C# File Equals: Compare FilesImplement a File.Equals method to compare files. The method checks every byte.
File Equals. How can we determine if 2 files are equal? We can compare lengths, dates created and modified. But this is not always enough.
There is no way to know if the contents are the same unless we test them. We demonstrate a method that compares 2 files for equality.
The simplest way to check 2 files for equal contents is to use File.ReadAllBytes on each file. Then we must compare the result arrays.
And If the arrays have the same length, each byte must be compared. If the arrays have different lengths, we know the files are not equal.
Note The output of this program will depend on the contents of the two files. Please change the paths in Main().
static bool FileEquals
(string path1, string path2)
file1 = File.ReadAllBytes(path1);
file2 = File.ReadAllBytes(path2);
(file1.Length == file2.Length)
(int i = 0; i < file1.Length; i++)
(file1[i] != file2[i])
static void Main()
bool a = FileEquals
bool b = FileEquals
If the common case in your program is that the files are not equal, then using a FileInfo struct and the Length property to compare lengths first would be faster.
Suppose we are trying to update a directory of files but some files may not be different. Instead of rewriting files, we can test them for equality first.
So If they are equal, we can just do nothing. Reading in a file is a lot faster than writing out a file.
Therefore In this use case, this FileEquals method can significantly improve performance.
A summary. We can guess whether two files are equal by testing their dates and lengths. But we cannot know if every single byte is equal unless we test every single byte.