How to Create Checksums on Your Computer

Our article covering how to create checksums for files on your server apply to everyone using Linux as their local operating system (OS) as well. But Windows and Apple OS users would have to use different steps.

Furthermore, md5 and sha1 checksums are still popular because they’re fast. But they’re now very insecure due to the possibility of a hash collision. This means its possible for two or more completely different files to produce the same hash.

This is why we recommend more secure hashing algorithms such as sha224, sha256, sha384, and sha512 (least to most secure). Remember that creating a checksum doesn’t modify the file as you create a file hash from your computer.

Note: This is also more secure than online tools such as VirusTotal.com as you’re not uploading files externally.

Get a Checksum

  1. Open your terminal
    Windows MacOS
    PowerShell: Open the folder with the file you’ll hash, click File and Open Windows PowerShell Method 1: Click Spotlight in the upper-right ( or press + space) and type Terminal
    Command Prompt: Open the Start Menu, type cmd, and press Enter ↵. Method 2: Click Go in the menu bar, click Utilities, then Terminal
    Type cd \Users\your-username\Documents to reach your file directory.
    Type dir for current directory listing
    Type cd path-to-file-folder to navigate to the file if needed
    Type ls for current directory listing
  2. Create the checksum
    Windows MacOS
    certutil -hashfile path-to-file sha512 shasum -a 512 path-to-file

    Replace 512 with your preferred algorithm – 256, 224, 384, etc.

  3. Use the echo command to easily compare the two hashes
    Windows MacOS
    PowerShell: echo hash ; echo second-hash

    Command Prompt: echo hash && echo second-hash

    echo hash && echo second-hash

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