Best way to create clean Windows XP boot cd for running rootkit detection

Discussion in 'Security Software' started by pamelafiischer, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. What is the best way for mere mortals to create a CLEAN Windows XP boot
    suggested we attempt the Microsoft Strider GhostBuster Rootkit
    Detection method recommended by the Microsoft Windows Defender Strider
    GhostBuster Project ( ).

    Following those Microsoft instructions, we performed the following on
    Windows XP:

    1. Go to the Windows XP command line:
    Start -> Run -> cmd

    2. Go to your rootkit detection program folder:
    C:\> cd c:\proggies\RKD\

    3. Create an ordered list with bare headings of all hidden & not-hidden
    RKD:\> dir /s/ah/l/on/b c:\ > all_hidden_files_before.txt
    RKD:\> dir /s/a-h/l/on/b c:\ > not_hidden_files_before.txt

    4. Boot to a Windows XP CDROM.
    - My question is:

    5. Re-run step 3's lower-case ordered list from the Windows XP cdrom
    RKD:\> dir /s/ah/l/on/b c:\ > all_hidden_files_after.txt
    RKD:\> dir /s/a-h/l/on/b c:\ > not_hidden_files_after.txt

    6. Run WinDiff from the clean WinXP boot to compare before/after files:

    We are stuck at step 4 for lack of the simplest way to obtain a Windows
    XP boot cdrom. Our system came configured so we don't have that clean
    Windows XP boot CDROM.

    Googling we get MANY confusing ways to create a Windows XP bootable
    CDROM, some of which seem to be promising, e.g.,
    a. Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows

    b. Bart's way to create bootable CD-Roms (for Windows/Dos)

    c. Creating bootable Windows 2000/XP/2003 Disc (Nero 6)

    d. The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows XP

    e. UBCD for Windows® Project

    f. Windows XP Fresh Install Bootdisk And Bootable CD

    Since there are so many method, and since the whole point is to boot to
    a KNOWN GOOD Windows XP, it behooves newbies like us to ask for a
    recommended path so that we don't stray too far along the wrong
    (perhaps dangerous) method

    Which leaves me with the question at hand:
    Q: Where is the safest & easiest mehod to obtain & burn a WinXP
    bootable CDROM.
    pamelafiischer, Nov 20, 2005
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  2. pamelafiischer

    Malke Guest

    The short answer for your case is "you can't unless you can create a
    Bart's PE". You need a real XP operating system disk (which is bootable
    all by itself), not a "Recovery Disk". You can sometimes create a
    Bart's if your OEM installed the i386 directory with the complete
    operating system. If you don't even have that, short of buying yourself
    a copy of XP, you can't do what you want. This has nothing to do with
    being mortal, BTW. ;-)

    Understand that when you buy a computer with an MS operating system
    preinstalled, the computer mftr. legally has to give you a way to
    return the computer to factory condition. This can be done in three

    1. By giving you a cd with the full operating system on it. This will
    probably be OEM (as opposed to retail), but that's OK for
    repair/reinstallation purposes.

    2. By putting a restore image on a partition (which may be hidden) on
    the hard drive and not giving you any physical cd's.

    3. By giving you a physical cd(s) with the restore image on it. An image
    is not the same as the real operating system.

    You apparently purchased a computer that fits into #3 above.

    Malke, Nov 20, 2005
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  3. pamelafiischer

    Dixonian69 Guest

    A bootable cd isn't going to get you anywhere unless it is a retail full
    version Win XP install CD.

    Why not use "Recovery CD" from Computer manufacturer?
    You boot from this cd and use a recovery partition on yuor hard drive to
    restore computer to original factory settings.

    Some computers you create your own recovery set. Sometimes they can still be
    created even if computer won't Boot. OR they can be ordered from MFG. If it
    costs a significant amount you may just want to buy retail copy of XP instead.

    What make and model do you have?

    What is your reason for "Clean Install"?
    Dixonian69, Nov 20, 2005
  4. Yes indeed. I have only a common restore CD (which I used once and it
    put all the original programs on the PC even the advertising garbage
    from the manufacturer I had long deleted that I had to delete again). I
    do not have the requisite Windows XP installation CDROM.

    Are you saying that unless I have an "i386" directory, I can't create
    the Windows Boot CD that I need in order to run the Microsoft suggested
    rootkit detection method?

    Q1: Is THIS 2,451 file folder the one I need to create the boot cdrom?

    The folder properties, wierdly, on this i386 folder say it is a Size of
    500 MB (525,142,242 bytes) yet its properties also say it has a Size on
    disk of 318 MB (334,063,651 bytes).

    Is C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386 good enough to create a WinXP boot
    disk sufficient to run WinDiff to compare before & after files for
    rootkit detection?

    Your answer will help not only me, but others too,
    pamelafiischer, Nov 20, 2005
  5. pamelafiischer

    Malke Guest

    Comments inline:
    Yes. You certainly can run RootKit Detector (I assume you're referring
    to Systernals' free utility) without going through all the rest of
    that. If you didn't play/install one of the Sony CD's in your computer,
    I wouldn't get all worked up about this issue.
    The files are compressed.
    You can but try. It won't hurt. Again, if you didn't play/install one of
    Sony's DRM-protected (hah!) CD's, you probably don't need to put
    yourself through all this. If you just want to play around for learning
    purposes, then definitely build yourself a Bart's. They are very useful
    to have.

    Malke, Nov 20, 2005
  6. I'm not sure I would describe that as Microsoft's recommended root kit
    detection. I work in this area and I have never had to resort to this quite
    painful measure, nor should most users have to. Most root kits are detected
    because they forget to hide something. Booting to Bart PE might arguably be
    the most reliable detection method, but it is also the most costly,
    especially when supporting a large enterprise.

    Before ever resorting to Bart PE, you should always first use much easier
    tools like rootkit revealer and also rkdetect which can
    be found by searching

    Root kits often send out network traffic, and that traffic cannot be hidden,
    especially once it leaves the system. Running a free sniffer like and/or any Windows firewall such as, or may help detect this traffic. Better
    yet, for an enterprise, use good egress firewall filters with logging,
    inspect the firewall logs for blocked traffic, use network IDS such as
    Snort, use a proxy server configured to only allow out browsers using the
    pre-approved http user-agent string. Malware like root kits can evade
    personal firewalls to get out, but I believe the firewalls should still
    display and log the outbound traffic for you.

    I believe there are other alternatives to Bart PE, such as the Linux boot CD.
    Karl Levinson, mvp, Nov 21, 2005
  7. Actually, I tried (and failed) to complete the SysInternals

    Even though I ran the SysInternals RootKit Revealer logged in as the
    administrator, this preferred rootkit detection method totally failed
    to run saying "An error occurred. Check machine availability and your
    access level (must be an administrator)." But, I am the administrator,
    I loudly protest to the PC, all to no avail.

    Then I tried the Microsoft Strider GhostBuster Rootkit Detection kit
    Unfortunately, this second-best method requires us to boot to a
    separate Windows XP bootable disk (which I don't have) or to the "Bart
    PE" (which I may end up making from my i386 directory on my hard
    drive). But, as noted, this is a lot of work. I wish I knew why the
    SysInternals tool thinks I'm not the administrator. I didn't set up
    this PC so maybe there is something tricky going on.

    Since, at the moment, both the SysInternals & Microsoft methods are
    failing miserably, I'll try the RKdetect Rootkit Detecter method
    documented at:

    But, I wonder ...
    Q: Is it just me or does everyone have this problem that SysInternals'
    Root Kit Revealer fails due to a permission problem (even though I run
    it as administrator).

    Does anyone have any idea what to check to see why the SysInternals
    site thinks I'm not the administrator even though I am logged in as the

    pamelafiischer, Nov 21, 2005
  8. Root kits.

    We all need a bootable Windows XP CDROM so that we can check for root
    kits installed without our knowledge on our systems. My kids, for
    example, use the computer but I have no idea what they've used it for.
    All I want do to is check for the presence of a root kit, if any exist.

    Once I found out that "most users stumble across cloaked files with an
    RKR scan", I immediately ran SysInternals' RootKitRevealer.exe from which duly
    reported the presence of many cloaked registry entries of the format:
    - "Key name contains embedded nulls (*)",
    - "Hidden from Windows API",
    - "Visible in directory index, but not WIndows API or MFT"

    The problem is that these keys use cryptic 8-4-4-4-12 CLSID class id
    registry entries which mean nothing to me, a mere mortal. For example,
    what am I supposed to do with the information that this cloaked
    registry key exists:

    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{47629D4B-2AD3-4e50-B716-A66C15C63153}\InprocServer32* 3/21/2005
    2:41 PM 0 bytes Key name contains embedded nulls (*)

    A. Should I just delete that cryptically named cloaked key?
    B. How can I look up what that 8-4-4-412 hex digit class ID refers to?

    The SysInternals root-kit revealer also reported cloaked entries of the
    HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Services\sptd\Cfg\s0 12/3/2005 4:28 AM 4
    bytes Hidden from Windows API.

    Again, what are we supposed to do with this information?
    A. Should we delete this cloaked registry key (or is this a cloaked
    B. How do we find out more about what this "Cfg s0" really is?

    My point is that the SysInternals RootKit detection utility download
    worked except it reported information that wasn't meant for mere
    mortals. Mere mortals, like I am, don't know what to do with this
    cryptic data.

    So, I tried the second-best method of revealing root kits on my system.
    This method was suggested by the Microsoft Windows Defender web page

    This Microsoft Project Strider GhostBuster Rootkit Detection web pages
    suggests we locate rootkits by the three step method:
    A. Run a command listing all hidden and non-hidden files on your system
    B. Boot to a Windows XP CDROM & re-run those commands
    C. Compare the results with WinDiff

    In summary, we don't need the clean Windows XP bootable CDROM for
    system recovery; we need it in order to detect rootkits on our system
    which have cloaked files or registry keys.

    My main question at the moment still remains - how to find why I have
    so many cloaked keys and files reported by SysInternals so cryptically
    (that I just don't understand well enough to know what to do to resolve
    pamelafiischer, Nov 21, 2005
  9. Hi David,

    Thank you for your advice noting that the
    C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386 directory is not the required i386
    directory to create the official "Preinstalled Environment (BartPE)
    bootable live windows CD/DVD" as per instructions at

    This so-called "Bart PE" cdrom is apparently what is required to boot
    to in order to run Microsoft's Windows Defender Project rootkit
    identification steps documented at

    Since I have access to my sister's computer (which is the same make and
    model as mine), do you think I can use her i386 directory (if we can
    find it) to create the Bart PE Windows XP bootable CDROM for this task?

    That is, my question is:
    Q: Does the BART PE bootable CDROM have to be machine specific (or can
    we use any Bart PE bootable CDROM we can get our hands on in order to
    run the specified Microsoft dir commands to locate cloaked files on our

    Wishing finding cloaked rootkits was more step-by-step for mere mortals
    such as I,
    pamelafiischer, Nov 21, 2005
  10. Ouch. I confused myself by accidentally mixing up tool errors here. It
    was RKDetect (from which
    is reporting "An error occurred. Check machine availability and your
    access level (must be an administrator)." This is occurring even though
    I am the administrator, logged in as administrator.

    The SysInternals RootKit Revealer actually worked fine; but it reported
    finding cloaked things like:
    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{47629D4B-2AD3-4e50-B716-A66C15C63153}\InprocServer32* 6/16/2004
    9:19 PM 0 bytes Key name contains embedded nulls (*)

    This hex 8-4-4-4-12 digit "unique?" class id is totally meaningless to
    mere mortals such as I.

    Even after attempting to look up the unique name for the class id at
    I still don't know what that 8-4-4-4-12 CLSID actually refers to (do

    Is there a class id to real product name lookup table somewhere on the

    pamelafiischer, Nov 21, 2005
  11. Having failed in the prior two attempts at locating intelligable
    information on whether or not a rootkit is infecting my system, I tried
    the third method of locating rootkits.

    ROOTKIT DETECTION METHOD 1 (RKR) failed due to cryptic output:

    ROOTKIT DETECTION METHOD 2 (RKD) failed due to unknown privilage


    Unfortunately this third, rather elegant, Microsoft documented method
    requires a separate Windows XP bootable CDROM - which I don't yet have
    - but which is the topic of this conversation.

    Since I don't have a known good i386 directory on my system, I am
    currently at 55% of an hours-long download of a Windows XP bootable CD
    which I hope solves the problem of me not having a bootable Windows XP

    Can we use someone elses' i386 directory, for example, to create the
    "Bart's PE" Preinstalled Environment bootable live windows CDROM/DVD
    following instructions at

    Or ...

    Q: Do you know of any other method of obtaining a bootable Windows
    CDROM so we can run the Microsoft documented method of detecting
    cloaked files even though we don't have an original Windows XP bootable
    CDROM available?

    pamelafiischer, Nov 21, 2005
  12. pamelafiischer

    Nathan Dart Guest

    No, not if you use the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows with the driver

    The above web site has some very good directions for you to follow,
    including how to slipstream the boot image with SP1 and SP2 if
    Nathan Dart, Nov 21, 2005
  13. Pray tell, my vocabulary needs a firmware update.

    What does "slipstream" mean?

    pamelafiischer, Nov 21, 2005
  14. pamelafiischer

    HeeroYuy Guest

    Slipstream is the process of merging Windows updates (mostly service packs)
    to the files from the Windows CD.
    HeeroYuy, Nov 21, 2005
  15. pamelafiischer

    Sunny Guest
    Sunny, Nov 21, 2005
  16. A CLSID is a COM GUID, essentially a totally unique number which
    identifies a binary component and is the used by programs to reference
    and load that component.

    I doubt it, it'd be huge. There's a program called guidgen.exe which
    comes with the MS SDK and supposedly if all of us ran it at once, over
    and over again, it would never repeat a number.. ever...

    However, it's at least worth doing a search on google groups for it,
    which finds various posts (including yours of course). There's a post
    which implies it's a hidden key that's part of Pinnacle Studio. As it
    happens I've got Studio on one of my PCs and it seems I have this key
    also. I don't have it on any other PCs. So I guess what I'm saying is
    that if you have Pinnacle Studio installed on that PC, then that's
    probably confirmed what it is and that it's harmless (if not exactly

    Sue Perficial, Nov 22, 2005
  17. I believe you are correct.

    There is more information in the post here:

    Apparently Avid (the makers of Pinnacle Studio) use a Windows exploit
    to provide an illegal value to their registration key such that one can
    not open, view, modify, or delete that key (even their un-installation
    program leaves the basically permanent exploit behind).

    Isn't there a body out there that condemns these illegal (with respect
    to syntax) exploits of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. I
    don't know much about computers so an expert can tell me if this is
    malware or ineptware or just secretware - but it doesn't feel right to
    the SysInternals rootkit revealer software which reporte it in the
    first place.

    pamelafiischer, Nov 23, 2005
  18. pamelafiischer

    Alun Jones Guest

    The closest you'll find is "logo compliance" at Microsoft - a company can
    submit its software or hardware for approval to carry a number of different
    logos - and those logos are not granted if Microsoft detects that the
    application is up to most kinds of naughty chicanery.

    However, what you've discovered here is that this company views their rights
    to enforce their licence as being paramount over your rights to control what
    is, or isn't, left on your system.

    Think about that.

    They assert control over the systems of all of their legal customers
    allegedly as a means to prevent illegal use.

    Can you afford to be a customer of a company that treats your rights in such
    a cavalier manner?

    [Please don't email posters, if a Usenet response is appropriate.]
    Alun Jones, Nov 23, 2005
  19. To be fair, it's not a particularly insidious technique, it's just a
    'trick' that Pinnacle chose to use to try and protect their software
    from being ripped off. It doesn't do any harm as such. It just looks
    bad these days because loads of spyware has started to use the same
    trick and hence RkR has started reporting on it.

    Sue Perficial, Nov 23, 2005
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