Python 0xff byte


Solution 1

You have a number of problems:

  • i = "b'0xff'" Creates a string of 7 bytes, not a single 0xFF byte. i = b'\xff' or i = bytes([0xff]) is the correct method.

  • open defaults to decoding files using the encoding returned by local.getpreferredencoding(False). Open in binary mode to get raw un-decoded bytes: open('firstfile','rb').

  • g=f.readlines() returns a list of lines. i in g checks for an exact match of the content of i to the content of a line in the line list.

  • Use meaningful variable names!


byte = b'\xff'
with open('firstfile','rb') as f:
    file_content =
if byte in file_content:

To decode a file, you need to know it's correct encoding and provide it when you open the file:

with open('firstfile',encoding='utf8') as f:
    file_content =

If you don't know the encoding, the 3rd party chardet module can help you guess.

Solution 2

#how to decode byte 0xff in python

As we know this is hexadecimal encoding so , utf-8 , codec and other decoders are not able to decode this byte into string. Here we will use 'UTF-16' or 'utf-16' encoding to decode the 0xff byte array into string or ASCII character.

Let me help you understand this:

st = "this world is very beautiful"
>>>b'\xff\xfet\x00h\x00i\x00s\x00 \x00w\x00o\x00r\x00l\x00d\x00 \x00i\x00s\x00 \x00v\x00e\x00r\x00y\x00 \x00b\x00e\x00a\x00u\x00t\x00i\x00f\x00u\x00l\x00'

Again we want to convert it into simple ASCII characters. There are two method by which we can decode a 0xff code to simple string.

st = b'\xff\xfet\x00h\x00i\x00s\x00 \x00w\x00o\x00r\x00l\x00d\x00 \x00i\x00s\x00 \x00v\x00e\x00r\x00y\x00 \x00b\x00e\x00a\x00u\x00t\x00i\x00f\x00u\x00l\x00'  

First is:

print(str(st, "utf-16"))

Second is:


We will get the string as output:

>>>'this world is very beautiful'
Malik A. Rumi
Author by

Malik A. Rumi

Updated on July 01, 2022


  • Malik A. Rumi
    Malik A. Rumi 11 months

    I got this error:

    UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0xff in position: 0, invalid start byte

    I found this solution:

    >>> b"abcde".decode("utf-8")

    from here: Convert bytes to a Python string

    But how do you use it if a) you don’t know where the 0xff is and/or b) you need to decode a file object? What is the correct syntax / format?

    I am parsing through a directory, so I tried going through the files one at a time. (NOTE: This won't work when the project gets larger!!!)

    >>> i = "b'0xff'"
    >>> with open('firstfile') as f:
    ...     g=f.readlines()
    >>> i in g
    >>> 0xff in g
    >>> '0xff' in g
    >>> b'0xff' in g
    >>> with open('secondfile') as f:
    <snip - same process>
    >>> with open('thirdfile') as f:
    ...     g = f.readlines()
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "<stdin>", line 2, in <module>
    File "/usr/local/lib/python3.4/", line 313, in decode
    (result, consumed) = self._buffer_decode(data, self.errors, final)
    UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0xff in position 0: invalid start byte

    So if this is the right file, and if I can't open it with Python (I put it in sublime text, found nothing) how do I decode, or encode, this? Thanks.

  • Malik A. Rumi
    Malik A. Rumi over 6 years
    I'd give 1+ for chardet. This post… was also very helpful.