Want to make sure a file has not been tempered with? Downloading installation files for Windows, for instance? Find out here how to check and verify an MD5 checksum on Windows 10 (or SHA-1 and SHA-2).
First, a 100¼ Year-Centennial
In what came to be known as “White City”, pale neoclassical splendor invited guests to massive, yet impermanent pavilions in Chicago’s Jackson Park to celebrate 400 years of Christopher Columbus landing in the New World — in 1893.
It was a special algorithm that made 1893 the year of the 4th centennial of 1492, and it takes a special algorithm to sum up a file of any length in a few bits. Meet the checksum:
How to Check an MD5 Checksum on Windows 10
Time needed: 3 minutes.
To check an MD5 or SHA checksum on Windows using certutil:
- Open the Windows command line.
Do it fast: Press Windows R, type
cmdand press Enter.
Alternative: You can also open command prompt or Windows PowerShell from the Start menu, of course.
- Go to the folder that contains the file whose MD5 checksum you want to check and verify.
cdfollowed by the path to the folder.
Tip: You can drag and drop a folder from Windows Explorer to insert the path.
certutil -hashfile <file> MD5.
<file>with the filename.
Tip: You can use the Tab key to have Windows complete the file name.
certutil -hashfile Example.txt MD5to get the MD5 hash for the file Example.txt.
- Press Enter.
Other hashing algorithms: See below for more hash algorithms (including SHA-1).
- Compare the resulting checksum to what you expect.
How to Verify Checksums Using SHA1 and Other Hashing Function on Windows 10
To verify a checksum generated with a hashing algorithm different from MD5:
- Follow all steps above with one exception:
- Replace “MD5” with the desired hashing function from the following table.
|MD2 message-digest algorithm||32 digits|
|MD4 message-digest algorithm||32 digits|
|MD5 message-digest algorithm||32 digits|
|SHA-1 secure hash algorithm 1 (160 bit)||40 digits|
|SHA-2 256-bit secure hash algorithm||64 digits|
|SHA-2 384-bit secure hash algorithm||96 digits|
|SHA-2 512-bit secure hash algorithm||128 digits|
How to Check an MD5 Checksum on Windows 10: FAQ
Can certutil generate RIPEMD hashes?
No. Certutil supports the hashing functions above.
(How to verify an MD5 (or SHA) checksum tested with Windows 10 Version 20H2; updated July 2021)