X-Ways Forensics 19.7 was released

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What’s new in v19.7?

File System Support

  •  Ability to parse data structures of many APFS volumes in order to provide a volume snapshot.
  • Cloned files in APFS, of which only differences from their original counterparts are stored in separate clusters, are marked with an uppercase Greek delta in the Attr. column.
  • Support for APFS timestamps in the Data Interpreter as well as in templates (“APFSDateTime”).
  • A particularly thorough file system data structure search is now available for exFAT volumes, too.
  • Protection against a rare kind of NTFS corruption, FILE record displacements within $MFT.
  • The option to omit additional hard links now has an effect even when processing selected or tagged files specifically.

File Format Support

  • Encrypted documents with a known password can now be matched against the FuzZyDoc hash database.
  • The report table “Scan” is no longer used to identify PDF documents that have scanned content. Instead, “scanner” is now shown in the device type column for PDF documents that are as having been generated by a scanner.
  • Extraction of the mdtacom.apple.quicktime.location.ISO6709 field from iPhone MOV files into the metadata column.
  • Identification of and file header signature search for MP4s files, a proprietary surveillance video format.
  • Google Chrome history will now display the transition for each visited web site, making it easier to ascertain whether the visit was triggered by the user or by some other action like redirect. The duration of each visit is listed as well. Internet searches run from the address bar of Chrome are listed in a separate table and also added to the event list.
  • Ability to parse Google Chrome SNSS session files (Current/Last Session and Current/Last Tabs) during metadata extraction. The resulting session overview lists all open tabs and their browsing history.
  • The previous output for .automaticdestinations-ms files in Details mode is now presented in Preview mode, and also for the View command and when copying such jumplist files for inclusion in the report.
  • Report thumbnail generation now supported for files of these types: lnk, flnk, TCP/UDP packets, NK2, DBX, Skype chat, WAB, change.log.1, info2, job, IconCache.db, Prefetch, shd, usnjrnl, eiurl, $I*, travellog, chrome1, automaticdestinations-ms, and more.
  • Fixed a rare checksum error in Intel Hex conversion output.
  • Ability to convert (e.g. search terms) from UTF-16 to various Indian code pages: ISCII Devanagari, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Oriya, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Punjabi (Gurmukhi).

JPEG Metadata Support

  • Irregular EXIF metadata encodings that violate EXIF specifications are now marked with an asterisk at the end (sometimes additionally with a bold font).
  • “EXIF compliance” is another new aggregated single value, a score that allows to see whether a low quality photo editor was used to edit a photo. A good rating that JPEG pictures produced by Nikon or Canon cameras usually have is retained only by high quality photo editing programs. A bad rating for such pictures indicates editing by a low quality program. Irregularly coded fields in the EXIF data are marked with a star. Irregular might mean that a wrong data type was used or the permitted value range was violated or there are duplicate tags or a character string is not null-terminated or contains slack. Some tags must not appear at the same time, some tags must be stored in a designated directory.
  • Generally the EXIF presentation is not a simple unstructured output of all EXIF values, but it aims to provide background information and highlights certain parameters within their context to make examiners aware of irregularities. Already in their original files digital cameras produce characteric EXIF metadata errors. By editing a photo additional errors may be produced, or others may be fixed.
  • XMP metadata extraction revised. New and relevant information is added to the metadata column while redundant information is not. XMP often contains information about the time zone that is not available from the EXIF metadata.
  • The amount of slack (zero-value bytes) at the end of an EXIF segment is presented in Details mode if such slack is present. For example, iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 usually produce such an area of a variable length, but iPhone 7 does not. If the slack remains present after a rotation, that means the rotation was minimally invasive, without recompression (no loss of quality). If however a photo editing program rewrites the JPEG file, the slack will disappear.
  • The Summary part of the internal metadata in Details mode for JPEG files now has a new field named “Light value”. That value is derived from the well-known photography formula Ev=log2(N**2/t)+log2(100/ISO). The value range ends at around 16, which means full sunshine. This aggregated value can be interesting to some examiners because it allows to distinguish indoor and outdoor photos and because it allows to check whether the local time of a photo is plausible.
  • A new value “Rotated” is now possible for the Condition field in JPEG metadata.
  • A new device type “printer” is now shown for JPEG files that were created for printing purposes.
  • Firmware dates are now also output for iPhones and other Apple devices.
  • The IMEI of some Samsung Galaxy smartphones (high end models) is stored in the SEFT trailing data of JPEG files, depending on the phone’s settings, and if so is now presented in Details mode of the SEFT file. The SEFT file is generated by “Uncover embedded data in various file types”.
  • Generator signatures and phone alias table were revised.


  • Extracts more internal timestamps from e-mails in PST/OST e-mail archives.
  • If the names of e-mail recipients contain the pipe character (rare), such recipients were previously not correctly classified as To:, Cc:, or Bcc: when refining the volume snapshot. That was fixed.
  • New volume snapshot option to convert certain RTF-formatted e-mail bodies from Outlook e-mail archives to plain UTF-8 (when extracting e-mails) to better view generated .eml files in external e-mail clients and to allow for the alternative .eml preview.

User Interface

  • When sorting timestamps in one of the many timestamp columns, it may happen that UTC-based time stamps have to be compared to local timestamps with an undefined time zone reference or local timstamps with a user-defined time zone reference (user-defined meaning defined by the examiner), to see which one is earlier and which one is later. That happens for example for file system based timestamps in the case root window if one evidence object has an NTFS file system and the other a FAT file system. It also happens within the same evidence object for example when sorting internal creation timestamps retrieved from file contents, such as ordinary Exif timestamps in JPEG (which are local) and GPS timestamps in JPEG (which are stored in UTC). Sorting all such timestamps now takes into account how these timestamps are displayed (in original local time or in a user-defined display time zone) such that the order is consistent with the displayed values, and not with how the timestamps are internally stored. That means for example that the local Exif timestamp 2017-01-01 14:01 LT is sorted *after* a UTC GPS timestamp 2017-01-01 14:00 +2, which is right if the undefined local time zone is equal to the display time zone, which in this example is UTC +2. That order of course can be wrong, as the unknown time zone of a local Content created timestamp could be somewhere to east of UTC +2. The order could also be wrong if the user-defined time zone reference of timestamps from a FAT file system is wrong.
  • The event list’s Timestamp column now respects the user-defined reference time zone for timestamps for file systems that store timestamps in local time and translates these timestamps to the current display time zone accordingly.
  • Ability to toggle between single and double column modes when viewing internal JPEG metadata in IM details mode. Given a sufficient screen resolution and window width, no scrolling is required any more to quickly review the entire internal metadata, as the summary table is on the right-hand side.
  • Option to display the Data Interpreter window with a certain degree of transparency. The practical value of this option remains to be discovered. It just looks cool.
  • If volume snapshot refinement is invoked for a virgin volume snapshot, this will now remember the option to conduct a simultaneous search immediately after refinement. That is useful in particular in conjunction with the command line interface.
  • A new command line command allows to load a list of search terms: “LST” (=load search terms). If followed by a colon and the name or complete path of a text file with 1 search term per line and if this precedes an RVS run with an implicitly triggered simultaneous search, the terms will be utilized for that search.
  • When viewing pictures with the internal graphics display library, the view window is no longer maximized if the picture has to be shrunk to fit the screen, and you now have a choice to either center such view windows on the screen as in previous versions or remember their left top position or their center position after you move them somewhere else on the screen. To make your choice, open the system menu of the view window (i.e. click the icon in the left top corner of the window). You can also decide whether or not such view windows should always be in the foreground, even in front of windows of other applications. Last no least you can choose to roughly remember the window size. Especially useful in conjunction with the options to remember the left top position of the view window, to have only one view window at a time, and to update the view window automatically with just a single click on a file, so that at place on your screen of your own choice you essentially have a fixed preview of pictures while the lower half of the data window can show something other than Preview mode, for example Details mode.
  • Templates can now display and edit UTF-16 Unicode string variables containing non-Latin characters.
  • Ability to copy the contents of templates as tab-delimited text into the clipboard through the template’s system menu.
  • Ability to present the member variables of a template as entries in the Position Manager (either the general Position Manager or, if the data window represents an evidence object, in the evidence object’s Position Manager). This also means they will be visually highlighted directly in the hex editor display and equipped with explanatory tooltips. The command for that can be found in the template’s system menu as well.
  • Optionally, the regular template window can be skipped altogether and Position Manager entries can be generated right away, if you hold the Shift key when you apply a template.
  • Ability to copy text into the clipboard as UTF-16 Unicode even when the text column does not show UTF-16 Unicode, through the main menu. Ability to copy data into the clipboard as ANSI characters even when the text column shows UTF-16 Unicode.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Del now removes the “Duplicates found” marker from the selected files in addition to removing all kinds of hash set matches.
  • The search hit context preview in search hit lists can now be turned on and off in the context menu.

Disk/Image Support

  • Now can address and open up to 128 physical storage devices in Windows instead of 64 (those numbered 0 through 127).
  • When creating a skeleton image, if the first read operation is triggered from a data window that represents a partition opened from within a physical disk, the skeleton image will become a partition/volume image instead of a full disk image, unlike in previous versions. Read operations in other data windows (representing the surrounding physical disk or its other partitions) have no effect on the skeleton image.
  • Support for a new acquisition date format in certain third party .e01 evidence files.

X-Tensions API

  • The XWF_GetCaseProp function can now be used to learn the creation timestamp and the internal ID of the current case. XWF_GetVSProp can now be used to define the hash types of a volume snapshot.
  • The X-Tension function XWF_GetHashValue now has the ability to retrieve the primary hash value and the secondary hash value at the same time, and it has the ability to compute the requested hash values if they are not stored in the volume snapshot yet.
  • Prompts the user whether or not stubborn C# X-Tension DLLs that cannot easily be unloaded should be forced to unload after execution. Programmers may prefer to do that when debugging their own X-Tensions, but apparently this can prevent usage the same DLL a second time in the same session of X-Ways Forensics, so ordinary users better choose No.


  • The password collection of a newly created case is now initialized with the general password collection. The general password collection can now opened for editing from within Options | Security. The password collection of a case is used with encrypted archives as well as encrypted documents whenever the case is loaded.
  • When importing hash values from Project Vic, the user is now asked whether US or Canadian standard categories should be preset.
  • Solved an import problem with certain surprising whitespace characters in Project Vic JSON files.
  • When filling blocks/files/disks with constant hex values, now any number of two-digit hex values up to 16 is allowed.
  • Some stability improvements.
  • Many minor improvements.
  • User manual and program help updated for v19.6.
  • Oracle has provided some fixes to the viewer component, in particular for viewing PDF files and to address some security issues (no details available).


Changes of service releases of v19.6

  • SR-1: No longer loads incompatible parts of .settings files from v19.5.
  • SR-1: No longer uses uncovered thumbnails with type status “not confirmed” as auxiliary thumbnails in the gallery.
  • SR-2: No longer loads incompatible parts of .settings files from v19.5.
  • SR-2: No longer uses uncovered thumbnails with type status “not confirmed” as auxiliary thumbnails in the gallery.
  • SR-2: Automatically changes the “Store .e01 metadata for fast re-open” option from fully to half selected if it is detected that the storage device or volume containing the image is write-protected.
  • SR-2: Fixed a problem detecting the size of evidence objects that are files or directories.
  • SR-2: Ability to add multiple single files that are located in the same directory to the same case as evidence objects. Previous versions cannot open cases with single-file evidence objects that were saved by v19.6 SR-2.
  • SR-2: Ability to process certain Windows thumbcaches with an unusual signature variant.
  • SR-2: When viewing pictures with the internal graphics viewing library, the generated windows are now guaranteed to be in the foreground, even if the gallery has been decoupled from the data window.
  • SR-2: Securely wiping selected files failed with an error message on logical drive letters. That was fixed. (It worked fine when applied to the physical disk’s partition instead.)
  • SR-2: Proper identification of SQLite database subtype in some rare cases where this did not happen previously.
  • SR-2: Fixed an exception error that could occur when saving the case with a new name if the case root window was open.
  • SR-2: Ability to decrypt files in certain file archives that could not be decrypted previously.
  • SR-3: Fixed a potential source of instability when populating the gallery with multiple threads in the x64 edition.
  • SR-3: Fixed inability to open files in certain GZ archives more than once while the evidence object is open.
  • SR-3: Fixed a rare exception error that could occur at the beginning the “examining files” phase of volume snapshot refinement in Ext* file systems.
  • SR-3: Fixed an error that could prevent storage of performance enhancing image metadata in some rare configurations.
  • SR-3: Fixed an error in carving of TIFF files.
  • SR-3: Fixed a problem with white text on white background in the directory browser that could occur when using conditional cell coloring.
  • SR-3: For some columns the FlexFilters never returned a result. That was fixed.
  • SR-3: When naming recovered/copied files after a selected column, the extension of the current filename in the volume snapshot is now no longer appended to the alternative name.
  • SR-4: The RunCount for Windows 8 Prefetch files was shown correctly in Details mode, but not in the Metadata column. That was fixed.
  • SR-4: The contents of the Metadata column is now always shown in Details mode if it contains marked user-defined or X-Tension defined entries. It is suggested that users mark their manual additions with their initials in square brackets and that X-Tensions mark their additions with [XT], so that they can be recognized as such. Any 1-4 characters between square brackets will have the described effect.
  • SR-4: An exception error occurred in v19.6 when opening drive letters without sector level access. That was fixed.
  • SR-4: The print cover page preview was not updated when printing multiple selected files at a time. That was fixed.
  • SR-4: Extraction of RTF-formatted e-mail bodies from PST/OST e-mail archives in cases where no alternative HTML or plain text e-mail body is available.
  • SR-4: Prevented an exception error that could occur when extracting metadata from Samsung style JPEG trailing data.
  • SR-4: A new option in Options | Volume Snapshot will allow recipients of evidence file containers to confirm that they have the exact same PhotoDNA hash database as the creator of the container, so that any PhotoDNA categories assigned to files (stored in the container as category numbers) will be matched with the corresponding category name in the user’s current PhotoDNA hash database. If this option is not selected, only the original category numbers in the container’s creator’s database will be presented to the recipient of a container, no category name.
  • SR-5: Fixed a potential exception error that could occur with carved or corrupt files of Outlook 2011 for Mac.
  • SR-5: Improved stability when extracting Thunderbird index databases
  • SR-5: Presents previous visits to a website from the Chrome history in addition to the last one, also as events, and the duration of each visit.
  • SR-5: Prevented the insertion of a disruptive line break when exporting a list of files with generator signatures included.
  • SR-5: Fixed possible infinite recursion with JPEG files created by Galaxy S3 Mini VE smartphones.
  • SR-6: Fixed extraction of e-mails from MBOX e-mail archives in v19.6 without .eml extension in the name.
  • SR-6: Fixed a rare error where certain attachment names in a original .eml files and a few other formats could be truncated if encoded in Quoted Printable.
  • SR-6: If a logical search was run in encrypted/protected PDF documents with the crash-safe decoding option without having checked for encryption prior to that, the search would have been unsuccessful even if the right password was provided. That was fixed.
  • SR-7: X-Tension API: The XWF_CreateEvObj function returned a handle to a wrong evidence objects when called for evidence objects of types 0, 3 and 4. That was fixed.
  • SR-7: Case report: Under certain circumstances, report thumbnails of pictures were generated as if they were non-pictures (e.g. documents). That was fixed.
  • SR-7: Prevented a potential crash when extracting metadata from MP3 files that contain an ID3 tag with an incompatible GEOB entry.
  • SR-7: Extraction of modification timestamps from TAR archives with certain non-standard encoding with the alternative extraction method.