The STRINGS command in Windows CMD is used to extract readable strings from binary files. It is primarily used by developers and system administrators to search for human-readable content in executable or data files. This command helps in debugging, identifying version numbers, or simply checking a binary file for certain textual information.


The basic syntax for the STRINGS command is as follows:

STRINGS [options] [file_name]

The file_name refers to the binary file from which you want to extract strings.


Here are the options available for the STRINGS command:

  • -a, –all
    Scan the entire file, not just the data that appears to be text.

  • -n , –minimum-length=
    Set the minimum string length for strings to be displayed (default is 4).

  • -o, –offsets
    Include the offset of the string in the file before the string itself for easy tracing.

  • -b , –bytes=
    Specify the number of bytes to read in each chunk (default is 4096).

  • -f, –file-names
    Print the name of the file before each string. Useful when scanning multiple files.

  • -s, –recursive
    Recursively process directories.

  • -e
    Specify character encoding (ASCII, UTF-8, UTF-16, etc.)


  1. Basic Usage
    Extract strings from example.exe:

    STRINGS example.exe
  2. Minimum String Length
    Extract strings that are at least 8 characters long:

    STRINGS -n 8 example.exe
  3. Including Offsets and File Names
    Extract strings with their offsets from multiple files:

    STRINGS -o -f file1.bin file2.bin
  4. Recursive Search
    Recursively extract strings from all files in a directory:

    STRINGS -s C:\path\to\directory

Common Issues

  • Mismatched Encoding
    If the output contains garbled characters, it might be due to a mismatch in the encoding. Use the -e option to specify the correct encoding.

  • Access Denied
    Running into permission errors while trying to read a file. Ensure you have appropriate permissions, or run CMD as Administrator.

  • Large Binary Files
    Processing large files might be slow. Increase the chunk size with -b to improve performance, though this might increase memory usage.


STRINGS can be used in conjunction with other tools for more complex tasks, such as filtering or processing the output further:

STRINGS example.exe | FIND "Version" > output.txt

This command chain extracts strings from example.exe, searches for the term “Version”, and saves the results to output.txt.

  • FIND/FINDSTR – Used to search for text patterns in files. Useful for filtering STRINGS output.
  • MORE – Allows paginated display of long outputs, helpful when reviewing large amounts of data from STRINGS.

For more details or advanced options, refer to the official documentation or use STRINGS /? in your command prompt to get help directly from the command line interface.