Download DROID: file format identification tool

DROID is a software tool developed by The National Archives to perform automated batch identification of file formats. Developed by our Digital Preservation department as part of its broader digital preservation activities, DROID is designed to meet the fundamental requirement of any digital repository to be able to identify the precise format of all stored digital objects, and to link that identification to a central registry of technical information about that format and its dependencies.

DROID uses internal signatures to identify and report the specific file format and version of digital files. These signatures are stored in an XML signature file, generated from information recorded in the PRONOM technical registry. New and updated signatures are regularly added to PRONOM, and DROID can be configured to automatically download updated signature files.

DROID is free and open source software made available under the New BSD License. The source code can be downloaded from our GitHub repository.

Find out more about how to use DROID for information management activities.

Current version

Download the current version of DROID (v6.1.5) (ZIP, 33.8Mb)

Please note that as part of our ongoing website redesign, we had to change the URI locations for the DROID signature files. This means that, with the current DROID release, you may encounter an error when the application attempts to check for updated signature files. This will normally occur when:

  • DROID is first run after initial installation on the target computer
  • the automatic signature file update checks run (by default every 30 days)
  • the user checks manually for updates

To resolve this issue, you will need to change the URI locations that DROID uses to check for these updates. You will need to do the following:

  • Run the DROID Graphical User Interface using the instructions in the download link
  • If you are presented with an error message that starts with ‘Response was of unexpected type…’, click OK
  • On the Tools menu, select Preferences, and then select the ‘Signature Update’ tab
  • Change the signature file locations:
    • Binary signatures URL:
    • Container Signatures URL:
  • On the Tools menu, select ‘Check for signature updates’, to check if any updates are available

If you experience any difficulties, please email

User requirements

DROID requires Java 1.7 or 1.8 Standard Edition (SE) and should work on any platform which supports either of these.

DROID is built and tested on:

  • Ubuntu Server 32 bit/OpenJDK Java
  • Ubuntu Desktop 64 bit/Oracle Java
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 64 bit/OpenJDK
  • CentOS 64 bit/Oracle Java
  • Microsoft Windows XP (64 bit)/Oracle Java
  • Microsoft Windows 7 (64 bit)/Oracle Java
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (64 bit)/Oracle Java
  • Mac OS Mountain Lion/Java

Common issues

If you are experiencing issues using DROID try these:

  •  Check which version (by typing java –version in CMD) of JAVA is installed and install version 1.7 or 1.8 if required
  • Check DROID is running from a location on the local machine and not on a shared network/drive
  • Close down DROID and delete .droid6 folder (within Windows 7, usually found here: C:Users’username’.droid6) then restart DROID which will re-create the .droid6 folder

If any of these do not work, please contact us at


User support is available from our Google Groups discussion page. Bug-fixes, feature requests, and code support should be raised through our GitHub issues page. We welcome contributions of new formats and format signatures to the PRONOM registry. If you wish to contribute, please use our online form. Signature Files and their release notes can be found below:

Previous versions

Versions of DROID prior to 6.1 are available from our Sourceforge site.

Download the previous version of DROID (v6.1.3) (ZIP, 30.39Mb)