A simple free program to find duplicate files and help safely remove the redundant copies is Duplicate Cleaner. Duplicate documents, music, photos and other files often build up on a computer as users copy and save files to different locations.
Duplicate Cleaner can save hard drive space and simplify backups or future file management.The free program includes the following main features: it automatically finds duplicate files e.g. documents and pictures and can find duplicate music (by tags only). It is also easy to delete, move or copy duplicate files.
[The separate paid version adds the ability to find similar images, search within zip archive files, find duplicate folders and store your searches]
Using Duplicate Cleaner – Download and install the free program from the developer here. Run the program and choose your language – English, German, French, Italian or Dutch. The main program window contains 3 tabs:
- Search Criteria – choose the type of duplicate files to scan for and additional search options.
- Scan Location – drag and drop folders/drives to the Paths to be Searched or right click a drive/folder and ‘Add Path’. When all options and areas to be searched are set, press the ‘Scan Now’ button to begin.
The first scan of a drive (or folders with many GB of data) can take some time as the program has to build an initial folder list – subsequent scans using the same search criteria take much less time. For best results, only choose to scan user folders e.g. (My) Documents etc – scans of the whole system drive (usually C drive) may include non-user data in the results e.g. Windows and program files which should not be deleted or moved.
When the scan finishes, a Summary popup displays an overview of the results.
- Duplicate Files – view a detailed listing of duplicate files found. Select one or more duplicate files and press the ‘File Removal’ button – you now have a choice to delete, move or copy the file.
Options – The menu bar Options contain additional settings:
Program files, Windows and dll.exe files are all protected by default to avoid accidental deletion. Under ‘More Options’ you can choose to hide the ‘About’ message on program startup, hide the ‘Confirm’ message on program exit and disable automatic checks for program updates.
Help – The program includes a good help manual for advice on more complex searches – the manual is also available online here.
Duplicate Cleaner is a useful way to quickly find duplicate files and delete them. It can save hard drive space but also make it easier to manage files, folders and backups in future.