Re: Diff Tools

Hans-Bernhard Broeker <>
27 Mar 2001 23:44:36 -0500

          From comp.compilers

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From: Hans-Bernhard Broeker <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 27 Mar 2001 23:44:36 -0500
Organization: Aachen University of Technology (RWTH)
References: 01-03-121
Keywords: linker, tools
Posted-Date: 27 Mar 2001 23:44:36 EST

In comp.compilers wrote:
> I've encountered a documented problem within Visual C++, that the
> same code will produce different sized executables, when compiled at
> different times or on different machines.

Hmm... MS sure has a strange idea of what 'documenting a problem'
means if they don't tell what this size difference really is coming
from, precisely.

> Now, the problem is, my company wants to be able to see the
> differences between these two executables. If they are just
> time/date stamps, that's fine, but if there is other stuff (memory
> contents, etc) there may be problems, and we have to be able to
> determine that.

I'm not sure how well this really works with VC++-generated files, but
using Unix-like tools (also available on MS Windows, thanks to the GNU
and Cygwin project), I'd do the following:

objdump -x ver1.exe > ver1.dump
objdump -x ver2.exe > ver2.dump

diff -uw ver1.dump ver2.dump > diffs

and then have a look at the diffs. Executables with at least minimal
debugging information might be preferrable. Some post-filtering of the
.dump files might also be needed, to screen out some types of
differences. Comparisons of .obj/.o files might also be helpful to
check whether the difference happens at link or compile time.

Hans-Bernhard Broeker (

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