md5 checksum how to

January 21st, 2007 mysurface Posted in md5sum, Misc | Hits: 659519 | 42 Comments »

First of all, what is md5 ?

MD5 is an algorithm that is used to verify data integrity through the creation of a 128-bit message digest from data input (which may be a message of any length) that is claimed to be as unique to that specific data as a fingerprint is to the specific individual. MD5, which was developed by Professor Ronald L. Rivest of MIT, is intended for use with digital signature applications, which require that large files must be compressed by a secure method before being encrypted with a secret key, under a public key cryptosystem. MD5 is currently a standard, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 1321.

Okay this definition is extracted from

Simple Usage, we use md5 to verify the correctness of something we have downloaded. You always provided with md5 fingerprint while downloading large file such as iso images for linux distro. It is just a line of 128 bit string.

Why I need to do the checking? Is it important?

To ensure the file you downloaded is not corrupted. Yes, it is important. If you try to burn the iso that is corrupted to CD, the CD may not work properly.

How to check?

Uses md5sum, the simple way is run the command line straight away. Let say you want to check the file ubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386.iso.

md5sum ubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386.iso

With this, it prints out the 128 bit fingerprint strings. Tally the string you obtained with the provided one. Provider do the same way to obtain this string and publish to the site.

Another way let say you have more files to verify, you can create a text file, such as md5sum.txt

283158c7da8c0ada74502794fa8745eb  ubuntu-6.10-alternate-amd64.iso
549ef19097b10ac9237c08f6dc6084c6  ubuntu-6.10-alternate-i386.iso
5717dd795bfd74edc2e9e81d37394349  ubuntu-6.10-alternate-powerpc.iso
99c3a849f6e9a0d143f057433c7f4d84  ubuntu-6.10-desktop-amd64.iso
b950a4d7cf3151e5f213843e2ad77fe3  ubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386.iso
a3494ff33a3e5db83669df5268850a01  ubuntu-6.10-desktop-powerpc.iso
2f44a48a9f5b4f1dff36b63fc2115f40  ubuntu-6.10-server-amd64.iso
cd6c09ff8f9c72a19d0c3dced4b31b3a  ubuntu-6.10-server-i386.iso
6f165f915c356264ecf56232c2abb7b5  ubuntu-6.10-server-powerpc.iso
4971edddbfc667e0effbc0f6b4f7e7e0  ubuntu-6.10-server-sparc.iso

First column is the md5 string and second column is the location of the file. To check all them from file, do this:

md5sum -c md5sum.txt

The output will be like this if success

ubuntu-6.10-desktop-amd64.iso: OK
ubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386.iso: OK

42 Responses to “md5 checksum how to”

  1. short and sweet, to the point with an explanation of what it is :)

  2. It’s very beautifully.

  3. […] To perform sha1 checksum, it works similar to md5sum, kinda refers back to the examples here. […]

  4. G8 help
    Similarly to find out sha1 sum use


  5. Thanks for the tutorial! I was wondering if it is possible to md5 a string in the shell. Md5sum only seems to work on files. I’m fairly new to Linux and want to compare the speed between hashing around 1,000,000 strings in Linux and Powershell. What I’m hoping to end up with something like:

    while ($i < 1000000)
    md5sum $i;

    Probably doing it all wrong, but hopefully you get the point :). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Hi Jonathan,

    You probably figured this out a long time ago but try this script.


    let count=0
    while (( $count /dev/null
    let count=”count + 1″

    # end of script

    Give the script a name like md5loop and get time info as
    follows. Don’t forget to make the file executable.

    [prompt]$ time -p ./md5loop

  7. In me previous post all characters between “less than” and “greater than” symbols were swallowed.

    I have reposted the script but replaced the left arrow with LT and the right arrow with GT.


    let count=0
    while (( $count LT 10 )); do
    echo $count | md5sum GT /dev/null
    let count=”count + 1″

  8. Have you ever had md5sum inconsistencies? I was working on transferring a large tarballs (4-11GB) to a remote server and kept re-tarring, gzip, bzip2 only to find out that it was inconsistent.

    [blabla@blabla backups]$ md5sum -c archive.tar.bz2.md5sum
    archive.tar.bz2: FAILED
    md5sum: WARNING: 1 of 1 computed checksum did NOT match
    [blabla@blabla backups]$ cat archive.tar.bz2.md5sum
    fcc6749c143480c897b55a8203e42ae6 archive.tar.bz2
    [blabla@blabla backups]$ md5sum archive.tar.bz2
    fcc6749c143480c897b55a8203e42ae6 archive.tar.bz2
    [blabla@blabla backups]$ man md5sum
    [blabla@blabla backups]$ md5sum -c archive.tar.bz2.md5sum
    archive.tar.bz2: OK

    The host/filename renamed by the way.

  9. Excellent !!

  10. Hi – thanks for the examples.

    I have two DVD’s, one of which I suspect of being corrupt. I can run md5sum with a text file as above:

    md5sum -c md5sum.txt

    Unfortunately the md5sum.txt file is 4134 lines long, and it is a little tricky to see if any of them do not have OK at the end.

    Is there a way to get only the lines that have an error in the result?

    I have just realized I have the iso I made the disk from, so can compare md5sum disk.iso with md5sum /dev/scd0, but maybe a useful trick for the future :-)


  11. Hi Don, you could use this:

    md5sum -c md5sum.txt | grep -v “: OK”

    You’ll get a list with incorect files.

  12. This is a very minor help. You don’t say where to get the MD5sum utility nor anything about which folder to be in to run the command line, etc. Very little help.

  13. I downloaded Cent-OS 5.3 and began installing. It was failing after a few mins. After messing up with it several times and wondering if there is any hardware fault, I remembered I can check md5sum of the ISO files I downloaded. Your post helped me to get it straight to the point and I discovered that two of the files have been corrupted during download. Thank you very much – you saved my day!

    pato83’s comment is very useful when you have several files to check.

  14. I’m using this online tool to hash a string, check this Online Md5 Converter
    Pretty cool! :)

  15. Here Gary,

    It comes by default on linux.. I assume you use windows..

  16. cirovladimir Says:

    to hash strings, use:

    echo “the_string_youd_like_to_hash” | md5sum –

    Last hyphen is optional

  17. I use Gtkhash in Gnome

    A brilliant program:
    GtkHash is a GTK+ utility for computing message digests or checksums using the mhash library.
    Currently supported hash functions include MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA512, RIPEMD, HAVAL, TIGER and WHIRLPOOL.

  18. sir

    How can i check the .gdf.gz corrupted files in the cd.
    What is the command used for finding the corrupted files in windows xp operating system.


  19. Simplest way to create md5-sum for files like “sof2.part*”:
    ls sof2.part* |xargs md5sum

  20. Checksums calculator is a GUI tool to calculate md5 witch can run under Linux, Windows and MacOS x operating systems. For more info take a look at:

  21. I am hooking up my brothers new computer which has Ubuntu Linux and I need to know how to get it to detect his windstream modem.

  22. […] verify the download. I'd do that before I did anything else. Did you download from the Mint site?…ecksum-how-to/ […]

  23. […] I will only trust an operating system image downloaded from the distributions website along with a MD5 checksum. This way I can check whether the contents of the CD/DVD is original (or not). Not sure if […]

  24. if I read this (i try (want!) to learn linux).

    The created list is a list of checked files.
    Well, but what means here OK?
    my question is: of course every file has a md5 hash, but what is if this file wich was tested was defekt? So it has also an md5hash and is ok. So? From where should md5sum know the korrekt md5hash? hm?

    md5sum -c md5sum.txt

    ubuntu-6.10-desktop-amd64.iso: OK

  25. Kai:
    The ‘created list’ is a list of md5sums previously generated: The list is created in the past, by someone else or by yourself.
    The command checks whether the md5sum generated right now is exactly the same as the md5sum specified in the md5sum.txt, if not, it will NOT be marked as OK. If the file tested is defect, it will be recognized as being corrupted.

    To be clear, this whole thing is only useful to determine whether the file you have is exactly the same as when it’s md5sum was generated. You cannot check a file for defects if you do not have the md5sum of a correct file already.

  26. […] is a way to check if that file is the real McCoy…that's the MD5 check…this is a page with a tutorial… Okay, once the file checks out okay, you'd burn it on a disk… My concern was the age of the […]

  27. […] […]

  28. Incredible, I was looking for this all day

  29. […] done through Macintosh by using these steps in the operating system’s terminal. It’s applied similarly for Linux users. If you find these tools too complicated or wish to use some other ones for any […]

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  34. Hi Don, you could use this:

    md5sum -c md5sum.txt | grep -v “: OK”

    You’ll get a list with incorect files.

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  36. Hi,

    I am a data modeler. I have a doubt like where to use MD5 Checksum in Source to Target Mapping Documents.

    here are my source details. My question is
    1. for which columns do need to give MD5 CHECKSUM?
    2. How will you decide?

    Table Name Column Name Data Type Null Option

  37. Finally, an explanation I can understand.
    I doubt it’s so, but sometimes it seems like the more practiced Linux users and gurus, purposely make things more difficult than they need to be, in order to make themselves look smart. I think it makes them look another way, entire…

    LOL>.. Like I said… probably not so.

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  39. would someone please explain what is taking place in the 2 command line examples that follow. thank you.

    echo “b347608199f2a0a70fb7a31beb460c20 slax-ipxe.iso” | md5sum -c –
    md5sum -c <<<"b347608199f2a0a70fb7a31beb460c20 slax-ipxe.iso"

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