How to Find Difference Between Two Files or Folders with WinDiff

WinDiff is an old but still useful utility from Microsoft. It can be used to compare two files or two folders. This utility was first released by Microsoft almost 29 years ago with the Windows operating system. It was designed to compare two files or folders and present the results in a color coded visual format. The results of the comparison can also be exported in form of text files or printed on a connected printer.

Since WinDiff is no longer available from Microsoft’s website or other distribution platforms, you have to procure it from a third party site which is also home to some of the very advanced file comparison tools. The downloaded file is just a ZIP archive containing the essential files to run WinDiff – one of them is windiff.exe and another is windiff.hlp. The first one is the program and the second one is the help file. In order to view the help file, you will have to install WinHlp32.exe in Windows 10 for which you can follow our instructions from – how to open WinHelp .HLP files in Windows 10.


Because WinDiff is originally from 1992, you will find that it has a very dated user interface. You have to start by choosing to either compare files or folders from the menubar. In either case, you will have to type in the full path of the filenames or folders that are to be compared. As soon as you click OK, it calculates the checksums of files and shows you a big list of results. Files that are different are shown in red color. If the files are only in one folder then you can see this information in the comments for that file.

From the user interface, you can decide to display only the files that are different, the files that are only in the left folder or the ones that are in the right folder. You can also export the results to a TXT file for later references.


While WinDiff is not as powerful as the powerful syncing software SmartSynchronize, it is still a very useful, small, and fast file or folder comparison tool. When it comes to finding the differences between two folders, many users would find WinDiff very useful and satisfactory.

You can download WinDiff from