October 24th, 2011, 02:36 AM
How to analyze a hard disk byte by byte
Is there any software that will help me view the contents of my disk byte by byte?
Some hex editors allow us to see the files present in a directory and then open the file, then view and/or edit the file byte by byte
So for this to work the OS should know that the sequence of bytes is a file of certain type
and it will show me each and every byte of the file until the end is reached
So for the OS to recognise it as a file there should some kind of header or pointer to the beginning of the file, and some kind of EOF character as well, stored in the hard disk (as per the structure of the file system I guess (?) )
What I wanted to know was is there any software that will let me view these headers and end of file characters as well
So for example, using this software I would be able to see the value of the pointers that determine where a folder starts in the hard drive
So in effect I should be able to see each and every byte of the hard disk, from byte no 0 to byte no whatever the size of the hard disk is
Is there any program that would let me do this?
and perhaps having some extra features as well, such as when it sees a particular pointer structure it knows that it is a folder and shows this fact to us using an icon, or it sees a particular sequence of bytes and knows that it is the MBR and notifies us as such
I hope I was able to explain what kind of program I mean
Thank you very much
October 24th, 2011, 07:56 PM
I don't know of any such software off the top of my head, but it is possible that some could exist. It could allow you to see exactly what the operating system sees when it reads the disk, although this might not necessarily be the physical contents of the disk drive due to the disk firmware sitting between the physical disk and the motherboard. It is impractical to bypass the disk firmware for modern disks.
The structure of files and directories on the disk is determined by the file system. Modern file systems do not use a "end of file" character, the length of the file is stored in the header.
This is what a file browser like Explorer does.
October 24th, 2011, 09:07 PM
Thank you very much
Originally Posted by E-Oreo
I found a software called WinHex which allows us to do this in Windows, as well as hexedit for linux. Comparatively, hexedit is quite primitive though