3 Ways to Mount a RAW Image in Windows

In Forensic, to investigate a hard drive or disks we always make a forensic image. A Forensic Image is a forensically sound and complete copy of a hard drive or other digital media, generally intended for use as evidence. Copies include unallocated space, slack space, and boot record.  Many computer forensic programs, especially the all-in-one suites, use their own file formats to store information. These images are stored in a format of RAW file or AFF or E01.

RAW Image Format: This format is a RAW bit-by-bit copy of the original. It is often accompanied by Meta data stored in separate formats. This Image Format is most common used and is read by every Forensic tool in the industry.

Once the RAW image is created, it can't be read unless it is mounted by a tool. Mount is the process that will take the raw logical image and mount it onto a specified directory of choice to be able to examine the contents of that image. The image has to include be a recognizable file system as a partition. This makes invocation of the command interesting as the raw image is a physical disk image and not a specific partition of a file system.

Mount an image for a read-only view that leverages to see the content of the image exactly as the user saw it on the original drive.

There are various methods to mount a RAW file. But before we learn how to mount our RAW files, just have look on your my computer so that you can have a idea about how many drives you have before mounting a RAW file. For instance, following is the image of my computer of my PC:

Now, Let us have a look on these methods :

Forensic Tool Kit Imager

FTK Imager (version - 3.4.2) is tool introduced by Access Data which is used to preview data. It is also an imaging tool that lets us acquire in a forensically sound way. FTK helps us to create forensic images, Mount an image for a read-only view, Create hashes of files, etc and right now we will focus on its Mount function. To mount a RAW image file via FTK, first of all download FTK from --> http://accessdata.com/product-download/digital-forensics/ftk-imager-version-3.4.2
Now that FTK is downloaded and installed, open it and click on Files on the menu bar. A drop down menu will appear, from this menu click on Image Mounting.

A dialogue box will open now. Give the path of RAW file in Image File option and click on Mount button.

Once you click on Mount button your image will be mounted and you can see result in Mapped images:

OSFMount (version - 1.5.1015) is software by PassMark Software’s. It helps you mount your image files even your hard disk image file in windows with a drive letter. You can then analyze the disk image files further. For your original files not to be altered, the image files are mounted as read only by default. Download this software from --> http://www.osforensics.com/tools/mount-disk-images.html

Open OSFMount after the instalation is completed open it:

Go to File menu and select Mount new virtual disk option.

Dialogues will open; here give the path of your image file under the heading Image file and click on OK.

You can see in the following image that your RAW image will be mounted as a result:

Mount Image Pro
Get Data is a software development company that has launched Mount Image Pro (version - 6). It is a computer forensic tool which enables us to mount an image for forensic purpose. You can download this software from http://www.mountimage.com/
Open the software after its installation.

Go to File menu and click on Mount Image File.

A dialogue box will open and select your image file from it.

And then another dialogue box will open informing you with all the details. Click on OK.

It will further show you the progress in another dialogue box.

And as the outcome you can see that your image file will mount as shown in following image:

Now, as i had asked you to check you’re my computer before mounting the image, similarly, you can again check my computer and you will an extra drive as shown below:


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