Do you notice that regardless the size of our hard disk, we are always running out of space? Every time the system notifies us of low hard drive space, we have to analyze which files and folders are taking the most space and remove those folders. What we are not finding though are those duplicated files that are taking up plenty of space. In this article, we will show how you can find and delete duplicate files from your Windows PC to free up some space.
1. Using Duplicate Cleaner to find and delete duplicate files
Duplicate Cleaner is a free tool which can be used to find and delete huge amounts of duplicate files. It can search for duplicate files using different patterns such as filenames or content.
1. Download Duplicate Cleaner. Install it with care because the installer comes with some extra programs which can be automatically installed with default setup.
2. After running the program, you will get three options – regular mode, image mode and audio mode. You can select an appropriate option to move forward. In this tutorial, we’ll deal with regular mode.
Select “Same content” under “Find files with.” If you want to find files with the exact same name, check “Same file name” otherwise choose “Similar file names.” You can also choose other options like same creation or modification date, etc.
3. Be sure to check “Don’t scan System files/folders” under More Search Options.
4. Now go to the Scan location tab and select the root folder which needs to be checked for duplicates. By default, Duplicate Cleaner will scan the complete hard drive.
5. Press the “Scan now” button after selecting the location. The scanning process may take some time depending upon the size of the selected folder.
6. After the scan is complete, duplicate files will be listed in the “Duplicate Files” tab.
7. To delete duplicate files, press the “Magic wand” button from Selection Assistant.
8. Select “Mark -> Select by Group -> All but one file in each group.”
This will delete all files leaving one file behind.
2. Search for duplicate files with percentage matching using Anti-Twin
Anti-Twin is a portable program that searches for similar files on the hard drive. We can specify how much similarity should exist in a file to be considered as duplicate. Unlike other duplicate finding apps, Anti-Twin needs two folders for comparison.
The best thing about Anti-Twin is that it lets you specify a percentage matching criteria, e.g., the content of two files should match at least a certain percent to be detected as duplicate.
1. Download Anti-Twin. You can also download the installer file if you plan to use it regularly.
2. Under the “Start search” tab, specify basic folder and second folder for comparison.
3. You can search files through two different criteria. Compare names will only compare file names. Compare content will dig deep into the binaries byte by byte to match file contents. In both cases, you can specify minimum matching percentage.
4. Press the Search for similar files button to start the scanning process.
3. Filter and manage duplicates using Search My Files
Search My Files is another portable tool to detect and remove duplicate files from the hard drive.
1. Download Search My Files. Unzip to a separate folder and run the executable.
2. In the left pane, specify the folders or drives to search for duplicate files.
3. In the right pane, you can specify different filters such as keywords, file or folder names or file content, using Wildcard or RegEx search, file extensions, etc.
4. You can also specify which data to collect for duplicate files.
5. Press the Search button to start the scanning process. The scanning process is quite fast and will take just a few moments for a few gigabytes of data.
6. After the scan is complete, Search My Files will show the files along with the gathered information. You can right click any file or folder and cut, copy, move or delete it.
The three tools discussed above serve the same purpose but with different angles and directions. Which one you want to use will depend on your needs. Duplicate Cleaner can serve as an all purpose duplicate detector while Anti-Twin and Search My Files can be used as portable tools by systems administrators and advanced users.
Which tool do you use to detect and delete duplicate files in your computer?