I am currently in the middle of operating an analysis on Autopsy of a virtual machine (VMware) that has been hacked. I have mounted the VM and I am acquiring the evidence from VMware to my physical machine (Windows 10).

I am trying to do a Logical File Acquisition of certain files and folders ;

  • Windows Event Viewer Logs (Application, System, Security) OpenSSH Logs
  • Registry Keys
  • system32/config/SAM

However, file permissions Windows have installed is making it difficult for me to get hold of any of this. I don’t want to run a full physical as I’m only after certain artefacts.

Any recommendations would be appreciated greatly


Well first and foremost, you've already screwed up by mounting the VM which will have written to it as a side affect of mounting. Hopefully this is a copy?

Second, acquiring a logical copy is always a mistake if you don't have to due to constraints that prevent a physical copy.

All of your problems go away with a physical acquisition. Even though it's a VM you can still do a physical acquisition and it's dirt simple:

1. Run Autopsy

2. Target the VM .vmdk as the acquisition.


If you're still determined to do a selected logical acquisition, it's easiest to pull the target files via Linux.

| improve this answer | |
  • Yep just a copy as I’m just testing. I’ll try Linux then, as I feel a full physical isn’t necessary – C.Mann Jan 22 at 18:57
  • I'm told that 7Zip will extract files from a VMDK, but I've not tried that. – user10216038 Jan 22 at 19:47

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