Back in 2003 I developed a program I called FileCheckMD5. It solved a little problem I had: customers couldn’t tell me if their CD-ROM was defective or damaged, and I had to do a lot of guesswork to find out if their CD-ROM was bad or if the installation program wasn’t functioning on their computer for a different reason.
There were of course various file integrity scanners out there, but at the time, I could not find anything that was both graphical (so non-techinical users could easily interpret the information) and properly suited for the task of checking an entire CD (subdirectories and all). So I just wrote my own which used the MD5 hash method, and called it FileCheckMD5.
I released it as freeware thinking one or two other people might find it useful for the same things.
That was hundreds of thousands of downloads ago.
Over that time, I’ve built up quite a wish-list of features and a few bugs.
I decided it was time to develop a more robust tool – and since this one will offer more than just the MD5 checksum method, the name will be changed from FileCheckMD5 to ExactFile.
ExactFile will be multi-threaded, support Unicode file names, and not choke on extremely large (hundreds of gigabytes) files.
The initial beta version of the console application, exf, is already done. This one is for folks happy on the command prompt. The full GUI ExactFile is still in the works and will be available soon.
Today I figured it was time to get this thing posted online so others could use it. If you’re already using a command line summer like md5sum, sha1sum, or fsum, exf is something you’ll want to try. As I said, it’s multi-threaded, so when you’re hashing more than one file, those extra cores in your processor will actually get to do something. And although Windows consoles don’t display Unicode characters, exf works fine with Unicode file names and its output doesn’t mangle the file names, either.
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Oh, and I’ve put FileCheckMD5 here just until the GUI ExactFile is ready to be used.