The FOR500 course, “Windows Forensic Analysis,” offered by SANS, focuses on building comprehensive digital forensics knowledge of Microsoft Windows operating systems. This course aims to equip professionals with the skills and techniques necessary to investigate cybercrimes, including fraud, insider threats, industrial espionage, and computer intrusions.

Key Points:

  • Duration: 6 days (in-person) or available online
  • CPEs: 36
  • Target Audience: Digital forensics professionals, incident responders, and media exploitation experts.
  • Key Focus: Comprehensive digital forensics knowledge of Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 7 through Windows 11, and Windows Server products.
  • Includes topics like registry analysis, email forensics, browser forensics, and log analysis.
  • GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE) Certification: The course leads to the GCFE certification

Course Highlights:

  • Covers digital forensics techniques for Windows operating systems.
  • Focuses on recovering, analyzing, and authenticating forensic data.
  • Teaches how to track user activity, gather evidence for incident response, and prepare findings for legal proceedings.
  • Offers hands-on laboratory exercises based on real-world scenarios and artifacts.


  • GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE) certification validates the ability to collect and analyze data from Windows computer systems.


  • No specific prerequisite courses are required.
  • Suitable for those interested in in-depth and current Microsoft Windows Operating System forensics and analysis.

In summary, FOR500 is a comprehensive digital forensics course that prepares professionals to conduct in-depth analysis of Windows systems. The course covers a wide range of artifacts, tools, and techniques used to investigate cybercrimes and gather forensic evidence. It also leads to the GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE) certification, demonstrating proficiency in Windows forensics.

Reviews by
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
 by JJ
FOR500/GCFE - Ex Umbra in Solem

Difficulty: 3 out of 5.

I had the privilege of taking this course with Rob Lee as the instructor, and I must say he was exceptional. This course served as my introduction to the world of forensics, and it provided an in-depth exploration of various topics. We delved into a multitude of artifacts that can be instrumental in determining the activities on a system, alongside the tools employed in the field. The curriculum covered a wide array of areas, including triage, registry analysis, evidence of execution, cloud storage forensics, shell items, email analysis, event logs, and browser forensics.

One of the key takeaways from this course was realizing the extent to which Windows tracks activities, and learning how to leverage this information during investigations. We extensively used KAPE, a tool widely utilized by Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) professionals. The course not only taught us about the tools and artifacts but also instilled problem-solving skills. It emphasized the importance of adapting one's approach, as every case can present unique challenges. This adaptability became evident when I later enrolled in FOR508/GCFA Advanced Incident Response, Threat Hunting, and Digital Forensics. Thanks to my strong foundation from this course, I was well-prepared and our team excelled in the Capture The Flag (CTF) challenges, even earning praise from the instructor quoting that I must have taken FOR500.

The depth of content covered in this specialized course is remarkable. The exam rigorously tests your knowledge, requiring a profound understanding of artifacts, their purposes, and their locations within the system.

In summary, I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in Windows Forensics and DFIR. For those seeking an alternative resource, I suggest checking out 13Cubed's Intro to Windows Forensics playlist on YouTube, which covers similar content.

However, I would like to emphasize that, like all SANS courses, the price tag is quite high. As a result, I strongly advise against paying for this course out of pocket. Exploring employer sponsorship or other financial assistance options is advisable to make the most of this valuable learning opportunity.

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