How many duplicate files do you have on your machine? Do you have any idea? Have you ever looked? My guess is that the majority of PC users have never bothered to search for duplicate files and don't realize that after a couple of years of use, a PC can pile up enough duplicate files to take up more space than you would like. Although hardware has become quite cheap, installing a simple application to contain widespread file duplication across a company can save thousands of dollars.
Auslogics Duplicate File Finder offers the following features:
- Finds files by content, not just name
- Includes an easy-to-use interface
- Checks local drives and removable drives
- Supports Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
But is Auslogics Duplicate File Finder the solution? Let's install it, use it, and find out.
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Getting and installing
Installing Auslogics Duplicate File Finder is as simple as installing any other Windows application. Download the installation file from the TechRepublic Software Library. Once you have that file, just double-click it to begin the installation. You will not run into anything out of the ordinary during the installation.
Once the installation is complete, you can either run the application immediately or close the installation out and run the application from the Start menu.
Starting and using the applicationIf you open the Start menu, you will find a new entry labeled Auslogics. Within that directory, you will find three entries. The entry you want to click to start the application is labeled Auslogics Duplicate File Finder. When you click it, the application will run, revealing the main (and only window) for this tool, as shown in Figure A.
The simplistic take on the GUI makes using the tool exceptionally easy.After you select what drive (or directory) you want to scan, you will be greeted with a second widow (Figure B) that allows you to configure the criteria for your search. From this window you can get somewhat granular with your search by dictating the tool search for duplicates in Name and/or Date, Size, Contents, or Image type.
If you want, you can ignore files smaller than a certain size, which can speed up your search.
Once you have configured your criteria, click the Scan button, and the Duplicate Finder will do its thing.I have found that searching for duplicate files larger than 1MB will often lead to fewer matches but a faster scan. If you are primarily concerned with saving space, you will most likely want to search for larger files first. When your results are displayed (Figure C), you can then go through the listing and delete all the files you want to delete.
This is the results of a fairly new installation of Windows 7, so there will not be many duplicates found.
Obviously you will want to use caution when deleting duplicate files. You will inevitably find files that have the same name but either are not for the same application or serve different functions. So when you are faced with deleting files whose names you are not sure of, make sure you check the path the files are located in before you delete them. This isn't such an issue when you check the Ignore Files Smaller Than option, because most critical system files are going to be smaller than 1MB.
If you opt to scan file contents for duplicates, you might want to run this scan overnight, because it does slow the scan down considerably. A scan that would take less than 30 seconds (on my nearly fresh Windows 7 installation) takes nearly ten minutes. Understand that is a Virtual Machine installation on a VM that is under 10 gigs. A much larger drive, with many more files, will take considerably more time. The results, however, paint a far more accurate picture.
I have found this application to be outstanding for locating duplicate files from installations and downloads. On the contrary, Duplicate Finder is not so great at locating user-created files. I have run tests on both Windows XP and Windows 7 for .txt and .doc files saved before and after the installation of Duplicate File Finder, and the application could not locate the duplicate files. The only way around this is to uncheck Match Date and Time, Match Size, and Ignore Files Smaller Than. You will also need to check All File Types. You will get a warning indicating that "The selected file matching the following criteria are not safe." Go ahead with the scan, but use caution when deleting files.
Outside of that issue, I have found the application to be a simple, quick method to reduce duplication on your hard drives.
If you keep your operating systems running for months and years, this tool might well be one that you should be employing. By scanning for duplicate files, you can gain back precious hard drive space and keep that PC running smoothly.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.