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I have two different binary files, and I want to compare their difference.

Is there a free GUI based binary diff tool that is available on Windows?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 15 down vote accepted
  1. WinMerge - (free, Windows), accoriding to the Wikipedia article is currently dormant (doesn't mean much if it works and is stable/complete)

    WinMerge binary diff

  2. http://diffchecker.com/diff - (Web) - I was able to upload two binary files and compare

  3. Beyond Compare - (paid, Windows/Linux) - I strongly recommend Beyond Compare as it is my favourite file comparison tool and I'm not alone (see CodingHorror's post ). It's not free, but well worth the purchase. Here's a screen shot of Beyond Compare comparing binary files.


If none of these solve your problem look for more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_comparison_tools

Updated: Not sure if I missed the 'free' criterion when I first answered this question or if it was added later in an edit. In any case, I have now updated above with a free one at the top of a list.

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Doesn't really answer the question. :) –  Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 28 '11 at 16:43
@Tomalak Geret'kal yes thanks, updated it. –  Nick Josevski Aug 9 '11 at 1:12
As you can see in the screenshot, WinMerge isn’t really geared towards binary files. It does work to some degree, but it is not really efficient or too effective. The display and performance are both pretty poor for binary files, particularly large ones (but it’s not great at large text files either). –  Synetech Nov 30 '12 at 23:44
@Synetech: Does WinMerge allow automatically running binary files through a hex dump first? –  endolith Oct 18 '13 at 14:04
@endolith, not exactly. WinMerge does have a Filter feature, but it doesn’t let you pre-process files as you described. Rather, the FileFilter function lets you exclude certain filenames or extensions. The line-filter lets you exclude lines like comments, headers, etc. Basically it is a regex that is used to determine whether or not to compare the lines at all. Unfortunately there is no function that lets you run each file through a hex-dump and then compare the output of that. Of course, WinMerge is FOSS, so you could request it. ;-) –  Synetech Oct 18 '13 at 16:45

HxD is a free hex editor and can perform a basic comparison between binary files.

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Doesn't seem to be any way to jump to the next difference, which is a pretty critical missing feature. –  mhenry1384 Jan 27 '12 at 14:39
You press F6 (or use the menu). It is a very basic compare though. –  Nick Westgate May 6 '13 at 13:24

VBinDiff is OK and free. From the website:

VBinDiff (Visual Binary Diff) displays files in hexadecimal and ASCII (or EBCDIC). It can also display two files at once, and highlight the differences between them. Unlike diff, it works well with large files (up to 4 GB).

VBinDiff was inspired by the Compare Files function of the ProSel utilities by Glen Bredon, for the Apple II. When I couldn't find a similar utility for the PC, I wrote it myself.


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VB huh? That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence for its performance with large files… –  Synetech Nov 30 '12 at 23:45
@Synetech, it's actually written in C++. The website claims that it works well for files up to 4GB. –  Sam Jan 23 '13 at 22:35

If you work on Windows and with relatively small files, you can try to use this small tool I hacked this morning.

Here is what it looks like:

enter image description here

You just drop the files you want to compare, the differences are highlighted in red.

I did not try it with big files, and I suspect it cannot be practically used with big files. Also, you cannot edit the contents, and there is no other feature than checking the differences ; but it might be helpful in some cases.
The Github link I provide above contains the C# source and a working executable (at least it works on my machine).

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Stirling is a non-open-source freeware visual binary diff tool that hasn't been updated since 1999, but is still good.

It features the ability to parse C style struct declarations and apply it to the viewed file. The two file diff view includes a summary graphic showing which areas have been changed, like WinMerge's Location Summary. ASCII, Shift-JIS, EUC, UNICODE, EBCDIC, EBCIDK supported.

Unfortunately it is only localized to Japanese.

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Not updated since 1999? What if I changed my files since then!? –  Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 28 '11 at 16:43

HxD also has a file compare feature if anyone wants an alternative.

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WinMerge is excellent.

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Nowhere in the winmerge website does it say anything about binary diff; it appears to just do text files. Could you please edit your answer to include a bit of information about how this actually answers the question? –  nhinkle Jul 5 '11 at 19:32
I've modified my answer to include WinMerge, @nhinke is correct in stating that it doesn't list it on the winmerge website, but after installing it, and trying it, it does work. –  Nick Josevski Aug 9 '11 at 1:12
@NickJosevski, not well it doesn’t. –  Synetech Nov 30 '12 at 23:46

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