Software

How to remove duplicate files on Macs: 4 tools

Redundant files have a way of collecting on computers, including Macs. Here are four popular duplicate file removal tools that can help you clean hard drives and cloud directories.

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Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

The issue of duplicate files has been a problem for enterprise IT for quite some time, and it's only being made worse by the growth of cloud storage and backup solutions. Here are four applications to help you manage duplicate files on your organization's Macs.

1. Disk Aid

FIPLAB Ltd.'s Disk Aid, currently $14.99 but regularly $29.99, collects a variety of maintenance utilities within a single application. The program's dashboard displays a Mac's CPU usage, available memory, free disk space, battery charge and health, and more. Its disk cleaning feature seeks potentially unneeded and junk files that can be removed to optimize space, while the Privacy Guard and application uninstaller permit removing files and data that might include private or personal information and entire applications.

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Disk Aid offers disk maintenance features, including duplicate file identification and removal.

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic

The Duplicate Finder component searches a Mac's hard drive and seeks duplicate files for potential removal. Notably, cloud shares that appear in Finder, such as Dropbox and iCloud, can be included within the Duplicate Finder's search.

Resulting files are presented within two panes. The first pane lists duplicate files found. Highlighting each individual duplicate generates a detailed view within the second pane, from which location, time, date, and size information is listed, along with a checkbox for specifying whether the file should be removed. A menu bar enables reviewing just images, documents, archives, or other files.

Disk Aid's Duplicate Finder also includes an Auto Select option for removing duplicate files it finds. As with any software application, however, I always recommend using caution when trusting automated decisions. When it comes to automatically removing data, I'm still more comfortable reviewing and selecting the files myself.

All things considered, the app receives strong reviews. The current version possesses a five-star average rating, with 35 ratings at the time of this writing.

2. Disk Drill 3

CleverFiles Disk Drill 3, a $39.99, 9.2MB file recovery program, also includes a capable duplicate file removal feature. Disk Drill's Duplicate Finder scans local drives, as well as online file-storage accounts. Users can drag-and-drop locations to scan, or use the Add Folders button.

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Disk Drill 3 offers file recovery, as well as duplicate file removal, functionality.

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic

Upon completing its scan, Disk Drill lists all duplicate files found, as well as the size, quantity, and date information, when available. Each entry can be expanded to reveal the actual location on the respective drive, too. A menu bar enables viewing only pictures, documents, archives, or other files. An automatic clean up option is available, just as with Disk Aid. Or files can be removed manually by simply expanding the entry, checking the provided box, and clicking the Remove button.

The app's current version boasts a four-and-a-half star rating in the Apple Store, with 35 ratings logged.

3. The Duplicate Finder

Rocky Sand Studio Ltd.'s The Duplicate Finder is a fast and easy-to-use duplicate removal tool. The 3.5MB application sports a simple interface. At just $6.99, the utility's cost is justified by the simplicity and speed with which it locates redundant files and enables removal.

To perform a scan using The Duplicate Finder, click the + button that appears when the program is launched. Specify the local or cloud folder, then click Open. The application displays the results in three panes. Duplicate files are listed by size in the first, left-hand pane. Individual files are listed within the center pane. The right pane displays more detailed information, including actual file location and checksum, when a file is highlighted within the center pane.

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The Duplicate Finder boasts a clean interface and strong ratings.

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic

Removing files is straightforward. Highlight the files within the central pane to display the corresponding check boxes within the right pane. Check the respective boxes, then click the Move to Trash button.

The program's among the more popular file removal tools. At the time of this writing the current version boasts a four-and-a-half star average rating with 122 ratings logged.

4. Gemini 2

MacPaw Inc.'s Gemini 2 is a 33.9MB utility dedicated solely to duplicate file removal. The $19.99 program sports a clean interface and Touch Bar support.

Users click the provided + icon to select folders for scanning. Alternatively, users can drag-and-drop folders onto the application, then click the Scan for Duplicates button.

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Gemini 2 offers a preview of duplicate files before removal.

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic

Once a scan completes, the program displays a graphic revealing the total size of duplicate files found. Clicking the Review Duplicates button displays the results. The subsequent screen consists of three panes. The first left-side pane lists sections for viewing all duplicates, archived files, documents, images, or other files. The center pane displays the files for the respective left-pane option, while the right-pane displays the actual graphic, image, spreadsheet, document, or other relevant information, depending upon the file type.

To delete files, expand the respective files within the central pane, then select the corresponding check box. Clicking the Remove button deletes the respective files.

The program's current version possesses just six ratings (with a four-and-a-half star average). Over all, the application maintains a four-and-a-half star average rating, with some 479 ratings logged, for all versions.

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About Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

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