Anyone have Windows Utility to compare all files (bit by bit) in a directory tree?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by bobatkins, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. I'm looking for a utility that will compare the files in two
    directories (and subdirectories) and report any that are different.

    I'm backing up images onto DVD and occasionally I get a verfification
    error. Unfortunately it just says "Verification failed - one or more
    files were different". It doesn't tell me how many files, or which
    files (dumb software - RecordNow).

    I'd like to compare the source directory to the DVD copy and figure
    out if it's one unimportant image or 100 important images, so I know
    whether or not to burn another copy or just add the one bad file to
    the disk (or another disk).

    I know I suppose I should burn a new disk to be safe, in case the
    disk itself was bad and so prone to failure, but I'm still interested
    in which files failed to verify.

    I did a web search but didn't come up with any simple utility that
    will compare directories and report differences in any files. All I can find are utilities that find files that are the same (duplicates) in two directory stuctures. Anybody
    know of one (freeware prefered, but anything is of interest). I'm
    running Windows XP Home.

    I tried ExamDiffPro, but it only compares individual files or directory structures, it won't compare all files in all subdirectories as far as I can tell.
  2. Bob, try looking at looking here for a program called "Total Commander". It has a directory synching facility that I think will do what you want. It's a nice file utility, has the old DOS files utility feel to it.
  3. This is easier in linux or unix...

    start -> run -> cmd

    in the dos prompt/windows shell
    from directory 1, type this in a windows shell:
    dir /B > file1

    from directory 2:
    dir /B > file2

    You can compare the out put of both these files in wordpad.

    If you want to get fancy, install Cygwin and run a diff on the files.

    Email me if you want more detailed instructions. It's quite eye glazing, but actually straightforward.
  4. Thanks guys, but what I need is a bit by bit comparison of all the files in both directories, not just a comparison of file names and I don't think either suggestion will do that.

    There are lots of directory synchronization programs that look for files with the same name but different sizes or dates but that's not what I need. I need to look at the binary contents of all the files.

    What I need is a program that effectively does a backup verify, looking at and comparing the binary data in each file to see if it can find any differences. There are backup programs with verification, but I have not yet found one that will perform only the verify function if it's given the name of two directories.

    There are programs that will do this given two files, but there are hundreds of files and doing them one by would would take days!
  5. we use ztree, a dos-like file manager
    ver 1.49 may be required for xp
    ver 1.41 will work with

    it permits a split screen ( press F8)
    and you can copy/move and do lots of stuff with filers and directories
    it only LOOKS like a dos app it is a true 32 bit app
    and supports lfn
    a trial can be d/l from
    or just type ztree in your browser and find the site.
    it makes no registry entries.
  6. oops I misunderstood.

    I think this might help you.
  7. Use the standard 'fc' command line Windows utility. Windows 2000 has it and Windows XP should have it too.
    For example:

    d:\>fc directory1\*.* directory2\*.*
  8. I believe I used this before, a little slow, but seemed to work:
  9. Bob--

    I use Comparator from SofteByteLabs:

    It used to be a freeware, but it looks like with the latest version they went to shareware. If you want, I can e-mail you the freeware version 2.2.

    It's got two-pane window and you can scan folders and subfolders for files that are missing, newer, and the same. You have options to copy the files that are different/newer/older.

    Not sure about "bit by bit" comparison--Comparator checks by file size and date.
  10. I think 'Beyond Compare' can do this. If you can't find it, email me.
  11. Hi bob,<p>
    I would give you an esoteric find command but probably the simplest
    thing to do is use "rsync" which is available on cygwin.
    The command is basically :
    rsync -n dir1 dir2
    It will recursively go through your directories and tell you exactly
    what files in dir2 are different from the files in dir1.
    Just fyi: rsync is actually made to "synchronize" directories so
    basically it does compares the two directories and cleverly copies
    the differences only over The -n basically says don't bother copying
    and tell me what the differences are which is what you want. (btw
    rsync actually works over networks so its a great backup tool because
    it will only transfer the differences)
  12. Just to be clear by "differences" I dont mean the filenames or but
    the parts of each file in dir1 that are different from dir2.

    best regards,
  13. Not to keep replying to myself :) But but "rsync" is
    basically a "synchronization" tool as you put it. I'm surprised that
    in the "official" windows world (i.e. not cygwin) Synchronization is
    based on timestamps or filesizes. This is really not the way to go
    because timestamps can drift on different machines or if a clock
    gets screwed up and you are forced to copy the entire file if you
    change a small thing in it. "rsync" is basically doing the bit-by-bit
    check in a clever way. It might be possible that your "sync" tools
    may optionally do something similiar.
  14. Windiff (a Micro$oft tool) allows comparison of either a pair of files or whole directories. In the latter case it will report whether one directory has more files than the other, or if individual files differ, saying which file is more recent. You can then double click on a file and see an exact breakdown of where the differences lie, although that bit's only really useful for textual files.

    I got it off the NT resource kit CD, but I think it's available for download from MS.
  15. I've used WinHex to do binary compares like this...worked nice and fast for me...<br>
  16. I forgot to add that you need to use the "checksum" option to do the bit-by-bit comparison.
  17. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    I concur with Mendel Leisk's recommendation of CDCheck. After I copy a directory (or directories) to CD for archive, I run CDCheck to verify the integrity of the copies before deleting the files from the hard disk. Not the fastest operation in the world, but it works-- and provides peace of mind.
  18. You might also want to try WinMerge:

    Point it to two directories, turn on the recursive option, choose which file extensions you want to compare (*.*, *.gif, *.txt, etc) and it'll tell you which files are same/different/missing. If they're text files, you can also bring up a visual comparison and merge differences in the files. I use it for source code, but it works with binary files as well. Similar to WinDiff and Beyond Compare.
  19. Windiff will work.

    Or, you could install the cygwin tools and use diff from a shell script to find and compare each file. That's what I'd do.
  20. Bob:

    I strongly recommend WMatch 2.0, which is a PC Magazine Utility written last year. It's compatible with all versions of Windows from 95/NT through XP, and is extrememly easy to install and use.

    When comparing two folders, if two files of the same name are found, and if they are the same size, then WMatch performs a 32-bit cyclical redundancy check on the contents of both files; this provides the "bit-by-bit" comparison you're looking for.

    For more information, check out the following link:,4149,951402,00.asp

    The above link provides extensive explanation of the installation, use, functionality (and programming) of this utility, but no visuals. Let me know if you'd like to see some screen shots, and I'll e-mail some to you.

    PC Magazine utilities are free, but they've recently begun charging for access to their download library @ $19.97 per year for unlimited downloads. (Lower prices -- down to $4.97 -- are available for subscribers to their print magazine, or for limited time periods and downloads.)

    I know you're not looking for one now, but if you ever decide to get a better back-up utility that provides file-by-file comparison during the verification stage, I strongly recommend Nero Burning ROM by Ahead Software:

    Good luck, and let me know if I can provide any additional information about either of these two programs.
  21. Although I used the language "When comparing two folders," I should make it clear that WMatch will compare all subfolders below any two "starting" folders, as well, if that option is selected. In the extreme, you can compare two entire drives, beginning in their root folders (for example, C:\ and D:\).

    I wrote that the PC Magazine article describing WMatch provides "no visuals," when I meant to write "not many visuals." There are links to three "figures" (illustrations) in the article. In any case, the offer to share screen shots still stands.
  22. I have used a program called TestPath ver 1.2 for a couple years. Works great. Specifically for comparing cd's against source material. New version 1.3 is out. it does byte by byte comparison as lesser compares. Free for personal use. Shareware for corporate use. The URL is
  23. From Component Software:
  24. TestPath 1.3 is about the easiest software I have ever had the pleasure to use. I'm also on XP home and it's author, Ojars Krumins, has verified it's accuracy with it. If more things in life were that simple...
  25. Why not use Nero to burn your DVDs. I only burn CDs, but Nero has a check box to do a file verify at burn time. I believe it gives a report of which files failed.

    Of course, that doesn't do any good for your existing DVDs, so I also appreciate everyone's answers for the "after burn" scenario.
  26. You might take a look at Dir Prudence. It was written to do CD verification, has both windows and command line interfaces, and you can download it and try it.
  27. You can do a COMP command within a FOR loop in a native DOS box. Been available since DOS 2.1.

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