Get-FileHash

Computes the hash value for a file by using a specified hash algorithm.

Syntax

Get-FileHash
   [-Path] <String[]>
   [[-Algorithm] <String>]
   [<CommonParameters>]
Get-FileHash
   [-LiteralPath] <String[]>
   [[-Algorithm] <String>]
   [<CommonParameters>]
Get-FileHash
   [-InputStream] <Stream>
   [[-Algorithm] <String>]
   [<CommonParameters>]

Description

The Get-FileHash cmdlet computes the hash value for a file by using a specified hash algorithm. A hash value is a unique value that corresponds to the content of the file. Rather than identifying the contents of a file by its file name, extension, or other designation, a hash assigns a unique value to the contents of a file. File names and extensions can be changed without altering the content of the file, and without changing the hash value. Similarly, the file's content can be changed without changing the name or extension. However, changing even a single character in the contents of a file changes the hash value of the file.

The purpose of hash values is to provide a cryptographically-secure way to verify that the contents of a file have not been changed. While some hash algorithms, including MD5 and SHA1, are no longer considered secure against attack, the goal of a secure hash algorithm is to render it impossible to change the contents of a file -- either by accident, or by malicious or unauthorized attempt -- and maintain the same hash value. You can also use hash values to determine if two different files have exactly the same content. If the hash values of two files are identical, the contents of the files are also identical.

By default, the Get-FileHash cmdlet uses the SHA256 algorithm, although any hash algorithm that is supported by the target operating system can be used.

Examples

Example 1: Compute the hash value for a file

This example uses the Get-FileHash cmdlet to compute the hash value for the /etc/apt/sources.list file. The hash algorithm used is the default, SHA256. The output is piped to the Format-List cmdlet to format the output as a list.

Get-FileHash /etc/apt/sources.list | Format-List

Algorithm : SHA256
Hash      : 3CBCFDDEC145E3382D592266BE193E5BE53443138EE6AB6CA09FF20DF609E268
Path      : /etc/apt/sources.list

Example 2: Compute the hash value for an ISO file

This example uses the Get-FileHash cmdlet and the SHA384 algorithm to compute the hash value for an ISO file that an administrator has downloaded from the internet. The output is piped to the Format-List cmdlet to format the output as a list.

Get-FileHash C:\Users\user1\Downloads\Contoso8_1_ENT.iso -Algorithm SHA384 | Format-List

Algorithm : SHA384
Hash      : 20AB1C2EE19FC96A7C66E33917D191A24E3CE9DAC99DB7C786ACCE31E559144FEAFC695C58E508E2EBBC9D3C96F21FA3
Path      : C:\Users\user1\Downloads\Contoso8_1_ENT.iso

Example 3: Compute the hash value of a stream

For this example, we get are using System.Net.WebClient to download a package from the Powershell release page. The release page also documents the SHA256 hash of each package file. We can compare the published hash value with the one we calculate with Get-FileHash.

$wc = [System.Net.WebClient]::new()
$pkgurl = 'https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell/releases/download/v6.2.4/powershell_6.2.4-1.debian.9_amd64.deb'
$publishedHash = '8E28E54D601F0751922DE24632C1E716B4684876255CF82304A9B19E89A9CCAC'
$FileHash = Get-FileHash -InputStream ($wc.OpenRead($pkgurl))
$FileHash.Hash -eq $publishedHash

True

Example 4: Compute the hash of a string

PowerShell does not provide a cmdlet to compute the hash of a string. However, you can write a string to a stream and use the InputStream parameter of Get-FileHash to get the hash value.

$stringAsStream = [System.IO.MemoryStream]::new()
$writer = [System.IO.StreamWriter]::new($stringAsStream)
$writer.write("Hello world")
$writer.Flush()
$stringAsStream.Position = 0
Get-FileHash -InputStream $stringAsStream | Select-Object Hash

Hash
----
E3B0C44298FC1C149AFBF4C8996FB92427AE41E4649B934CA495991B7852B855

Parameters

-Algorithm

Specifies the cryptographic hash function to use for computing the hash value of the contents of the specified file or stream. A cryptographic hash function has the property that it is infeasible to find two different files with the same hash value. Hash functions are commonly used with digital signatures and for data integrity. The acceptable values for this parameter are:

  • SHA1
  • SHA256
  • SHA384
  • SHA512
  • MD5

If no value is specified, or if the parameter is omitted, the default value is SHA256.

For security reasons, MD5 and SHA1, which are no longer considered secure, should only be used for simple change validation, and should not be used to generate hash values for files that require protection from attack or tampering.

Type:String
Accepted values:SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, MD5
Position:1
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-InputStream

Specifies the input stream.

Type:Stream
Position:0
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-LiteralPath

Specifies the path to a file. Unlike the Path parameter, the value of the LiteralPath parameter is used exactly as it is typed. No characters are interpreted as wildcard characters. If the path includes escape characters, enclose the path in single quotation marks. Single quotation marks instruct PowerShell not to interpret characters as escape sequences.

Type:String[]
Aliases:PSPath
Position:0
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:True (ByPropertyName)
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Path

Specifies the path to one or more files as an array. Wildcard characters are permitted.

Type:String[]
Position:0
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:True (ByPropertyName, ByValue)
Accept wildcard characters:True

Inputs

System.String

You can pipe a string to the Get-FileHash cmdlet that contains a path to one or more files.

Outputs

Microsoft.Powershell.Utility.FileHash

Get-FileHash returns an object that represents the path to the specified file, the value of the computed hash, and the algorithm used to compute the hash.