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STRINGS(1)                   BSD Reference Manual                   STRINGS(1)

NAME
     strings - find printable strings in a file

SYNOPSIS
     strings [-afo] [-n number] [file ...]

DESCRIPTION
     Strings displays the sequences of printable characters in each of the
     specified files, or in the standard input, by default.  By default, a se-
     quence must be at least four characters in length before being displayed.

     The options are as follows:

     -a      By default, strings only searches the text and data segments of
             object files.  The -a option causes strings to search the entire
             object file.

     -f      Each string is preceded by the name of the file in which it was
             found.

     -n      Specifies the minimum number of characters in a sequence to be
             number, instead of four.

     -o      Each string is preceded by its decimal offset in the file.

     Strings is useful for identifying random binaries, among other things.

SEE ALSO
     hexdump(1)

BUGS
     The algorithm for identifying strings is extremely primitive.  In partic-
     ular, machine code instructions on certain architectures can resemble se-
     quences of ASCII bytes, which will fool the algorithm.

COMPATIBILITY
     Historic implementations of strings only search the initialized data por-
     tion of the object file.  This was reasonable as strings were normally
     stored there.  Given new compiler technology which installs strings in
     the text portion of the object file, the default behavior was changed.

HISTORY
     The strings command appeared in 3.0BSD.

3rd Berkeley Distribution        June 6, 1993                                1