miscellaneous Outlook data. Considerably improved support for larger font sizes in the hex editor display and in character tables. These improvements are important especially for high resolution displays (4K or 5K displays, such as the Retina displays of recent Mac computers) and users with below average eyesight.

  • Now up to 2 alter egos of the same user may open the same case at the same time. Some users might find this useful for parallelized simultaneous volume snapshot refinement of different evidence objects in the same case on the same computer.

  • A new gallery option allows to tag a file by clicking anywhere in the thumbnail, not just in the tag square. That makes it more convenient to tag a large number of files, and is more comfortable than selecting multiple files while holding the Ctrl key.

HTML Reports

  • It is now easier to use CSS (cascading style sheets) for case report format definitions. In addition to defining the parameters for standard HTML elements (which would have been possible previously already), key elements of the report are now assigned "class" parameters to simplify targeting those for formatting purposes. Example style sheets are available to use as a basis for further modification. The report options allow picking or editing a CSS.txt as part of the reporting process.

  • Two new case report options have been added. "Name output files after unique ID" will ensure filenames that are succinct, unique, trackable and reproducible, and will also ensure that if the same files is associated with multiple report tables, it will be copied to the report subdirectory only once. That saves time and drive space. "List each file only once" is a 3-state checkbox. If fully checked, no file will be referenced in the report by more than one report table any more. Note that you can still see all report table associations of a file when it is listed in its first report table in the report, if you output the field "Report table". If the checkbox is half-checked, that means that a file will still be referenced (listed) by multiple report tables in the report if it has multiple associations, but copied only once and linked only from the first report table.

Hash Values

  • Option to fill the block hash database with 1 hash set per file for multiple selected files, unlike previous versions, which created 1 hash set spanning all selected files.

  • Support for Project VIC JSON files format 1.1.

  • Ability to maintain 2 hash values per evidence object. Ability to import 2 hash values from .e01 evidence files produced by X-Ways Forensics or X-Ways Imager.

  • Support for the hash types Tiger128, Tiger160, and Tiger192.

  • Support for Tiger Tree Hashes (TTH). Useful for investigations that involve Direct Connect P2P file sharing programs. Base32 notation for TTH can be enabled in the directory browser options.

Keyword Searches

  • The search term list now offers a "Max. 1" option when multiple search terms are selected that are not forced with a + or excluded with a -. "Max. 1" will list search hits only if they are contained in files that do not contain any of the other selected search terms. For example for 3 search terms, to get the same results in previous versions, you would have had to list search hits for search term A while excluding B and C, then list search hits for B while excluding A and C, and then list search hits for C while excluding A and B, which of course is not as elegant and does not show you all such singular search hits at the same time.

  • The search term list now offers a "NOT NEAR" option (abbreviated NTNR) in addition to "NEAR". With 2 selected search terms, NTNR will ensure that only search hits are listed that are not located in vicinity of any search hits of the respective other search term. With more than 2 selected search terms, the result is currently undefined.

  • Minor fix in the HTML code of search hit exports.

File Type Support

  • File type verification revised.

  • Category order revised (based on typical frequency).

  • New file carving method for Quickbooks .qbw files.

  • .evtx event log processing slightly revised.

  • Support for the updated database format of the Chrome history. Support for Opera browsing history since version 15.0 (the switch to the Chromium engine).

  • Nicer names for files that are extracted from Google Chrome caches.

  • Special carving support for EDB (ESE) log files (.edblog). These log files forensically relevant in that Microsoft stores more and more internal data about EDB databases in these files. The log files record and keep the complete data that is added to a database at a certain point, until it is eventually deleted in the log file. Typically, multiple such log files can be recovered from Windows systems, and search hits in such a log file are more meaningful than in ordinary free space. Metadata is also extracted from these log files.

  • Better support for the CAB file format family, which includes Windows Installer files (less interesting), Windows Cabinet (more interesting, may contain e-mails) and Microsoft OneNote packages (also more interesting).

X-Tensions API

  • Additional information provided to X-Tensions via the XT_Init call.

  • New X-Tension function XWF_GetEvent, which retrieves information about an event in the internal event list of an evidence object.

  • X-Tension functions XWF_GetReportTableInfo and XWF_GetVSProp revised.


  • When imaging media with active compression, X-Ways Forensics now provides immediate visual feedback about the actual amount of data found on the disk. That is possible because disk areas that were never written as well as disk areas that were wiped achieve extremely high compression ratios. The rolling compression ratio is represented during imaging by vertical bars in a separate window. The higher the bar, the lower the "data density" in that area. The compression statistics are also stored in the .e01 evidence file, so that the same chart is also available at any later time from the evidence object properties dialog when you click the "Compression" button.

  • The option "Name output files after unique ID" in Recover/Copy is now available also when recreating complete or partial original paths in the output directory. It is now a 3-state checkbox. If half checked, the files will not be named purely after the unique ID (+extension) any more. Instead, the unique ID will be inserted between base filename and filename extension.

  • Ability to "include" all items in all open evidence objects in the directory browser options dialog of a recursively explored case root window.

  • Specialist | Refine Volume Snapshot now shows the size of extracted metadata and comments in memory and allows to discard extracted metadata if necessary, to reduce main memory requirements. Now supports up to ~4 GB of extracted metadata per volume snapshot (~2 GB before).

Changes of service releases of v18.0:

  • SR-1: An exception error was fixed that could occur when using X-Ways Forensics without a second file hash database.

  • SR-2: Support for some additional TIFF subtypes for PhotoDNA matching.

  • SR-2: Certain unsupported TIFF subtypes are now dealt with more properly in that PhotoDNA matching and potentially also skin color detection are not attempted any more if futile, and a question mark is output instead.

  • SR-2: Fix for certain variants of FAT12.

  • SR-3: Support for relative paths when using the PhotoDNA hash database.

  • SR-3: Extraction of EXIF metadata from .wav files.

  • SR-3: Internal timestamps from JPEG files written by recent Canon camera models are now retrieved with original timezone information and thus can be converted to the display time zone.

  • SR-3: Fixed a possible error that could occur when sorting by the SC%/PhotoDNA column.

  • SR-3: Fixed an instability issue that could occur with corrupt Google Chrome caches.

  • SR-3: Fixed an error that could occur when processing .ieurl files extracted from Google Chrome caches.

  • SR-3: Fixed a crash that could occur with Windows Vista thumbcaches.

  • SR-4: Mass metadata extraction no longer slowed down by the option "Coordinate processing by simultaneous users more carefully".

  • SR-4: Fixed an exception error that could occur when using the registry viewer.

  • SR-4: Automatic report table associations with duplicates did not work any more. That was fixed.

  • SR-5: Fixed an error that could cause crashes with OLE2 files in v18.0 SR-4.

  • SR-5: v18.0 did not always match hash values against the hash database in additional volume snapshot refinement runs. That was fixed.

  • SR-5: Fixed an error in the X-Tension API function XWF_GetRasterImage.

  • SR-6: Prevents certain erroneous events with timestamps in the year 1829.

  • SR-6: Fixed inability of v18.0 to extract senders and recipients from all e-mail headers.

  • SR-6: Fixed inadequate handling of bad sectors in recent versions.

  • SR-6: Fixed an exception error that could occur in the 64-bit edition when processing Google Chrome cache files.

  • SR-7: Fixed an unjustified partial read error in v18.0.

  • SR-7: Fixed potential error about lost comments imported from evidence file containers.

  • SR-7: Fixed a crash that could occur when trying to display very long search hits (e.g. produced with a GREP expression like .*).

  • SR-8: Fixed an exception error that could occur when switching to the search hit list in the Case Root window while sorting in the directory browser was still ongoing.

  • SR-8: Fixed a potential crash with corrupt OLE2 files.

  • SR-8: Fixed dongle errors that a few users experienced when running multiple instances simultaneously.

  • SR-8: Some minor improvements and fixes.

Become a certified user of X-Ways Forensics
Become an X-PERT
(X-Ways Professional in Evidence Recovery Techniques)

Prove your proficiency in computer forensics in general and X-Ways Forensics in particular with our certification program. After passing the challenging exam, you will be part of an exclusive circle and enjoy various benefits such as special recognition, training discounts, updated training material. For further details, please check here.

Thank you for your attention! We hope to see you soon somewhere on http://www.x-ways.net or on our Facebook page. You may also follow us on Twitter! Please forward this newsletter to anyone who you think will be interested. If you wish to subscribe with another e-mail address, please do so here.

Kind regards

Stefan Fleischmann

X-Ways Software Technology AG
Carl-Diem-Str. 32
32257 BŁnde



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