VALIDATER FOR DOWNLOADED FILES

Viruses and individuals with other malicious intents are so prevalent these days that it has gotten to the point that we can't trust anything that we download from the interet.  To give you a little more peace of mind I have written a small program for the Solar Data Plotter that will verify that what you have on your system is what I compiled and distributed.  If you got the files from this web site, they have been scanned with McAfee Virus Scan and are clean.  If you got them from somewhere else you cannot always be certain that they are clean or have not otherwise been tampered with.

You can download the file validater (11,246 bytes) from this link.

Once you have downloaded it, you will need to "Unzip" the file.  You will find one file in it named VALIDATE.EXE.  The current version is (1.0.12) 24,064 bytes in size and will check version 3.11 through 3.13 files.

To use the validater, follow the steps on the main dialog:

  1. Select the version that you want to check (this is important because they are all different!)
  2. Select either the executable program (named SOL30W.EXE by default) or the distribution Zip file (named SOL3xxW.ZIP be default).
  3. Click the [Check Selected Files] button.
What happens at this point depends on several things.  If you selected the option to check the executable program, and the appropriate registry key is still in your system registry, then the validater knows where to find the file it needs.  Otherwise you will be prompted to select the file using a normal File / Open dialog box.  Navigate to the directory on your computer that has the file in it, and then click [OK].

IMPORTANT!  It is VERY important to insure that you select the proper file!  The files all have different checksum values, file sizes, and dates.  If you select the wrong file, I guarantee that it will fail the checks!

Once you select the file, it will be checked by the validater.  This checks three things:

  1. It creates a checksum value based on the contents of every byte of data in the file.  I did the same thing when I created the files, so the values should be exactly the same.  If they are not then something has changed the file that you have.
  2. It checks the actual size of the files.  If a virus has attached itself to the file, or if someone else has modified them, then the file sizes will be different from what I distributed.
  3. It checks the file creation and modification dates of the files.  If the files have been changed they may have gotten a different date.
If one or more of the items fails, don't get hysterical or lose control!  It may be something simple.
  1. Verify that you have set the version on the main dialog to the version that you have installed on your computer.  If you installed one version and checked a different version, they WILL fail!
  2. Verify that you checked the file you intended to.  If you told the program to check the executable file and then you actually selected the Zip file, it will fail.  If you had a previous version of the plotting software on your computer, it may have picked that one up instead.
  3. If the date is the only thing that failed, and you were checking the distribution Zip file, then someone may have just rebuilt the Zip file.  There is nothing wrong with this, and I have no objections to it other than the fact that this check will probably fail on it.
  4. Also, if you were checking the distribution Zip file, and only the date failed, it may have picked up the date that I uploaded it to my server or you downloaded it to your computer.  If the file size and checksum are correct the file is still OK.
  5. If you are certain that you have the correct file selected and the checksum or file size fails, and if you are checking the executable program file, I would be very hesitant to run it without first checking it with a good virus scanner.  Viruses normally apend themselves to executable files, and this would cause both the checksum and file size tests to fail.
One more word ... ALWAYS download the latest version of this program FROM THIS WEB SITE.  The files here are the ones that I created and they are the ones that I distribute.  They have been scanned for viruses and are clean.  It is possible for someone to decompile this program and change the values to compensate for an infected file, so if you get this validater from somewhere else there is always the possibility that it has been tampered with (unlikely, but possible).  If you get it from this site it is clean.


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