Hash it out

Quickly calculate checksums from the properties dialog with this free module.

Febooti fileTweak Hash & CRC sounds like the sort of place Indiana Jones ends up fighting his way out of, but it's actually a free hash and checksum calculator. Hash and checksum values are used to verify the integrity of large computer files by comparing special codes to see if anything has changed. That's a simple explanation of what many PC users see as a complicated and entirely too geeky procedure. It isn't a difficult concept, especially with free tools like Febooti at hand. To use the values the module creates, you can compare them with existing cryptographic hash values, if they are available, or attach checksums to files so that they can be verified at a later date.

Febooti fileTweak Hash & CRC is a freeware module of Febooti's fileTweak file management utility. However, you don't need other software to run the Hash & CRC tool. The module has no formal interface of its own but simply adds the Hash/CRC tab to any file's properties dialog. We randomly clicked our way to a program installer in Downloads folder. Right-clicking the file and choosing Properties called up the file's properties dialog with the Hash/CRC tab displayed. For files up to 20MB, the program automatically calculates and displays the CRC32, MD5, and SHA-1 checksums. To calculate other checksums, you simply select the appropriate items in drop-down menus, select values in check boxes, and click Compute. The checksum values automatically appear next to the check boxes. A Copy button lets you quickly copy any values to the Clipboard. There's a button to access the software's online Help file, which offers a good explanation of what the program does and how to use it, and a banner link to a site offering other fileTweak modules.

This simple, free tool adds a useful capability to Windows that's there when you need it but unobtrusive when you don't. The ability to quickly generate checksums from a tab on the Properties dialog will appeal to more users as online files grown larger and more common.

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