Duplicate files reduce precious space on your computer’s hard drive and especially when you have an SSD and it makes your computer’s backups bigger for no good reason. Here’s how you can free up some disk space.
Every program recommended here comes with a clean installer that won’t try to install toolbars and other junkware on your system. It’s annoying, so we spent time finding the good programs.
Note: use the “non-CNET” download link.
Digital Volcano’s Duplicate Cleaner is a good option. They sell a paid version of this application with more features, but the free version provides the basic duplicate-scanning features with a decent interface. The installer redirects you through Download.com, but it didn’t try to install any junkware on our system when we installed it. DigitalVolcano is trying to make money the old-fashioned way — by providing a good product and hoping people buy the upgraded paid version with more features.
Duplicate Cleaner provides a pretty interface that will scan your computer and any connected external drives for duplicate files. The pro version also scans for very similar images and music files that are a bit different, but the free version has the basic duplicate-file-finding features.
Use VisiPics to scan for image files that are very similar, even if they aren’t completely identical. For example, VisiPics will find resized, rotated, edited, and otherwise modified image files and flag them as duplicates. You may not need these multiple similar copies of photos and other images, so VisiPics can help you here.
Many duplicate-file-removing applications can also do this, but VisiPics has an interface designed with photos in mind. If you have a large collection of digital photos, VisiPics is probably the application to use. It will provide a more visual interface for looking at those photos and clearing our your duplicates.
VisiPics is free — donationware, technically and won’t try to install any junk on your system.
Duplicate File Finder is another open-source application with a no-frills interface. It actually has a different approach from other applications. It looks for files that have the exact same size and only then compares them to see if they’re duplicates of each other.
This means you won’t get the almost but not quite exact matching features other applications provide. However, it also means that Duplicate File Finder should be even faster at scanning from a larger set of files. if you only care about files that are completely identical and not just almost identical, you can save time with Duplicate File Finder. It doesn’t have the prettiest interface, but it definitely works.
This isn’t a complete list of all the duplicate-file-finding utilities for Windows out there. There are many other ones, often with installers packed full of junkware and toolbars.
Remember, don’t delete duplicate files in system folders — for example, under C:\Program Files or C:\Windows. Programs may depend on having duplicate copies of certain files in specific places. Leave system files alone and only clean up your own personal data files — documents, images, music files, videos, and everything else you might have a duplicate copy of.