Volatility, my own cheatsheet (Part 3): Process Memory

Let’s try to analyze the memory in more detail…

If we try to analyze the memory more thoroughly, without focusing only on the processes, we can find other interesting information.


The memmap command shows you exactly which pages are memory resident, given a specific process DTB (or kernel DTB if you use this plugin on the Idle or System process). It shows you the virtual address of the page, the corresponding physical offset of the page, and the size of the page. The map information generated by this plugin comes from the underlying address space’s get_available_addresses method.

As of 2.1, the new column DumpFileOffset helps you correlate the output of memmap with the dump file produced by the memdump plugin. For example, according to the output below, the page at virtual address 0x0000000000058000 in the System process’s memory can be found at offset 0x00000000162ed000 of the win7_trial_64bit.raw file. After using memdump to extract the addressable memory of the System process to an individual file, you can find this page at offset 0x8000.

$ vol.py -f ~/Desktop/win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 memmap -p 4 
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
System pid:      4
Virtual            Physical                         Size     DumpFileOffset
------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------
0x0000000000050000 0x0000000000cbc000             0x1000                0x0
0x0000000000051000 0x0000000015ec6000             0x1000             0x1000
0x0000000000052000 0x000000000f5e7000             0x1000             0x2000
0x0000000000053000 0x0000000005e28000             0x1000             0x3000
0x0000000000054000 0x0000000008b29000             0x1000             0x4000
0x0000000000055000 0x00000000155b8000             0x1000             0x5000
0x0000000000056000 0x000000000926e000             0x1000             0x6000
0x0000000000057000 0x0000000002dac000             0x1000             0x7000
0x0000000000058000 0x00000000162ed000             0x1000             0x8000


To extract all memory resident pages in a process (see memmap for details) into an individual file, use the memdump command.

Supply the output directory with -D or — dump-dir=DIR.

$ vol.py -f ~/Desktop/win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 memdump -p 4 -D dump/
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Writing System [     4] to 4.dmp
$ ls -alh dump/4.dmp 
-rw-r--r--  1 Michael  staff   111M Jun 24 15:47 dump/4.dmp

To conclude the demonstration we began in the memmap discussion, we should now be able to make an assertion regarding the relationship of the mapped and extracted pages:

$ vol.py -f ~/Desktop/win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 volshell
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Current context: process System, pid=4, ppid=0 DTB=0x187000
Welcome to volshell Current memory image is:
To get help, type 'hh()'
>>> PAGE_SIZE = 0x1000
>>> assert addrspace().read(0x0000000000058000, PAGE_SIZE) == 
...        addrspace().base.read(0x00000000162ed000, PAGE_SIZE) == 
...        open("dump/4.dmp", "rb").read()[0x8000:0x8000 + PAGE_SIZE]


To dump a process’s executable, use the procdump command. Optionally, pass the --unsafe or -u flags to bypass certain sanity checks used when parsing the PE header. Some malware will intentionally forge size fields in the PE header so that memory dumping tools fail.

Use --memory to include slack space between the PE sections that aren’t page aligned. Without --memory you’ll get a file that more closely resembles the file on disk, before sections expanded.

More information:


$ vol.py -f win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 procdump -D dump/ -p 296
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Dumping csrss.exe, pid:    296 output: executable.296.exe
$ file dump/executable.296.exe 
dump/executable.296.exe: PE32+ executable for MS Windows (native) Mono/.Net assembly


The vadinfo command displays extended information about a process’s VAD nodes. In particular, it shows:

  • The address of the MMVAD structure in kernel memory
  • The starting and ending virtual addresses in process memory that the MMVAD structure pertains to
  • The VAD Tag
  • The VAD flags, control flags, etc
  • The name of the memory mapped file (if one exists)
  • The memory protection constant (permissions). Note there is a difference between the original protection and current protection. The original protection is derived from the flProtect parameter to VirtualAlloc. For example you can reserve memory (MEM_RESERVE) with protection PAGE_NOACCESS (original protection). Later, you can call VirtualAlloc again to commit (MEM_COMMIT) and specify PAGE_READWRITE (becomes current protection). The vadinfo command shows the original protection only. Thus, just because you see PAGE_NOACCESS here, it doesn’t mean code in the region cannot be read, written, or executed.
$ vol.py -f ~/Desktop/win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 vadinfo -p 296
    Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
    Pid:    296
    VAD node @ 0xfffffa8000c00620 Start 0x000000007f0e0000 End 0x000000007ffdffff Tag VadS
    Flags: PrivateMemory: 1, Protection: 1
    Protection: PAGE_READONLY
    Vad Type: VadNone


    VAD node @ 0xfffffa8000c04ce0 Start 0x000007fefcd00000 End 0x000007fefcd10fff Tag Vad 
    Flags: CommitCharge: 2, Protection: 7, VadType: 2
    Vad Type: VadImageMap
    ControlArea @fffffa8000c04d70 Segment fffff8a000c45c10
    Dereference list: Flink 00000000, Blink 00000000
    NumberOfSectionReferences:          0 NumberOfPfnReferences:          13
    NumberOfMappedViews:                2 NumberOfUserReferences:          2
    WaitingForDeletion Event:  00000000
    Control Flags: Accessed: 1, File: 1, Image: 1
    FileObject @fffffa8000c074d0, Name: WindowsSystem32basesrv.dll
    First prototype PTE: fffff8a000c45c58 Last contiguous PTE: fffffffffffffffc
    Flags2: Inherit: 1

More information on the VAD:



To inspect a process’s VAD nodes in table form, use the vadwalk command.

$ vol.py -f ~/Desktop/win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 vadwalk -p 296
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Pid:    296
Address            Parent             Left               Right              Start              End                Tag 
------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ----
0xfffffa8000c00620 0x0000000000000000 0xfffffa8000deaa40 0xfffffa8000c043d0 0x000000007f0e0000 0x000000007ffdffff VadS
0xfffffa8000deaa40 0xfffffa8000c00620 0xfffffa8000bc4660 0xfffffa80011b8d80 0x0000000000ae0000 0x0000000000b1ffff VadS
0xfffffa8000bc4660 0xfffffa8000deaa40 0xfffffa8000c04260 0xfffffa8000c91010 0x00000000004d0000 0x0000000000650fff Vadm
0xfffffa8000c04260 0xfffffa8000bc4660 0xfffffa8000c82010 0xfffffa80012acce0 0x00000000002a0000 0x000000000039ffff VadS
0xfffffa8000c82010 0xfffffa8000c04260 0xfffffa8000cbce80 0xfffffa8000c00330 0x00000000001f0000 0x00000000001f0fff Vadm
0xfffffa8000cbce80 0xfffffa8000c82010 0xfffffa8000bc4790 0xfffffa8000d9bb80 0x0000000000180000 0x0000000000181fff Vad 
0xfffffa8000bc4790 0xfffffa8000cbce80 0xfffffa8000c00380 0xfffffa8000e673a0 0x0000000000100000 0x0000000000166fff Vad 
0xfffffa8000c00380 0xfffffa8000bc4790 0x0000000000000000 0x0000000000000000 0x0000000000000000 0x00000000000fffff VadS


To display the VAD nodes in a visual tree form, use the vadtree command.

$ vol.py -f ~/Desktop/win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 vadtree -p 296
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Pid:    296
 0x000000007f0e0000 - 0x000000007ffdffff
  0x0000000000ae0000 - 0x0000000000b1ffff
   0x00000000004d0000 - 0x0000000000650fff
    0x00000000002a0000 - 0x000000000039ffff
     0x00000000001f0000 - 0x00000000001f0fff
      0x0000000000180000 - 0x0000000000181fff
       0x0000000000100000 - 0x0000000000166fff
        0x0000000000000000 - 0x00000000000fffff
        0x0000000000170000 - 0x0000000000170fff
       0x00000000001a0000 - 0x00000000001a1fff
        0x0000000000190000 - 0x0000000000190fff
        0x00000000001b0000 - 0x00000000001effff
      0x0000000000240000 - 0x000000000024ffff
       0x0000000000210000 - 0x0000000000216fff
        0x0000000000200000 - 0x000000000020ffff

If you want to view the balanced binary tree in Graphviz format, just add --output=dot --output-file=graph.dot to your command. Then you can open graph.dot in any Graphviz-compatible viewer. This plugin also supports color coding the output based on the regions that contain stacks, heaps, mapped files, DLLs, etc. A partial example is shown below using Omnigraffle:

Fillcolor Legend:

  • Red: Heaps
  • Gray: DLLs
  • Green: Stacks
  • Yellow: Mapped Files


To extract the range of pages described by a VAD node, use the vaddump command. This is similar to memdump, except the pages belonging to each VAD node are placed in separate files (named according to the starting and ending addresses) instead of one large conglomerate file. If any pages in the range are not memory resident, they’re padded with 0’s using the address space’s zread() method.

$ vol.py -f ~/Desktop/win7_trial_64bit.raw --profile=Win7SP0x64 vaddump -D vads
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Pid        Process              Start              End                Result
---------- -------------------- ------------------ ------------------ ------
         4 System               0x0000000076d40000 0x0000000076eeafff vads/System.17fef9e0.0x0000000076d40000-0x0000000076eeafff.dmp
         4 System               0x0000000000040000 0x0000000000040fff vads/System.17fef9e0.0x0000000000040000-0x0000000000040fff.dmp
         4 System               0x0000000000010000 0x0000000000032fff vads/System.17fef9e0.0x0000000000010000-0x0000000000032fff.dmp
         4 System               0x000000007ffe0000 0x000000007ffeffff vads/System.17fef9e0.0x000000007ffe0000-0x000000007ffeffff.dmp
         4 System               0x0000000076f20000 0x000000007709ffff vads/System.17fef9e0.0x0000000076f20000-0x000000007709ffff.dmp
       208 smss.exe             0x000000007efe0000 0x000000007ffdffff vads/smss.exe.176e97f0.0x000000007efe0000-0x000000007ffdffff.dmp
       208 smss.exe             0x00000000003d0000 0x00000000004cffff vads/smss.exe.176e97f0.0x00000000003d0000-0x00000000004cffff.dmp
       208 smss.exe             0x0000000000100000 0x0000000000100fff vads/smss.exe.176e97f0.0x0000000000100000-0x0000000000100fff.dmp
       208 smss.exe             0x0000000000000000 0x00000000000fffff vads/smss.exe.176e97f0.0x0000000000000000-0x00000000000fffff.dmp
       208 smss.exe             0x0000000000190000 0x000000000020ffff vads/smss.exe.176e97f0.0x0000000000190000-0x000000000020ffff.dmp
       208 smss.exe             0x0000000047a90000 0x0000000047aaffff vads/smss.exe.176e97f0.0x0000000047a90000-0x0000000047aaffff.dmp
       208 smss.exe             0x00000000005e0000 0x000000000065ffff vads/smss.exe.176e97f0.0x00000000005e0000-0x000000000065ffff.dmp
$ ls -al vads/
total 123720
drwxr-xr-x  69 michaelligh  staff      2346 Apr  6 13:12 .
drwxr-xr-x  37 michaelligh  staff      1258 Apr  6 13:11 ..
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff    143360 Apr  6 13:12 System.17fef9e0.0x0000000000010000-0x0000000000032fff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff      4096 Apr  6 13:12 System.17fef9e0.0x0000000000040000-0x0000000000040fff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff   1748992 Apr  6 13:12 System.17fef9e0.0x0000000076d40000-0x0000000076eeafff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff   1572864 Apr  6 13:12 System.17fef9e0.0x0000000076f20000-0x000000007709ffff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff     65536 Apr  6 13:12 System.17fef9e0.0x000000007ffe0000-0x000000007ffeffff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff   1048576 Apr  6 13:12 csrss.exe.176006c0.0x0000000000000000-0x00000000000fffff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff    421888 Apr  6 13:12 csrss.exe.176006c0.0x0000000000100000-0x0000000000166fff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff      4096 Apr  6 13:12 csrss.exe.176006c0.0x0000000000170000-0x0000000000170fff.dmp
-rw-r--r--   1 michaelligh  staff      8192 Apr  6 13:12 csrss.exe.176006c0.0x0000000000180000-0x0000000000181fff.dmp

The files are named like this:


The reason the PhysicalOffset field exists is so you can distinguish between two processes with the same name.


The evtlogs command extracts and parses binary event logs from memory. Binary event logs are found on Windows XP and 2003 machines, therefore this plugin only works on these architectures. These files are extracted from VAD of the services.exe process, parsed and dumped to a specified location.

$ vol.py -f WinXPSP1x64.vmem --profile=WinXPSP2x64 evtlogs -D output
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Parsed data sent to appevent.txt
Parsed data sent to secevent.txt
Parsed data sent to sysevent.txt

There is also an option (--save-evt) to dump raw event logs for parsing with external tools:

$ vol.py -f WinXPSP1x64.vmem --profile=WinXPSP2x64 evtlogs
--save-evt -D output
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Saved raw .evt file to appevent.evt
Parsed data sent to appevent.txt
Saved raw .evt file to secevent.evt
Parsed data sent to secevent.txt
Saved raw .evt file to sysevent.evt
Parsed data sent to sysevent.txt

Parsed output is pipe delimited to make it easier to import into excel files and the “messages” are separated by semicolons:

$ cat output/secevent.txt
2012-01-17 12:01:27|secevent.evt|MACHINENAME|S-1-5-18 (Local System)|Security|612|Success|-;-;+;-;-;-;-;-;-;-;-;-;-;-;-;-;+;-;MACHINENAME$;;(0x0,0x3E7)
2012-01-17 17:06:18|secevent.evt|MACHINENAME|S-1-5-19 (NT Authority)|Security|528|Success|LOCAL SERVICE;NT AUTHORITY;(0x0,0x3E5);5;Advapi;Negotiate;;-;MACHINENAME$(0x0,0x3E7);252;-;-;-
2012-01-17 17:06:18|secevent.evt|MACHINENAME|S-1-5-19 (NT Authority)|Security|576|Success|LOCAL SERVICE;NT AUTHORITY;(0x0,0x3E5);SeAuditPrivilege            SeAssignPrimaryTokenPrivilege                   SeImpersonatePrivilege
2012-01-17 17:06:19|secevent.evt|MACHINENAME|S-1-5-20 (NT Authority)|Security|528|Success|NETWORK SERVICE;NT AUTHORITY;(0x0,0x3E4);5;Advapi;Negotiate;;-;MACHINENAME$(0x0,0x3E7);252;-;-;-
2012-01-17 17:06:19|secevent.evt|MACHINENAME|S-1-5-20 (NT Authority)|Security|576|Success|NETWORK SERVICE;NTAUTHORITY;(0x0,0x3E4);SeAuditPrivilege                  SeAssignPrimaryTokenPrivilege                   SeImpersonatePrivilege

If the --verbose flag is used, SIDs are also evaluated and placed in the parsed output instead of the defaulting raw SID. This action takes longer to run, since the plugin has to calculate each of the service SID and user SID from registry entries.


This plugin recovers fragments of IE history index.dat cache files. It can find basic accessed links (via FTP or HTTP), redirected links ( — REDR), and deleted entries ( — LEAK). It applies to any process which loads and uses the wininet.dll library, not just Internet Explorer. Typically that includes Windows Explorer and even malware samples.

More information:


$ vol.py -f exemplar17_1.vmem iehistory
Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.4
Process: 1928 explorer.exe
Cache type "URL " at 0xf25100
Record length: 0x100
Location: Visited: [email protected]://
Last modified: 2009-01-08 01:52:09 
Last accessed: 2009-01-08 01:52:09 
File Offset: 0x100, Data Offset: 0x0, Data Length: 0xa0
Process: 1928 explorer.exe
Cache type "URL " at 0xf25300
Record length: 0x180
Location: Visited: [email protected]://www.abcjmp.com/jump1/?affiliate=mu1&subid=88037&terms=eminem&sid=Z605044303%40%40wMfNTNxkTM1EzX5QzNy81My8lM18FN4gTM2gzNzITM&a=zh5&mr=1&rc=0
Last modified: 2009-01-08 01:52:44 
Last accessed: 2009-01-08 01:52:44 
File Offset: 0x180, Data Offset: 0x0, Data Length: 0x108



7 Replies to “Volatility, my own cheatsheet (Part 3): Process Memory”

  1. Tanto per cominciare, complimenti per gli articoli su volatility, gli ho trovati molto utili, tant’è che ho cominciato a prenderci pratica.
    Vorrei farti (posso darti del tu?) una domanda in merito: da un dump di memoria su un sistema win7, ho rilevato che era in esecuzione notepad, è possibile visualizzarne il contenuto?
    Ti ringrazio anticipatamente.

    1. Ciao Fabrizio,

      hai provato ad utilizzare il plugin “notepad”?

      $ volatility -h notepad
      Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.6
      Usage: Volatility - A memory forensics analysis platform.


      Module Output Options: dot, greptext, html, json, sqlite, text, xlsx

      Module Notepad

      List currently displayed notepad text

        1. Ok, in quel caso puoi effettuare il dump della memoria del processo di notepad.exe e effettuare la ricerca con “strings”: se mi dai un paio di giorni preparo un post a riguardo.

  2. In attesa di tue indicazioni, ho fatto alcuni tentativi e pare che quello di seguito abbia prodotto qualcosa:
    con memdump ho estratto il processo (in questo caso wordpad.exe PID 2988) con le pagine in memorira ad esso associate. Il file così ottenuto l’ho analizzato con winhex, in particolare ho estratto da esso i file per tipo, recuperandone uno .rtf. Quest’ultimo conteneva il testo digitato.
    Probabilemte procedura poco ortodossa, ma intanto ho conferma che nel dump qualcosa c’era 😉

    Aspetto tue delucidazioni e grazie ancora.

    1. In effetti non si tratta di una procedura tanto dissimile da quella che uso io: https://andreafortuna.org/dfir/volatility-tips-extract-text-typed-in-a-notepad-window-from-a-windows-memory-dump/

      Ho utilizzato un semplice strings+grep per effettuare la ricerca nel dump di memoria del processo. Per usare questo modo tuttavia è basilare avere un ‘pivot point’, una parola o una frase sicuramente presente nel testo digitato nel notepad.