How to find and remove duplicate files in Windows 10

By: Ovidiu Ionita
5 minute read
How to find and remove duplicate files in Windows 10

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There are computer problems that can resurface depending on the way that hardware components evolve. Finding and removing duplicate files stored on your computer is one of them. More than a decade ago hard drives were pretty expensive, especially the larger capacity ones, so people opted for the smaller ones that were in a decent price range.

This meant that you had to keep an eye on the free space available and do regular cleanups to remove unneeded files stored on your hard drive. The first thing people used to look for were duplicate files as this was the most obvious way of freeing up space. But as time went by and bigger hard drives became more accessible to the masses free space became a problem of the past and most of us couldn’t be bothered to organize our files library.

Now that Solid State Drives (SSD) are starting to replace the old mechanical drives free space has again became a common problem. Yes you can opt for a high capacity SSD but these tend to cost a lot of money at the moment, money that we could use to invest in other computer components like the CPU, memory or graphics card.

Duplicate files can also be a problem when creating backups as the process will take longer to finish and the end result will need more space on the backup destination. This can also slow down the process of restoring a backup.

In this article I’m going to list a few Windows 10 compatible applications that you can use to find, compare and remove duplicate files, freeing up precious storage space in the process.

1. Duplicate Cleaner (recommended)

duplicate cleaner for windows 10

Duplicate Cleaner’s simple interface makes it easy to start searching for duplicate files in your PC. You can customize your search by the type of file, sizes, dates and more. You can specify which drives and folders to look in, and you even get an option to search inside Zip archives.

This software will assist you in selecting which duplicate files you want to delete. Its Selection Assistant allows you to select files by dates, drives, folders and more. You can select a favourite folder, and remove files that duplicate it another place, or maybe select the smallest images,or the lowest quality mp3. In case you have made a copy of a directory – this is not a problem. Duplicate Cleaner will show you that in the Duplicate Folder browser. Quickly see duplicated directories, and easily get rid of the ones you don’t want to keep.

You also have the posibility to set an input folder to not ‘Scan against itself’. This means you can compare ‘clean’ sectors (archives, cd’s) against other sectors without generating unneeded lists of duplicate files. You can also save Scan Profiles (just like presets in Winamp) and reuse different settings for different jobs.

Duplicate Cleaner give you the posibility to manipulate with your duplicates: You can delete (Recycle bin optional), you can move or copy them, you can rename them. Advanced users may also be interested in the Hard Linking functionality offered. You don’t have to worry about the important System Files : several safeguards are offered to make sure that these files won’t be touched.


2. CCleaner (recommended)

I’m sure most of you have already heard of CCleaner, perhaps the number 1 Wndows application when it comes to cleaning junk from your computer. But what most of you don’t know is the fact that it has a built-in duplicate file scanner that does its’ job really well.

How to find and remove duplicate files in Windows 10 - CCleaner

It has the options to scan the files for duplicate filenames, matching sizes, content or by their modified dates. If you are already a CCleaner user than this news can be good for you as you don’t need to look for and install other applications that will use more space on your drive. The Duplicate Finder in CCleaner can be easily found under the Tools tab.

The problem I have with CCleaner is that it has a lot of other extra features, features that I don’t need, features that I have never used and that only take up space. But hey, this is only my opinion and yours may vary.

CCleaner is a commercial software but it does offer a free version with limited functionality. You can also try the Professional version free for a limited time so you can decide if it is worthy of your hard earn money (24,95$).


3. dupeGuru

dupeGuru has become the industry standard when it comes to searching for duplicate files under Microsoft Windows. It offers 3 versions of the app – the Standard edition, a Music edition and one for Pictures.

How to find and remove duplicate files in Windows 10 - dupeGuru

The Standard Edition is the default one that can search through all your files, either by filename or the contents of the files. It features a “fuzzy algorithm” that can detect files even if the name has been changed or if part of the content matches to other files.

The Music Edition (ME) is dedicated to finding duplicate music files using the following file formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG and FLAC. It can scan the filenames, tags and even the contents of music files. The main advantage of this edition is the fact that it can detect duplicate music files even if they use a different encoder or are saved at a different bitrate, giving you the chance to locate and keep the files that are of higher quality.

The third version is called the Picture Edition (PE) and as the name suggests it can be used to find duplicate image files that use the JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF and BMP file formats. The search engine in the Pictures Edition can match image files even if they use different file formats or have been resized or rotated. It can even match files that have been slightly edited, helping you find the source of an edited image.

All editions of dupeGuru are free of charge, open sourced and can be downloaded from their official website found at www.hardcoded.net/dupeguru/

4. Duplicate Files Finder

How to find and remove duplicate files in Windows 10 - Duplicate Files Finder

This is another lightweight tool aimed at finding and removing duplicate files stored on your computer. This application has been around for some years now and even has a version compatible with older, pre NT versions of Microsoft Windows like Windows 95 and 98. It hasn’t been updated in a very long time because.. well, it doesn’t need to be. It does its’ job really good, really simple and really fast and the fact that you can use it even on legacy Windows versions makes it the only tool you’ll ever need to have.

Duplicate Files Finder is stored over on Sourceforge and you can download it by clicking here.

There are many more software solutions out there that you can use to find and remove duplicate files and these are some of the ones that I have used in the past and that I recommend for everyone to try. If you have experience with others please let us know in the comment section below.

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