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Andy, Computer Consultant
Category: Computer
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Experience:  11yr exp, Comp Engg, Internet expert, Web developer, SEO
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I search for a easy software solution to monitor folders

Customer Question

I search for a easy software solution to monitor folders with SHA1 checksums. I am a consumer and have a Mac.
The program should be able to generate a checksum-summary of all the files within a folder. Afterwards I would like to automatically compare folder-files with the checksums.
Is there a solution for that?
Thanks for your help!
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 6 months ago.

A standard UNIX tool that has been part of the Mac release for 20+ years can accomplish this task for you.

If you're "a consumer," why would you be concerned about SHA-1 (not SHA1) checksums? Try not to get entranced by everything about which you encounter some quick misinformation in a magazine.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Because I have the same folders stored on different places (also in the cloud). I would like to get sure that I have access to exactly the same files when I download and work with them.
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 6 months ago.

Sorry, can't run random procedures on files stored "wherever." Files that live on your system can be subjected to checksums, whether periodically or on-demand. Does that interest you?

Be careful: assume that things that you store in "the cloud" are copied to Lord-knows-where--but certainly to major ISPs and to Uncle Sam--100% of the time.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but for me the concept of checksums is that I calculate them and afterwards I can check, if everything is alright with the files I might have distributed over multiple channels; that is what I would like to do not only for one single file but for a whole folder (with many files in it). Of course I am already able to compare the checksums of all the single files by hand ... but that might be quite a lot of work for larger folders, you know; I am searching for a solution that does this comparison work automatically;
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 6 months ago.

Yes, and a solution that does this automatically would be based on a utility that has been part of the standard UNIX (hence, MacOS) release for forty years . . . but we don't build such things for the scope to which you have committed.

Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 6 months ago.

Actually, I built such a thing (although far more sophisticated) for a gentleman at NSA (Bernie Peters: he published in NISC Baltimore 1986) many years ago, called EXPOSE.

The idea was it reports on one's security "exposure."

All it provided--this was HIS insistence--was a single figure of merit, i.e., things match or things don't match. If they DIDN'T match, it was the NSA employee's responsibility to figure out why.

I wouldn't have done it that way, but, hey, he was paying the bill . . .

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you, Bruce! I appreciate your offer and your expertise - that clearly would be it. However I am looking for a solution that is already available. In my understanding this is 'just' comparison work ... there must be something that already does this for a customer like I am.
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 6 months ago.

If there is, I don't know what it is, but it would clearly cost at the very least many hundreds of dollars.

Unless you want to hunt for some development kit and roll your own, and I imagine you're not a UNIX systems programmer--which I am.

I'm not proposing anything that's even remotely out of line for several hours' development plus testing effort, and a few more documenting. I don't know if you're accustomed to people just dumping code at your feet and saying, "Here it is," but I submit a professional job.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I did some research again and found this program:
It does everything I would like to do - for free: produces a .sha1 file and then: "Just double-click on the checksum file, and HashCheck will check the actual checksums of the listed files against those specified in the checksum file."
The only problem is: the program is Windows only.If this is available for free on the one OS, there has to be an easy solution for macOS too that does these two things ...
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 6 months ago.

Well, that would certainly be a problem, wouldn't it?

And I wouldn't reach that conclusion.

Everyone and his brother offers seat-of-the-pants solutions for Windows: it's a paraprofessional platform that encourages that type of cowboy operation.

MacOS is a professional UNIX operating system. System programmers in that environment do not grow on trees.

I made an offer that was beyond cost-effective. I certainly cannot force you to accept it. Also, it would offer what you want, not whatever features some hastily located and downloaded program happens to offer!

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I appreciate your professional opinion on the case. However the question never was meant as a request for developing a new software. I need guidance on existing solutions for consumers. I understand that you are not aware of such products and therefore would like to pass on the question to another professional. Thank you very much for your fast support, Bruce. Have a good day!