Save Hard Drive Space By Finding And Removing Duplicate Files

Chris Hoffman 12-10-2012

remove duplicate filesOf all the files that clutter our hard drives and take up valuable disk space, none are more useless than duplicate files. They’re worse than useless – taking up extra space in our backups and cluttering our file lists.


Duplicate files come in a variety of flavors. In addition to exact copies of files, you may have very similar images, music files that contain the same song ripped from different sources, or text documents that are almost the same but contain a few lines of unique text. These tools will help you remove duplicate files to whip your file collection into shape and free up valuable disk space.


dupeGuru is an easy-to-use tool for finding duplicate files. It can check for duplicate files based on their file names or contents. Its “fuzzy matching algorithm” allows it to detect duplicate files when their file names or contents are similar, but not exactly the same.

dupeGuru is very simple to use – add one or more folders, click Scan, and it will tell you which files are duplicates. You can delete the files from within dupeGuru. While you can try dupeGuru for free, you’ll have to buy it if you want to delete more than ten files at a time.

remove duplicate files

dupeGuru is cross-platform. It works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. For more information about dupeGuru, check out our full review dupeGuru Finds Duplicate Files [Cross Platform] Quickly find duplicate files on your hard drive, so you can delete them and save precious storage space. You'll be surprised how much of your storage is used to house the same files twice. There... Read More .


Duplicate Music Files Finder

Duplicate Music Files Finder is focused only on music files. It works where other duplicate file finders won’t, by checking each MP3’s tags The 5 Best iTunes Alternatives for Windows iTunes is bloated and slow. We show you five fantastic iTunes alternatives for Windows that let you play music and manage your iDevice. Read More and comparing their song names. If you’ve ripped your own music from CDs 3 Best Dead Simple Programs To Rip CDs [Windows] Read More or downloaded music from a variety of sources, you may have duplicate songs. If you ripped them with different quality settings, they won’t appear as duplicate files in most duplicate-finding programs – but they’re the same songs, nonetheless.

To enable this setting, click the Options button and select Use Tag Information after installing the program.

removing duplicate files

Add one or more folders and the application will show you which files have the same tags, even if they have different file names and sizes.


Duplicate Cleaner

Duplicate Cleaner is another powerful duplicate file-finder. While its free version lacks some of its more advanced options, it will still do a great job of finding duplicate and similar files on your hard drive. The selection assistant allows you to easily mark which files you want to delete, which is useful if you want to prefer the files in a specific folder.

removing duplicate files

For more information, check out our full review Remove Duplicate Files & Directories with Duplicate Cleaner Read More . While its interface has changed a bit, it still offers the same features.


WinMerge isn’t like other duplicate file-finding tools. It’s focused on locating and merging similar files. For example, you may have multiple copies of a text document, each with a few different lines. Maybe you edited them both and you aren’t sure which is the latest copy. Maybe each contains important information. If you don’t want to lose anything, WinMerge will give you a side-by-side look at the differences between the files and allow you to merge them.


When you use WinMerge, you choose a “left” folder and a “right” folder to compare. WinMerge works best if you have the files in different locations — for example, you may have a version of the file on your computer and another version on your USB drive How to Password Protect Your USB Stick: 5 Easy Ways You can't password protect a USB stick, but you can encrypt a flash drive! Here are the best free tools to secure your drive. Read More .

In the screenshot below, WinMerge noticed that the file on the left contains a sentence that doesn’t appear in the file on the right. In some cases, both files will contain unique content, and you can merge them together into a single file.

remove duplicate files

For more information about WinMerge, check out our full review of WinMerge How To Merge Duplicate Files & Folders With WinMerge Read More .


More Tools To Free Up Space

If you’re looking for more tools, check out 5 Ways To Find Duplicate Image Files On A Windows PC 5 Ways to Find Duplicate Image Files on Windows PC Duplicate image files are unnecessary and a waste of space. These tools will help you find and eradicate the image duplicates that are wasting space on your data drives. Read More . If you want to free up more space on your hard drive, check out CCleaner Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner Over the last two years, CCleaner has changed quite a bit in terms of version numbers...up now to version 3.10 at the time of this writing. While visually the program actually hasn't changed much (it's... Read More , which deletes temporary files and other unimportant data. If you just want to see what’s eating up space on your hard drive, try WinDirStat Visualize your Hard Drive Usage with WinDirStat Read More .

How many duplicate files did you have lying around? Which duplicate file finder do you prefer? Leave a comment and let us know!

Image Credit: Magnifying Glass Over Documents via Shutterstock

Related topics: Computer Maintenance, Hard Drive.

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  1. Brown Clark
    January 18, 2017 at 7:02 am

    I use Duplicate Files Deleter to remove all the unwanted, duplicated files from my pc.

  2. binary man
    March 13, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I use Directory Report to find duplicate files
    It can even find duplicate directories

    • Binary Women
      March 6, 2019 at 12:46 am

      You are my hero

  3. Santosh Kolhar
    October 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Awesome.. thanks!!

  4. Siddhant Chaurasia
    October 24, 2012 at 2:48 am

    That saved me 50GB of Hard Disk space

  5. Gail John
    October 19, 2012 at 2:52 am

    There were 45,152 duplicate files on my laptop. Thanks to Duplicate Cleaner, I was able to get rid of 43,494 of those files. Thumbs Up! to Duplicate Cleaner.

  6. Anonymous
    October 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Good article!

  7. Max Smirnoff
    October 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks! I am using Image Comparer and Audio Comparer tools - advanced duplicate finders for the photos and songs

  8. Henry
    October 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    In case you don't have tags filled in your music files, you can use - this tool is able to detect duplicate songs by their actual sound!

  9. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    October 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Good article! Found a large number of duplicates when doing spring cleaning one year ago and now I'm doing monthly duplicate check. If your hard drive space ebbed mysteriously, try to check. You'll be surprised when you found you'd accidentally copied a whole multimedia folder!

  10. Yiz Borol
    October 14, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Dupguru is my favorite duplicate file remover, I haven't tried others but it's interface is fantastic!

    • Chris Hoffman
      October 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      I really love Dupguru's interface. So many of these utilities have frustrating interfaces.

  11. Altra Attestor
    October 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    thank you, very helpful

  12. Ying Yang
    October 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

    nice one!!

  13. Ah San
    October 13, 2012 at 6:45 am

    great tips for me to save hard drive space .

  14. Ah San
    October 13, 2012 at 6:45 am

    great tips for me to save hard drive space .

  15. Ah San
    October 13, 2012 at 6:45 am

    great tips for me to save hard drive space .

  16. Dimal Chandrasiri
    October 13, 2012 at 6:33 am

    CClearner works well..

  17. Carl Jacob Saldi
    October 13, 2012 at 6:14 am

    this is awesome! thanks

  18. Mac Witty
    October 13, 2012 at 6:04 am

    I have been using Singlemizer from for a long time and dupeGuru from
    Do also have a Gemeni licens ( I don't think I ever used - don't know where I got i from, maybe a bundle

  19. Travis Kelm
    October 13, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I am always perplexed that CloneSpy never seems to show up in any duplicate finder round-up on the sites I frequent. I've used CloneSpy for many years now and find it to be the fastest dupe eliminator of any I've tested. It is 100% free as well.

  20. Jacob Mathew
    October 13, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Thanks! This is good.

  21. Robert Ruedisueli
    October 13, 2012 at 3:48 am

    For Linux:
    Tools that are good include

    Multifunction tools:
    fslint (Does duplicate files, temporary files, bad symlinks, empty directories, etc.)
    bleachbit (Clears cookies, cache, LSOs, thumbnails and other temporary files, allows you to wipe the data instead of just overwriting.)

    To see what is using space:
    Filelight (Displays the filesystem tree as a radial graph with wedges based on disk space used.)

    To compare and/or merge files
    kdiff3, fldiff (Graphics Mode)
    imediff (Terminal)
    hexdiff (Terminal, Hex Editor diff utility)

  22. Robert Ruedisueli
    October 13, 2012 at 2:42 am

    On music files, on desktops I keep one maximum compressed FLAC file of each one. This of course takes quite a while to make, but you only have to do it once and it saves a good 10% over standard FLAC compression.

  23. Jorge G
    October 13, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I need a program that finds similar, not duplicate, video files. My porn collection is gettin way out of hand!

  24. Yudono Ra
    October 13, 2012 at 1:30 am

    i like to use glaryutilities dupilicate finder :)

  25. Ugochukwu Mmaduekwe
    October 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm
  26. Ugochukwu Mmaduekwe
    October 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks for the tip.

  27. Jason Sager
    October 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Awesomesauce! I'll definitely have to use this! :D

  28. Anonymous
    October 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Great article

  29. Edwin Williams
    October 12, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Aye a good article! CCleaner works pretty well!

    • Alan Wade
      October 22, 2012 at 6:03 am

      Does CCleaner search for duplicate files? I thought that it was and is a temp file cleaner.

      • Chris Hoffman
        October 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm

        It has some other tools, but I don't think CCleaner has that feature.