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Let's provide an open soure option instead of pointing people to download.com
The 'sha' part of the checksum file name stands for <u>S</u>ecure <u>H</u>ash <u>A</u>lgorithm. This algorithm is used to generate a particular code unique to the downloaded ISO image. '''sha1''' and '''sha256''' are different versions of the algorithm that you can use to do this. Whilst sha1 is the most commonly used version, sha256 is a later and more secure version. Whichever you decide to use is entirely your choice. '''However, if you are unsure, then it is recommended to use sha256'''.
The checksum file itself is just a text document that contains a code that should match the code generated by the sha1 or sha256 algorithm. As such, if the code generated from the ISO file matches that contained in the checkum checksum file, then the ISO is fine; otherwise, if the two codes don't match then it means that the ISO file has changed in some way, most likely due to being corrupted. You can think of it like someone using a secret password to identify who they are: if they provide the wrong password, then something is obviously amiss!
Don't worry if this all sounds a bit much, it's actually very straightforward and easy to use!
When satisifed satisfied that both codes match, then it is safe to proceed to either burning the ISO to your chosen installation media, or using it immediately in Virtualbox. If the codes do not match, then it will be necessary to delete the ISO image and download it again.
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It will be necessary to download and install a checksum utility application. Several free versions may be found on the '''[http://download.cnet.com/ Download.com website]'''There are many tools which can provide sha1 and sha256 sums. A very positively reviewed free checksum utility you may wish to consider One such tool is the '''[httphttps://raylin.wordpressgithub.com/downloadstedsmith/md5-sha-1-checksum-utility/ MD5 & SHA Checksum Utilityquickhash Quick Hash]'''.
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