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

Bob Atkins , Nov 20, 2003; 10:49 p.m.

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.


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Peter Foiles , Nov 20, 2003; 11:21 p.m.

Response to Anyone have Windows Utility to compare directories?

Bob, try looking at looking here http://www.ghisler.com/ 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.

Bart F , Nov 20, 2003; 11:27 p.m.

Response to Anyone have Windows Utility to compare directories?

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.

Bob Atkins , Nov 20, 2003; 11:42 p.m.

Response to Anyone have Windows Utility to compare directories?

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!

Walter Degroot , Nov 20, 2003; 11:46 p.m.

Response to Anyone have Windows Utility to compare directories?

we use ztree, a dos-like file manager ver 1.49 may be required for xp ver 1.41 will work with 98.me

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 www.ztree.com or just type ztree in your browser and find the site. it makes no registry entries.

Bart F , Nov 21, 2003; 12:01 a.m.

Response to Anyone have Windows Utility to compare directories?

oops I misunderstood.

I think this might help you.


Dmitriy Budko , Nov 21, 2003; 12:30 a.m.

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\*.*

Mendel Leisk , Nov 21, 2003; 12:35 a.m.

I believe I used this before, a little slow, but seemed to work:


Hyun Yu , Nov 21, 2003; 12:36 a.m.


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.

Bernhard Mayr , Nov 21, 2003; 02:35 a.m.

I think 'Beyond Compare' can do this. If you can't find it, email me.

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