What Is File Hash?

File Hash is a digital print for files that not only verifies their integrity but also checks multiple files for authenticity.

Using an ID helps to avoid identity theft and in maintaining proper access to work. Similar to this sort of management, in which the integrity of something can be verified, is using the File Hash. It is a digital print that works on any file type, be it exe, msi, docx, pdf, iso, or txt, and is used to find if the file is genuine or not. To put it in simple words, it is the unique identification encrypted for a particular file and can be used to find the alterations on the file. Let us learn more about this in the article.

What is File Hash

What is File Hash?

You might be aware that people in the industry or a well-organized office are referred to by their IDs or any reference ID assigned exclusively to them, instead of referring to them by their names. These IDs help to distinguish people and to verify if they are genuine or not. File Hash works the same way. This digital print works on files of multiple types to check if they are authentic. Along with that, the hash value MD5 for file integrity can be checked. Let us learn more about this value in the doc below.

Quick Answer

To find Hash Value of file:

1. Open Windows PowerShell and run the get-filehash <filepath> command to find hash value.

2. To check the file with the name file.txt, run get-filehash C:\Windows10Upgrade\resources\amd64\file.txt command.

What is Hash Value of File?

Hash is a digital signature-based encryption system or a unique value corresponding to the content of the file. For checking the integrity of the files, online tools, and other programs are used to check the MD5 checksum or hash value of a file. These are extremely useful in various security products like firewalls, IDS, and endpoint protection software. The Hash checksum algorithm formats include MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, SFV, CRC, Base64, LM, etc.

Hashes or Checksums

Hashes or hash codes and checksums are used to check the integrity of the file using an alphanumeric string and are the same. Based on the encryption type, there are several types of hashing, for this SHA256 hash checker, as listed below:

  • MD Family- MD4, MD5,
  • SHA Family- SHA1, SHA2, SHA224, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, SHA-512/224, SHA-512/256,
  • SFV,
  • CRC,
  • Base64,
  • LM,
  • Tiger,
  • xxHash,
  • MACTriplesDES,
  • RipeMD,
  • HAVAL, and
  • Whirlpool.

Also Read: 15 Best Free File Hash Checker Tools

Characteristics of MD5 Windows

The checksum or the hash value of the file, based on the MD5 file format, has 32 characters in total. This 128-bit fingerprint consists of hexadecimal strings that contain alphabets from A to F and 10 digits from 0 to 9. For instance, the hash type of the MD5 file would be 12602de6659a356141e744bf569e756.

How to find Hash Value of File

File hash verification can be done while downloading the file and ensuring it is safe using the malicious hash checker. The process to use any hash checker is described below in this section.

1. While downloading files for patching or drivers, the MD5 Windows checksum of the file (if available) has to be noted.

2. By applying the algorithm or cryptographic hash function using any of the methods given, a string value is returned.

3. This string value is only suited for the file in the current state and gets altered even if 1 byte of the file is altered.

4. Digital fingerprint of the checksum for the file or code is a calculated value of numbers (from 0 to 9) and letters (from A to F) of the hash.

Challenges in Hashing a File

The challenges while checking the file hash are listed in this section.

  • Most of the files are not accessible owing to the integrated driver signing or Certificate authority. These software signs block the Operating System operating and may not match the computed hash value.
  • In addition, the actual legitimate file names of real programs on a Windows PC can be cmd.exe and differs from the hash of the malware file.
  • For multiple types of hashes, identical file sizes to give matching hashes for all algorithms can be challenging. 
  • Hash Collision issues occur owing to common hashes (as mostly MD5 and SHA1 are used) and are hard to provide the tampered file with a single hash algorithm.

Reasons for Corrupt File

The file may be corrupt and the hash values may not match in the malicious hash checker owing to the following reasons:

  • Imbibing corrupt values while downloading may change the checksum value of the file.
  • Network issue while downloading the file from the source website.
  • The file is infected by malicious software.

How to Verify Integrity of File

After learning the various methods to find the hash value of the file, we are now given a question that deals with the method to perform MD5 for file integrity.

  • The basic requirement to be suited to ensure that the hash can be effectively checked is that the file sizes must be identical. This allows adding or subtracting the bytes from a tampered file and producing checksum as that of the original file.
  • If the hash output of the file is different from that of the hash in the MD5 file integrity, the integrity may be compromised. As said earlier, the hash is a digital signature of the file, and if the signature of the original and copy of the file do not match, the file may be corrupt.
  • Using a cross reference tool, that is, an MD5 Windows checksum utility or hash checker to find the hash value can help in comparing the hash values.

Method 1: Use Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell is an integrated file hash checker and uses the PowerShell function, like PowerShell MD5, to check for the hash of the file. It uses the Windows Command line to find out the hash of the file.

Hash Formats Supported by Windows PowerShell are SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, MACTripleDES, MD5, and RIPEMD160. Follow the instructions given below to perform MD5 for file integrity using the PowerShell MD5.

1. Open the Windows PowerShell app using the Windows search bar.

open Windows PowerShell

2A. Enter the basic check command as follows and press the Enter key to find the hash value or MD5 checksum of the file.

get-filehash <filepath>

For instance, if you would like to check the file with the name file.txt which is saved in the Local Disk (C:) drive, you can enter the following command.

get-filehash C:\Windows10Upgrade\resources\amd64\file.txt

Note 1: The default hash output for this command is SHA256, and is irrespective of the file format.

Note 2: The time taken to generate a file depends on the size of the file.

Enter the basic file hash check command

2B. If you want to check the file in a different value, you can enter the following command and then press the Enter key.

get-filehash –Algorithm [HASH TYPE] <filepath>

For instance, if you want the same file named file.txt in SHA384 hash output, you have to enter the following command.

get-filehash –Algorithm SHA384 C:\Windows10Upgrade\resources\amd64\file.txt

Note: The time taken to generate the hash output for the file may vary based on the algorithm type you use.

check the file in a different hash value

Also Read: What is Checksum? And How to Calculate Checksums

Method 2: Use Command Prompt

Now that you have used PowerShell MD5 to find the Hash Value, it is time to use Command Prompt. Windows Command Prompt uses the certutil hashfile command to verify the MD5 and SHA checksum. The default value of the hash is SHA1 and is unaltered until another hash format is specified. This built-in Certificate Utility tool can be used to also format a USB drive on Windows 10 OS.

Hash algorithms supported by the app are, MD Family (MD2, MD4, MD5), and SHA Family (SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, and SHA512). The method to use Command Prompt app as a File hash checker is described below.

1. Open the Command Prompt app using the search bar.

launch the Command Prompt as an Administrator

2A. To check the MD5 hash checksum, type the following command and press the Enter key.

CertUtil –hahsfile <filepath> MD5

For instance, if you would like to open the file named hwcompat.txt in the following directory as given in the command, type the following command.

CertUtil –hashfile C:\Windows10Upgrade\resources\amd64\hwcompat.txt MD5

check the MD5 hash checksum

2B. Type the following command to change to the corresponding directory with the file.

cd <filepath>

After this, type the next command said earlier to verify the hash value of the file.

For instance, the file in the location given earlier can be verified in these two commands as follows.

cd C:\Windows10Upgrade\resources\amd64
CertUtil –hashfile hwcompat.txt MD5

verify the hash value of the file

3. To check the file checksum in any other hash algorithm, type the following command

CertUtil –hashfile <filepath> <hash algorithm>

For instance, if you would like to check the same file in another format, say SHA1, type the following command.

CertUtil –hashfile C:\Windows10Upgrade\resources\amd64\hwcompat.txt SHA1

check the file checksum in any other hash algorithm

Method 3: Use File Hash Checker Apps

The last method to find this value for the files is to use a checker app like Hash Generator. It has to be noted that these third-party apps might help you with MD5 for file integrity but may not give exact results as that of the native apps on the PC.

Note: As these are third-party apps, it is advised to avoid using any file that may contain any personal information.


The article gave brief information on how to find Hash value of files and the methods to verify their integrity. Please fill in the fields in the comments section to share your queries and suggestions.

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