dhex: A hex editor with a diff … erence

Is it time for a hex editor? It’s time for a hex editor. Of course, the last hex editor we looked at was quite impressive. It’s going to take some serious advances in the art of hex editing to impress us. Or at least a lot more color.


Holy schmoly! Is that a hex editor, or a gene sequencer?! Is that a hex editor, or a military-grade electromagnetic noise generator?! Is that a hex editor, or a cryptographic cracker for infiltrating alien spaceship defenses?!

It’s none of those things — it’s dhex, a hex editor that adds a diff mode so you can compare more than one file at a time, or variations on the same file. And look at all that wonderful color. I am in heaven.

And going by the list of good things that were present in hexcurse, dhex has also hit it out of the park: uses the full screen, lots of color, neatly divided and arranged, labeled function key legend, and so forth.

But as you can see above, dhex adds its own categories that some (most?) other hex editors haven’t quite approached yet. Themes. Custom key configuration. Split-screen diff mode. Color-coded comparison between files. And perhaps even wilder, synchronized vertical and horizontal panning. Ooh-la-la! πŸ˜€

So the next time you need a brain massage, I recommend firing up dhex with two similar files, and gently scrolling left and right, and up and down. Guaranteed stress reliever. You’ll feel at least as good as a dog getting its belly scratched.

Eye therapy aside, dhex seems like one of your better options for hex editing, and since it’s kind enough to build a configuration for you the first time you run it, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Of course that means the next hex editor we stumble across is really going have a difficult time. dhex will be a hard act to follow. … 😐

6 thoughts on “dhex: A hex editor with a diff … erence

  1. darkstarsword

    Cool, the diff mode will be extremely useful – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done ‘hexdump -C foo > foo.hex; hexdump -C bar > bar.hex; vimdiff foo.hex bar.hex’ to compare similar binary files (important when reverse engineering binary formats to look for similarities and differences between multiple samples), and hopefully this will replace that kludge and handle the situation where the data I’m interested in is at different offsets in the files. It would be nice if it could diff a few more than 2 files at a time, but maybe I’m just asking too much?

    The built in 64-bit hex calculator is also a really nice addition, but it would be more useful if it could pull 1/2/4/8 byte little/big endian integers directly from the current cursor position (maybe it can and I’ve just missed how?). Still no floating point though, which would be handy for some of the reverse engineering I’ve done on Miasmata and other video games – at the moment I just have a stand-alone python script to convert hex to floats and vice versa, but it would be much more useful to just see all possible representations inside a hex editor while navigating the file…

    Still, this looks like a very useful addition to my list of go-to hex editors, thanks πŸ™‚

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      My pleasure! There are a few more in my list, so don’t switch allegiances too hastily. dhex is quite good though. πŸ™‚

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