Surviving Digital Forensics: Windows Shellbags

Computer forensic evidence to help prove file use & knowledge
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  • Lectures 19
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 2/2015 English

Course Description

Welcome to the Surviving Digital Forensics series. This series is focused on helping you become a better computer forensic examiner by teaching core computer forensic skills - all in about one hour. In this class examine how to use Windows Shellbag records to help prove file use and knowledge. Shellbag records are created by certain user activity and can be used to show where a user has navigated to on a computer system and when they did so. Very powerful evidence!

As with previous SDF classes you will learn by doing. The class begins with a brief overview of the issue at hand. Then we set up our forensic systems and off we go. Learning is hands on and we will use low cost and no cost computer forensic tools to do so.

Expert and novice computer forensic examiners alike will gain from this class. Since we are doing it the SDF way we are going to teach you real computer forensic skills that you can apply using our method or customize to meet your needs. You will learn how you can use freely available forensic tools, all GUI based, to extract and analyze Windows Shellbag evidence.

Class Outline

1. Introduction and Welcome to the SDF series

2. Getting the most out of the class

3. Windows Shellbags - an overview

5. Shellbag Deep Dive

6. Setting up your forensic system

7. Validation practical 01 - local system activity

8. Validation practical 02 - attached USBs

9. Validation practical 03 - networked drives

10. Student Practical

11. Student Quiz

12. Reporting options

13. Review

14. Conclusion & thank you

A PC running Win7 or Win8 is required for this course. You need admin rights to the system. The system itself should be a test system containing no critical data. The forensic tools we use are all freely available, so beyond your operating system all you need is the desire to become a better computer forensic examiner.

What are the requirements?

  • You need a PC running Win7 or WIn8 with admin rights
  • All forensic tools used are freely available, download links are included
  • Your test system should contain no critical data

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Extract and analyze windows shellbag records to help prove file use and knowledge
  • Use freely available forensic tools to conduct shellbag analysis
  • Construct validation exercises to test how shellbags behave depending on media type
  • Construct validation exercises to test how shellbags behave according to different types of user activity
  • Confidently explain what Windows shellbag evidence is to non-technical audiences

Who is the target audience?

  • Computer Forensic Analysts
  • IT Professionals
  • Students

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

Hello and welcome to the SDF series!


These are just a few tips to maximize your learning experience.

Section 2: Understanding Windows Shellbags

Before we begin the practicals it is important to understand Windows Shellbags and what types of user activity affect it as a forensic artifact.


Let's look at one of the registry hives we are working with. You will appreciate the automated tools we will be using after this.

Shellbag Quiz
2 questions
Section 3: Getting Setup for the Practicals

Let's get our forensic system setup for the practicals.


I put together a tutorial on how to load your local drive into FTK Imager for those that have never used this program before.

Section 4: Shellbag Validation Practicals 01 - Local System Activity

In this practical we go over all the set up steps. I will not repeat these for each practical, rather, I will just discuss and go over notable findings. However, here I go over everything from beginning to end so you may use it as a reference.


Let's take a look at our first Shellbag findings.


Next we will expand this practical by making some view pane changes and seeing how this affects the shell bag record.


You may have noticed some Shellbag records have no created, modified or access times. This issue is clarified in this lesson.

Shellbag Quiz
1 question
Section 5: Shellbag Validation Practicals 02 - Attached USBs

First, let's get set up for this practical. Make sure your USB is wiped and ready for use before you begin.

Attached USBs - Practical 02 -B

In this practical we uncover some very interesting conflicting data about how Shellbag records may not be so accurate.


This last practical rounds out our USB exercises and gives us further insight to how Shellbag records behave.

Section 6: Shellbags Validation Practical 03 - Networked Drives

Let's take a look at Shellbag records for networked drives.

Section 7: Shellbag Student Practical

Now it is your turn to examine Shellbags on your own.

Shellbag Quiz
4 questions
Section 8: Conclusion

Shellbags Explorer has a few reporting options worth mentioning and they are discussed here.


Let's review what we have learned.


Thanks for joining me in another edition of SDF. Hope to see you again!

Check out other classes of the SDF series at

Follow me on Twitter @LeclairDF to get the latest happenings of the SDF series.

Check out our Blog at

Check out our Youtube channel

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Instructor Biography

Michael Leclair, Computer Forensic Analyst

Over twelve years of experience as a Computer Forensic Analyst, author and developer of computer forensic training and analysis tools. Specialties include: Windows forensics, Mac forensics, iOS forensics, Mac Server forensics & mobile device forensics. Creator of the "Surviving Digital Forensics" series and part of SUMURI's RECON for Mac OS X development team.

Certifications include: CFCE, CISSP, CCE, EnCE, A+, Network+

Regularly instruct law enforcement, government and corporate investigators both nationally and internationally in computer forensics.

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