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How To Check MD5 Checksum In Windows 7?

MD5 checksum or MD5 hash is an unique fingerprint of a computer file, regardless what file format it is. Similar to other file verification algorithms, the ultimate purpose of calculating MD5 checksum is to verify the genuineness of the file.

How does MD5 checksum works or why MD5 checksum is important to you?

In order for publisher to assure recipients that the file received has not been infected by virus, tampered by hacker, corrupted by incomplete download, etc, the publisher calculate and publish the MD5 checksum of the file.

The recipients responsibility is to calculate and verify the file MD5 checksum against the one published by publisher.

So, the 2-way process is basically calculate-publish and calculate-verify!

Now, how to calculate MD5 checksum of a file in Microsoft Windows?

Most Linux distributions come with md5sum program for one to calculate or check MD5 hash of files. Unfortunately for Microsoft Windows users, there is no file verification program bundled with the default installation, not even found one in the Windows 7 Ultimate edition! (Let me know if I am wrong.)

Good news is that there is no short of md5sum for Windows and most of them are available as freeware! Instead of listing all of them here, I would like to recommend you md5sums.exe by Jem Berkes.

The md5sum for Windows, a 28KB command line file verification utility available for download from PC-Tools.net.

Better than the md5sum for Linux, this md5sum for Windows is capable to display the progress of calculation which is useful if the file size is big (e.g. DVD ISO image file). Besides, the -s option switch can be used to display speed of calculating MD5 checksum (hashing speed).

While Jem recommend its usage by dragging one or more files over md5sums.exe to generate MD5 message digest of respective files, I prefer to use it in Windows Command Prompt as if I am using the Linux version of md5sum:

1) Save the md5sums.exe to C:\Windows folder as md5sum.exe

2) Whenever there is a need to calculate MD5 message digest of files, I open Command Prompt window in the target folder path and execute md5sum target_file where target_file can be one of more files.

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  1. Michael 21-01-10@00:29

    I found that Microsoft has an unsupported command line utility called FCIV which can be dropped in the system32 folder and can generate md5 and sha1 checksum. It appears to be designed to checksum a large set of files to an xml file, and then be run again at a later date to ensure the checksum match and there have been no files altered.

    It works in Windows 7 for me.

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=B3C93558-31B7-47E2-A663-7365C1686C08&displaylang=en

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;841290

    Hopefully this functionality will be added to all versions of MS OS’es in the future.

    Michael

  2. discipuloosho 13-02-11@08:10

    Thanks, man

  3. ‘Ren 17-08-11@19:59

    The other way would be to use the powershell:

    [BitConverter]::ToString((new-object Security.Cryptography.MD5CryptoServiceProvider).ComputeHash(
    (new-object IO.FileInfo("c:\fullpath\filename.extension")).OpenRead())).Replace("-","").ToLower()
    
  4. Walker 18-08-11@16:33

    @Ren, thanks for sharing!

  5. DaveNull 02-03-12@19:23

    “Better than the md5sum for Linux, this md5sum for Windows is capable to display the progress”

    The md5sum for Linux can display progression, you just need to install a GUI, don’t remember it’s name (the GUI name) but I used it to check Ubuntu’s ISO (10.04 and 11.xx) MD5sum

    Hackers won’t tamper files, because a hacker in NOT a cracker…

  6. Tim Legg 03-10-12@00:30

    This is off topic since this is a non-windows platform, but I’m sure somebody could use the info.

    On Linux or BSD machines, you can show progression of the md5sum with the use of the ‘pv’ tool.

    You may have to install this free tool on some distros (Debian, Ubuntu use ‘sudo apt-get install pv’)

    pv is a progress viewer. It acts like the ‘cat’ command except with a progress bar. Pipe the data into the md5sum command to show progress of md5sum.

    % pv bigfile.iso | md5sum

    You can even use it to copy a huge file and see progress.

    % pv hugefile.img | dd of=copyoffile.img

  7. Anthony G 23-01-13@04:39

    You could install Cygwin to have a subset of Linux commands on windows. I ran this from Windows 7 with Cygwin installed.

    $ md5sum –help
    Usage: md5sum [OPTION]… [FILE]…
    Print or check MD5 (128-bit) checksums.
    With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

    -b, –binary read in binary mode (default unless reading tty stdin)
    -c, –check read MD5 sums from the FILEs and check them
    -t, –text read in text mode (default if reading tty stdin)

    The following three options are useful only when verifying checksums:
    –quiet don’t print OK for each successfully verified file
    –status don’t output anything, status code shows success
    -w, –warn warn about improperly formatted checksum lines

    –help display this help and exit
    –version output version information and exit

    The sums are computed as described in RFC 1321. When checking, the input
    should be a former output of this program. The default mode is to print
    a line with checksum, a character indicating type (`*’ for binary, ` ‘ for
    text), and name for each FILE.

    Report md5sum bugs to bug-coreutils@gnu.org
    Report Cygwin bugs to: cygwin@cygwin.com
    GNU coreutils home page:
    General help using GNU software:
    Report md5sum translation bugs to
    For complete documentation, run: info coreutils ‘md5sum invocation’

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