With human memory being what it is, we hardly realize that we stack up a pile of duplicate files on our hard disks. Downloading and saving files is no big deal. Especially with the kinds of bandwidth and hard disk capacities we enjoy these days. But gradually, over the days and months each byte accumulates like the proverbial drop in the ocean.
Most of us are pack rats of the digital age. Hoarding downloads, never to see them again. For instance, I had a habit of downloading e-books by the dozen – with each came a promise that I would read them all. Of course, I never got around to it. And soon, I came to realize that I had stacked up quite a few duplicate files.
It is only when we reach the brim of our hard disk capacity, we start to look for ways and means to shed some of the junk. An audit of our system will throw up at least a handful of files saved twice over. Image files and wallpapers spread across multiple folders. Duplicate songs, documents, outdated installation files, each contributing to sucking up space. Giving our systems regular spring cleanings not only frees up space, but also optimizes file organization, disk defragmentation and system scans.
Manually going through all our files with a fine toothcomb would be an absolute waste of time. Let’s find a smart software to do the job for us. Let’s get chummy with Auslogics Duplicate File Finder.
How does Auslogics Duplicate File Finder work?
The ‘identical’ file finder software relies on several reference points like the elementary matching by name, size and date. Apart from these (and more importantly), it also relies on matching by content. Matching by content of the file types is achieved using the MD5 algorithm. This algorithm is like a precise rule which can be used to find identical files by comparing their checksums. MD5 checksum is like a digital fingerprint of a file, unique and identifiable. Checksum match means that the files are identical.
Taking Auslogics Duplicate File Finder out for a hunt.
The freeware has a very simple intuitive interface. The process begins by selecting the drives and folders one wants to include in the search. The program also can scan all removable media like USB drives for duplicate content.
After specifying the where, in the next screen we have to specify the how. Three simple criteria cover all the options. With Matching Criteria, you can set it to search by file name, date and time of creation, file size and finally, match by content. Match by content is the most accurate as the first three can give differing results, but matching files by content improves accuracy. The only offshoot is that a search for checksum matches is considerably slower. The Advanced Criteria allows you to keep out files under a specific size. File Type further lets you narrow down the search to specific files.
Scan times depend on the search criteria selected. But my subjective opinion says that it’s quite fast. The results indicate the duplicate files and the potential space you can recover if you delete the duplicates. The duplicates are clustered together in groups and are marked out in alternating bands of color. File actions can be performed using a right click or from the Action menu. Actions like Select One in Each Group, Open With (the default file handler), and Explore Folder lets you better manage the clean-up. With a Delete, the duplicate files are moved to the Recycle Bin.
Note: Before deletion, use Action – Open to visually check the files as a precautionary step.
Rounding it all up
To list the pros – The 1.69MB download is free, uncomplicated and light on system resources (memory footprint isn’t more than a typical browser). Scanning is fast even with Match Content enabled.
To list the cons – The program could have done with more selections for file filters. The final action is limited to deletion; a move option from within the interface would have been a plus. The vanilla interface might put off users who are more hands on with their optimization tools.
As a typical no-cost, no-loss program, the Duplicate File Finder is worth a try. Auslogics Duplicate File Finder (ver. 220.127.116.11) runs on Windows (XP/2003/Vista/2008/7).
Which is your software of choice? Let us know how you purge the copies.
Image credit: where are the joneses