Using DROID to identify files in your digital archive

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This page is a translated version of the page Bestanden uit je digitaal archief identificeren met DROID and the translation is 81% complete.
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DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) software is a useful tool for identifying file formats in your digital archive, as well as creating checksums and detecting duplicate files. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What is DROID?
  • How do you install and use DROID?

DROID is a software tool, developed by The National Archives (UK), for analysing your digital archive and identifying file formats (software and version number), based on the PRONOM library. It can also create MD5 checksums for each file, to help you to trace any duplicates in your digital archive.

DROID is a Java application that can be used in the command line or with a graphic user interface.


A computer (Windows, macOS, Linux) with Java SE 8 or Java SE 11 installed.

Installing DROID

Step 1: Check your Java version

  • Open the terminal (macOS) or command prompt (Windows);
    • On Mac, this is under Applications > Utilities > Terminal;
    • In Windows, search for 'cmd.exe' in the search bar;
  • Enter the following code in the terminal or command prompt: java -version. The version number will then be displayed.

Droid java versie.png

  • If it is lower than version 1.8, update Java;
    • Is Java already installed? Search for 'java' in Windows. The Java Control Panel should appear; On macOS, go to System Preferences > Java. A new window opens. In the Java Control Panel, you can then update Java to the latest version under 'Update';
    • If it is not installed, install the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE). Select Java SE 8 or Java SE 11.

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Step 2: Download DROID

  • Go to the DROID download page;
  • Click the link to install the latest version and download the .zip file;
  • Save it on your computer in a folder of your choice;
  • Unzip the file. DROID is now ready to use.

Launching DROID

  • Open the DROID folder that you unzipped in the previous step.

Windows and mac

In Windows, double-click 'droid.bat'. Mac users click on ''. (If your Mac doesn't want to open this file, indicate that you want to open it with the Terminal).

DROID Windows stap 1.png

  • Klik op ‘Alles uitpakken’ als je het onderstaande pop-upvenster te zien krijgt en pak de bestanden uit. Hierna worden 462 bestanden geopend of gekopieerd

DROID Windows stap 2.png

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  • Dubbelklik vervolgens weer op het ‘droid’- of ‘droid.bat’-bestand. Het zou kunnen dat je een pop-upvenster krijgt om te waarschuwen dat je een bestand opent dat Windows niet kent. Klik dan op ‘Meer informatie’ om dan in een volgend venster op ‘Toch uitvoeren’ te klikken.

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  • The program opens.

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Mac en Linux

  • Klik op ''. Als je Mac dit bestand niet wil openen, duid dan aan dat je dit bestand wil openen met de Terminal.

Droid 1 start.png

  • Het programma start.

Droid 2 start.png


  • When it opens, DROID displays an empty page called a profile. Add the folder or files that you want to analyse here. You can create multiple profiles, for example to analyse several disks at the same time;
  • To add a folder or file to a profile, click 'Add'.

Droid 1 gebruik.png

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  • A new window opens. Navigate to the folder(s) or file(s) that you want to analyse and click 'OK'.

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  • If you want DROID to generate checksums, go to Tools > Preferences and select 'Generate hash for each file using md5'.

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  • Click 'Start'. DROID starts the analysis.

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  • When DROID is ready, you can see which formats have been identified for each file. If there is a warning sign in 'Extension', the extension does not match the file format data that DROID has read in the metadata. You can find the file format that DROID identifies from the metadata in the 'Format' column.

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  • Click 'Export' to export this as a CSV file and save it on your computer or server.

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  • Select the profile you want to export the results for. Encoding can remain on UTF 8. Select 'one row per file' and click 'Export profiles…'

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  • Select 'Comma separated values…' as the file format and save the results in a folder of your choice.

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  • You can also create a report of the analysis. This includes how many files and folders has DROID analysed, how many files and folders could not be read, the (average) size of the files, and the average file size per extension. Click 'Report' for this.

Droid 2 analyse.png

  • You can also export the results from this report, and choose to save this as an XML, TXT, HTML or PDF file.

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Sources and more info

Author: Nastasia Vanderperren (meemoo)