The following procedure will guide you through installing HstEx for the first time.  Please ensure that you close all other applications before starting.

Operating System Requirements

HstEx has been designed to work on the Microsoft® Windows® platform in either a 32 or 64 bit environment.  It has been tested on the following versions of Windows:

Latest Release

Prior to installing HstEx, please ensure you have obtained the latest release.  There is on-going product research and development which provides new features, important updates and bug fixes. Please check the change log for details of those changes.

The release history and change log can be found here:

The latest download links for NetAnalysis and HstEx can be found here:

Digitally Signed Software

Software vendors can digitally sign and timestamp the software they distribute. The code signing process ensures the end user knows the digitally signed software is legitimate, comes from a known software vendor and the code has not been tampered with since being published.  If the Authenticode Digital Signature is not valid, or the MD5 hash provided at the point of download does not match, please do not install the software.

All the software products published by Digital Detective have been digitally signed. This ensures that when you use our software, you can verify that it has not been tampered with and is a product developed and released by Digital Detective Group.  The following Knowledge Base article explains this further and shows you how to verify the integrity of forensic grade software:

Running Setup

Now that you have verified the integrity of the setup file (all the individual executables have also been digitally signed) you can install the software.  You will note that each release has been named using the version/build information (see Figure 1).


Figure 1

Good forensic practice dictates that you archive each release of HstEx that you use on a forensic case.  This ensures that at any time in the future, you can install a specific version and replicate your results.  When you run Setup, you will be prompted to select a language.  This language selector is for the installation only and does not change the language used by NetAnalysis or HstEx (which is currently English).


Figure 2


Select the appropriate language and click OK to launch the Setup Wizard (as shown in Figure 3).


Figure 3

End User Licence Agreement

The next screen displays the End User Licence Agreement.  Please read this carefully.  If you wish to review or print a copy of this agreement, it can be found in our knowledge base:


Figure 4

If you accept the agreement, please select the appropriate option and click Next.  The next screen (Figure 5) prompts you to select a location in which to install HstEx.  Please note this is a different location from where HstEx v1 - 2 was installed.


Figure 5


This next screen (Figure 6) allows you to select which components to install.  There is no need to install the Licence Key Management Utility if you are using a USB Dongle Licence.


Figure 6

The next screen (Figure 7) shows the location of the Start Menu folder where the icons for the software will be placed.  The default location for HstEx is in a folder called Digital Detective.  You will find all our released products in this location.


Figure 7

The next screen (Figure 8) shows additional tasks and gives you the option to create an icon on your Desktop.


Figure 8

The next screen (Figure 9) shows a summary of the installation tasks prior to launching the installation process.


Figure 9

The next screen (Figure 10) shows important information in relation to installing a static Licence Key File or using a USB Dongle.


Figure 10

The final screen (Figure 11) shows that the HstEx Setup Wizard has completed.  At this point, you may be asked to reboot your workstation.  Please ensure this is done before you try and use HstEx.


Figure 11

Default File Locations

The default installation folders for HstEx on 32 and 64 bit Windows are shown in Table 5 below.


Operating   System


Windows 32 bit

C:\Program Files\Digital Detective\HstEx\

Windows 64 bit

C:\Program Files (X86)\Digital Detective\HstEx\

Table 5