Monday, February 23, 2009

Printers Information

Has there been a time when you've needed to get information about what printers were on a system when analyzing an image acquired from that system?

Over on Forensic Focus, Thomas Rude pointed forum readers to an excellent resource for information about printers on Windows systems, including a number of Registry settings. A quick bit of research revealed that these values are volatile, and therefore only available when the system is live. No problem...some quick coding using the Win32_Printer class (via VBScript or Perl) gives you access to this information. A quick script returns the following:

PDFCreator [PDFCreator:]
Microsoft XPS Document Writer [XPSPort:]
Microsoft Office Document Image Writer [Microsoft Document Imaging Writer Port:]
hp deskjet 5550 series [USB001]

From the available resources, there are a number of queries and translations that can be quickly added to this script.

Now, what about collecting information about printers from an acquired image? Well, that's where RegRipper comes in, using a plugin that I quickly wrote up. Using information from the UnDocPrint site as well as from TechNet, I put together a quick plugin that extracts printer information from user hive files:

C:\Perl\forensics\rr>rip -p printers -r d:\cases\local\ntuser.dat
Launching printers v.20090223
Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\PrinterPorts
LastWrite Time: Thu Dec 18 12:39:15 2008

PDFCreator (winspool,Ne00:,15,45)
Microsoft XPS Document Writer (winspool,Ne01:,15,45)
Microsoft Office Document Image Writer (winspool,Ne02:,15,45)
hp deskjet 5550 series (winspool,Ne03:,15,45)

Default Printer (via CurrentVersion\Windows): hp deskjet 5550 series,winspool,Ne03:
Default Printer (via Printers->DeviceOld): hp deskjet 5550 series,winspool,Ne03:

The plugin extracts information about available printers that the user "sees", and also checks in two locations where MS says that the default printer is maintained. According to MS, the "NExx" included in the information about the printer indicates that it uses a network port, where "LPT1" would refer to a local port. Interestingly, running the plugin against the System hive file from the same system shows us the following:

C:\Perl\forensics\rr>rip -p shares -r d:\cases\local\system
Launching shares v.20090112
Remark=Printer Drivers


Path=hp deskjet 5550 series,LocalsplOnly
Remark=hp deskjet 5550 series

The Win32_Share class provides us with some information about different share types; for example, type 0 is a disk drive and type 1 is a print queue.

Have you ever needed information like this during an investigation?

Changing a User's Default Printer in the Registry
Registry Entries for Printing
How to Add a Default Printer for All New Users
How to Manually Delete Print Shares or Printers


Anonymous said...

A bit of Rocket Science again :-) Most of the folk out in the field are struggling to get their HDD images to analyse correctly.

Keydet89 said...


I'm sorry, but I don't understand what it is you're trying to say here...can you elaborate?