FTK Email Analysis for Examining Email Data During Digital Investigation

Written By Mohit Jha
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On December 13th, 2023
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Overview: This write-up aims to explain FTK email analysis. If you are a digital forensics analyst having E01 files and want to view and analyze the email data present in that file then this is the article for you. Here we’ll walk you through the basics of FTK, what files it creates, how to analyze the email content of those files, and most importantly, what are the challenges faced during the analysis & how to overcome them.

What is FTK?

Forensic Toolkit or FTK is a forensics application, mostly used in digital forensics investigation and analysis. It has some features that are specially designed for analyzing email data. FTK is used by forensics professionals for collecting, preserving, and analyzing electronic evidence including emails from computer systems. 

In the context of FTK email analysis, FTK creates E01 files (FTK image files) during the process of imaging a disk or storage device. During the process bit-by-bit copy of the source storage device is captured. It includes all files, system data, and unallocated space. If the source device contains OST, PST, or EDB files, they will be included in this file. 

However, forensics investigators face challenges during FTK email analysis. Let’s have a look at one of the queries discussed on popular forum sites.

After creating an E01 file and opening it with FTK Imager, I signed into a Microsoft account and logged on to the mail application using an Outlook email with recorded email activity. Despite this, FTK Imager does not display any relevant information or email content. It appears that the forensic tool may not be effectively retrieving or presenting the Outlook email data from the FTK image file. What should I do next?

Before solving such issues it’s essential to know what other challenges may a forensics analyst encounter and what could be the one-stop solution.

Common Challenges Encountered During FTK Email Analysis

In most cases, emails are stored in a complex structure within PST, OST, (for Microsoft Outlook) and EDB (for Exchange Server). Extracting email data from these poses a common challenge for forensics investigators.

As a forensic analyst, you already know that email investigation involves a large volume of data. FTK image file may contain the entire disk data. Making it difficult to pinpoint and analyze specific email-related content. Ultimately, FTK email analysis becomes a time-consuming process.

In some situations, forensics analysts receive only FTK image files for extracting and analyzing, particularly email data. Since these files are platform dependent, without FTK imager they won’t be able to open the same. Even FTK imager often fails to open the file as you read on the user query. Making it tough for the analysts.

So, what could be the solution? The answer is in the next section.

Promptly Perform FTK Email Analysis Without Any Difficulty

It depends on three things to successfully overcome the challenges and carry out the analysis without a hitch; Technical Expertise, Strategic Approach, and of course a Specialized Tool. One such tool is the SysTools E01 Viewer Tool. This software is capable of doing an in-depth analysis of email data within an FTK image file. It is widely used and trusted by novice and seasoned forensics professionals.

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Some of the highlighting features are as follows.

  • The tool can be accessible in 20 different languages.
  • It can efficiently read, search, and examine FTK image files.
  • During FTK email analysis, it can scan and load multiple FTK image files in batches for analyzing the email content.
  • The tool can preview FTK image file items with attributes such as type of file, file name, file path, etc.

Now, let’s understand how you can use the tool for FTK email analysis.

Detailed Steps to Analyze Emails in FTK Image File

Step 1. Launch and open the above-mentioned software on your device.

Step 2. Next, click on the Scan option as shown below.

click on Scan

Step 3. After that, click either All or Select File Types radio button under ‘Select Filters’ as needed.

Choose All or Select File Type for FTK email Analysis

Step 4. Then, click on the checkboxes named EDB, PST, and OST.

Step 5. Next, select File or Folder option as per choice.

Choose File or Folder

Step 6. After that, click on Browse to select the FTK image file for the FTK email analysis.

Click on Browse

Step 7. Once the scan is complete, the tool will show you the OST, PST, and EDB files found within the FTK image file. And, it will list the email files as per the selected File Type.

FTK email analysis final stage

Step 8. If you wish to perform the Search to filter particular email files for the analysis then you can click on the Search option as shown.

Search particular email


As the digital forensics investigation demands, forensics analysts have to go by it. Sometimes they need to examine only email files from FTK image files. Though some challenges may arise during the process, we have described the perfect solution for performing FTK email analysis without any trouble. Just follow the suggestions and analyze the email data flawlessly.


By Mohit Jha

Mohit is a Microsoft-certified expert who has assisted thousands of clients with Outlook & Microsoft Office 365 issues. He enjoys writing on email clients as well as data migration. He is always excited about giving troubled readers the most up-to-date knowledge, explanation, and refinements.