Windows Tip Sheet

How To Make Windows Spill the Beans

You have ways to make Windows talk, and Filever.exe is the truth serum.

I always dreaded the "tell me about yourself" question on job interviews. But in desktop and server management that's another story. I'm constantly under the Windows hood poking around to see what I can find.

Often, I'll be looking at .exe files and sometimes a .dll or two and wonder, "Where did you come from and what do you do?"

The tool that makes the files talk is Filever.exe. This handy command-line tool prints out file version information. Open a command prompt and type Filever /? to see the usage syntax.

You can use Filever.exe to examine a single file or process all files in a folder or subfolders. The tool doesn't have a logging feature, so you'll need to redirect output if you want to save it.

If you use the default output, your results file can be imported into Excel as a space-delimited file, which makes it very easy to filter and sort. Want to build an Excel database of every .exe file on your C: drive? Type this:

C:\>filever /S /E c:\ > EXELog.txt

It takes a bit of time to run, but you should be able to open the file in Excel. Add a header line and you'll have a ton of information.

If you have a file you are particularly interested in, you can use the /V switch to get detailed information, including things like company name, product name and product version. The format, unfortunately, doesn't lend itself to saving to a file you could import into Excel. But you might be able to do something like this to get close (this is a single command):

C:\Windows\System32>for /f %f in ('dir *.exe /b') do @echo %f >> c:\sys32exe.txt && filever %f /v | find /i "description" >> c:\sys32exe.txt

Windows can be pretty talkative, if you know how to ask the right questions.

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at Petri.com, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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