I decided to start some of my own research, and to post in other lists to see what others were doing. I received several responses, but most have been along the lines of:
- Completely missing the part about an "image"
- Using email headers
So I set about performing my own experiments to see what happened. First, I ran InControl5 to baseline my system. When the baseline was complete, I double-clicked the time display on the far right of my Task Bar, and that opened the "Date and Time Properties" window, which is essentially the timedate.cpl Control Panel applet. I modified the system time, clicked "OK", then ran the second half of the InControl5 process.
Viewing the results, I ran across a couple of interesting things. First off, the following UserAssist key had been updated.
I ran my "uassist.pl" Perl script to translate the values under this key, and found "timedate.cpl". Unfortunately, this key doesn't maintain its values along with an MRU list, so we don't know which was the last value, and therefore, the LastWrite time of the key is of little value to us.
When I actually opened the Control Panel and double-clicked the "Date and Time" applet, another entry occurred in the above UserAssist key...specifically, "UEME_RUNCPL:"C:\WINDOWS\system32\timedate.cpl",Date and Time".
Since I'm on an XP system, I thought I'd take a look in the Prefetch directory and see if there were any tidbits lurking around. Well, the thought didn't simply occur to me...the output of InControl5 told me that the file named "Rundll32.exe-randomstuff.pf" had been changed in some way. Knowing that rundll32.exe is a legit MS app, and that it's used to run things like Control Panel applets, I opened the .pf file in BinText and found Unicode strings that referenced timedate.cpl and w32time.dll, amongst other things.
All this is fine, in that it gives us clues, but I don't think that it's all that definitive. Another place to look, however, is in the Event Log. Specifically, within the Security Event Log there may be an event ID 520 (Category is "System Event") that states that the system time was changed, and includes the username, previous time, and new time. Very helpful!
Barring that (pretty definitive, isn't it??), there may be discrepancies in the actual times associated with the event records themselves. For example, if an event record with a higher number (more recent event) has a generated or written time that's before a previous event, then you may be on to something.
So far, many of the responses I've seen have said something along the lines of "look at your watch when you're standing in front of the system, before you unplug it and image it"...but, like I said, answers like that sort of miss the point of the question.