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Forensic Computer Examiner

As criminal defense attorneys and civil attorneys encountered law-enforcement examiners, the need for qualified civilian forensic computer examiners grew. Currently, there’s a huge demand for certified, qualified forensic computer examiners. Some trained examiners have started their own businesses, some work for large companies, such as Deloitte and Touche, and others work for law-enforcement agencies. 

This comprehensive online course prepares you for a career in this emerging field. You’ll learn not only to thoroughly examine digital media, but also to clearly document, control, prepare, and present examination results that will stand up in a court of law. You’ll be able to identify where and how data is stored and how to recover and interpret data and draw appropriate conclusions based on the data. Education on the ethics of computer forensics is also included. This course is hands-on and emphasizes learning by doing. The primary certification for civilian forensic computer examiners is the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) certification. The Forensic Computer Examiner Online Training course is an authorized ISFCE (International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners) training course that will thoroughly prepare you to take the CCE certification exam.

12 Months / 80 Course Hrs
Open enrollment

Offered in Partnership with your Preferred School

Western Iowa Tech Community College

Why this school? It's been chosen based on your location or if you've visited this school's website. Change School

Learning Method


Self-Paced. Study on your own schedule

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Forensic Computer Examiner

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Details + Objectives

Course Code: GES305

What You Will Learn
  • Know what a forensic examiner may expect to encounter during an examination
  • Understand software licensing and how it affects forensic examiners
  • Explore forensic ethical standards as they apply to forensic examiners
  • Determine when a legal opinion may be necessary to prevent privacy issues from interfering with the examination or causing a valid lawsuit
  • Understand how to properly establish and maintain the physical chain of custody of media and evidence
  • Know the significance of, location of, and how to recover data from swap files, temporary files, Internet cache files, Internet cookies, mail files, and Internet sites visited
  • Be able to prevent virus introduction and prevent activation of "booby traps"
  • Understand how to find and document data, including hidden data and password-protected data
  • Discover how to present recovered and evidence data to the client in a useful format
  • Understand how to present data in court or other proceedings
How the course is taught
  • Self-paced, online course
  • 12 months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 80 course hours
How you will benefit
  • Be fully prepared to sit for the CCE Certification testing through the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners
  • Jump-start your career as a forensic computer examiner
  • Understand what types of data and information you’ll be privy to on the job
  • Set yourself apart from competitors by understanding the requirements and responsibilities of a forensic computer examiner


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Introduction to Computer Forensics

Understand the needs of a computer forensic examiner. Learn how to deal with clients and employers, ethics required for the role, and opportunities in the job market.

Imaging and Data Formats

Begin learning about recommended machine configurations, as well as imaging theory and processes. You’ll also learn how to identify files and data formats.

FAT and NTFS Filing Systems

Master the FAT and NTFS filing systems. Learn how to process directories, deal with unallocated space, and create and delete files.

Registry and Artifacts

Continue the course by learning the fundamentals of registries and artifacts. You’ll examine logical structures, data recovery techniques, and basic internet issues, amongst other things.

Forensic Policy

Explore the use of policy and checklists in forensic practice. Develop an understanding of the legal process, case report writing, and going to court.

Introduction to Mobile Data Exploitation

Complete the course by learning about the mobile phone extraction process including collection, isolation, interrogation, imaging, and analysis.


Module 1- Introduction to Computer Forensics

  • Recommended Machine Configurations
  • What makes a good computer forensic examiner?
  • Computer Forensics vs. E Discovery
  • Dealing with clients or employers
    • Work Product
    • Client Contracts
    • Legal and privacy issues
  • Software Licensing
  • Ethical Conduct Issues
  • Cases that may include digital evidence
  • Forensic Examination Procedures
  • Determining Scope of Examinations
  • Hardware and Imaging Issues
  • Floppy Diskette, USB and Optical Media Examination
  • Limited Examinations
  • Forensically Sterile Examination Media
  • Examination Documentation and Reports
  • ASCII Table
  • General Overview of Boot Process and Operating Systems
  • Floppy Diskette Sides, FD Tracks, Hard Disk Drives
  • BIOS History
  • Networked Computers
  • Media Acquisition
  • Acquisition Documentation
  • Chain of Custody

Module 2 – Imaging

  • Recommended Machine Configurations
  • Imaging Theory and Process
  • Imaging Methods
  • Write Blocking
  • Imaging Flash Drives
  • Wiping, Hashing, Validation, Image Restoration, Cloning, Unallocated Space
  • Drive Partitioning
  • One (1) Student Lab Practical Exercise

Module 3 – File Signatures, Data Formats & Unallocated Space

  • File Identification
  • File Headers
  • General File Types
  • File Viewers
  • Examination of Compressed Files
  • Data Carving – Using Simple Carver
  • One (1) Student Lab Practical Exercise

Module 4 – FAT File System

  • Logical structures of DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98
  • Master Boot Record
  • File Allocation Table
    • 16 Bit FAT
    • 32 Bit FAT
  • Directory Entries
  • Clusters
  • Unallocated Space
  • Sub-Directories
  • Six (6) Student Lab Practical Exercises

Module 5 – NTFS File System

  • Introduction and Overview
  • Basic Terms
  • Basic Boot Record Information
  • Time Stamps
  • Root Directory
  • Recycle Bin
  • File Creation
  • File Deletion
  • Examining NTFS Drives
  • Two (2) Student Lab Practical Exercises

Module 6 – Registry & Artifacts

  • Creating an Examination Boot Disk
  • Data Recovery
  • Windows Swap and Page Files
  • Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry
  • Internet Cache Files, Cookies and Internet Sites
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Logical Structures
  • Tracking User Specific Computer Use
  • Internet Explorer Cache Index
  • Basic Mail Issues
  • Basic Internet Issues
  • Common Situations Encountered during Examinations
  • Password Protection and Defeating Passwords
  • Compound Documents
  • Examining CDR Media
  • FTK
  • Three (3) Student Lab Practical Exercises

Module 7 – Forensic Policy, Case Writing, Legal Process & Forensic Tool Kits

  • Use of Policy and Checklists in Forensic Practice
  • Data Presentation to Client
  • Case Report Writing
  • Legal Process
  • Expert Admission
  • Going to Court
  • Use of Forensic Tools and Software
  • One (1) Student Lab Practical Exercise – Hard drive examination

Module 8 - Introduction to Mobile Data Exploitation

  • Mobile Phone Extraction Process
    • Collection
    • Isolation
    • Interrogation
    • Imaging
    • Analysis
  • Mobile Networks
  • International Mobile Subscriber Identity
  • Use of Forensic Tools and Software
  • One (1) Student Lab Practical Exercise
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Instructors & Support

Bill Long

Bill Long is a retired law enforcement supervisor with the Oklahoma Office of the Inspector General. He is a CFCE and is owner and president of William J. Long & Associates LLC, a firm specializing in computer forensic examinations and data recovery.

John Fretts

John Fretts serves as Director of Investigations for New England-based a private firm. Prior, he was a Senior Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for more than 30 years. In addition to conducting firearms and explosives investigations he specialized in computer forensic investigations.

William D. Taylor

William D. "Bill" Taylor is a retired Computer Investigative Specialist/Special Agent with the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in Nashville, Tennessee. He holds both Baccalaureate and Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice and a Associates Degree in Forensic Computer Science. He is also a graduate of the 152nd Session of the FBI National Academy. Bill had over 35 years of investigative law enforcement experience when he retired. 

Clifford Ellston

Clifford "Cliff" Ellston was a Senior Special Agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after 35 years of service. In addition to conducting firearms and explosives investigations, he specialized in computer forensic investigations. Ellston currently serves as a compliance officer for a retail corporation. He also assists local police in their effort to handle and examine electronic media evidence.

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To enroll in this course, you’ll need to have basic computer skills, including the ability to work outside the Windows GUI interface. This is because forensic examiners often need data that can’t easily be accessed from within Windows. Being comfortable working within the DOS environment will be very helpful in this field.

A good measure of your readiness for this course is knowing that you can successfully complete the A+ certification through CompTIA. Note that the certification is by no means a prerequisite. However, the basic knowledge needed for success in this course typically requires that you have the A+ level of experience.

A forensic computer examiner will be required to work with the hardware of a computer on many occasions, so you’ll need to have the ability or desire to remove and replace hard-disk drives from computers and change jumper settings. These topics are briefly covered within our course, but you should have these skills prior to enrolling.

To work in this field, you must not have a criminal record. This includes any felony conviction where the individual could have received a sentence of one or more years of imprisonment. This also includes any criminal history of sexually related offenses, as many digital examinations include these topics, and an examiner with this type of history could be easily discredited.

If you plan to pursue the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) credential, you must have attended a course through an ISFCE Authorized Training Center (such as this one), have documented experience in forensic computer examinations, OR be able to produce a well-documented self-study.


Hardware Requirements: This course must be taken on a PC device. A Mac OS is not compatible.

  • PC: Windows XP or later and BIOS .
  • 1 GB (or more) memory
  • 10 GB or larger hard-disk drive for examination purposes
  • 2 (or more) open USB 2.0 ports

Software Requirements: 

  • PC: Windows XP or later operating systems.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge is also compatible. 
  • Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Other: Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Recommended Configuration:

  • PC with the latest updates and BIOS
  • 2 GB (or more) memory
  • 15 GB or larger hard-disk drive for examination purposes
  • Integrated PS/2 ports (not USB keyboard or mouse)
  • 4 open USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 open Firewire/IEEE 1394 port
  • Read/Write blocking device such as the FireFly Read/Write device made by Digital Intelligence


Instructional Materials

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

About Certification


The International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE) is an independent, private certifying body that administers fair, unbiased examinations with high ethical standards. Its Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) credential is internationally recognized and well-known to employers and instructors in the computer forensics industry. Through the CCE certification, ISFCE wishes to advance the science and research in the industry and provide a level of professionalism. You can demonstrate your knowledge and your professionalism when you enroll in a course certified by ISFCE.



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Can I register for a course if I am an international student?

Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country’s regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.

Does this course prepare for a certification?

The Forensic Computer Examiner Online Training course is an authorized ISFCE (International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners) training course that will thoroughly prepare you to take the CCE certification exam.

When can I start the course?

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

How long does it take to complete this course?

This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive twelve (12) months to complete the course.

What if I don't have enough time to complete my course within the time frame provided?

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact your Student Advisor to help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

What kind of support will I receive?

You may be assigned with an instructor or team of industry experts for one-on-one course interaction. Your support will be available (via e-mail) to answer any questions you may have and to provide feedback on your performance. All of our instructors are successful working professionals in the fields in which they teach. You will be assigned to an Advisor for academic support.

What happens when I complete the course?

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a certificate of completion. You will also become eligible to sit for the CCE Certification testing through the ISFCE. Note: You will need to list this training while submitting your application for the Certification.

Am I guaranteed a job?

This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

Can I get financial assistance?

ed2go courses are non-credit, so they do not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more:

How can I get more information about this course?

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the “Contact Us” form.

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