CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment) is an Ubuntu based Linux distribution targeted at computer forensic investigators, from law enforcement to private digital investigators. It comes with friendly graphical interfaces for most forensic tools making this OS a good choice for students and computer forensic amateurs, as well as professionals. There is a front end called XSteg for Stegdetect, a tool to detect messages hidden in images (steganography), dd, a command tool to mirror and restore files can be used with a front end called AIR (Automated Image & Rescue) supporting dc3dd an enhanced dd version that includes features like hashing and zeroing files specially developed for digital forensics by the US Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center. The Sleuth Kit, a set of command line tools can be used in CAINE through Autopsy, a graphical front end that looks like a browser, a command based network scanner called nmap can be used with point and click thanks to zenmap.
Once you have finished your work CAINE makes it easy to create a written report as .rtf or HTML. For those who don’t know, unlike .docx or .odf (Open Document Fortmat), .rtf (Rich Text Format), files, although Microsoft proprietary, they are widely supported by most software and do not include metadata.
Computer forensics live CDs are widely used during investigations because they do not write anything to the host computer, however you should use a widely tested distribution to make sure that it works as expected and do not trust what a community or vendor distribution claims because only wide testing can find out unexpected bugs.
When you boot this live CD you will be given the choice to install the OS in your hard drive, I would not advise you to use CAINE as your everyday operating system because it comes with very few applications that are not computer related and it won’t be of much for a home user daily entertainment activities. You should not confuse this distribution with a penetration testing operating system like BackTrack, there are no offensive tools included in CAINE and only a few network related tools (WireShark, Cryptcat and Zenmap), CAINE purpose is to perform a post-mortem of a machine after an incident and gather data.
Home users can use this live DVD to reset a user’s password on a Windows machine with chntpw , recover corrupted data with ddrescue, partition a disk with Gparted, or monitor a hard drive health and temperature with HDSentinel.