Use the File Checksum Integrity Verifier utility

Edited by Rich, Anonymous, Lynn, Michael J. and 3 others

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Since Windows Vista, a file checking utility has not been included in the default operating system installation. Checking MD5 and SHA-1 checksums can still be accomplished with a tool available for download from the Microsoft website. A checksum is a unique number that is assigned to a file upon creation. The checksum is used to compare the downloaded file to the original. If the checksum is the same then the file has been downloaded fully. Checksums are used to validate file integrity. They are especially important for very large files as verifying the checksum is the easier method to determine if the source file is corrupt during installation problems. This how-to will use the command line within Windows, but do not be intimidated as the method will be explained thoroughly.

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Tools needed

FCIV - File Checksum Integrity Verifier

Instructions

  1. 1
    Download.
    The utility can be downloaded from Microsoft's support database here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/841290.
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  2. 2
    Installation.
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    1. Locate the download. The Downloads folder is the default Windows location for files. Navigate to the Downloads folder or wherever you saved the utility.
    2. Open the file. Double click the Windows-KB841290-x86-ENU.exe file and run.
    3. Read and Accept the EULA.
    4. Extract the files. Extract the files to a temporary location. The ideal location for the fciv.exe file is within the Windows directory.  
      1. Open the C drive. Open the start menu and left-click "Computer." Open the default installation drive. This is usually the C drive.
      2. Drag and drop. Drag and drop the fciv.exe file to the c:\Windows directory.
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  3. 3
    Set Path:
     
    1. How to open a command prompt.  
      1. Open the start menu. Press the Windows key or left-click on the Windows icon on the taskbar to open the start menu.
      2. Search for cmd. Enter cmd in the search field of the start menu.  
        1. Optional: Run as administrator. Navigate to "All programs" and expand the "Accessories" directory in the start menu. Right-click on "Command Prompt" and select "Run as Administrator" if necessary.
      3. Enter the path amendment command. Type 'set path=%path%;c:\fciv' into the command utility without the single quotes.
        CmdPathExample.png
    2. Exit the command prompt.
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  4. 4
    How to determine the checksum of a downloaded file.
     
    1. Note. For this tutorial I will be using a download of Ubuntu as an example. These steps can be performed with any downloaded file.
    2. Open the downloads directory.
    3. Properties. Open the properties of the file being checked. Right-click the file and select "properties" from the context menu.
    4. Select the Checksums tab. Navigate to the tab and the operating system will calculate the checksums. Leave this window open.
      PropertiesChecksum.png
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  5. 5
    Open the Command Prompt from the downloads directory.
    We will now use a shortcut to open the command prompt from the downloads directory. This will reduce the number of commands needed in the command prompt.  
    1. Find empty space. Navigate the mouse pointer to an empty space within the downloads directory.
    2. Open Command Prompt. Hold down the shift key and right-click the empty space. In the context menu select "Open command window here."
      ShortcutCmdExample.png
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  6. 6
    How to use the command prompt to compare the checksums
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  7. 7
    Determine the file name.
    In order to compare the file with FCIV the exact file is needed. The exact file name is listed in the open properties window at the top and within the properties window.
    FilenameExample.png
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  8. 8
    Optional:
    Copy. The file name can be copied and pasted into the command window with the mouse. Copy the file name if desired but do not paste into the command prompt yet.
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  9. 9
    Run FCIV.
    Back in the command prompt, enter the following: 'fciv filename -both' without the single quotes and then press enter. In my example the exact command will look like:
    FcivCommandLineExample.png
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  10. 10
    Optional Parameters.
    The "-both" parameter commands the fciv utility to output both MD5 and SHA-1 checksums. The utility can be set to output just one by amending the command with "-md5" or "-sha1."
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  11. 11
    Study the output.
    Here is the example output showing both the MD5 and SHA-1 hashes.
    FcivOutputExample.png
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  12. 12
    Compare.
    Place the properties window and the command window side-by-side and check that the checksums match. If they match, the file was downloaded completely.
    FcivFinalComparisonExample.png
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ReadMe file, key things about it

The File Checksum Integrity Verifier download package comes with a Read Me file that discusses key information about the application. The file is divided into six sections for the user's convenience. Provided below are those sections and an overview of their content.

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  1. 1
    What is File Checksum Integrity Verifier.
    This section basically gives the user an insight of what FCIV is and what it does.
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  2. 2
    Features.
    Listed in this section are the several features that come with the FCIV tool. This is an essential section as it informs the user of other specific features the FCIV tool have aside from its main advertised feature that is to compute file hashes.
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  3. 3
    Syntax.
    This section touches the specific FCIV commands to be used when interacting with the tool through the Windows command prompt. Included within is a comprehensive list of commands and their corresponding definitions.
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  4. 4
    Database storage format.
    Illustrated in this section is the database format by which the checksums are stored. The FCIV tool uses XML file to store file hashes.
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  5. 5
    Verification.
    This section tells how the user can create a hash database and use it to regularly verify sensitive files. This is especially useful if the user suspects that his system has been compromised.
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  6. 6
    History.
    Lists the versions of the FCIV tool and the features added on each version.
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • ReadMe. The download comes with read me file that lists many other excellent uses for the File Checksum Integrity Verifier.
  • Uninstall the utility. Simply delete the file fciv.exe to remove the utility from the system.
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Questions and Answers

Properties tab menu after step 3 completed?

I typed in the system path command however when performing the next step (step4) I do not see checksum tab in the properties menu

Are you using an upgraded operating system? Also, if you are check if the file has been fully and properly downloaded yet. It could be possible that the file hasn't downloaded 100%. Uninstall and Re-install the file and see if something follows and you get a checksum tab.

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How to performing sorting in fciv?

It is very simple. Open the folder and right click anywhere. Click "Sort" and sort files as per name, date, properties or anything else you like. If you want to sort it directly on the fciv then, it isn't possible. You can only do the sorting in the folder.

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Fciv examples?

What example do you want in regards to examples for the file checksum can be anything but you will need to be specific about what you want examples on such as processes, steps or downloads.

Where to extract fciv?

You can extract it into any folder that you like. Ideally, the Windows directory folder in "C" drive or desktop should be fine. However, if you wish to extract it to a different location, you can very well go ahead and do so.

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Why are the MD5 rows on the XML different?

I tried to run fciv and send the result in xml to an xml file (say, result.xml). Problem arise because the result in xml table (MD5 column) is different from the result that was being 'get' from fciv command line. Is there something I miss? Thanks in advance

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I am using FCIV.exe to do an MD5 file hash?

Problem is that it needs to be in Little-Indian so I'm not sure how to do this. Is there some sort of setting maybe?

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Excluding file from generating checksum from root folder?

Hi, My intentions is to generate checksums for 3 files out of 4 files from directory using below command but fciv is computing checksums for all 4 files. fciv.exe c:\ -r -exc ignore.txt -xml temp.xml

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Article Info

Categories : Windows

Recent edits by: Eng, foxy, Michael J.

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