Remove Duplicate Files & Directories with Duplicate Cleaner

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duplicate cleanerOne of the biggest problems with being addicted to the latest technology is that I’m constantly downloading new files – new installs for the latest apps, new add-ons for my browser or new themes for my blog. Then there are the thousands of images piled up from years of being a blogger.

After a while, I can’t remember whether or not I’ve already downloaded something. I must have three WordPress installs buried away in my hard drive. You can find files and directories that you think may be the same, but how do you know that they’re truly duplicates?


If you’re anything like me, rather than risk losing something important, you file away everything. Maybe you zip them all up and archive them. Maybe you back up everything to a big huge external hard drive for safekeeping. Ideally, it would be a lot better if you could chop down the number of files you are trying to manage by identifying true duplicates so that you can delete them.

We’ve covered a few tools at MUO for dealing with duplicate files, such as as the five utilities that Saikat covered, or the Auslogics finder that he also reviewed. An even more functional and effective tool that you can use to clean up duplicates is a freeware application is called Duplicate Cleaner.

Track Down Space-Wasting Duplicates

When it comes to identifying duplicates, Duplicate Cleaner takes all of the guess work out of the equation. It sorts through volumes of files for you, identifies every single duplicate file, and then returns a list with every last duplicate group.

duplicate cleaner

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The first step is to add all of the directories that you want to search through. In my own situation, it’s my laptop that’s the problem. I keep downloading lots of images and files to the Documents and Pictures folders. Just select each folder, one at a time, and click the blue arrow to add those directories into the “Search Paths” column. On the right side of the screen you can fine-tune the search criteria.

duplicate file cleaner

An alternative search is the “Audio Search” for audio files only – this is particularly useful if you have an insanely huge music file collection that’s a completely mess. Find duplicate music files within select directories, or you could even search your entire computer.

duplicate file cleaner

In my case, I’ve added the three folders where I always download files – downloads, pictures and documents. The next step is to let the software do its magic. It took Duplicate Cleaner just over 14 minutes to scan the entire three directories. I was astonished to learn that in two years I’ve accumulated over 35,000 files. The duplicate files represent 547.28 MB of wasted disk space.

duplicate file cleaner

The software splits up the resulting listings into two tabs – all searched files and the duplicate results.

Managing Your Duplicate Files

At first, I doubted that the software was really identifying duplicates. I had a lot of image files that had completely different file names, yet the software claimed they were duplicates. Luckily, all you have to do is right click on any file to open it. Sure enough, the images were exactly the same.

duplicate cleaner review

The software performs this same comparison with music files, video files and even executibles using what’s called the “MD5 Hash Algorithm”. The software comes with its own file preview utility, so even if you run it on a PC without any image app, you can view the images right inside Duplicate Cleaner.

duplicate cleaner review

Along with the file name, the results display the source path of the file, the file size, when it was last modified, and the group number. One clear giveaway that should tell you the software is working correctly is when the duplicate files always have identical file sizes.

duplicate cleaner review

The real question, once you’ve identified all of these problem files consuming your precious hard drive space, is what to do with them? You can select all of the duplicates that you want to delete, and when you click on “Remove Selected,” you will be provided with different options – delete the files, move them to a new folder, or, better yet, if you don’t really want to remove the duplicate file at its source location, you can create a “hard link” that is linked to the original file, and the duplicate is still deleted.

You can also fine tune exactly which duplicates are automatically chosen for deletion based on things like the age of the file, or in the case of audio – the one with the highest sample or bit rates.

duplicate cleaner

Even if you don’t think you need such an application, you should give it a shot. I really didn’t think I had much wasted space, so I was shocked to find over 13,000 duplicate files in just three directories. Just imagine if you search your entire computer.

Do you have your own technique to prevent the duplicate file mess? How do you clean up your hard drive from this kind of wasted space? Share your own techniques in the comments section below.

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Comments (11)
  • Alexander Johnny

    You can use also Duplicate File Deleter
    I had a similar problem many times. The duplicate files are such that they my hard drives used to end up with bad sectors. Also, there was always a shortage of free space. I regularly use “Duplicate Files Deleter” when i feel that my computer is lagging. You should try it too and i’m sure that you won’t regret it.
    It can delete all duplicate files eg.-music,EXE. and same name files etc.

  • robert

    It’s a great program, but… for some reason it can be blazing fast and then stop for no apparent reason. I’ve fooled around with the program priority settings during use, and with Windows Explorer’s and sometimes this seems to help with a breakthrough. Can be very frustrating, same problems on PCs of different strengths and features.

  • DV

    There is only one version of Duplicate Cleaner and that is the free, completely unrestricted version!
    Version 2.0 (out soon) has a lot more features – keep checking back!

  • DV

    It is freeware – you must have clicked on one of the ads and downloaded a similar not-free product (eg Duplicate Finder)

  • ferveo

    Surprisingly it’s really slow.. Even some simple RamGec Duplicate Finder runs waaay faster, but at least it provides some neat features, thus if you’re searching for duplicates in a small folder it might be a good choice.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.