Don’t buy the (wrong) X-Ways Practitioner’s Guide

Short PSA.

There are two X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guides. One is the outdated first edition and the second is the newly released second edition.

  1. First edition: Outdated. Still being sold by some sellers.
  2. Second edition: Current edition. Only sold via Amazon and no electronic versions.

The first edition is maybe still 25% relevant as so much has changed in X-Ways. The second edition is 100% relevant and current.

There is a reduced price by Amazon for the second edition. Take advantage of that now before it goes back to retail price.

I only post this because someone just bought the wrong book and asked me for an exchange, but I can’t because I am not selling the first edition and don’t have any control over sales of that book. Sorry…

Amazon Reviews of X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide/Second Edition

This is the first review, and I am sincerely appreciative!

Any and all reviews are encouraged and welcomed, even if they are critical (so that I can do better next time).

Amazon lowered the price of the X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide?!?

The X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide WAS listed on Amazon at $69.99.

Today, it is NOW listed at $51.62.

Today I learned that Amazon raises or lowers the prices of books as they see fit, without asking or informing the authors, and this happens to most books. This is out of control of the authors.

A little annoying since Amazon doesn’t even give a notification of price changes. But it is what it is.

Per Amazon:

The good news is that if you have not yet bought your copy, this is probably a good time since Amazon lowered the price. I don’t know when or if the price will go lower or go back to retail price, and I have absolutely no control over the price now (a new learning experience with Amazon KDP).

The early order shipping stories

Out of all the orders, there were:

  • 4 bad print copies (blurred, smeared ink) – all replaced
  • 5 damaged books in transit – all replaced
  • 10 VERY late deliveries (some of these are still enroute by Amazon!)
  • 3 few “double deliveries” (same book, delivered twice…).
  • 2 deliveries to the wrong address (written address was correct, delivery was wrong).
  • Many delivered in days. Others in weeks.
  • Amazon delivered about 75% of the books, but…
  • Amazon gave about 10% of the books to USPS for delivery. This added weeks of shipping time.
  • The remainder were given to third-party carriers (some I have never heard of…) and this added weeks to shipping time.

A word about “Other Sellers” on Amazon

There aren’t any other sellers (yet) for the XWF Practitioner’s Guide. The guide will be on Barnes and Noble and bookstores sooner (or later), but there is only one publisher for this book (the publisher is Amazon).

I bring this up because around 2 years ago, I was getting complaints on the 1st edition of the X-Ways Practitioner’s Guide about the “order of the chapters and pages”. The complaints were saying that the pages and chapters need to be reordered, and I replied each time with “Well, that is the way the book was written.”

However, after a few of those complaints, someone explained that the pagers were literally out of order (1, 2, 99, 34, 45, etc…) and that someone had taken an ebook copy or scanned a print book, and then uploaded the PDF to Amazon in their own account to sell as “Other Sellers.” Unfortunately for everyone who bought the pirated book, the pages were out of order and the buyers were scammed with fake, pirated, and unusable books.

This is just a personal note to be aware of the “Other sellers” of the same product of anything on Amazon.

“By the book”

Quick note because there were more than a few requests to create a course that ran alongside the XWF book, like a textbook course, I’ll make it.

Here it comes…

If you already bought a book, you can take a discount off the price. If you posted a photo of your book online somewhere, you can take another discount off the price. If you work in govt, or you are a student, or teach students, or the owner of a business, you can take even more of a discount.

If you are subscribing to DFIR Training as an “all-in” subscriber, the course will be free to you. If you just bought an XWF course from DFIR Training and still active, this course is free to you.

Access will be for 6 months. Plenty of time to go through the book a few dozen times, and be refreshed with the ondemand course as much as you need.

The XWF Guide is Worldwide!

To those who ordered, thank you! I hope that the XWF Practitioner’s Guide/2E will serve you well now and in the future with your X-Ways Forensics work.

Direct link to purchase on Amazon:

If there is just one thing that you find in the book that helps to resolve a case by finding something that you would not have found otherwise, or find an artifact faster than you would have, or resolve a case that would have taken longer or maybe never been able to close, then the book was worth every written word.

My guess is that the biggest benefit you will have with this guide is that the one thing will be many things and those are the kind of things that will save you frustration and time. Hours saved and errors prevented are worth much more than the cost of a class, a book, or the time spent talking DFIR over coffee.

The XWF Manual

I have nothing against the XWF manual as it does what it does, but it doesn’t show you how to use X-Ways Forensics. That is where the XWF Practitioner’s Guide fills in. I wrote this guide in the manner that I would want to read how to use a complex software application, and how I think other XWF users want to read as well.

I am grateful to everyone who has already bought a copy, and happy to see the social media posts on book deliveries. My apologies for the timeliness (or rather, lack thereof) by Amazon and some delivery carriers in getting the books delivered.

Again, use the book well! Write in it! Highlight it! Dog-ear pages! Put it to good use because when you do, that is an indication of you exploiting X-Ways Forensics to its fullest. Books are created to be used to better your life and/or work, not admired on a shelf.

More XWF Users and Fewer Support Issues

A selfish goal that I have when recommending forensic tools is that if more in the DFIR community use the tools that I use, the better for me because of community acceptance and peer review. I don’t want to use a tool that no one else uses because that makes it a little more difficult to explain in cases as a using a community accepted tool.

There are plenty of XWF users, for sure. But just like I recommend other tools that are already community accepted, I continue to advocate for the best tools. Regarding this book, I would expect more ‘new’ users of XWF, more renewal of licenses that were expired (because too much frustration to learn/use), and fewer support issues (so that X-Ways AG can focus on more features, which is another selfish goal of mine…).

Of course, I say that these are my “selfish” goals, but truly, we all benefit when we can peer review good tools and advocate for their use, development, and improvement for all of our benefit.

Side Note on “Other” Forensic tools

Let not this book nor my advocacy for this book, X-Ways Forensics, or any one tool mean that I am a one-tool examiner. XWF is one tool of many great tools that I use and that I recommend. You will never hear me disparage a good tool, or say that you should only use one tool. You will hear me advocate many great tools, and XWF is just one of them.


If you find this guide to be of benefit, an Amazon review would be good to see feedback. And as difficult as it is to read, not-so-good reviews with suggestions are helpful to me as well so that I can do better.

Some of the social media posts

These are all so super cool to see. I’m hoping that I am following every account that posted a picture, or will be following 🙂

I’ll add to this post every time that I see a book picture posted.

The book launch might have only a few hours left..

I planned a certain number of books that I thought would last 100 hours. I miscalculated by about 48 hours.

With that, the 100-hour book launch looks like it might be over by tomorrow morning or lunchtime. There are a few orders to work out shipping and purchases, and after that, only a few books left that I planned to offer for the launch.

Don’t worry if you didn’t make this launch as the book will be on Amazon and everywhere else in a week or two. I’ll be sure to put the link here and elsewhere.

Now….getting ready to ship some books!

Book launch process & updates

The good:

99% of all orders have had no problems.

The not so good:

Maybe 1% of the orders have had a little bit of problems, but nothing that can’t be fixed.

a) orders were not calculated correctly (undercharged, fault of the system, but easy to remedy)

b) some countries not listed (don’t worry; I’m checking on shipping to these countries that were not listed)

The good and not-so-good, depending on how you look at it

The number of books set aside for the launch are almost gone. This is good to see that XWF users want the book, but not-so-good if someone waits until the last minute to order, since the launch is looking like to be over before the 100 hours is done. An unlimited number will be available from, Barnes & Noble, etc…soon enough.


PayPal has been working, but comments against PayPal have been made. I am also not a fan of PayPal, but for payment processors, PayPal has a major chunk of the market. For the book launch, PayPal it is…

But, for anyone not wanting to use PayPal for the book launch, no worries! The launch is almost over and then the book will be available on and other book seller sites to order from there. This is just a discounted launch, same book, just different pricing when the launch is over.

Still haven’t ordered but thinking about it?

Might want to hurry if you want to grab the book now with the launch discount. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait and order retail price online at



Book Launch is live!

Aaannnnnddddd, the 100-hour countdown clock has started. Let’s see how long this batch of books last.

USA orders

Non-USA orders

This is the first (proof) copy and all looks good! Purchased copies don’t have the “Not for Resale” banner.

Unlike the first edition from prior publisher, this book is in COLOR!

Bonuses for Book Launch Buyers

#1 Access to XWF-related downloads (quickstart guides, tooltips, etc…)

#2 “If” a Kindle version will be released, which would be at the end of this year if that happens, all early bird, book launch buyers will receive the Kindle version free. Plus, the Kindle version will not be available outside of this group, since this is a bonus for the book launch. This could change many ways to Sunday, but that is the current intention.

THE X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide is complete!


There will be an XWF/2E Book Launch happening in a few days. today (4/24/22)!

The book will be $20 off ($49.99 instead of $69.99) and includes free shipping in the USA (outside the USA is available, but not free).

(1) The book launch will be for ONLY 100 hours

(2) There is only a limited number of books for the book launch.

When the books are gone or when the 100 hours are up, the book launch will be closed.

If you want to be notified via email when the book launch begins, add your email to the notification list here:   I WANT IN ON THE 100-HOUR BOOK LAUNCH!

Some more detail:

This book took some serious time and effort!  But it was so worth it.  There are over 400 pages in the second edition, which is about 150 pages more compared with the first edition.

The XWF dialog windows are more fully detailed visually as are the checkboxes and tri-state checkboxes. There are a dozen contributors who gave their war stories or workflow processes in how they use XWF.  You are getting the perspective of many from one book. The combined experience with XWF is probably more than a century given the contributors experience.

The first edition of the X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide was good.  Good enough to win forensic book of the year. But now, that book is outdated. It has been many years since the first edition, and XWF has had many hundreds of updates to render the first edition useless for any practical sense.

This second edition of the Practitioner’s Guide focuses on XWF v20.5 and should be a great resource for the next years in exploiting X-Ways Forensics to your maximum ability. I tend to believe that the chance that I can fully push XWF to its maximum ability is low since my personal limits are less than what XWF can do. It is good to have that gap as a goal to increase personal skills rather than have a software application that limits your abilities.

XWF/2E Book Launch

For the XWF/2E book launch, I will have some XWF-related downloads available, but only for those who make it into the book launch. After the book launch is over (either 100 hours or when the limited number of books are sold), XWF/2E will be available for purchase everywhere you usually find books.


I’ll cover USA shipping. For international shipping, there will be a charge, but you will be able to have the book shipped to you.

After the book launch, free shipping will be over.

$20 discounted special

At over 400 pages and quite a bit of information, this book will be listed at $69.99. But for those who really want to get into the book faster, the XWF/2E book launch gets you $20.00 off the retail price.

This is not a pre-order

I will never do a pre-order again. Ever. I jumped the gun on that previous pre-order, resulting in refunding everyone rather than hold onto money for the book. I apologize again to those who ordered and were refunded…my intention was to ship out those books as a bonus of being first.

From now, no orders until the book is in my hand. Or in the store. That was too much stress.

Electronic versions

For the foreseeable future, there will be no electronic version available. If/when this happens, it will be most likely a Kindle ebook in 2023. Until then, an ebook might be made available in the practitioner’s guide online course. If this happens, then all updates to the book will most likely be free to these students from the course.

Future “versions” of the X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide

Speaking of updates to the the guide…the first edition was published by Syngress, but this second edition is self-published. This may not mean much, but here is the biggest point that affects XWF users: I can update this book whenever I see fit (as in, when XWF is substantially updated, I can update this book on-the-fly).  With books printed by a publisher, updates might not ever happen due to the way the publishing industry operates.  With self-publishing, I can update a page or entire chapters, upload a new version of the book, and note it as such.

So you will most likely see in the future:

X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide, Second Edition, Revision 1

X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide, Second Edition, Revision 2

X-Ways Forensics Practitioner’s Guide, Third Edition


This was only made possible by taking back ownership of this book from the publisher, which was not an easy or simple task. Nor was it quick. It took YEARS. But now, here we are and I’ll update the book as needed, including revisions and corrections on the fly.

Bonus Material

For the XWF Practitioner’s Guide Book Launch buyers, you will have a bonus offer that is not available to anyone else. Plus some XWF-related downloads that you will be given access to some XWF-related downloads.

To make sure you have a chance at the book launch, submit your email for a reminder here:   I WANT IN ON THE 100-HOUR BOOK LAUNCH!

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