Sometimes you might need to verify the checksum of a file when you want to make sure you have exact copy of a that software or file. Not only just to avoid errors in a file, but a checksum also helps you make sure that someone hasn’t manipulated the file and embedded some malware in it.
Whatever may be the reason, it is quite irritating to open your PC and download a special app just to calculate and verify checksum of a file. Because you can do it using a File manager app called Solid Explorer.
In this tutorial I will show how you can Generate and compare MD5 as well as SHA1 checksums for any file on your Android phone using Solid Explorer app.
What is File Checksum? What do you use it for?
A checksum is a small-sized datum derived from a block of digital data for the purpose of detecting errors which may have been introduced during its transmission or storage. – Wikipedia
Formal definition aside, a checksum is a long string of Alpha-numeric characters calculated by analyzing the contents of the file. Checksum is used to check the integrity of a file usually when downloaded over network. So, if even a little part of file is missing or corrupted or modified, we can detect it by verifying its checksum.
Usually, Software providers provide a Checksum of the file you are downloading on their download page. So, after downloading the file, you can generate the checksum for your downloaded file and compare it with that on website to see if it has any errors.
Though it is commonly used to check integrity of Software installers, you can generate the checksum for any kind of file.
To give an example, let us consider a simple text file containing the text “Hello”, if I generate SHA1 hash for this text file, I would get:
If I edit the file and add just a “.” (dot), which means the file now has the text “Hello.”. If I generate the SHA1 hash again, I get:
As you can see, even if the change I made is very small, I got a completely different checksum. This way it helps us make sure that we have the exact copy of original file. Checksum not only helps us avoid errors but also helps ensure the security of the file.
What are MD5, SHA1 and SHA256 checksums?
Okay, now you know what is checksum. But you might be wondering what is MD5 and SHA1 checksum?
In order to calculate checksum, a program (hash generator) use a set of rules aka Algorithm. There are different checksum algorithms and MD5, SHA1 are popular among them. MD5 is an old algorithm, which can generate 128-bit (32-digit) checksum. While SHA1 can output 160-bit (40-digit), a more complex checksum, there is also a newer 256-bit checksum algorithm called SHA256.
The difference between MD5 and SHA1 is, the latter is new and more complex the first one, offers better security and reliability. So I recommend you to use SHA1 or SHA256 and better instead of MD5, when you need to provide checksum.
Steps to Generate/ Compare File Checksum (MD5 & SHA1) in Solid File Explorer for Android
It is quite simple to Generate or Compare the checksum hash so that you can make sure the file you download or copied is an exact copy and has no errors.
For this tutorial we are using an Android file manager app called Solid Explorer. If you don’t already have it, you can download it here for free.
If you want to compare the checksum, make sure to get the pre-generated checksum of the original file. You can find on the file provider website, you can usually find it on their respective download page.
Once you have everything you need, do as follows:
- Open Solid explorer and go to the file, for which you want to generate/compare the checksum.
- Now long tap on the File to select it and tap on 3-dots menu icon in bottom-right corner and then tap on Properties.
- Then tap on Checksums tab. Now here you can see options to Calculate and compare both MD5 and SHA1 checksum.
- To calculate MD5 Checksum hash, tap on Calculate button under MD5 checksum. A checksum will be generated in the text field. Just tap on Copy button to copy it.
- Now to compare the checksum, copy the checksum that you got from File download provider website and paste it in the text-input field under Compare.
- To calculate & compare SHA1 checksum hash, you have to click the Calculate button under SHA1 checksum and follow same steps as before to compare checksum.
- After you paste the checksum to compare, if the checksums match, you will see a message in green color saying “Checksums are the same”. If they don’t match, you will a Red colored message saying “Checksums are different”.
If the checksums are different, it means the file is not completely transmitted or has some errors. In that case try re-downloading the file.
So, that’s how you can verify the checksum on your Android device with ease. Hope this tutorial is helpful. We really appreciate if you could share this post on social media and do subscribe to Digicular on YouTube.