Checking file hashes seems like a throwback technology, but it is critical in transferring large files to ensure data integrity. Rick Vanover fills you in on what's new in version 3.0 of the HashTab tool.
The HashTab utility integrates with the Windows shell to provide hash capabilities right from Windows Explorer. Many tools require command line usage or a separate application to create or check file hashes. File hashes are effectively a checksum through a pre-defined algorithm to ensure that the destination copy of a file is data consistent with the source instance of a file.
HashTab 3.0, which is a free download on the Beeblebrox.org website, has been updated to offer Mac OS support, as well as include a number of new hashes, including:
-WhirlpoolWhile these hashes are new to the tool, some are not necessarily new algorithms. Adler32, for example, is from the mid-1990s via RFC 1950. HashTab's additional checksum algorithms are shown in Figure A. Figure A
Click the image to enlarge.
Within HashTab, there is an option to "select all" hashes; this applies all hash algorithms to a file when it is accessed. I recommend only selecting the hashes that are required, as if a large file has the hashes generated (this is done during a right-click, properties, then selecting file hashes); there can be a long delay while all hashes are computed. There is a Cancel button if the process needs to be aborted.
In the course of downloading CD-ROM .ISO files or large compressed files, I use the MD-5 or other hashes that are provided with the download. A tool such as HashTab makes it very easy to check those hashes to ensure that the files are transferred correctly.