Once upon a time there was a software developer writing a small tool to extract strings from binary files. He thought it interesting to see how it travels around the then young web and set it free to the wild.

That was back in 1996.

To my utter astonishment this little tool is still around out there and creates enough interest to create hits on this site.

To honor this and to avoid confusion for visitors coming here for this utility peek (and not some obscure cg related stuff) I created this page for a permanent home of PEEK.

Unfortunately I do no longer have the source code, so the binary form must suffice.

Download PEEK

16 thoughts on “Peek”

  1. Once upon a time, there was a software newbie looking for a way to find out what was in those inscrutable windows files. He found in the wild, in a place which has since passed beyond memory, a wonderful utility called Peek.

    Alas, the author was not to be found for many seasons, but now is revealed. Well met, Martin Lubich.

    To honor the permanent home of Peek, may the (still and forever) newbie refer seekers to this site? Or is some other arrangement preferred?

    1. Now that is a nice continuation of a tale started long ago.

      So, please tell others of this place and with this and some luck the tale will be told even a bit longer and with this it’s inevitable destiny may be delayed once more.

  2. Heyas Martin,

    Peek is possibly one of the most used utilities on my computer going as far back as when it was originally developed in 1996, and has helped in too many ways to count, including simply looking inside files before running them, looking for any malware/virus-like code. I’ve recommended to countless people since then, including on my current “Geek / Tech” website.

    It has always worked perfectly up until installing on Windows 7 x64, and I feel a bit “lost” without it often times. Any tricks on getting it to run in this OS?

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi

      Glad to hear Peek has been useful for you.

      Unfortunately I do not have any ideas how to use this utility in a 64 bit Windows environment. Seems like the 32 bit compatibility of 64bit Windows does not include 32 bit shell extensions.

      And as I haven’t the source code anymore, there is little hope for a 64bit future 🙁

      Well, I’ll see if going through some of my (very) old archives in my basement, I can find the code. And if I am lucky, I have it stored on a medium which is still readable by todays hardware …

  3. Hi, I have just come across the 64bit problem too. Hopefully a 64bit version of peek can be made. I use it all the time on my 32bit machines.

  4. I posted you a response on how to use Peek on Windows 7 64-bit. I’ve been using it for days now — ever since I figured out how to get it to work.

    A little surprised that you haven’t posted the instructions for others to use.

          1. No worries. The filter doesn’t like me, probably because I’m wordy 😉

            Hope this works for everyone who was wanting it…

  5. Ok, I will try and document this again. I originally submitted the write-up to this comment section just a few days prior to my 2nd comment being posted. Of course, I didn’t document (and save) how to setup Peek and now some others have asked how to do it. So I’ll work through it all again and document the steps that I take.

    I’ve been using Peek on Windows 7 64-bit for a while now. There is an extra mouse-click in order to get it to work, but it still works none the less.

    Ok, so this may not all be required, but it’s the exact steps I took to recreate and it works…

    ** Download and Install FileBrowser32:

    ** Download PEEK from the link above and extract to your Desktop.

    ** Install the .INF as per the instructions

    ** Copy peek.dll to Windows/System32

    ** Open Registry Editor (regedit)

    ** Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved
    Add a New String Value and modify with the following data:
    Name: {147C4760-0B2C-11D0-BD4A-00001C5002DB}
    Value Data: Peek Text Extraction

    ** Browse to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Wow6432Node
    Add a new Key and modify with the following data:
    Name: *

    ** Add a new Key to the * location that was just created and modify with the following data:
    Name: shellex

    ** Add a new Key to the shellex location that was just created and modify with the folloing data:
    Name: ContextMenuHandlers

    ** Add a new Key to the ContextMenuHandlers location that was just created and modify with the following data:
    Name: PeekContext

    ** Modify the String Value of ‘Default’ within the new PeekContext location and modify the Data with:
    Name: (Default)
    Data: {147C4760-0B2C-11D0-BD4A-00001C5002DB}

    ** Close RegEdit

    ** Right Click the peek.dll file (on your desktop) and choose: FileBrowser32

    ** Locate the Peek.INF file.

    ** While still using the FileBrowser32 application, right click the Peek.INF file (still on your desktop) and choose Install

    ** Close all your windows.

    ** Right click the Peek.dll file located on your desktop and choose FileBrowser32

    ** Right click the peek.dll file again once the FileBrowser32 window appears

    ** Peek should now be visible and available for use (and if you followed the steps, you should now be able to peek into the peek.dll)

    So basically, now you will just have to right click your file first and choose the FileBrowser32 application. A new Explorer type window will appear and and you now use right click files to get the Peek Shell Extension to function. Just an extra mouse click, but worth the extra click in order to use this nifty little program.

    Here is a screenshot showing the shell extension on my 64-Bit Windows 7 Machine:

    If the registry modifications aren’t working for you, try copying the following text into a new text document and saving the file to your desktop as 1.reg. Double click the file, add the information to the registry and then try the steps above again while omitting the registry modifications:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved]
    "{147C4760-0B2C-11D0-BD4A-00001C5002DB}"="Peek Text Extraction"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *