Kompare - the only valuable diff for M$Windows

I used KDE and Linux for many years, and of course I was shocked when I had to switch to Windows in new office and I didn't found all those little but important tools KDE guys made for us all. Today I will tell you about Kompare.

My history as Kompare user
While being developer from time to time you need to diff between two files. Of course almost any IDE and other development-oriented tool have own diff UI. Of course I used many of them, some are more useful than others. For example older Eclipse diffs were so ugly that it was hard to look at, IDEA had horizontal 3-way comparison, older NetBeans versions - vertical 3-was comparison, KDiff3 showed too much of not required data and also was ugly enought. Only SmartSVN and Kompare used two-way clean and informative diff, but while SmartSVN was written in Swing - Kompare used all possible KDE features including font antialiasing, user's colouring and icon theme and of course smooth comparison blocks. While being feature-rich it was only comparison tool with great UI, so I stuck with it.

Switching to Windows
Of course after I got used with pretty tool like this - it's hard to move to something ugly and not so usable. When on the new job I had use Windows - I went to wikipedia to search for another file comparison tool. And what do you think, I downloaded every free-to-download tool and tried it - and it failed. Some of them took 3-4 steps before show you actual diff, others were overloaded with features, others had ugly UIs. I couldn't make myself use them. I've been lucky and by that time NetBeans team swithed to 2-way diff, and I used NetBeans for even smallest comparison operations.

kde4win salvation
I was lucky enought not to die before kde4win project released with Kompare ported to Windows. Of course few first releases didn't helped me also, but starting with 4.2.0 release Kompare was fully functional. And not with kde4win you can use this great tool if file comparison operations is critical for you.

It's not hard. You don't even have to compile something. Only few steps:

  1. Go to gnuwin32 diffutils, download and install.

  2. Download kdewin installer and launch it.

  3. After installing kde4win - start kompare and in "Diff" section show him where your diff.exe (from gnuwin32 diffutils) is located.

  4. Restart Kompare and it's ready to use!

Now you can enjoy your life without feeling the pain of uncompared files on your system.

PS: Kompare can be used even for folders comparison - and it's much more powerfull than you can expect from simple file manager!


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! I've seen kompare and i like it. But cant run it. Thank you for your description -- now it works! : )

I will try to switch from

Thankyou! : )

Anonymous said...

Many thanks Heresylabs I searched for kompare windows and was plesantly surprised to see your posting.
Scary numbers of files are downloaded and installed as part of KDE but its all worth it to have kompare.
NB I did have to reboot before kompare started working.

Anonymous said...

Many, many thanks. Winmerge can be configured to work very well, but not as good as Kompare. Kompare makes it worth installing KDE for Win, but they do not have your descriptive tutorial for setting up the diff app. I almost uninstalled it until I found your page.

Anonymous said...


I am trying to install Kompare for Windows.
I downloaded kdewin installer and run it.
But the in which mode (user or package manager) I have to run the kdewin installer ?? which package I have to install to install Kompare? I cannot see Kompare in the list of program.

Thanks to pont me to the steps.

Raven said...

The kdesdk package is sufficient to get Kompare.

Awesomeness. Can't believe how long I've gone without Kompare.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the guide. I gave up on Winmerge2011 after too many failures and wanted to try Kompare -- thanks to your guide I could install it and now have a good file comparison tool.

Anonymous said...

I just failed to find a working download for Windows.