Opensource Index.dat file viewer

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What is Dat File Viewer?

Simply put, this is a very light weight application that helps you see what all secrets microsoft is hiding in index.dat files in various folders under a user's profile. As per microsoft index.dat files are their cache or index files that they create to speed up access to various web sites, applications etc. But one thing lot of people have to come realize over the time that even after you clean up your Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, History etc. files from your windows machine, these index.dat files still carry all the footprints of your internet and file activities. So analysis of these files is used as one of the forensic tools when you want to recreate a user's internet activities in the past.

I am not going to go into details on format of index.dat files and other related technical details. Following link is an excellent technical resource on inside of index.dat file. This is by FoundStone.com a devision of McAfee.

I have developed this open source application based on the original C code developed by FoundStone.com. This application is built using .Net framework.

Install It

  • Download the insaller package associated with this post.
  • Unzip this file in a folder.
  • Double click on setup.exe to launch the installer.
  • Follow the instructions and you are all set to go.

Pre-requisites

You will need to have Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0 installed on your machine to run this application. You can download the run time from the following location.

Download Microsoft .Net 4.0 Framework

I did not spend much time on the installer package to get automatic install of Microsoft .Net 4.0 framework. May be I will get to that in upcoming release. But for now, my apologies for making you do manual install of the framework if you do not already have it.

Run It

If you chose default installation option, you should have ByteBlocks Dat File Viewer entry in your start menu and you should be able to launch the applicaiton from there. If for some reason you do not see menu item in Start menu, then look under ProgramFiles/ByteBlocks folder the application. From there, you can double click on ByteBlocks.DatFileViewe.exe file to launch the application.

After you launch the application, you will see a splash screen with picture of a turtle in it. Depending on amount of data contained in your index.dat files, the application may require few seconds to load. So be little patient with load screen, the application will eventually load.

Export Results

The application allows you to export list of URLs or Coookies from following locations into a PDF file.

  • Temporary Internet Files
  • Cookies
  • History

In the top menu of the application, click on Export > PDF link to generate PDF file.

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