It can be hard keeping the contents of the disk drive organised and it is easy for it to become an unruly mess. After a few years, or perhaps just months, there could be duplicate files that waste space and confuse you. It is time to sort out the mess and find and delete the duplicate files.
Duplicates are common with digital photography. Multiple apps and services want to automatically upload every photo you take to online storage or a photo sharing service. The storage and services might then be synced with a folders on your PC, you plug in a digital camera or phone, and you could end up with more than one copy of images.
You might make copies of images for editing and end up with two or more, you might transfer photos from a digital camera, back them up, restore a backup, buy a new computer, restore to that and so on. It is easy to lose track images and how many copies there are.
The same is true with videos taken on mobile phones and digital cameras. After numerous syncs, backups, edits, and transfers to new PCs or tablets, you can end up with multiple copies. Documents and music can also become duplicated in various ways.
If your photos or other files are a mess, there are several utilities that are able to find them and delete them, such as the free CloneSpy.
Download it and when it is installed, there is a choice of a standard installation or a portable one. Whenever you have the option to install a portable version of a program, it is usually best to choose it. It does not make any changes to Windows and removing it is as simple as deleting the folder it is in. I keep portable apps in C:\User\Public\Portable.
When CloneSpy is started, it looks like the screen shot below. There are three windows – Pool 1, Pool 2 and Checksum.
To use it at its most basic level, only Pool 1 at the top is needed. Click Add Folder.
You can browse the disk drive, select folders and click Add selected folder. This adds it to the Pool 1 window on the right. A Pool is basically just a list of folders to scan for duplicates. You can see that there are options to load, save and merge pools, so you could save the list of folders you are going to scan to save you the bother of having to select them again the next time you scan for duplicates.
I have photos in folders with one for each year, so I added them all. You might have different folders and you don’t have to scan for photo duplicates because it works with all file types.
After adding the folders to scan to Pool 1, CloneSpy looks like this:
The Mode at the top is Pool 1 only. The Search for setting is Duplicates and this is best because it looks at the contents of files and not the name. You might have two photos called train.jpg in two different folders that are of different trains, and you don’t want to delete them.
The Action section lets you choose what happens to duplicate files. Ask user is tempting, but duplicates can run into the hundreds and you don’t want it to ask you about every single one. Select Automatically delete and choose either older files or newer files.
Click the Options button to modify any of the program settings. There are too many to mention, but this is a good example of what is available:
What do you want to do with duplicate files? Deleting them to the Recycle Bin is a good choice because if you need to, files can be recovered from there if it should make a mistake and delete a file you wanted to keep. Another good option is Move to folder, and this would enable you to check the files before (manually) deleting them.
Here is the result of running CloneSpy:
A total of 2,715 files were scanned and 295 files were deleted. They are in the Recycle Bin as selected in the options, and 490MB of disk space was reclaimed (strictly speaking, only when the Recycle Bin is emptied because they are in there).
Featured image: Pixabay.com