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WinHex & X-Ways Forensics Newsletter Archive

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#170: X-Ways Forensics, X-Ways Investigator, WinHex 20.7 released

Jan 9, 2023

This mailing is to announce the release of another update with very important improvements, v20.7. The official release date was the 15th of November 2022.

Customers please go to https://www.x-ways.net/winhex/license.html as always for the latest download instructions including current log-in data (the passwords have changed recently!), details about their licenses and upgrade or renewal offers. Please do not ask us about the download password. Your organization has access to it already if eligible.

Please be reminded that if you are interested in receiving information about service releases at the moment when they become available, you can find those in the Announcement section of the forum and (with active access to updates) can subscribe to them, too, by creating a forum profile. Please note that if you wish or need to stick with an older version for a while, you should at least use the last service release of that version.

Upcoming Training Events

Dates Location Target Region Course Delivered by

Jan 9-12

Online America, Europe X-Ways Forensics X-Ways

Jan 16-19

London, England

Europe X-Ways Forensics X-Ways
Jan 23-26

Las Vegas, NV

USA X-Ways Forensics H-11
Jan 23-26

Seattle, WA

USA X-Ways Forensics H-11

Jan 24-27

Online Europe, Asia X-Ways Forensics X-Ways

Feb 7-10

Online Europe, Asia X-Ways Forensics X-Ways

Feb 20-23

Liverpool, England Europe X-Ways Forensics X-Ways
Feb 21-24

Ft. Lauderdale

USA X-Ways Forensics H-11

Feb 27-Mar 2

Online America, Europe X-Ways Forensics X-Ways

Mar 6-9

DC Area USA X-Ways Forensics X-Ways
Mar 13-16

Mexico City

Mexico X-Ways Forensics H-11

Mar 20-24

Online America, Europe File Systems Revealed X-Ways
Mar 27-30

Salt Lake City

USA X-Ways Forensics H-11

Mar 28-30

Online America, Europe X-Ways Forensics II X-Ways
Apr 17-20

Santa Ana, CA

USA X-Ways Forensics H-11

Apr 18-20

Online America, Europe X-Ways Forensics II X-Ways

Apr 25-27

Online Europe, Asia X-Ways Forensics II X-Ways

Please sign up for our training notifications here if you would like to be kept up to date on future classes. Training vouchers for 2023 are available from here.

What's new in v20.7?
(please note that most changes affect X-Ways Forensics only)

Picture Analysis

  • The functionality of Excire Forensics is now included in X-Ways Forensics! That means an artificial intelligence can check the pictures in your case (when refining volume snapshots from the main menu) and make you aware of identified content via labels or comments, by which you can filter. The complete hierarchy of identifiable content can be found here. Photo content descriptions are available in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. Users of X-Ways Investigator please consider upgrading to X-Ways Forensics to get access to the Excire functionality.

  • Excire requires a 64-bit Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 or Windows Server 2022. Download instructions for this separate package can be retrieved by querying one's license status here as always. It's simply another zip archive in the resource directory. By default the additional files will be expected in a subdirectory \Excire in the installation directory, but you can change the path in Options | File Viewing so that multiple installations of X-Ways Forensics can share the same installed package.

  • Pictures can be automatically categorized as irrelevant or notable. In the extensive hierarchy of identifiable objects you can select individual objects or entire subtrees that render a picture irrelevant from your point of view with a high degree of certainty, such as any kinds of animals, plants, sports, musical instruments etc. You can also define what renders a picture notable for you, such as nudity, pornography, guns, powdery substances, pills, children, vehicles, text, paper texture (for documents) etc. "Notable" always overrides "irrelevant" when in doubt, if for example dogs are considered as important in a particular case, but animals otherwise are still marked as irrelevant. Logical AND combinations are supported when categorizing photos as notable. Some AND combinations are predefined that are meant to assist in child pornography investigations.

  • Excire also allows you to find photos that are “similar” from the perspective of an artificial intelligence to a collection of typical relevant photos from earlier cases or other photos that you provide (in JPEG, PNG, Bitmap, or TIFF format).

  • Excire also allows you to find faces of particular people in photos of new cases. (The application will require you to mark faces of interest in JPEG, PNG, Bitmap, or TIFF pictures.)

File Type Support

  • A patch was applied to the viewer component download that improves rendering for certain PDF documents.

  • The internal graphics display library was revised and updated in particular for the formats PNG, WEBP, and PCX.

  • 5% more definitions of photo generating devices.

  • Front camera recognition improved, especially for Samsung, also for Xiaomi and Apple smartphones.

  • The average number of bits per pixel in an actual JPEG picture in Details mode is now accompanied by the known median value of bits per pixel for the same generator signature to put it into perspective.

  • The Summary table for JPEG pictures has a new entry called "software class", which aggregates information previously spread across various other metadata details. The following values are possible: Adobe, Facebook/Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google/Picasa, Windows, Android, Firmware, Apple, Social media, Editor, General, Beautifier.

  • A new possible condition in the summary table for JPEG files is "cropped". Cropped means that the dimensions of the picture in pixels are not known to be one of the standard dimensions of the generating device. That also means that the picture is not even considered to be potentially "relatively original", and its relevance will be reduced compared to pictures that are considered "relatively original". The dimension will be displayed in blue in such a case.

  • Improved grouping of small pictures without metadata when sorting by relevance.

  • Relevance computation revised. The number of bits per pixel in a JPEG picture now has an effect on the computed relevance so that rather monotonous and blurred pictures get a lower score.

  • Some target paths in jumplists were improperly truncated in the event list. That output was fixed.

User Interface

  • Report table associations are now called labels for reasons of simplicity and because v20.7 even more so than previous versions can generate a lot of such associations that will not usually become the basis of a report. If all the files with a particular label are output in a report in tabular form, the result of that, however, is still called a report table.

  • Option to adjust American spelling to British spelling in most parts of the user interface when setting English as the active language. British spelling is also the default setting now in new installations of WinHex/X-Ways Forensics/X-Ways Investigator if the Windows installation language is UK English, Australian English or New Zealand English.

  • The Chinese translation of the user interface was updated.

  • The option to display offsets in either hexadecimal or decimal has been moved to the Notation settings. As such, you can have for example hexadecimal offsets in the GUI when using the application, but decimal offsets for example when exporting data from the directory browser for external use.

  • Hexadecimal numbers and code can now optionally be written with lower-case letters from a through f. This affects hexadecimal offsets, the hex column, hash value display and more, and this is another option in the Notation settings.

  • Prevented a message box that had to be clicked away when trying to add inaccessible drive letters to the active case through the command line.

File System Support

  • Improved treatment of NTFS reparse points.

  • Ability to read uninitialized areas of files before the last defined portion as binary zeroes in Btrfs depending on the corresponding volume snapshot option.

  • An error in XFS processing has been corrected that prevented the reading of certain directory structures if the directory used an EA fork.

  • X-Ways Forensics parsed directory entries in XFS incompletely when unaligned entries were encountered. That was fixed in v20.7 and will also be fixed in all future service releases of older versions.

  • Fixed an exception error that occurred when trying to preview extracted e-mail messages in extracted text mode.


  • Filtering for a particular event ID in the event description column without hitting on the same number elsewhere in the description is now easy because the event ID is now prepended with the letters "ID" and a space. (In newly refined volume snapshots only.)

  • When reporting a data/parameter/parity inconsistency for newly reconstructed RAIDs, X-Ways Forensics now mentions the offset on the component disks where the problem was first detected. Note that X-Ways Forensics does not check the entire disks, just the first 16 strips (previously 10).

  • The old Bates numbering function now supports Unicode filenames.

  • The latest NSRL hash database version 2.79 is now downloadable in XWF format from the resource directory.

  • The program help and the user manual were updated.

  • Many minor improvements.

Various fixes until v20.7 SR-3

  • Fixed an I/O error that could occur after using the gallery to display files in nested disk images.

  • Fixed an infinite loop that could occur in v20.6 and the original v20.7 release when uncovering Windows resource data embedded within carved DLLs.

  • Fixed a memory leak that could occur during volume snapshot refinement.

  • Fixed caching of compressed TAR archives processed with the alternative extraction method if they contained additional nested archives.

  • Prevented multi-threading read errors in certain kinds of nested images.

Changes of service releases of 20.6

  • SR-1: The option to keep archive contents in the cache, if half-checked, caused errors (exceptions or unreadable files) when dealing with file archives in the GB range in the original v20.6 release. That was fixed.

  • SR-1: Compatible with the new version of the Excire PhotoAI package from today.

  • SR-2: Fixed an exception error that could occur in v20.6 when converting extracted e-mail bodies in RTF format to plain text.

  • SR-2: Fixed an exception error that occurred in v20.6 when applying the thorough file system data structure search to an Ext volume.

  • SR-2: Fixed an error that could occur in report table management in v20.5 and later.

  • SR-2: Fixed an exception error that could occur when clicking OK in the evidence object properties window in v20.5 and later.

  • SR-2: Fixed inability to automatically add newly created images to the case and refine their volume snapshots.

  • SR-2: Fixed a potential archive cache problem.

  • SR-3: Fixed inability to pick a column to name copied files in the case report.

  • SR-3: In some situations, files copied along with the report, if named after a particular property of theirs in the directory browser, were not given a filename extension. That was fixed.

  • SR-3: Fixed an exception error that could occur when parsing Windows event log files with certain metadata extraction settings.

  • SR-3: Avoided an exception error with minimal impact related to floating point numbers in SQLite databases.

  • SR-4: Fixed the definition of a generator signatures for a few devices by Huawei and Apple (retroactively also in v20.1 SR-14 and v20.2 SR-10). This is relevant for device class identification and processing state.

  • SR-4: Fixed a potential loss of entries in the user-defined file "Regular Expressions.txt" in the 64-bit edition of X-Ways Forensics and X-Ways Investigator.

  • SR-4: Fixed inability to refine volume snapshots or run a physical search if no information for crash reports was collected.

  • SR-4: Avoided read error messages when carving certain files in certain other files.

  • SR-5: Some fixes in Event Log Events.txt.

  • SR-5: Very large data associated with in Windows event logs events previously were not output at all and caused malformed lines in the TSV representation. That was improved. Up to 8 KB of that data are now included.

  • SR-5: The X-Tension API function XWF_GetWindow() was improved and can now also target the active data window.

  • SR-5: Fixed a rare memory corruption error that could occur when extracting metadata from JPEG files.

  • SR-5: Fixed an exception error that occurred when importing NSRL RDS hash sets in the 64-bit edition with certain settings.

  • SR-5: Fixed inability to define a keyboard shortcut for associations with certain report tables if the total number of report tables is very high.

  • SR-5: Fixed intermittent failure to highlight FILE records in situations where the number of lines in the hex editor display was not a multiple of 4, if the box for this highlighting option was only half checked.

Become a certified user of X-Ways Forensics
Become an X-PERT
(X-Ways Professional in Evidence Recovery Techniques)

Prove your proficiency in computer forensics in general and X-Ways Forensics in particular with our certification program. After passing the challenging exam, you will be part of an exclusive circle and enjoy various benefits such as special recognition, training discounts, updated training material. For further details, please check here.

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Kind regards

Stefan Fleischmann

X-Ways Software Technology AG
Carl-Diem-Str. 32
32257 Bünde




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