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Of 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.
dupeGuru is cross-platform. It works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. For more information about dupeGuru, check out our full review.
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 and comparing their song names. If you’ve ripped your own music from CDs 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.
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 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.
For more information, check out our full review. 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.
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.
For more information about WinMerge, check out our full review of WinMerge.
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. If you want to free up more space on your hard drive, check out CCleaner, 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.
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