Checking the integrity of downloaded files is a good security practice to ensure that your downloads haven't been tampered with. We've seen malware being repackaged into the installers of legitimate programs, which would then infect the unsuspecting user's computer.
Hashes are also useful when you want to check the integrity of files on your devices, say backed up files to make sure they are not corrupt.
Whenever possible, take a moment to check the hash values provided by the developer and compare it with the file you downloaded.
IgorWare Hasher is a useful option you may want to try. It's a portable software, and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The RAR archive contains the executable and a text file.
There are two panes in the application's interface: File and Text.
Compared to other hashing tools, e.g. PS Hash, Hasher Lite, or HashTools that we have tested, IgorWare Hasher is pretty basic when it comes to the number of algorithms it supports. There are just three formats: SHA-1, MD5 and CRC32. But it should suffice for most users, as these algorithms are still used by the majority of the internet including open source programs such as Keepass, Notepad++, VLC, to name a few.
Drag and drop a file onto Hasher's GUI, or use the browse button to select the file that you want to verify. You can uncheck the algorithm that you don't want to calculate the value of. Hit the Calculate button at the bottom right corner of the window. IgorWare Hasher will process the file and display the SHA-1, MD5 and CRC32 values in their corresponding boxes, and the status bar at the bottom should read Calculation done!
Click on the copy button and the program copies the calculated values, the filename, the time stamp, and the file size, to the clipboard. It maybe useful save the data in a text document for reference. The save option creates a hash verification file in the three formats, that you can use with other programs. These are created in the same folder where the file that you chose for hashing was located.
If you have the checksum values, you can paste them in the relevant field, and Hasher will cross-check it with the value that it calculates from the selected file, and tells if you they are a match. For e.g. The status bar will say "MD5 verified" if the values were the same, or "MD5 verification hash is incorrect" if the match failed.
IgorWare Hasher can be used with hash files you may have. To use this method, you'll need to add the downloaded file after which you should click on the ... button next to the right edge of the window and browse for the verification file.
The Text tab in the program can be used to calculate the hash values of the text that you enter. The options here are simple, enter the text in the box, click on the calculate button to generate the hash for the data. This is not something most people would use, though it can be a way to verify that the content sent to you has not been modified by anyone.
Hasher can be set to run on top of other programs from the options menu.
You can choose to integrate IgorWare Hasher with Windows Explorer, though this option will write to the registry which essentially makes the program non-portable. Of course, this will require you to run the program with administrator privileges. When you enable the option, a new menu item called "Generate hash" appears in Windows Explorer's context menu. Select a file in Explorer, amd clicking on which opens the program with the file loaded, and you just have to use the Calculate button to get the values.
Other options that you can toggle in the program's menu includes a setting to calculate the hash values automatically after you drag and drop a file, and optionally for command-line files. That reminds me, IgorWare Hasher can be used from the command-line too. It supports 3 switches.
[c] = CRC32
[m] = MD5
[s] = SHA-1
c = calculate
s = save
x = exit
For e.g. hasher.exe -c[m] "H:\vlc-3.0.11-win64.exe" will calculate the MD5 value of the selected file.
IgorWare Hasher is made by the developer of File Joiner and 64 bit checker. Main downside to the program is that it can compute hashes for individual files only; if you need batch checking, try Hash Tools which I linked above.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.