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Definition: binary compare

To compare two sets of digital data in order to determine if they are 100% identical. Performed by a utility program, binary compares are often required when programmers create or modify apps and need to make sure a newly generated file is the same as the old.

If two documents are created in different word processing programs with their own file formats, the words and sentences might be identical on screen, but a binary compare would reveal differences in file structure. Although many utility programs provide this function, a binary file compare can be executed on the command line of all major operating systems. See binary compatibility and utility program.


   Windows:  fc file1 file2

   Mac/Unix/Linux:  diff file1 file2