The problem with having terabyte drives and digital cameras with increasingly large resolutions, is the fact that we all end up storing gazillions of files, and often large ones, on our computers. Which probably wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that by the time we end up editing a good proportion of them, leaves us with duplicates all over the place.
Maybe you’re neater than I am, but I routinely end up with various copies of files scattered all over my various hard drives, some moved for archiving, some left in a location mid-edit. On some drives I have upwards of 16,000 images still stored from years of shooting, which means there’s bound to be a huge number of duplicates.
Duplicate Cleaner is a super little free Windows utility which sniffs out these duplicates and gives you the option to delete or move them as necessary. Now we’re not saying that all file hoarders will have trouble hitting that delete button, but I definitely find it hard to do. What if that was the perfect edit? Maybe that file will come in handy one day? That’s a great shot, surely it’s not a duplicate? And so on.
The key is to be brutal. Don’t give in to your soft spot, delete, delete, delete and you’ll blow your mind with how much space on your disk you reclaim. As you can see from the screengrab above, a routine scan of my main drive instantly found around 10GB of duplicate files, and that number climbed to over 60GB by the end of the 22 minute scan. No small potatoes, and that was only one disk drive!
The program is incredibly sophisticated, and comes with a bunch of options to fine tune your search and destroy process. You can scan inside sub-folders, exclude files and folders, tag and untag specific groups of files for action, and search by date, size, filename and even ID3 tag. You definitely have total control over your clean up with this puppy.
Once the software has done hunting you can choose to delete, rename, move or copy the duplicates. Sad hoarders will probably line up another safe archive disk to store the duplicates (just in case, you understand), but hard core clean up merchants will follow our advice and execute with extreme prejudice. Ahh freedom. It’s a great tool, with a lovely clean interface and a top class set of features.
There is also a £19.95 Pro version, which is for commercial use and which throws in a few extra sets of functionality like folder actions, but for most private use the free version will be fine. Although the fact is that using this tool could save you having to buy a new hard drive, which seems like a total bargain to us. Do be aware also that the install process includes an option to install a 3rd party backup utility, which may not be to everyone’s taste. Your call.
Overall? Definitely a keeper.