Generate and compare file hashes with Hashing for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 22, 2017

Hashing is a free open source program for Microsoft Windows that you may use to generate hashes of files, and to compare these hashes.

Hashes are used for a variety of operations, for instance by security software to identify malicious files, for encryption, and also to identify files in general.

You may use hashes to make sure that backups are not corrupt, or that all files on a USB Flash drive can be still be read properly.

Hashing is compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows 7. It does not need to be installed, but requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5.2 to run.

Tip: We have reviewed similar programs in the past. Check out our reviews of HashTab, MD5 Checker, Hash my Files, or the get-filehash PowerShell command.


The core feature of Hashing is the calculation of file hashes. You drag and drop folders or files on the program interface to start the calculation right away. You don't need to drag and drop all files at once; Hashing will add entries for any new files you add automatically without impacting the list of existing hashes.

Hashing picks up any file automatically, and parses folders for files to add those as well. It displays MD5, SHA1, SHA256 and RIPEMD160 hashes immediately after you drop the selection on the program window.

You may select any hash and right-click it to get options to copy the hash to the clipboard. You may also clear the data or remove one entry. The latter is useful if you plan to use the compare functionality that Hashing ships with.

Basically, what it does is compare any file hash that it calculated with each other to find identical hashes. If it finds identical hashes it displays those in a new window. It lists the algorithm that it used to identify the hit, and lists options in the interface to use other algorithms for the comparison instead.

compare hashes

If you want to compare a source directory with a backup, you'd have to drag and drop both the source directory and the backup directory on the program interface.

This is not the best method for comparison though, but other options are missing in this regard. An option to export the hashes as JSON data is provided however so that you may run comparisons in other programs instead that are better suited for that.

The only other option provided is to change the theme.

Closing Words

Hashing is a simple program. It is fast, open source, supports four different algorithms, and does not need to be installed. The downside is that the comparison functionality is limited, and that it does not support options to import a list of hashes.

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  1. Peter said on August 12, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Corz simple checksum. Nothing comes close to it. It can do per-file md5 or per-folder md5 checksum creation, automatic search and verify all found checksums, sync and update existing checksums and so much more.

  2. Seban said on September 25, 2017 at 4:09 am
  3. Adminny said on September 24, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    I have been using for a long time Microsoft fciv.exe

  4. Rocky said on September 24, 2017 at 1:43 am

    I believe that when I installed 7zip it added an entry to generate hashes to the right- click context menu.

  5. A different Martin said on September 23, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I do most of my hash comparisons using download-related browser extensions.

    When I use DownThemAll, I copy and paste the expected checksum (hash) into the Add Downloads window before initiating the download. The download gets checked and flagged automatically when the download is complete. DownThemAll supports MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, AND SHA512.

    Some servers don’t like DownThemAll, especially if DTA has been configured to break the download up into multiple concurrent streams. It’s also often faster and less of a hassle to do a simple regular “Save As,” especially if the browser remembers the correct folder to save to for the site in question. In that case, I check the file hash once the download is complete, using Download Status Bar in Firefox 55 (x64) and Firefox ESR 52 (x86), and Download Manager (S3) in Pale Moon 27 (x64).

    Download Status Bar automatically calculates a downloaded file’s MD5 hash when you choose Checksum from the context menu of a completed download, and it allows you to subsequently switch the calculation to SHA1, MD2, SHA265, SHA384, or SHA512. You can then paste in an expected hash and it does the comparison for you. Download Status Bar is a legacy extension that will stop working in mainstream Firefox in a couple of months and in Firefox ESR sometime next June.

    Download Manager (S3) is similar to Download Status Bar, except that it automatically calculates both MD5 and SHA1 hashes when you choose Checksum from the context menu. It doesn’t seem to have options for other hashes. (I wish it did SHA256, because I think I have at least one recurring program download for which SHA256 is the only checksum provided.)

    For situations where I can’t use a browser extension to check a file, I’ve added a Checksums tab to my file Properties windows by installing the HashCheck Shell Extension, and a File Hashes tab by installing HashTab. The first (HashCheck > Checksums tab) automatically calculates and displays CRC32, MD4, MD5, and SHA1 hashes when you click on the tab. The second (HashTab > File Hashes tab) does CRC32, MD5, SHA1, and SHA256 by default, but has a total of 24 different hash types you can choose from for automatic calculation and display. In both you can paste an expected checksum into a box for comparison. One of them (I forget which one) automatically picks up any checksum that might be in your Clipboard and pastes and checks it for you.

    Because I only use checksums to verify the integrity of downloads at the time I save them, and the above methods are convenient, I’ve never bothered to check out 7-zip’s hash-checking features, HashMyFiles, or any other standalone hashing program.

    I guess there is one area where I could use some tips. Oracle’s checksums for Java are given in one long page with listings for every Java product, platform, and architecture. It isn’t too difficult for me to search for the files ending in .exe and quickly spot which checksums I want, but it is kind of daunting for non-geeky friends and relatives. Is there a hashing program or feature that can parse pages like these and automatically choose the right filename/checksum pair for comparison?

    1. Seban said on September 25, 2017 at 3:59 am

      They could copy/paste the hash to search within the web site by using ctrl-f.

      1. A different Martin said on September 25, 2017 at 4:17 am

        That’s doable. Thanks!

  6. Clairvaux said on September 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I have tried several, and only CHK satisfies my needs (which are basic ; there are few things I want to do, and I want them done simply and quickly). Open the program, resize the window so as to be wide and flat, position it at the bottom of the screen, resize Windows Explorer so as to fill the upper part of the screen, drag your files into the CHK window. If the files get highlighted in green, it’s a match ; if not, they are different.

    I will try this one, though ; it seems to do more.

  7. John said on September 22, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    No love for HashMyFiles by NirSoft ( I use it and it’s very good.

    1. A different Martin said on September 23, 2017 at 3:44 am

      Already loved in an earlier gHacks review. (See link under Tip:, above.)

  8. Yuliya said on September 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I use WinHasher:
    You can hash a file, compare two ore more files, and hash text. The zip folder binaries once run create a reg key under HKCU/Software where it stores some settings (such as last hashing algo used) so the program is not portable, but that’s it. If you remove that is like it was never run on a PC.

    To compare entire folders or multiple files into one single hash I use 7-zip’s built in hashing function.

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