New Search Tool Exploits Windows Search

Dennis Faas's picture

Recently, software development firm Passware Inc. released "Search Index Examiner:" a program that makes all data indexed by Windows Search instantly accessible.

Windows Search is part of the Windows Operating System and its function is to "maintain a record of any document or application on your PC, and the contents found within those items." (Source: By default, Windows Search is enabled on Windows XP and Vista, but can be disabled by any user with administrative rights.

Search Index Examiner from Passware Inc. has the capability to list all documents, emails, and spreadsheets, along with creations and modification dates, author, recipients, summary content, and other information for each item with data from the target computer Windows Search database. The software can also previews files and items that have been deleted.

In less than 10 minutes the software will perform a full scan, extracting over 150,000 items. Since most users don't have that much data on their computers, the typical search and extraction time is almost instant.

A single file from a computer is enough to expose all the documents and emails for all users on a particular PC in just a few minutes which is great news for computer forensics and IT professionals, but may raise serious concerns from privacy advocates.

Compatible with Windows Vista, XP, and Server 2003 (both 32 and 64 bit), the software can be downloaded at It costs $295.00 for a single-user license but free trial licenses are also available. More information can be found from (Source:

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