One of the fastest ways to clog up your hard drive is to store duplicate files. Most of the time, you probably aren’t even aware that you have duplicate files. They come from a variety of places: accidental copies, misplaced files, multiple downloads, etc. But one thing is for sure: they can really bog you down.
A lot of duplicate files stem from a need to keep a file “safe” because you don’t want to lose it, so you copy it and store it away somewhere. Until you forget where you stored it, so you download another copy of it. Unfortunately, these duplicates aren’t caught by typical disk cleaners, which means that they’ll pile up over time and eventually render parts of your hard drive memory useless.
With these quick and simple tools, though, you’ll be able to identify and clear out duplicates within minutes and free up a lot of space that you didn’t think you had. Plus, all of these tools are FREE so you have nothing to lose!
dupeGuru [Windows, Mac, Linux]
dupeGuru is probably my favorite duplicate cleaning tool because it has a ton of great features: cross-platform availability, entirely free, multi-language support, fuzzy matching algorithm (explained below), and you can customize the matching engine to find certain types of duplicate files.
So what is fuzzy matching? Basically, even though two files are exactly the same, they can still have mismatched filenames. For example, sometimes you’ll have an example-file.avi and example-file(1).avi. dupeGuru can find these similar-but-not-exactly-similar files and realize that they are duplicates.
dupeGuru also has two extra editions, Music Edition and Picture Editions, which are optimized to find duplicate audio and picture files – even when they’re stored in different formats. Extremely useful since audio and picture files tend to be the most duplicated file types.
Duplicate Files Finder [Windows, Linux]
“Duplicate Files Finder is an application which searches for duplicate files (files which have the same content, but not necessarily the same name) and lets the user remove duplicate files, either by deleting them or by creating links.” That’s the claim made straight on the website. It’s a simple claim: you won’t find many bells or whistles in this program, but it gets the job done.
Duplicate Files Finder only finds exact duplicates. The algorithm works by sorting all files by size, then comparing files of equal size for content. Therefore, it’s not exactly good for audio and pictures (which can vary in size due to compression and file format), but for everything else, it’s great.
Due to the comparison algorithm, Duplicate Files Finder is much faster than most other duplicate cleaning tools that use algorithms based on hashing.
AllDup is a powerful duplicate detector created by a single man, Michael Thummerer. It uses a number of criteria (which you can customize) for searching these duplicates out: filenames, extensions, content types, creation and modified dates, shortcuts, and more.
AllDup has a lot of useful features and a lot of flexibility in what it can do, but it comes with a cost. The interface is not very friendly (at least at first glance) and it could prove to be an information overload for users who are not exactly tech-savvy. However, if you can get over the learning curve, it’ll be a great addition to your computer upkeep toolbox
Use the tools above to find and erase all of your duplicate files. It’ll free up a lot of space and give you some more breathing room for file storage.