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Windows Diff Utilities | InetDaemon.Com

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WINDOWS DIFF UTILITIES


Publishe d January 15, 2010 | By Ine tDae m on

IT T UTORIA LS

Windows doesnt come with a simple command-line differencing tool as does UNIX/Linux.

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BASIC CONCEPTS

This is unfortunate because even Windows has to do some scripting from time to time and
comparing files manually, correctly, is a pain. Here is a short list of options that I am

COMPUTERS

aware of for differencing files on a Windows system.

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MS-DOS Tools
fc
windiff
Windows Power Shell
compare-object
Win32 versions of UNIX utilities
unixutils diff.exe
Third Party Utilities

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MS-DOS TOOLS
The file comparison tool, fc.exe comes with Windows and can perform an ASCII or binary
file comparison:
fc file1.txt file2.txt
The windiff.exe tool does the same comparison, but within the Windows GUI. For
Windows 2000, 2003 and XP, this tool is in the Support Tools kit, or the Resource Kit for
older versions of Windows. The windiff.exe tool can also compare the list of files in
folders.

WINDOWS POWER SHELL


Windows 7 comes with PowerShell, you have to download it for all other versions. Within

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the powershell are command-lets and one of those is compare-object. To compare the

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contents of two files, you have to use this long, complicated setup:

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compare-object -referenceobject $(get-content C:\test\testfile1.txt) -differenceobject $(get-content C:\test\
testfile2.txt)

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WIN32 VERSIONS OF UNIX UTILITIES


There is a bundle called unixutils that is a Windows 32-bit port of the standard UNIX
utilities. I prefer these so much, I actually make a point of installing it on any workstation
I use frequently.
diff file1.txt file2.txt

THIRD PARTY TOOLS


There are also several third party tools, but the one that seems to work best is called
WinMerge, which is free and open source.

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