There are some excellent free hex editors available that range from the small and simple to some advanced products that are the equal of any commercial product. In total I looked at seven products: HexEdit , Cygnus Free , Hxd , Hexplorer  HHD Free , FrHed  and XVI32 . Hex editors (like programming editors) are a software category where personal needs and preferences are so important that it is meaningless to pick a "best" product. Instead I encourage all potential users to test several or all of the products and choose what suits them best. That of course doesn’t stop me stating what I like. For my needs, Hxd is a clear winner. Its first virtue is that it doesn’t need installing. Second, it has a great interface. Third, it handles huge files without slowing down. Then add in unlimited undo, great searching and search/replace capabilities, full support for ANSI, DOS/IBM-ASCII and EBCDIC character plus a dozen other features and you can see why I like it. But it doesn’t stop there. Hxd also works as a RAW disk editor and a full read/write RAM editor. It’s three utilities rolled into one.
This power makes it a dangerous tool in the hands of beginners. It may also give your security software apoplexy, but users skilled enough to use this product will understand this not a concern. Is it perfect? Of course not. To start, it lacks binary file comparison capability and the ability to extract text strings and a built in disassembler would also be nice. There are also a few bugs. However what it does offer is so impressive that it’s hard to believe this fine product is free.
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