Lesser known linux commands : strings

strings: This command will bring out strings of printable characters from a file.

e.g On a simple helloworld programme, compiled in gcc  it gives following result

$ strings a.out
/lib/ld-linux.so.2
__gmon_start__
libc.so.6
_IO_stdin_used
puts
__libc_start_main
GLIBC_2.0
PTRh
[^_]
hello world

strings is useful to know the type of file. It helps us in guessing the contents.
Sometimes, due to file corruption regular applications may not open some files. If
data is important we can try strings to get atleast printable things out. Also
if we have an executable about which we don’t know anything (including help), then
running strings will give us some clue. In the above case – hello world – will help
us to guess the nature of executable.

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