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Is there a way to determine what the original source or link was for a previously downloaded file, other than using the browser's download history?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Short answer: NO.

However, sites often provide a checksum such as SHA1 or MD5 to help you verify a successful download.

You can create the checksum and then Google it. For example, I have a file:

VMware-workstation-full-7.1.0-261024.exe

which has SHA1 checksum:

5512cb520fc91b8c4ee9b0d6f80d1cfecb0fe50f

When I Google the checksum I get the VMware Workstation 7.1 for Windows Download Page as the #1 result.

So while I can't be sure that I downloaded my copy of this file from this particular site, I can be sure that it is the same file.

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this was helpful ... but what about sites that do not provide such information .... can i google for checksums's that i " calculated my self " ???? – Mohammed Hosen Sep 6 '10 at 18:37
    
Yes, you can calculate the checksums yourself. In Ubuntu you can use the command line utilities sha1sum and md5sum. There are also Windows equivalents as well as GUI apps. Unfortunately, if the sites don't publish checksums then you can't use this method. – Mike Fitzpatrick Sep 6 '10 at 22:41

In OS X, it is stored in the file's metadata (right-click > Get Info). I don't have an active Windows install to check, but it may be recorded in the same way by the OS there, too (right-click > Properties). I'm not sure about that, but you could give it a try.

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I just checked on Windows 7 - it will tell you if the file was downloaded from the internet, but not the URL it was downloaded from. – nhinkle Sep 6 '10 at 6:34
    
Dang... I wonder if it's still embedded, but you'll need a separate program to see it. – jsejcksn Sep 6 '10 at 6:54
1  
See this answer: superuser.com/a/695529/46326 for a description of where it is stored in Windows NTFS filesystems – brass-kazoo Aug 2 '15 at 10:27

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